Under the microscope
Fashion and textile designer, Dame Zandra Rhodes, 80, answers our health quiz.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Dame Zandra is working with Goldster, for over-50s to lead a more active, healthy life (goldster.co.uk).