Yasmin Le Bon on #MeToo in the fashion industry: I haven’t seen a thing, not a thing

The supermodel talks menopause, ageing and marriage to Simon Le Bon

Supermodel Yasmin Le Bon at a Brown Thomas event in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Supermodel Yasmin Le Bon at a Brown Thomas event in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

You might think it inevitable that over the course of her long career a supermodel like Yasmin Le Bon will have endured or least witnessed a fair amount of #MeToo behaviour. Apparently not.

“I haven’t seen a thing. Not a thing,” she said in Dublin in conversation with The Irish Times Women’s Podcast.

“Really honestly, not a thing. I don’t know if it’s because I started a little bit older when I got into the business but I definitely knew how I wanted to be treated and if anybody came close to not treating me with respect they’d know about it straight away.”

Le Bon says she and her fellow supermodels, the likes of Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell who dominated the fashion industry in the 1980s and 1990s, “very much dictated how we wanted to be treated. And we stood up for each other”.

“And we talked about things so if somebody wasn’t behaving in the way we liked word soon got out and it’s a small industry. I think considering the size of the industry there’s been far less of it than probably many other industries”

Womens podact

The still strikingly beautiful 54-year-old model was in Dublin for the launch of Brown Thomas Beauty Icons, an eighteen day event next month featuring masterclasses and the store’s first beauty awards.

Down-to-earth

Whether describing her Prada dress – “didn’t we all have one of these kinds of dresses when we were children?” she says of the girlish frock – or discussing Brexit “let’s not be frightened of what hasn’t happened yet” she is open, down-to-earth and loudly self-deprecating.

She has no problem, for example, discussing the menopause and how it has affected her. “What can I remember about it? I can’t even remember my name,” she laughs. “We need to talk about it. I didn’t know anything about it. I don’t remember my mother going through it, it was never spoken about ... I wish somebody had spoken to me. Hopefully we are all going to be kind to each other and not judge anybody going through we are going to embrace and support each other and be kind”.

Are you out the other side now? She laughs loudly. “Just when you think you are out the other side ... well I thought I was. Let’s not talk about it. I am going to have a hot flush right now. You are bringing one on.”

Yasmin Le Bon poses with fan Jessica Manina, from Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, at an event in Dublin city centre. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill
Yasmin Le Bon poses with fan Jessica Manina, from Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, at an event in Dublin city centre. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Ageing is another subject she feels women and men need to more honest about. “It’s not easy,” she says. “On a good day I am so grateful to my body that it’s still vaguely working and then there are other days when I just can’t accept the things that are going on. The way my face is just slowly sliding down my neck, not that slowly actually, once it starts it’s the slippery slope”

She says it’s important to “fill your life” with other things and apologises for her “airy fairy” philosophy that “how you feel inside is the most potent thing, it’s what makes you beautiful”.

‘I’m bonkers’

The model has been married for more than 30 years to Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon – “I’m bonkers,” she jokes. “I’ve got a screw loose” – but is unsentimental about what makes a marriage work. “There are moments when you get into an easy way of living, you take each other for granted a bit, that’s normal in any relationship. I want to be sure I am with someone because I want to be and not because I need to be.”

The couple have three now grown up daughters – she became a grandmother last year – and she has spoken about “the dark place” she was in when they were teenagers, the most challenging time of her parenting life.

“I will always be their mother but I wanted to be their friend. Some people said I couldn’t do that but I disagreed ... I am not saying it’s easy to be both things at once but I became their friend by disarming them with honesty. There isn’t anything they don’t know about me .... I had them young, I grew up with them. I am still growing up. I am still the same idiot I was before and I’ve lots to still learn thank you very much”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.