Daily Mail

Under the microscope

Fashion and textile designer, Dame Zandra Rhodes, 80, answers our health quiz.

- Interview by ROZ LEWIS

CAN YOU RUN UP THE STAIRS?

I DON’T run. I walk around the Tower Bridge area [in London] before work every morning. I am also working on conditioni­ng exercises to get my health back up after battling cancer. I find tai chi and yoga really help.

GET YOUR FIVE A DAY?

YES, I do. I tend to make quite a lot of soups. I’ve been doing some fantastic recipes with aubergines, either cooking them Japanese style or putting them in ratatouill­e.

EVER DIETED?

THE last time I dieted was when I left the Royal College of Art in 1963. I haven’t dieted since, I just design clothes around the problems. I’m 5ft and weigh about 10st 5lb (67kg).

HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC AFFECTED YOU?

DURING the very first part of the lockdown last year I was having chemo for bile duct cancer, and in a way it was very helpful — I wouldn’t have felt like going out much. I was extremely lucky in that I’ve had constant work.

ANY VICES?

I LIKE chocolate — any kind.

ANY FAMILY AILMENTS?

MY mother got lung cancer, but she smoked so much that it wasn’t a surprise. She died in her late 40s.

WORST ILLNESS?

BILE duct cancer. When it was diagnosed last year they said I had six months to live. I had three months of chemo. Now I have immunother­apy: they plug you into a drip every three weeks and then X-ray you to check that the tumour hasn’t grown.

POP ANY PILLS?

I’VE BEEN on medication since chemo and I have heart medication. I just take what the doctor tells me to.

HAD ANYTHING REMOVED?

TONSILS when I was about 12.

EVER HAVE PLASTIC SURGERY?

NO. I lived in the U.S. and saw what it did to people’s faces.

IS SEX IMPORTANT?

MY partner Salah died [in 2019]. He was the love of my life, so I don’t really need to fill up the space.

COPE WELL WITH PAIN?

WELL, if it comes.

TRIED ALTERNATIV­E REMEDIES?

MY partner used to try that one with needles [acupunctur­e]. I did it a couple of times and couldn’t feel the difference.

EVER BEEN DEPRESSED?

AS I’M a workaholic, I can get myself out of depression by either boring my friends or working.

WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE?

THE more worried I am about my work, the more my body makes me want to sleep. I’d say that I get about seven hours a night.

LIKE TO LIVE FOR EVER?

NO.

Dame Zandra is working with Goldster, for over-50s to lead a more active, healthy life (goldster.co.uk).

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