I made my entrance into this world on March 8th 1964 in Sydney.
I went to school in Sydney, Kambala Church Of England Girls School. I loved school but for all the wrong reasons, the main reason for turning up to school were to meet up with all my friends and socialise. The Head Mistress once wrote in my report card “Victoria comes to school to hold court at lunchtime” and I have to say that was pretty accurate. School didn’t really interest me so much the subjects taught Latin, Science, Geography and Math was not my thing at all. I loved art, pottery and fashion I was always in the art room when I should have been in maths. I enjoyed anything creative and school in the seventies & eighties was very dry. I left school in 1983 and immediately moved out of home got a job and went to Sydney College of The Arts to study Interior Decoration.
There was nothing quite like the eighties and there will never be again. The music, the fashion, the hair, Dynasty was on TV and conspicuous consumption, there seemed to be no rules. Everything centered around my social life, Tuesday night it was THE BERLIN CLUB at Jameson Street, Friday night ARTHURS in Victoria Street, Potts Point, Saturday night our favourite the Holy Grail, STRANDED in The Strand Arcade in the city and in between THE CAULDREN which I lived next door to. We all lived to go out and spent all week working on what we would wear. My favourite designers were, Azzedine Alaia, Vivienne Westwood, COMME DES GARÇONS, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Katharine Hamnett, Yohji Yamamoto and Terry Mugler. The hair was huge along with loads makeup. Whenever we could it was NYC and London for much of the same but much better shopping.
By the mid 80’s I’m starting to think I really need to get it together and work on a career, I didn’t know what to do; I knew I wanted to do something in fashion but what? My dearest friend Stevie Hughes (he was an incredible makeup artist arguably best in the world) was going back to live and work in London and said why don’t you come with me, it sounded like a good idea so I went. All my friends in London were in the fashion industry and through my connections I got an interview with Anna Harvey Fashion Director of British Vogue which eventually lead to an internship with Ms Harvey as her assistant. My job was to call in clothes for sitting and organise their return.
While at Vogue I discovered Lynne Franks PR this place was unbelievable I’d never seen anything like it, they did PR for actors, pop stars all the high-end clothing brands, anything or anyone that was cool Lynne did their Publicity. I decided that this is where I wanted to be; I just had to get a job there. As it turned out they were every impressed I was at British Vogue and not only that I was willing to leave (in a nanosecond). I got a job in the fashion department looking after John Galliano, Fiorucci, Katherine Hamnet and Jnr Gauliter. Working for Lynne was all consuming, we worked all day and then there were events in the evening.
Lynn herself was the inspiration for Jennifer Saunders (Ms Saunders was a client) for her character Eddie on in Absolutely fabulous she was a lot like Eddy, except Lynne was very very smart and tough as nails. There was daily Buddhist chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and loads of dahlings dahlings everywhere. A year later Katherine Hamnett took her publicity in house and asked me to go with her. I loved Kathrine she was mad and her clothes were my favourite, so left Lynne Franks and began working for Katherine Hamnett. Working in central London with a fabulous office on Bond Street surrounded by fabulous galleries and fashion.
Early nineties I returned home, I was homesick, missed my family and so sick of the English weather. I was getting tired of going to work everyday in the dark and coming home in the dark. I wanted to change direction I was more interested in interiors than fashion.
Nothing had changed much in Sydney, the party still continued, only the location’s had changed. KINSELA’S in Taylor Square, ROGUES in Darlinghurst, The Bar in THE SEBEL TOWNHOUSE Elizabeth Bay, Dance parties and MARIO’S in Stanley St every Friday night for dinner. We were older had more money so it was more excessive. Hotel rooms were for after parties, there were still no rules, once someone threw a TV out of a hotel window (TVs were very big back then) and all that was said the next day was someone needs to go down stairs and get that TV off the Street, the hotel didn’t even complain. I don’t know how we all went to work. We were wearing Chanel with denim and leather, Versace, Azzidine Aliaia and Pat Fields it was the era of the super model.
