JC Interview with Mirror Online
‘Sex should be fun and equal…not about getting tied up’: Jackie Collins on why her bonkbusters will never be like 50 Shades of Grey
Jackie Collins, 75, has just released her 29th novel and sold a staggering 500 million copies since starting out in the 60s
SHE is the undisputed Queen of Steam and her first bonkbuster was published before EL James could read a book, let alone write one.
Jackie Collins, 75, has just released her 29th novel and sold a staggering 500 million copies since starting out in the 60s.
And, for a woman who has found fame and fortune by taking readers through the bedroom door (and into many other places), she thinks the Fifty Shades of Grey author has gone too far.
“Sex should be fun and equal and erotic,” says Jackie. “It’s not about getting tied up and spanked. My women are not submissive. They’re strong.”
She won’t quite come out and say she thinks Fifty Shades is rubbish, though.
“She’s sold a s**t load of books,” says Jackie, who has shifted a rather impressive amount herself.
“It’s so successful that if I criticise it, I’ll be criticised. I’m being very diplomatic.”
Jackie’s bestsellers – the names trip off the tongue: The Stud, The Bitch, Hollywood Wives, Chances – are a potent mix of celebrity, sex and scandal.
And she describes herself as an “anthropologist crawling through the jungle of Hollywood”.
She says: “You write about what you know and that’s the life I’ve been lucky, or unlucky, enough to live.”
And Jackie knows everybody who’s anybody. Her address book reads like a Who’s Who of Hollywood A-listers.
She recently had Louis Walsh and the Osbournes over for cocktails and tonight she’s out for dinner with Michael and Shakira Caine.
She parties with the Beckhams and Simon Cowell and swaps gossip with her actress sister Joan, 79.
In her novels, there’s not much that the characters haven’t tried. But unlike in Fifty Shades, there is always a cliff-hanger of a plot.
“If you’re not interested in the characters you’re not going to be interested in their sex life,” she says.
“That’s why porn is so boring. The guy is banging away and they’re all so bad tempered and annoyed with each other.”
She admits she has researched nearly all of her characters’ sexual antics herself. “Oh, yeah, I’ve done everything,” she laughs.
“If someone is single they can do whatever they want to do – which is exactly what I did.
“And then when you get married you’re never looking at your marriage thinking, ‘What have I missed?”
She should know… Jackie, who celebrated her birthday last week, has married twice. Her first, to businessman Wallace Austin, lasted just four years.
But her second, to nightclub owner Oscar Lerman, was an enduring 26-year love affair until his death from cancer in 1992.
“I’m a firm believer in marriage but you’ve got to make it exciting,” she says.
“Otherwise after two years of great sex the guy is in front of the TV asking for another beer and saying, ‘Don’t disturb me, I’ve got to watch Arsenal’, and you’re thinking, “Why the f*** should I get dressed up for him?”
To spice things up she relied on a bit of role play, and recommends other couples do the same.
“So much fun,” she laughs. “You give the children to your in-laws and meet your husband at a bar.
“You pretend you don’t know each other, he’ll sidle up to you, then you go upstairs and end up having fantastic sex.”
Born and brought up in London, Jackie’s life was never going to be conventional.
The youngest daughter of theatrical agent Joseph Collins, she was expelled from school at 15.
After chucking her uniform into the River Thames she dabbled with an acting career in Britain before following big sister Joan to Hollywood.
“I never felt in her shadow because I never wanted to be an actress,” she says. “My ambition was to write. I said, ‘Screw it, I’m going to follow my dream’.”
And she did… Her first book, The World is Full of Married Men, was published in 1968.
Barbara Cartland called it “nasty, filthy and disgusting” and it was banned in Australia.
Novels that followed caused an uproar with their explicit content. Her latest, The Power Trip, is no exception.
It opens with a sex scene before telling the story of a Russian billionaire and his supermodel girlfriend who invite five couples on a yacht trip that goes horribly wrong.
Nowadays Jackie lives alone in a five-bedroom home in the Hollywood Hills.
She comes back to Britain twice a year – always staying at London’s Dorchester hotel, where we are today – and still considers herself a proud Brit.
“I miss the humour that you don’t get in Hollywood, Marks & Spencer and the taxi drivers,” she says.
“We’re this teeny little place and yet we’re so important. I love being a Londoner, even after all those years in LA.”
She has strong views on our own current affairs.
Of the recent Duchess of Cambridge topless photos, she says: “It’s a disgusting invasion of privacy.
“If that guy had been a Peeping Tom he would have been arrested – just because he has a camera it’s OK?
“Would they take pictures of (Prince) Philip with his drawers down? No, because he’s a man.”
With three daughters, aged 51, 44, and 43, Jackie has the mindset of a woman half her age – and the looks to match.
But she’s not one of those Hollywood women she writes about.
She only ever wears black (today’s trousers are from M&S), does her own make-up and shuns cosmetic surgery.
“Most people in Hollywood have stuff done. It’s ridiculous,” she says.
“I believe in letting nature take its course.”
Her striking looks have landed her a French boyfriend, who she has been seeing for the last six months.
“It’s nothing serious,” she says. “He’s there, I’m here. He’s a little bit younger, but not much. I’m not into toyboys.”
Nor is she after commitment: “I’d never marry or live with anyone again. I love my freedom and don’t want to answer to anybody… ever.”
All Jackie really wants to do is carry on writing. “I’m a workaholic. I love what I do and I’ll never stop.”
The Power Trip by Jackie Collins
The Power Trip, Jackie Collins (Simon & Schuster, £16.99) www.jackiecollins.com
By Antonia Hoyle.