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Joan Collins feels 30 years younger, not allowing beauty to define her

REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Joan Collins feels 30 years younger, not allowing beauty to define her

Joan Collins feels 30 years younger, not allowing beauty to define her

Joining ‘American Horror Story: Apocalypse’, the legendary Joan Collins, 85, epitomises the term ‘powerhouse’ who shows no signs of slowing down. On her fifth marriage, she chats to MiNDFOOD about #metoo, fame, and finding her strength.

By Michele Manelis

You were the mean girl on Dynasty all those years ago as Alexis!

I don’t think I was mean. She was early #MeToo, you know? (laughs)

Well, you’re not exactly the good girl in American Horror Story either. What’s fun about being bad?

Being an actress, or an actor, as we are supposed to say today, I really like to inhabit every kind of character. She’s kind of Noel Coward and Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey, she has a lot of very wild and interesting lines. She’s a name dropper because she’s been married to the head of MGM, so she knew everybody in those days and she drops names like Yul Brynner and Gina Lollobrigida all the time, which annoys all the rest of the other people, who are all on lockdown in this dungeon.

You’ve been in a tough business for a very long time. How did you find your strength?

I think one of my strengths for being in this business for as long as I have is that my father was a theatrical agent and he was very, very against me coming into the business. He told me how tough it was and how you had to be able to take tons and tons of rejection. And if you were a pretty girl, you would probably be finished by the time you were 25 or 26 and that you would be treated not very well by a lot of men. So he warned me about the dangers, so I was aware of the dangers when I came in.

What’s your take on the #Metoo movement?

Well, my opinion sadly is that as a young girl, along with most of my contemporaries, we used to discuss it although we didn’t call it abuse, but we were preyed upon by men. And it seemed that at that particular time, it went with the way a young actress was treated. I had some bad experiences, but because my father was very strong and I was very good with a knee in the groin, (laughs) I never allowed myself to be taken advantage of during that time.

Marilyn Monroe said to me once, ‘Honey, you better beware of the wolves in Hollywood.’ And I said, ‘Well, I can take care of wolves, I have been in British films for two years, where they sometimes had to hide me in the closet to get me away from a producer.’ But I have never allowed myself to become a victim, so I am glad for all the women that are standing up for that.

Looking back on your life, is there anything you would have done differently?

Well a couple of husbands, definitely (laughs). But only two of them!

You’re very sharp. How do you keep up?

Scrabble and poker. (laughs). I don’t feel any different today really than I did 30 years ago. And I have a younger husband which is always good and that keeps you up to pot. I read five, six, seven magazines a day and I keep up with the politics in England and the news in England and in America and a bit in France because I have a place in France. So I try to be relevant and know what’s going on.

Exercise?

Yes, I do a bit of exercise. Definitely, you have to do exercise. I don’t believe in ‘no pain, no gain.’ I think it has to be gentle and you can’t do things that are going to wrench something. I had pulled a muscle under my rib a couple of weeks ago and it was agony for five weeks, agony. So I am starting to keep myself from not doing anything too stretchy.

You were voted Most Beautiful Girl in England at 18. How did beauty define your career?

Well, first of all, I didn’t believe it because I came from a family that did not tell you how beautiful you were or how clever you were. When I got that title when I was 18 in England and The Evening Standard called my father and said, ‘Oh, your daughter has been voted the most beautiful girl in England,’ he said, ‘I am amazed. She is a nice looking girl, but nothing special.’ (laughs) So that was always in the back of my mind.

I have to ask, when you were in ‘Dynasty’, how did Alexis get along with Crystal?

You mean how did Joan Collins get along with Linda Evans? We got along okay. We are very, very different people, so we didn’t have a huge amount in common and we didn’t really socialise that much.

We liked each other, but I think that she felt that we couldn’t become close because we had to hate each other so much in Dynasty. And Alexis was very Me Too. Alexis never put up with anything, nothing.

Was there a role during your career you were upset you didn’t get?

Yes. Cleopatra

Do you still go after what you want?

No. I am not one of those people who goes into a room and immediately starts saying hello to everybody. I don’t do that, I am not a schmoozer. I am afraid I am lazy in that respect.

This is your fifth marriage – and to a much younger man at age 53. Does that bring any specific challenges?

No! I recommend it highly!

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