Model and TV host
My secret love grew from history classes I had while I attended school in England for eight months, aged 11. History class in New Zealand covered the Treaty of Waitangi but, like most young girls, kings and queens and their royal children fascinated me more. Naturally, while living in England, this was the heart of all my history lessons. What particularly caught my attention was the Tudor period - King Henry VIII and his scandalous six wives, not to mention the fate of most of those wives.
A few of my favourite characters are Lady Mary, Henry's first daughter, who was deemed illegitimate and had to live with her new half-sister, who was now a princess and whose mother was the women that pushed Mary's mother, Queen Catherine, off her throne; Lady Elizabeth, who had to fight tooth and nail for her crown, all the while leading the most unconventional life as the apparent virgin Queen; and, finally, Mary Queen of Scots who, after living a life of luxury in France as a young girl, spent most of her adult life under house arrest thanks to her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, who eventually sanctioned her death.
I love reading fact-based fiction novels that tell the scandalous tales of the people above. In particular, I love a series written by Philippa Gregory (which recently had a resurgence due to the movie The Other Boleyn Girl) - they are full of rich and luxurious chapters that you can't help but immerse yourself in. The novels' storylines are driven by history and the fiction fills the gaps, which means the events are always true but with a little creative licence added to create the full story.
For a time where everyone was supposed to be virtuous and honourable, they sure were doing very bizarre things that would not be thought of lightly today. It is these outrageous tales that draw me into the world of the Tudors. They were certainly not a boring family and I can't help but wonder what even darker secrets they had, which were lost when they went to their graves.
My secret love, until now shared only with my nearest and dearest (and tens of millions of tweens worldwide), is for the heroes and heroines of trashy teen movies. Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron of High School Musical were my all-time favourites - especially when it emerged that their on-screen romance was being continued off-screen. I can't deny I purchased the first two movies on DVD.
While it might look like I am listening to obscure German dance music as I walk down the street, it is more than likely Bop to the Top. However, Zac and Vanessa have recently been spectacularly eclipsed by Twilight's Byronic vampire, Edward Cullen (played by Robert Pattinson). The premise of the film is not new - handsome vampire falls in love with innocent female prey and vice versa - but it lacks the usual accoutrements of coffins, bats, fangs, etc. Instead, it is set in relatively normal, dreary, small-town America and Edward is one of a "family" of vampires that inhabit a mansion in the hills nearby.
The drama of the film centres around Edward's love for the new girl at school, Bella - and his barely controllable lust for her blood. She is a fiery little brunette who possesses a particularly desirable scent. While ludicrous, this plot premise results in inner turmoil and mountains of sexual frustration all over-acted into a seductive tale of dark romance and teenage angst. And while Edward retains the youthful appearance of being 17 years old, he has been non-dead for centuries - making him both very accomplished and devilishly handsome, as well as superhumanly fast and strong.
Oh, and he can read minds, has loads of money and his skin sparkles in the sunlight. I'm only a simple credit card transaction away from purchasing my own "Bite me, Edward" T-shirt.
He has an accent. Perfect.
An English accent. Perfect.
Yet he lives in Paris. Perfect.
He wears checked shirts and heavy glasses. Perfect.
These are usually vintage. Perfect.
He has very long legs. Perfect.
Which are attached to a very skinny body. Perfect.
He writes songs. Perfect.
The songs are very good. Perfect.
He sings the songs too. Perfect.
His lyrics: "Cause the years fly by in an instant/ And you wonder what he's waiting for/ Oh, then some skinny bitch walks by in some hot pants/ And he's a-running out the door". Perfect.
And "Oh feed your children on crayfish and lobster tails/ Find a school near the top of the league/ In theory I respect your right to exist/ I will kill you if you move in next to me". Perfect.
He and a friend invaded the stage at the 1996 BRIT awards in protest as Michael Jackson was making "Christ-like" poses while singing Earth Song surrounded by children and a rabbi. Perfect.
You can see it on YouTube. Perfect.
He was cool in the 90s. Perfect.
He is still cool now. Perfect.
He is married. Not so perfect.
But his wife is very cool. Perfect.
She says, "In Paris, I am treated like a funny little chicken because French women are so sophisticated." Perfect.
She is funny. Perfect.
They have a son together. Perfect.
Their son is called Albert. Perfect.
His name is Jarvis. Perfect.
Surname Cocker. Perfect.
Hair salon owner
Pottery is how I get my kicks. Honestly, it's no longer the feral cottage industry of yesteryear, associated with muesli-coloured sweaters, no knickers and seaweed sandals. It's actually quite cool. I'm inspired by work from Denmark in the early 1950s and pieces from the Iga region in Japan. I also love Timaru Potteries, known for producing high-quality, oversized, utilitarian stoneware from 1939 to 1959. I like the functional, stripped-back approach to their work.
Aesthetically, it's what I imagine my work looks like as I drive out to the studio. I leave somewhat confused, with a little sake cup clasped in both hands, asking myself "what went wrong?" For me, pottery is the best way to mentally check-out. It's really intuitive and physically engrossing, so there's no space to think when you're in the middle of it. Plus, nothing beats a gingernut and cup of tea served in some wobbly creation in between attempts at working the wheel.
My school report always read, "needs to slow down and employ a little patience. Good things take time". Those were sage words. During one pottery session my tutor was pushed beyond the limits. His voice started to turn shrill after I thought he said "give it a nudge" and I slammed my foot down on the pedal and took someone out with a big fat wad of dank clay. What he'd actually said was, "mop up the sludge".
Despite the anomalies and mishaps, I absolutely love it. I have a bunch of really gracious friends who upon every showing of an eggcup or ashtray, gasp with disbelief. Think I'll keep at it.