Kim Wilde: ‘I look miserable, but I was having the time of my life’

As told to Leah Harper

This was taken in 1981 or 1982, right at the beginning of my career. All my clothes at that time were secondhand – a hangover from being at art college. The top that I wore in the Kids in America video was from Oxfam, and so was this. These are the same boots that I wore in that video, too.

I was a big fan of Lauren Bacall – I really loved that she didn’t smile for the camera. When I first started having my photograph taken, lots of male photographers would say: “Come on Kim, give us a smile!” and it used to drive me insane. So I would just think about Bacall and pout furiously, as I am doing in this photograph. I looked thoroughly miserable most of the time, whereas I was having the time of my life.

I was a bit of a tomboy as a teenager, so my style was an extension of that. The hair was my own doing, all out of a [Clairol] Born Blonde packet, and I cut it myself. I wasn’t overly interested in fashion, it didn’t flick a big switch for me, but I was always in control of what I wore. Sometimes I got it fantastically right, but there were times when I got it horribly wrong.

I am sartorially lazy; I like anything that is easy to get in and out of

Aside from music, I also love gardening. If I get up on a sunny morning, I have to stop myself going out in the garden, because I know I will still be there two hours later with my nightie on and a pair of gardening gloves. I also wear clogs, which makes it sound like quite a romantic image!

Related: Kim Wilde: ‘I get pretty panicky when I have to do anything that requires logical thinking’

I have always enjoyed mixing fabrics such as satin and silk and leather, but mostly in black. I wore a lot of black jeans, oversized men’s jackets and stripy tops. I am sartorially lazy; I like anything that is easy to get in and out of. As I have got older, I have found an injection of colour goes a long way to brightening up my day. On my Here Come the Aliens tour in 2018 [inspired by Wilde’s apparent encounter with a UFO in 2009], I thoroughly embraced extraterrestrial fashion. I looked like something out of Barbarella, like I was about to lift off and go exploring.

The UK leg of Kim Wilde’s Greatest Hits tour begins in September