Reveal - 27th October-2nd November 2007
Pages 46 & 47
Celeb real lives
Thirty years on from Blondie's debut album, Deborah is as stunning as ever.
'I'm 62 - and I've still got a shagging outfit'
Rock icon Deborah Harry shares her secrets for being sexy in your sixties and reveals how her Scottish roots give her great skin.
She may be over 60 (62 to be exact) but don't for one minute think that means Deborah Harry, the artist formerly known as Blondie, doesn't have a rocking social life.
'Of course I have a shagging outfit!' she laughs when the subject of dating comes up (she likes younger men, older men and men the same age as her, by the way). 'It would depend on my mood and where I was going. If I was going to a rock'n'roll thing, it would probably be some really hot-looking boots and trousers and probably something low-cut.'
Today she's kicking back in her suite in Edinburgh looking almost hot enough for that date. Wearing a tight black T-shirt with 'Hollywood Suicide' on it and slim black jeans, she not only looks 20 years younger than she really is, she looks sort of timeless and certainly not a million miles from the girl who turned everyone's dads on to punk when she appeared on Top Of The Pops wearing just a T-shirt. 'And underwear!' she points out - just so you know that that whole Britney thing of going commando didn't start with her.
Her tip for looking so good? 'Good surgery,' she says with a flawlessly executed smile (no cheap Botox here). 'I've never hidden the fact that I've had surgery - I guess my vanity doesn't lie in that area of denying it.'
When did she start?
'At 12!' she jokes. 'No, I haven't had that much but I've had the right stuff at the right time. I'm lucky. I have Scottish skin. All the Scottish girls I know have incredible skin.'
It was the skin, the bone structure and the curves that helped Deborah start out as a Playboy Bunny, working the clubs in a high-cut costume, bunny ears and tail. 'I didn't want to be a career bunny,' she says. 'I wanted to have the experience but there was a lot of training and they were very strict about your appearance.'
It all seems so innocent compared with the crotch-flashing antics of today's starlets, but Deborah finds herself feeling sorry for the Britneys and Li-Los who can't seem to stop getting into trouble, even though she was very much out there herself when it came to hard-core partying.
'I still have wild nights,' she says, explaining that with DJs as friends, irregular hours are the order of the day as they're always dragging her out to hear them play. 'Just not so frequently. And I'm definitely not into substances the way I once was.
'It can't be easy for those girls. They're young and can never escape the attention. There's a song on my new album called School For Scandal about that sort of media intrusion.'
As for her own partying, she says she does regret it in a way. 'I regret wasting the time,' she says. 'I think it might have affected my memory - but then I do have an awful lot to remember.'
Is there anything else she regrets? Not having a family, maybe?
'I guess I occasionally think: "Well...". But I never really wanted one, so....'
Did she have a 'now or never' moment when she hit 40?
'It's true, that is a "now or never" period. But I sailed right through it. When I'm not working and I can dedicate myself to another person's life, maybe I'll adopt. It would probably be someone who needed a lot of attention. I've got a lot to offer - but right now I'm still working.'
She'd certainly be able to bond with someone much younger. She knows all about the Britneys of this world, can name all the right bands as favourites, including the Gossip and The Feeling (with whom she's toured), and keeps up with The X Factor. 'It's very entertaining,' she says, grinning naughtily. 'And I mean that in the most vicious way! I feel sorry for the contestants. Maybe they don't have the imagination to perform any other way.'
It could sound catty, but Deborah is anything but snobbish. She's given the green light to a Mamma Mia-style musical based on the Madonna movie, Desperately Seeking Susan, which draws on Blondie's back catalogue, to which she and her old boyfriend/Blondie bandmate Chris Stein have added a new original song.
It's strange that she should be linked to Madonna like this when, in a lot of people's eyes, the spotlight switched to Madonna in the 80s while she was caring for Chris when he was ill with a rare disease.
'I didn't have any run-ins with her,' she says of Mrs Ritchie. 'She has some great songs. It's so easy to slam Madonna. But I don't want to. It makes me sound like a cry-baby.'
And that's one thing Deborah Harry is not.
The album, Necessary Evil, is out now.
Words - Simon Gage