Just an old-fashioned girl

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Jackie (UK)

Can that really be Kim Wilde? Read on and find out...

"Small men are what I like", she says... and then laughs. "I'd better explain, hadn't I? What I mean is, I like small-framed men. I don't like them muscley or tall and lanky. Don't ask me why. I just have a thing about it!"
The phantom female who's giving away her innermost secrets is in fact one of our top female stars, Kim Wilde.

We spoke to Kim recently to find out what she's been up to, and as she relaxed in an armchair looking absolutely wonderful without any make-up, the obvious first topic was her looks, and the fact that she's still frustrated that people try to compare her with Debbie Harry.

"I know for a fact that Debbie herself said she was fed up with me and another well-known singer trying to imitate her looks. That really upset me because there is no comparison in our looks or musical styles at all to suggest that... other than that I'm blonde! She didn't need to say that... I like her style very much and I hope that she keeps going for a long time."

The comparison certainly is unfair, because Debbie, believe it or not, is almost old enough to be Kim's mother! Kim is also a very unspoilt girl, excited by her sudden rise to fame and year of hit records in the charts all over Europe, the Far East and Australia, and yet not touched by the "big star" image of other performers.

"I guess with my father having gone through it all in the rock 'n' roll era, although I didn't come through that period myself, it has conditioned me to music lifestyles in a way", she says.

Surprisingly, Kim's original destiny, she hoped, wasn't music, but the world of art. "Of course, I was interested in music, but not general trends. I had aventurous and exotic tastes and in going to art school I hoped that there might be a meeting of minds with the other students. But it didn't happen! I got the feeling during my year there that most of the students were doing it for somewhere to stay. There weren't any new ideas going around."

So when her mother had a baby daughter, called Roxanne after the title of the Police hit record, Kim began acting as babysitter and stopped her art studies. "But I don't want to give the impression", she adds quickly and modestly, "that I had some great virtue in doing it to help my mother. I would have helped her anyway, but, to be truthful it did all coincide with me suddenly being at home. I enjoyed playing mother, though!"

"At home, my room in my parents' Hertfordshire house is my sanctuary. Everything in that room is an extension of my likes and my feelings. All the walls are filled with photographs of my friends because I like to be reminded of them and think of them all the time. I also stick my favourite clothes up on the walls... it drives everyone crazy."

Yet, Kim admits that despite the love for her family, she feels the need to escape for a while.

"I'm not a lonely person, but I enjoy being alone from time to time", she says. "And I feel the need to get a place of my own. Perhaps a little nearer London... because it's really dreadful landing at Heathrow Airport and then having to drive all the way to Hertfordshire when I just want to keel into a place near at hand."

On a recent promotional trip to Europe she was jetting between Rome, Cannes, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam and luckily found the opportunity to get some time to herself. "It's so rare on that kind of trip to have even an hour with all of the interviews and television shows that have to be taped. But this time I was able to visit places like the Colosseum and the Sistine Chapel, then go swimming in Cannes, and visit the horrible architectural monstrosity of the Berlin Wall. I just hope it gets pulled down some day!"

Kim admits she is tired and recently suffered almost a month off with severe bronchitis. Yet she ploughs on with the trips, the recordings, the video films and the tough round of interviews.

"It's easy to moan and say I'm tired", she says. "But I look at it this way. There are millions unemployed and I'm lucky to have any job, never mind one that I enjoyu. I'm sure there are loads of people who don't like what they have to do for a living or even parts of it. So I'm fortunate."