Baroness Betty Boothroyd

Betty Boothroyd’s London flat is decorated in a similar fashion to how I imagine my own flat might one day look. It was like looking into the future…only mine probably won’t be situated in such a swanky part of town. Full of floral prints, pictures, trinkets, soft pastels sort of clashing with deeper colours, it’s basically a melange of her life and her likes and I loved it.

We had an awkward start (completely my fault) because it was a windy day and she couldn’t hear what I was saying on the intercom downstairs. She thought I was someone from the Sloane Club, so in my haste of trying to get to her quickly (I’d been given a 10am on the dot time) to rectify the situation I decided to walk the five flights of steps up to her apartment. I did look at the lift, but it’s an old building and I have a mild elevator anxiety so just thought it would be quicker to walk. I really should have just got in it as the five flights were spiralled, so by the time I reached her after lugging all my stuff up at a pace so I could explain who I was, I was a sweaty, breathless mess. I tried to calm down a bit before I knocked on her door but it was too late, she was already standing there asking why on earth I hadn’t taken the lift. Busted.

I played up the elevator phobia so I wouldn’t come across as stupid as I clearly looked, so much so that at the end of the shoot she offered to come down in the lift with me so I wouldn’t panic. It was both the most sweet and most embarrassing thing ever. But it tells you a lot about her personality. She’s forthright and fierce but really a very warm and generous lady. Throughout the whole shoot she was asking me questions about my career, answering mine about hers, telling me about her shopping plans for the day, it was so natural and easy, it was hard to leave. I declined the offer of her riding the lift with me but I thought it was an incredibly lovely gesture.