Twelve Questions: Pebbles Hooper

Pebbles Hooper, 24, is the daughter of World designers Francis Hooper and Denise L'Estrange Corbet. The artist and gossip writer, who grew up travelling the world, doesn’t drink or do drugs.

Pebbles Hooper says she loves being an only child. Photo / Greg Bowker
Pebbles Hooper says she loves being an only child. Photo / Greg Bowker

1. How would you describe your childhood?

I grew up in Grey Lynn and Ponsonby. Art was my main interest. I wasn't very academic at school and Mum and Dad never pushed me very hard. I never did much study. We travelled heaps, buying trips - never holidays. Mum and Dad worked all the time and I tagged along. We went to London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Sydney. I knew that I was really lucky to do those things. I never felt entitled. It was great, I loved everything about it. The late nights could be hard when I was younger and they were doing fashion weeks or whatever. I'd sit backstage and play with my Barbies or sometimes fall asleep. There were no other kids around so I'd make my own fun, use my imagination. And I thought the models were amazing.

2. It must have been a very different life to your school friends?

My friends all travelled but it was around New Zealand or to the Gold Coast for family trips. They had siblings and their parents had jobs where they had time off.

School wasn't such a priority for my parents - they'd take me out to travel. I never wanted siblings myself - I hated the little brothers of my friends. I loved being an only child, Mum picking me up from school and us going off to do things. I was often surrounded by adults and I never yearned to be around kids my age. Even now I'm glad I don't have siblings. I don't think I could share the attention.

3. How would you describe your family?

We're pretty normal really but it's what my family's done and the things they are into that are different. Mum and Dad didn't spend money on cars or boats or baches. Dad, especially, saves his money and will buy himself an amazing pair of shoes or something overseas, something that other people would say "you spent how much?"

4. Were there drugs and alcohol around a lot?

Dad's never had a cigarette or a drink in his life, except for a glass of champagne on his wedding day. Mum likes a drink but it's a glass of wine with dinner or something. Alcohol's just not for me really. It doesn't excite me and with my diabetes, I have to pay for it in the morning. Pot doesn't really agree with me. All of it's just a bit "meh". I'm not fast enough to need to slow down and I don't like being out of my comfort zone. Plus drunk people at parties are really boring.

5. Are you conservative?

I'm pretty old fashioned. I'm very conservative in terms of what I think when I watch the news. With the synthetic marijuana stories and the guy who was hooked on it and wanted the Government to help him ... I don't want to pay my taxes because you made a really stupid choice. Heroin addicts I've got no sympathy for either.

6. Are you an Act Party voter?

Practically. I've already voted National now and I can't be a politically out there person on Facebook because I would be killed.

7. Were you ever rebellious as a teenager?

I had a fake ID and went to town and did that stuff when I was 15 so I suppose I was. Mum knew about it and wasn't happy but was like "as long as I know where she is". But that was about it. I'm by nature a pretty cautious person. My parents wouldn't care what I did now as long as it was something I believed in. The thing that would disappoint them most would be if I became a disloyal or untrustworthy person. I could be a feminist, hippie, left-wing, John-Key-hating, never-washing person that lives off the Government and as much as that would make my Dad unhappy, he wouldn't care as long as I was good to people and trustworthy.

8. What's your philosophy on gossip?

I don't think people should judge it if they're reading it. I used to read it. I didn't read it every week because often I don't know much about rugby players or whoever. I would never write something about anyone that I wouldn't say to their face and I know the difference between gossip and something that could ruin your life. But everyone gossips. It's natural.

9. When have you been at your lowest?

When I was really ill [with diabetes]. It caused so many different problems it was like it was raining. I was 19 when I found out. You become mentally sick as well as physically sick if you don't look after yourself and I didn't for about three years. I wasn't thinking straight. I weighed about 43kg. My hair fell out. I went to the hospital so many times for not taking my medicine, they sent me to the mental hospital.

10. You were in the psych ward at Auckland Hospital?

Yes for five days. They thought I was trying to kill myself. I was released as soon as the doctor came to assess me. He said you're not mental, you're a bit depressed but you don't need to be here. It was a terrible place. The people that were in there were really sick. I don't ever want to go back there.

I do take care of myself now but I still find it hard to take my medicine. The consequences of not taking it though are not particularly nice to think about.

11. How old do you feel?

I've always felt 15. That was my favourite age and my best memories belong there. Fifteen was the age I was left to my own devices and would do stuff with my friends. It was such a fun year. I miss that. It makes me sad it's 10 years since then.

12. Where are you happiest?

Pay day. I get paid monthly and it's three weeks away and I'm already broke. The bank says I'm not allowed a credit card either. Where do I want to be at 50? Happy and healthy with enough money not to ask Mum and Dad for any.

- NZ Herald

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