The property market was on fire and I decide Real Estate was the way to go and could combine it with my interior design. My family had a large property portfolio, I enrolled in College and got my Real Estate License and hated every minute of it, strata law, accounting and auctioneering aarrgghhh!!, but I finished it.
Don’t know what I was thinking but saw a property on Bondi Beach and thought it would make a great Juice health food Bar. So I opened SQUEEZE on Bondi Beach; it really was the first of it’s kind. It was fitted out in stainless steel, mirror and glass with a high bar and lime green, pink and orange bar stools that looked over Bondi Beach. We had fabulous music, all organic, snacks, coffee and juice. Back then health food / vegetarian restaurants were hideous and dirty a throw back to the Hippy era, with staff that looked like they were half dead. My joint was slick, clean and beautiful.
It was the summer of 1994/5 James Packer was dating Jennifer Flavin before she married Slyvester Stallone, Kylie Minogue was dating Mark Gerber, Jason Donovan was dating Erica Baxter before she married James Packer everyone was there having breakfast. It seemed that everyone was living on that strip of Bondi Beach. There was a modelling agency above called Bombshell; it was one big day party at SQUEEZE.
I had gorgeous girls behind the bar with skin-tight tanks with SQUEEZE on them in the right spot. Many of them were students from NIDA. Bride Carter (Clouds Daughter) was my manageress and Dan Willey the actor was my washer upper, happiest dishwasher ever I loved Dan. It was fun but it was bloody hard work so I sold SQUEEZE 18 months later.
In the late 90’s I Married John McEncroe not the tennis player, my personal trainer. Miami Florida had become the place to be and epically The Delano Hotel in South Beach; it was the beginning of the boutique hotel era. Johnny and I with sixteen of our nearest and dearest flew to Miami. We stayed and got married at The Delano, over the Christmas New Year period. Ironically we met Andy Cohen there who started the Housewives franchise (he was working at CBS in New York) and he came to our wedding, he used to call me Miss InStyle.
The next few years were the most challenging in my life. 2001 was my annus horribilis. My mother Gail was very sick with Lupus and died aged 52 in May. My grandmother Florence was so distraught about my mother she had a heart attack and died also, I don’t think she could bear to live without her. My mother and my grandmother died within a few days of each other they were my only family. Then in December of that year I lost my closest friend Arkie, she was like a sister to me she died of cancer at 36. My marriage was over and then there was September 11 The Twin Towers. My world and the world had changed forever.
I was divorced in 2002 and remarried in 2003 another small wedding this time on the beach in Bali and had a son Austin in September 2003. Austin was my everything, I just wanted to be a full time mummy. I continued with my interior design only by referral. When Austin was 6 we brought him Lola every boy needs a dog, mans best friend.
In 2012 I saw another property that I thought would make a great salon for all the extra things we get done nails, eyelash extensions, spray tan, makeup and beauty services. My girlfriends and I all went to numerous salons for different services it was such a waste of time. We put the very best of everything under one roof, Champs and lunch included. It was called Lash & Lacquer – The Finishing touches but in reality it was just another interiors project for me. I didn’t want to run a salon. I sold it a year later.
In 2013 I got divorced for the second time. Austin was 10 and I moved back to Bondi and started again. I had a couple of years off just to regroup and work out my next move and I redecorated again.
Christmas 2015 I meet Gabrielle Requena who had just developed and launched a beauty product Wrinkles Schminkles and after using and loving the product decided to get involved with the business.
And then there was housewives in April 2016 I get a call from Krissy, she was in Noosa on holiday it’s the Easter break.
Krissy – I’ve been asked to do The Real Housewives of Sydney and I’m going to do it.
Me – Are you out of your mind?!
Krissy – No I’m going to do it and they want to speak to you too, there interested in you, come on it will be fun.
Me – I would never do that.
Krissy – Why not! What are you doing, you’ve just gotten divorced your home alone doing nothing come on, at least let me give the producer your number.
Me – Ok, you can give her my number and I’ll speak to her.
I spoke to the producer and the rest is history it was all very fast I think I signed my contract in June.
And then there was Housewives………. Life’s a reality show x