Which symbol (Kim or Debbie) is the sexiest?

Date
Published in
[unknown] (UK)
Written by
Garth Pearce

On-screen as she sings Kim Wilde fixes her eyes on some faraway fantasy object... lips pursed. Sexy? Very. Off-screen over a bottle of her favourite dry white wine she discards the sultry manner talking easily and laughing a lot. Which is a talent that still eludes pop's other sex symbol, Debbie Harry. If there was ever a time to make comparisons between Miss Harry and Kim Wilde it is now.

Star

While the American arrived in London two weeks ago, looking all of her 37 years, unsure of her hair colour and launching a lamentable solo album, Kim is full of vigour and style, with a new album to match.

Hers is a remarkable rock story of course: famous father, Marty Wilde, a teenage star from the late fifties. Mum an ex-Vernon girl singer.

Kim reflects on itL: "Growing up with a well-known dad is something that had its moments - and plenty of bad ones too", she says. "Learning to cope with the fact that some kids despise you for living in a bigger house than them, or thinking that you live some sort of totally decadent life, can be very hard to take".

Despite the Wilde's well-heeled life, Marty and wife Joyce sent both Kim and brother RIcky, now, 19, to local State schools near their Hertfordshire home: "I think it is sad for kids whose parents are doing very well financially, but make the mistake of putting them in to boarding school", she says. "It is sheltering them from other people who they will have to meet and get on with at some time in their lives. One of the saddest things in this country are the divisions that such education creates", she adds firmly.

Kim was wearing a frilly white top and faded blue jeans - "I only wear T-shirts and jeans because I have absolutely no dress sense" - her blonde hair ("the real colour is pure mouse") combed like a lion's mane, as she talked about the image that has established her as Britain's No. 1 sex symbol.

"I was fairly tortured-looking in my early teens", she says. "I knew a lot of girls who were very pretty at that age and I was envious. I was a country girl at heart and very naive. They wore chiffon skirts, black eye make-up and eyeliner. I remember they used to pluck their eyebrows and I used to pretend to pluck mine", she smiles. "I ended up with a face like you would never believe!"

She has no regular boyfriend: "I could never get any boy quicker than some of my friends", she laments. "It is different now, of course. They find me more attractive because they think they find me more attractive. It is a cliche to say it, but now I'm always wondering if they are taking an interest because of who I am and not what I am or how I look. Luckily, I'm quite good at summing up people and know when someone is insincere - especially women. I sometimes say about a woman my mother has met: 'I don't trust her'. About 18 months later, she says: 'You were right'."

It is her mother who is the manager, running a company called Big M Productions: "Originally, M stood for Big Marty", says Kim, "but it could just as easily be Big Mother. She is certainly the one who wears the trousers in our house! Dad does not think she is, but I think so. She kicks everyone up the backside now and then."

Hit

Joyce had two more children, Roxanna, two, and five-month-old Marty - so now it is like having two families: "She always wanted four kids", says Kim, "But I don't think she expected them so far apart."

With brother Ricky and father Marty writing her songs - 'Water on Glass' is their third consecutive hit - Ricky producing the records, and Joyce acting as manager, it has been like a Wilde family success machine so far this year.

"We just hope it can last", says Kim.