Wilde sex kitten takes it all in her stride

When Kim Wilde saw a headline in a British newspaper pronouncing her “The Wilde Sex Kitten” she howled with laughter while taking a fair amount of ribbing from friends.

Obviously with a name such as hers she’s wide open to all such references and in looking at her in person it’s not that difficult to imagine why she’s labelled as such. A clear porcelain skin, expressive eyes, a sensual pouting mouth and spiky blonde hair are ingredients for the image.

I lunched with Kim shortly after her arrival from a promo-tour of Australia. The only indication that Kim was suffering from fatigue and jet-lag came from the lady herself who declared: “I don’t like doing interviews when I’m tired because I get bored and I’m boring. Normally I love talking to people – and talking to the Press, which requires a lot of thinking about yourself, is like therapy.”

When she’d relaxed over a meal, mineral water and a little wine, Kim revealed a bright and perceptive personality. There is little false modesty as she talks about her success and where she believes she’s going. She acknowledges that her climb up the charts has been relatively easy. I asked her to comment on the fact that her father Marty Wilde said he’d been worried about the lives of female popstars and how they’re treated in the music world.

“That’s how he has known the business”, she responded. “It’s been different for me.”

Clearly attached to her family, Kim talks easily about her brother Ricky, her mother Joyce, her Dad, and the two new additions, Roxanne and Marty Jnr. She figures that part of the reason for her still living at the Wilde’s Hertfordshire home is her attachment to the two babies.

“This way I don’t have to go through the pains of childbirth – I have two children”, she smiled for the first time. But the domestic side of things is not wholly appealing. “Mum and Dad tried for ages to have more children so Mum spent a lot of time in hospital and I had to look after the ‘boys’.” (Dad and Ricky.) “It’s not that they’re chauvinists – well, all men are I suppose – but they like things done for them. I was very pleased when Mum came out of hospital.”

Kim doesn’t envisage cooking meals for the men in her life. While she shuns becoming a symbol of the feminist movement – “I wouldn’t do feminist gigs, or sing for feminist bands” – she maintained. “You can feel what people are like just by what they do and what they say. I don’t have to belong to a movement because I am liberated.”

By all accounts Kim is pretty clued up on the business side of her career, something she accredits to her mother, who long ago took over the running of Marty Snr’s career.

“I’m very lucky in that way”, admitted Kim. “Also I’m very lucky to have a record company I can trust who don’t rip me off.” (She’s with her father’s company, Mickie Most’s Rak label). Dedication to her music is total, but “if I had children I’d feel that way about them.”

Talking about her and Ricky’s upbringing Kim said: “Dad was away from home a lot when we were kids, but we never doubted that he loved us. I suppose I only really got to know him when I was about nine years old, because that’s when we moved to the house and he spent more time at home.”

Kim envisages a different lifestyle for Roxanne and Marty Jnr. “It’ll be different for them – because when we were small Dad wasn’t a star, but they’ll grow up with me being a star”, she said.

I asked whether Dad’s hits of the 60s were ever put on the turn-table. She looked slightly aghast for a moment then replied: “No, what for? He’s still performing them. Anyway, they’re at the bottom of a box – we have this big box of dust-covered records – which includes old Elvis stuff and we only play the ones near the top.”

Newspapers picked up that while at school and art college Kim used her real family name, Smith. I asked her about it. “Well that was my real name. When I used to get prescriptions for my mother I’d say, ‘Which name is it in, mum? Smith or Wilde?”

So why the name change as a singer? “Well, it sounds better, don’t you think? I don’t like the name Kim though. I was supposed to be called Donna after Dad’s hit. But then Marty isn’t Dad’s name either – that’s why my little brother is called Marty because we wanted someone to carry on the name.”

She would be happy to tour South Africa and said: “I’ll play anywhere people want to hear my music.”

And after a visit to a game park, it’s a plane trip to England again. What is she going home to?

“Hopefully, a hit record.”