Model's Racy Life On and Off the Catwalk
The Age 16 February 2000

interview: Anthea Loucas



If Yasmin Le Bon had followed her childhood fantasy, she would be famous for her talents on the race track rather than the catwalk.

Yes, this stunning and charming woman once harbored dreams of becoming a formula one driver.

"I always watched formula one as a little girl," she said. "My father loved racing and cars so it was a bit of a family tradition to watch a grand prix on television."

Le Bon is in Melbourne this week as the new face of fashion label Jacqui E. She has signed a lucrative 12-month contract, is featured in the label's winter advertising campaign and starred in a fashion parade at Span Galleries in Flinders Lane last night.

The 35-year-old model leads a seemingly perfect life. She has beauty, grace, professional success, international fame, money, pop star husband (she's married to Simon Le Bon, the lead singer of pop band Duran Duran) and has three children.

But like any other working mother, she said life in the Le Bon household could get hectic.

"It's difficult with my work because things are always last-minute, like 'Can you fly to New York tomorrow for a job?"' she said.

Le Bon started working as a model 16 years ago, when she dropped in to a London modelling agency to see if she could earn some extra cash over the summer holidays.

She quickly rose to the top of the industry and the next few years became a glamorous blur of travel, parades and photography sessions.

Then she shocked the ostensibly unshockable industry by giving it all up in 1986 to get married and have children. She has three girls: Amber, 10, Saffron, 8 and Tallulah, 5.

"It seems all of my life I've been starting my career. I'd have one baby and get back into it, only to quit and have another, but I think this is precisely what's kept me fresh in the industry," she said.

She met Le Bon on a blind date. He had seen her picture in a photographer's portfolio, got her number and called her up for a movie date.

He took her on their first date to the world premiere of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

"It was crazy. I got out of the limo and there were just thousands of people screaming but through all that we just clicked," she said.

Le Bon's only disappointment about her first trip to Melbourne is bad timing. "I miss the Grand Prix by only a few weeks, I'm really gutted about that," she said.