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“I don’t like fancy food and it’s terrible to live on champagne and caviar. I never drink a drop of alcohol, I don’t smoke and my sex life is awful. So there’s only food left. At my ideal dinner party I’d invite Picasso and Frida Kahlo, and a musician such as Mozart. Also Hitchcock; I’m mad about Hitchcock. The problem today is that we still have great artists but they haven’t got the flamboyance of before.

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The first time Salvador Dalí took me to lunch was here at Le Meurice hotel. He stayed here all the time. I was a student and I’d never seen such luxury. For many years I was with Dalí; I followed him to New York, to Spain. At the end of our relationship I started singing. I was also the cover model on that Roxy Music album [For Your Pleasure, 1973].

It was then that David Bowie fell in love with a photo of me. My friend arranged for us to meet. At the time I lived in Chelsea, London, and used to see a lot of The Rolling Stones too. When I met Bowie he had a cold and looked revolting – he was not my idea of gorgeous. But we had a great love affair; he was the first person to say, ‘Amanda, you should sing.’ And I said, ‘I am just a model.’ He said, ‘You have a voice and you should use it.’

Bowie decided I’d be one of his recording artists but I soon realised that nothing was happening. Then I got a call from the German record company Ariola, who said they liked my voice. The Germans always like a blonde with a husky voice, smoking cigarettes in a club. They wanted to launch a disco Marlene Dietrich.
I decided that if I was going to do a show, I wouldn’t rely on my voice. I’d put it all on the visuals and get four gorgeous boys to dance. I was the first singer to use dancers in my shows.

When I was back in Paris I took a room at the Meurice. Dalí was staying here and said that he couldn’t sleep knowing I was above his room. He was jealous: when a young porter asked me for an autograph Dalí said, ‘But your records are shit.’ I replied, ‘They aren’t shit, they are disco.’ The more success I had, the more I moved away from Dalí but every time I come back to the Meurice it brings back memories. For lunch Dalí insisted on the Royal Swan: a swan-shaped sweet full of cream. He loved the presentation.

One ingredient I can’t live without is garlic; I put garlic cloves everywhere. My English friend says I stink of garlic. I love the Mediterranean diet: greens, vegetables, tomatoes, salads and lots of things in the colour red. My speciality is bruschetta; it’s amazing and costs nothing.

I’m more famous in Italy than anywhere else. They still love the star charisma in Italy; less so in France. Italy is a country of beautiful girls. You know the type: Sophia Loren, big tits. I thought I’d never make it as I’m tall and blonde but the opposite happened. I fell in love with Tuscany; I like the easy living. I adore Spain also: Dalí made me discover the specialities in Catalonia and one of them was very surrealistic: lobster with chocolate sauce. It sounds and looks disgusting but the mixture of salty fish with sweet cocoa is just wonderful, exquisite.

I have a good relationship with the fashion industry. When I arrived in New York with Mary Quant, my agency sent me to Diana Vreeland, who liked my cheekbones. I was going to bed at six in the morning; I didn’t want to make a career as a model. I recently did a session with a photographer where I was dressed in Saint Laurent holding an albino python. They gave it a rat to eat so the photos have a snake with a big half-swallowed rat; it was so funny. I like Jean Paul Gaultier; I’ve catwalked for him.

People ask to hear my secret of survival in this industry. I think I’ve stayed around this long because of my incredible curiosity. What’s interesting is tomorrow. What are we going to do? Who will I meet? Who’s going to fall in love with me?”

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