London — Model Kate Moss has spoken out about how her experiences modeling as a teenager exposed her to the dark side of the fashion industry, and why she defended Johnny Depp in his recent legal battle with Amber Heard.
Moss, who was scouted at the age of 14 while on an airplane, said she was about 15 when she was at a photoshoot for a bra catalogue, and something just felt off.
“He [the photographer] said ‘take your top off.’ And I took my top off, and I was really shy then… and I could feel there was something wrong, so I got my stuff and ran away,” Moss told the BBC radio program “Desert Island Discs.”
Moss said the experience “sharpened my instincts… I can kind of tell a wrong ‘un a mile away.”
She said she was at another shoot with photographer Corrine Day, who pushed her to snort like a pig.
“I cried a lot,” Moss said, explaining how she felt uncomfortable with that and being asked to get naked. “I didn’t want to take my top off… I was really, really self conscious about my body, and she would say: ‘If you don’t take your top off, I’m not going to book you for Elle,’ and I would cry.”
Moss said it was “quite difficult” and “painful” revisiting those experiences.
Moss said Day “was my best friend, and I really loved her, but she was a very tricky person to work with. But you know, the pictures are amazing, so she got what she wanted. And I suffered for them, but in the end, they did me a world of good, really. I mean, they did change my career.”
In 1992, Moss was selected by the designer Calvin Klein for an underwear campaign with Mark Wahlberg. Moss said she didn’t have fond memories of that shoot, either.
Wahlberg “was very macho and it was all about him and his — he had a big entourage,” Moss said. She said she felt objectified, “vulnerable and scared.”
Moss said she had severe anxiety ahead of the shoot and was given valium by a doctor. “It would manifest as like, nausea, and I couldn’t get out of bed… After the shoot, it was fine, and it kind of wore off, the anxiety,” Moss said.
“I think they played on my vulnerability. I was, like, quite young and innocent. Calvin loved that.”
When a different series of photos of Moss in her apartment, which many dubbed “heroin chic,” ran in Vogue in 1993, the model got backlash for promoting extreme thinness.
“I think I was a scapegoat for a lot of people’s problems. I was never anorexic. I never have been. I have never taken heroin. I was thin because I didn’t get fed at shoots or in shows, and I’d always been thin… I think it was a shock because I wasn’t voluptuous… I was just a normal girl. I wasn’t a glamazon model, and I think that shocked them.”
In 2005, after photos of Moss apparently doing cocaine were published in the media, she said she “felt sick and was quite angry, because everybody I knew took drugs. So for me, for them to focus on me and to try and take my daughter away, I thought was really hypocritical.”
Moss didn’t face charges, but was dropped from a number of campaigns. She issued a public apology.
“I kind of had to apologize, really. Because if people were looking up to me, I had to apologize.”
Moss defended designer John Galliano after he made antisemitic comments in 2011, and she recently testified on behalf of Johnny Depp in his suit against Amber Heard.
“I believe in the truth and I believe in fairness and justice. I know that John Galliano is not a bad person. He had an alcohol problem, and people turn. People aren’t themselves when they drink, and they say things that they would never say if they were sober,” Moss said. “I know the truth about Johnny. I know he never kicked me down the stairs. I had to say that truth.”
Moss, 48, now runs her own modeling agency, which represents her daughter.
“I’ve said to her, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. If you don’t want to do this shoot, if you don’t feel comfortable, if you don’t want to model, don’t do it,” Moss said.
“I take care of my models. I make sure that they are with agents at shoots, so when they are being taken advantage of, there’s somebody there to say, ‘I don’t think that’s appropriate,'” she told the BBC. “That’s what I can do.”
Moss has moved to the English countryside and said she’s now “obsessed with gardening.” She said her party days were behind her.
“It’s boring to be me now. I mean, I love a dance, but I’m not really into being out of control anymore. Well, I’m definitely not into being out of control. I like to get to bed. I like to get up early and do my meditation before anyone’s up, and I like to be in control.”
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