Kathy Lette (Southampton Solent University)
Kathy Lette (Southampton Solent University)
After dragging myself out of bed and having a quick shower, I pull on a warm pair of cotton tights and a pretty floral dress in attempt to brighten up the dull November morning. I don’t even bother to brush my hair; it looks better messy anyway. In vain, I put on make-up and try to cover the dark circles around my eyes – it’s going to be a boring day. I can feel it in the air. I step outside and the bitter cold air engulfs my body, then I wait for my friends whilst preparing myself for a long and icy walk.
As I wait in the lecture hall surrounded by hundreds of other bored faces, we’re expecting the worst. The walls leak boredom. Attending a guest speech is not how most nineteen-year-old girls would plan to spend their day off! I feel half asleep as we wait for the guest speaker to arrive and all I can think about is my bed…and then she arrives. She comes in so quietly I don’t even realise until as a whole we are told to ‘Ssh’. I look over to see her coyly observing the room full of students sat before her and she greets us all and makes her way to the front of the lecture hall.
Underneath her University gown she is dressed head to toe in vibrant flamingo pink…all 5’3” of her! Her leopard print skirt suit is very short, yet sophisticated and is nicely colour co-ordinated with a red top and red stiletto heels. In fact, all of her is perfectly groomed and styled, right down to her red lipstick and perfectly painted red fingernails! This is finished off with a pair of diamond earrings and a delicate diamond necklace to match. She has definitely executed the ‘glamorous’ look!
The room truly brightens once she gets talking and everyone relaxes in her presence. For such a small person, she has a beautifully big and friendly smile, and an enormous personality. Kathy Lette is quite a character!
Kathy grew up in Sydney in Australia and dropped out of school at the age of fifteen. However despite this, the reason to which Kathy Lette is visiting Southampton Solent University today is that she has been granted an honorary degree! “The only examination I’ve ever passed is a cervical smear test!” she beams proudly. “To leave school at fifteen and get an honorary degree is so ‘so’ thrilling!” She continues, “It’s the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me, and I’ve kissed Mick Jagger!” She later goes on to tell us that she’s also kissed supermodel, Nigella Lawson.
She is now in her forties and a full time author, mum and party animal! When asked how she deals with all these responsibilities she cocks her head to the side for a few seconds and looks up as if thinking. When she comes to a conclusion she nods to herself and replies: “Make the kids sleep in their school uniforms and drink a lot of alcohol in the evening.” After experiencing pregnancy and childbirth herself, she thought: “There isn’t a lot in Literature about pregnancy, someone should start writing the truth about that.” And thus, she wrote ‘Fetal attraction’. “Women found it liberating,” she explains. “Nobody tells you what motherhood will be like…it’s so boring! Whilst writing ‘Fetal attraction’ I started thinking maybe I’m the only one who wants to put my kids back in the condom machine? I’m so keen not to have any more children that I put a condom on my vibrator!”
I don’t think anything in this world could leave Kathy lost for words; anything you throw at her, she’ll throw right back at you and twice as hard. She says it how it is, even if it will get her in trouble! She is a huge feminist, which she makes apparent in her books and in how she answers our questions. “Feminism is about choice,” she explains in a matter of fact way. “When women get equal pay, I’ll call it quits.”
“I write what most women think but are too scared to say aloud!” she says. “I wrote ‘How to Kill your husband (And other handy household tips)’ because I was so pissed off with my husband…that’s when I thought of ‘the hand’! All you’re fantasising about when you get into bed is sleep! And then there’s ‘The hand’! What’s even worse is the prod of the penis in the back!” She apologises to any males in the audience before she continues! “I was in a state of rage when I wrote ‘How to kill your husband! I’m a man and I can’t multi task!” she mocks. “Can you imagine a man saying he can’t multi task during an orgy?” By now everyone in the room is caught under Kathy’s spell and the room echoes with laughter, even the men join in and laugh this time!
“Men think sitting on the toilet is a leisure activity!” she jokes as the room continue to laugh. She smiles and performs on stage, looking genuinely pleased with herself. In some ways, Kathy has a childlike and mischievous charm; she’s always moving and always cracking a witty joke. “Men think that women aren’t funny” she says, “They think we spend the entire time talking about their penises – which isn’t true! We also talk about the width which is much more important!” She goes on to say that women statistically laugh more than men in a ‘Ha! Take that, men’ kind of way!
As the interview goes on she implies that we must be getting bored of her by now and asks what the interview notes are for. When she finds out we’re writing a profile on her she turns to the side and jokes, “Here’s my profile!”
She is then asked what I myself would consider a rather difficult question. A question which most would stumble on, but not Kathy Lette who seems to have a cheeky come back to everything! “What’s most important?” asks a girl from the audience. “Friendship, work or love?” I feel like this is an extremely appropriate question to ask considering Kathy juggles all three 24hours a day! “Darling, you left out orgasms!” she retorts laughing. “Definitely friendship, then love, and then work. If you didn’t have friendship and love the you’d have nothing to write about!”
When its time for Kathy to leave, the whole room erupts with applause as she gracefully bows in a comedic manner. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to and watching Kathy Lette. As well as being an author, a mum, and a social goddess, she is also a born entertainer and absolutely hilarious!
- Toni Caroline