Joan Collins needs no introduction, with a career that spans five decades she's a woman who can swan in anywhere. That's just what she did down at the BFI the other night at a screening of 1958 film Rally Round The Flag, Boys! She's quite a vision to behold as well, Joan stands her ground in the glamour stakes.
After the screening she took her place centre stage and chatty Joan engaged in conversation. The whole thing kicked off with a reminisce of her starlet days and she can remember everything and everyone. Meeting Marilyn Monroe who warned her about Hollywood casting couch scenario's, taking diet pills to control her weight (obviously they were speed based... Joan on speed can you imagine!) Her 5 marriages the latest to Percy being her ideal, getting broody in her late twenties and bringing up her kids whilst very nearly on the dole, being 'forced' to try cocaine which she didn't like, her archive films, directors names, parties, more parties and yet more parties!Joan oh Joan, she's had her ups and downs and through it all she's retained an image that sparkles through adversity. And it's really that image that we all seem fascinated by. She's stated that she must have been born with the 'happy' gene, and it's true she does sail through life with a cheery optimism. She once said 'You get the face you deserve after 40', so if it's all about attitude Joan scene steals every time. She's at home with her iconic status and knows she deserves it even though some have dashed her acting abilities saying Joan basically always plays herself!
Joan Collins is camp, kitsch and all those things we love her for. But her attitude is thoroughly modern and grounded, she's led a life with an honesty that stands up for itself. Ask Joan a question, any question and she'll relay an answer in direct fashion. Joan put's her youthful image down to her gene pool, exercise routines and denies any surgery. She knows all the tricks and even though she laughingly said when remembering her figure in younger years that she wouldn't ever have that waist again, it has to be stated Joan's figure is that of a 50 year old, er actually younger if you really have to compare!
What doesn't Joan not do? Joan likes working and actually has to work to maintain her lifestyle. She has three homes internationally, she's a self made woman. I do sense that Joan really doesn't know the word 'retire' and why would she, her philosophy on the subject as she sees it is that people that do retire drop dead after a few years! Primarily an actress, Joan includes writing on her list of talents. Once again some people are quite flip about her turn of phase but does she care, not on your nelly!
It seems Joan is quite a modest creature, stripping off apparently not until the late 70's with various film's most notably The Stud, but actually from quite early on she appeared to be in some state of undress, perhaps her pin-up days seemed quite demure compared to some of her later scenes. Joan doesn't dwell on regrets though, even when it comes to her selection of husbands who disappointed her in various ways she tends to close the book rather swiftly, preferring to dwell positive aspects even when there appears to be none. Perhaps her general outlook indicates Joan's tireless ability to remain astute and clear thinking.
From her so called dubious roles in 'B' movies Joan eventually found herself one of the most highly paid TV stars in Dynasty. The early 80's saw Joan emerge as Alexis Carrington, a role she relished. Aspects of the character allowed her to investigate a statement wardrobe appropriate for the role, almost single handedly Joan Collins invented 'power dressing' in one fell swoop. Gradually Alexis came to represent a camp version of a powerful 80's woman. Her ideas on image affected the whole cast and soon they were all interested in the most outrageous designs of the time.
Does Joan have a motto? Well she's got quite a few including, 'There are two kinds of human beings. There are drains and there are heaters. Some people drain you and some people warm you. If people become too much of a drain, I say, 'That's it. Time to say goodbye'. Obviously not one to suffer fools gladly, Joan comes out with these common sense pearls of wisdom on a regular basis. On preserving her looks, 'Base not Botox' and 'Skill not surgery'.
Joan continues a career in TV and film, her appearances always cause a bit of a stir. These sort of dames never cease to amaze me, come think why isn't Joan 'Dame Joan Collins' yet! She bloody well should be, then she and Dame Shirley Bassey can have a laugh together!
Paul Newman and Joan were great friends, and for Rally Round The Flag, Boys! Paul insisted Joan be cast. Joan has a whole heap of stories about her Hollywood days...
Joan's art of spanning decades seems quite effortless, probably the original 'yummy mummy', and she's even commented on this, she combines style with function.