fashion

Kate Moss opens up about the 'painful' side of modeling

Updated 26th July 2022
Kate Moss attends the 2022 Met Gala on May 02 in New York City.
Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images North America/Getty Images for The Met Museum/
Kate Moss opens up about the 'painful' side of modeling
Written by Leah Dolan, CNN
British supermodel Kate Moss has revealed some past pitfalls from her modeling career in a rare interview with BBC podcast series Desert Island Discs.
Moss, who told T magazine in 2010 that she "just hate(s)" talking with the media -- and that as a young model she "used to get very ill just worrying" about interviews she'd given -- opened up to host Lauren Laverne about "painful" experiences she underwent in the industry.
Iconic shoots that helped define her career were oftentimes "difficult and painful" behind the scenes, according to Moss. While shooting the seminal 1992 Calvin Klein underwear campaign featuring her and Mark Wahlberg, for example, Moss told Laverne she felt "vulnerable and scared."
"(Wahlberg) was very macho and it was all about him, he had a big entourage," Moss said. "They played on my vulnerability," she added of those in positions of power in the industry. "I was quite young and innocent."
And Moss -- who was scouted by a leading model agent at 14, and began booking editorials at 16 -- also spoke of other instances in which her youth was used against her. She said photographers had "pressured her" to show more skin than she was comfortable -- including being shot topless.
As the face of the infamous 90s fashion trend "heroin chic," Moss said she felt she often became "the scapegoat for a lot of people's problems."
"I was never anorexic, I never have been... I had never taken heroin," she said. "I was thin because I didn't get fed at shoots or in shows, and I'd always been thin."
So in 2005, when a British tabloid published photos of Moss appearing to take cocaine, Moss told Laverne she "felt sick and was quite angry."
Kate Moss modeling for Stella McCartney in 1997.
Kate Moss modeling for Stella McCartney in 1997. Credit: THOMAS COEX/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Moss later released a statement in which she apologized "to all of the people I have let down because of my behavior, which has reflected badly on my family, friends, co-workers, business associates and others."
"I take full responsibility for my actions," her statement said. "I also accept that there are various personal issues that I need to address and have started taking the difficult, yet necessary, steps to resolve them."
Moss was never charged.
Since officially retiring from the runway in 2004, Moss has set up her own modeling agency, whose books now include her daughter, rising star Lila Moss -- already with a British Vogue cover under her belt. Alongside the odd fashion week cameo, Moss made headlines in June for resurrecting a piece of fashion history -- a vintage 1993 John Galliano Union Jack blazer -- at the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London. This month, she was appointed creative director of Diet Coke, a position previously held by fashion titans Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs.
On her fierce defense of controversial figures like Galliano -- who was found guilty in 2011 of making antisemitic comments in a Parisian cafe -- Moss asserted her belief in "fairness and justice."
"I know that John Galliano is not a bad person," she said, "People aren't themselves when they drink and they say things that they would never say if they were sober."
Moss also spoke with Laverne about her role in the Johnny Depp defamation trial, having made waves for her Zoom testimony in May. At the trial, Amber Heard had testified she'd heard a "vague rumor" alleging Depp pushed Moss in an altercation during their relationship in the mid-90s. Depp then called Moss as a rebuttal witness; "I know he never kicked me down the stairs. I had to say that truth," she told Laverne.