Then: punk style icon
Now: veterinary nurse
People said, “You must be so brave, looking like that out in the street.” I’d often wear a mohair jumper with suspenders and stockings and see-through knickers. It was nothing to do with bravery. Quite the opposite. It was about feeling comfortable and at one with yourself. I always liked dressing my own way. When I came up to London to try to get a job at Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s shop, Sex, I was already wearing the stuff they were selling – I had just cobbled it together myself. But there wasn’t a job available straight away, so in the meantime I went to work in Harrods with green makeup on.
I eventually worked right at the forefront of punk with Vivienne and Malcolm. I styled the Sex Pistols – messing up their clothes. I appeared on stage with them, including on their first TV appearance on Granada’s So It Goes, to lend weight to their performance fashion-wise. I also managed Adam And The Ants during their punk era.
A lot of the major music moguls were extremely sexist. An A&R guy once said to my face, “This is not a woman’s job. You should be cooking and laying on your back.” I didn’t want to be there any more, so I came home to Seaford.
I wanted to work in something meaningful, so I got a job at my local vet’s. I’ve now been there for 22 years. It’s not pushing bits of paper around. It’s a real job where you can make a difference to how animals are cared for. Punk showed me you could be whatever you wanted to be, and that’s the way I’ve lived my life. I haven’t changed.
A lot of my old teachers still live locally and bring their animals in. They remember all the trouble I got in at school. I had a row with my headmaster. He said, “I can’t have you looking like this. You’ve got red and pink hair. You’ve got a mohican. They’ll all start copying you.” I told him, “No one’s going to copy me. Look at them. They’re laughing.” They made me wear a headscarf when I walked between lessons. Now these teachers say, “Oh, I always loved how you looked.” A bit of history has been rewritten.