Matthew Stadlen interviewed Elle Macpherson a few years back for the BBC series Five Minutes With.
Watch the interview and answer the questions below.
The activity is suitable for intermediate 2 students.
1 How long has Elle been in the business world?
2 How old was she when she started doing business?
3 What does she say about her family?
4 How difficult is it for Elle to be in the business world?
5 Where does she live?
6 What does she like about living where she lives?
7 What do you find really attractive in a man?
8 What did she use to do in Granola as a child?
9 How does she relax these days?
10 What sports does she do?
11 What world issues or political issues is she involved in?
12 What big ambitions does she still have?
I’m only trying to undress you.
You’re trying to get my clothes off, are you? Get over here.
A quick match, let’s see who is taller, who is taller.
Back to back.
You look very serious.
I’m not serious at all.
I think I might be slightly blushing. It’s not every day you get to interview a supermodel. Shall we start? Let’s see for the better to make a fool of myself.
Okay, we have to put the battery in. By the way, I have to ask you, do you like the clock?
Yeah, I was so impressed when I saw you walking with this. I couldn’t believe it. Yeah, I absolutely love the clock.
Okay. Okay, the pressure is on. Okay?
Let’s go. You can speak fluent French, I think I’m right in saying.
Can you say I’m Elle Macpherson and I am The Body.
Now, once a supermodel, always a supermodel?
You tell me.
Very much so, absolutely. Right, I do want to know do you see yourself more now as a model or as a business woman?
I’ve been doing business for a really long time (1) and I consider myself to be an entrepreneur, entrepreneurial spirit.
How’s it going?
Twenty years in the business (1), it’s thriving. Here I am in my offices, with undies behind me.
How did you first realize, say, that you had a nose for business?
I think it was more a heart for numbers than a nose for business but, you know, when I was 26 years old (2) I left my modeling agency, at the time it was Ford and I incorporated myself and became Elle Macpherson Inc and started doing business to business kind of deals.
Are you aware of the clock there or have you forgotten all about it? Are you nervous, a little bit under pressure.
I’ve completely forgotten about the clock. No, I’m not nervous.
What are you most proud of so far in your life? I ask pretty much everyone that question, easy question.
My biggest achievement is raising my boys to be conscious, sensitive, present human beings.
You have two boys, two boys.
I have two boys, 11 and 6 (3).
Is it hard being a single mum?
It’s challenging, and it’s exciting, and it’s wonderful and what a gift!
I do want to ask you about business then and whether you feel it it’s harder being a woman in business.
Being a woman in the lingerie industry with…, surrounded by women, making lingerie for women…
With your entourage here?
Yes, I have my entourage here, my design team, it’s fabulous, so, you know it’s much easier being a woman designing lingerie than a man (4).
Brought up in Australia.
Are you still an Australian at heart?
Absolutely, a hundred per cent Australian.
Don’t you feel a tiny bit British? We can stop ten years after…
Not even through osmosis, but I’m very fond of, I love living in London (5). I think London is an extraordinary town.
If you could click your fingers now and change something about the British life… Apart from the weather.
I was just about to say the weather, but that’s so cliché.
That’s a bit cliché, doesn’t it?
Not a lot, you know, art, music, literature, theatre, fantastic people live here (6)…
Sexy… at times.
What do you find really attractive in a man?
Creativity and intelligence (7).
Okay and are there any hyper embarrassing chat-up lines that stick out?
Oh, would you like to come to my TV show, my five-minute show?
I was going to ask you on a date but not until after the interview, it would be far too…
No business and pleasure.
No business and pleasure? I’m not going to take that as a no quite yet. Cricket?
I had a boyfriend that played cricket once. Very long time ago.
Got to ask you, were you a sort of a cricket girlfriend, you actually went to matches?
I was a cricket chick.
It’s a good one.
Do you think England can win back the Ashes?
I wouldn’t know.
Can’t you just say yes?
Yes, yes, of course.
What was it like growing up in Australia, Granola?
Granola is where my father lived. It was amazing, you know, I spent a long time on the beach, riding my bicycle, playing sports and had a really healthy lifestyle (8).
Swimming before school?
Swimming, swimming training. How did you know, at five o’clock in the morning.
I didn’t, I’m guessing.
Swimming cap in a one-piece swimming suit, training, yeah.
So what do you do these days to wind down?
I like to listen to music, I read (9).
What sort of music?
A bit of everything, I’m a bit of a seventies buff chick, I know it’s not very cool but that’s me, and I read and, creative, you know, when, however I can create whether be it writing or reading or I mean in a sense of… material for work and then interpreting.
Obviously, obviously you stay very fit and in good shape. How do you do that? Can you eat what you want?
I eat more than I want. That’s the problem half of the time. Sport is really important to me. Love snow skiing, love horse-riding, love water-skiing and I do it as much as I can (10).
And are there any sort of issues, sort of world issues or political issues that really stick out for you, that you care about?
It’s really interesting that you talk about that…
You’ve done some charity work.
Yeah, politics and human rights, they’re my two, two subjects. I’ve worked a lot with Red, Bono and Bobby Shriver initiative which raises capital for the global fund. The maternal mortality is also an issue that I’m very comfortable with. Unicef. Oxfam (11).
Just save it, just stay, thirty second to go.
But ….. We are on first-name terms. Now what are the main remaining ambitions?
Oh, my goodness!
Can you hear it?
To finish this without making a fool of myself.
Big very many ambitions?
Oh, so many, I don’t really think we can talk about them in the last ten seconds (12).
Are you a blonde, would you say? Do you see yourself as a blonde?
In what respect? What are you asking?
That’s all we’ve got time for it now!
There you go
Right on the bell. Okay, now we’re still recording…
… but I do have to ask you, what would I have to do, all my male friends wanted me to ask this question, what would I have to do to persuade you to go for a drink?
I don’t drink.
Ah, come on, right, let’s say, what…
What about bouncing about, what about a day at Lords to the cricket?
Well, you know the way I feel about cricket, so I don’t think that would go down so well, that would not go down so well.
You’re not helping me very much here.
I don’t know, you have to be creative and ingenious and find some way to entice my, you know, spirituality, mentality, physicality, whatever.
So, it’s something spiritual?
No, not necessarily.
How about bird watching?
Depends what kind of birds.
You know the beautiful types, maybe sort of weekend in Wales, perhaps. Just pretend to say yes.
I like the weekend away idea.
Do you? Okay, I’m going to take that as a yes.
I like the country.
Really nice to meet you.
Me too. Nice to meet you.