You ask the questions: (Such as: Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, do you know the price of a pint of milk?)

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, 27, is best known for being an It Girl - one of a group of women famous for their wealthy backgrounds and knack for publicity. Her parents, Patti and Charles Palmer-Tomkinson, are good friends of Prince Charles. She grew up on a 1,200-acre farm near Basingstoke and was educated at Sherborne school. After dropping out of stage school and trying a job in the City she came to the attention of the press when she was photographed with Princes William and Harry. Work as a model and on TV followed. She has a column in the Sunday Times Style magazine.

What's the most important thing you've learnt in the last year?

Rebecca Fielding, Solihull

To make my own judgements about people - they're never what they seem. People who seem horrible are nice and vice versa. I know now that I've got to be tougher and not be taken in by people in my industry - the kind of people who never say "thank you", never offer to pay the bill, and offer me drugs at parties - then I find out they're from newspapers. I've got to be less naive.

What would you most like to be doing in five years' time?

Gillian Fairloth, Manchester

I'd like to be married with kids, living in the country and coming up to London regularly. I suppose I'd like to be living like my parents.

When was the last time you lost your temper?

Davey Fentiman, Hove

I haven't lost it for years. I am very volatile; when I lose my temper, I really lose it. These days I'm better at killing with kindness; being really nice and making people feel like idiots.

Describe yourself, in two sentences.

Robert Marr, W8

I'm the person I've always been; the girl next door and my father's daughter. I'm also a "celebrity" who lives in this strange, superficial world. Basically, I don't look at myself in the same way other people do.

What was the last film you saw, and book you read?

Lizzy Foley, Edinburgh

The last film I saw was Great Expectations on video, over the weekend. My book is The Little Prince - my father used to read it to me as a child and I'm always rereading it.

Isn't there more to life than clothes and parties?

Fiona Liner, SW2

Yes, there is. In fact, when I'm at home, I wear jeans and go barefoot. As for parties, I've been to so many, I'm tired of them. I like being on my own a lot more. I love doing things like cleaning my own car and tidying my house. I don't want to be typecast as a party girl.

If you went to college, what would you most like to take a degree in?

Candice Marlborough, Essex

Psychology. I've become quite spiritual in the last year, which has made me more interested in psychology.

Do you get lots of freebies for mentioning certain products in your Sunday Times column?

Michelle Grove, Leicester

Yes, I do. If I say I've got flu, Lemsip will send me a whole batch of stuff; De Beers gave me a solitaire diamond; Virgin and British Airways have given me first-class tickets. But I can't advertise in my column.

Do you think Tony Blair is doing a good job?

Ben Todd, Birmingham

Yes. I think he may well get an Oscar one day. I know little about politics but I do like Tony's charisma and enthusiasm, although I don't really agree with his policies.

I've read that you're tired of getting dumped by men. Why? Do you pick the wrong ones?

Jennifer Eden, Harpenden

I'm not always getting dumped by men, but saying it appeals to a wider market if I'm writing a column for single women. A single mother in Brixton, say, will think, "Thank God, she got dumped as well". I haven't had many boyfriends, and the one I'm with now is the right choice. I don't want a boyfriend who's from my world, who's rich and flashy. I want a real brick, with a sense of humour - someone like my father, in fact.

Can you tell me what exactly an It Girl is?

Andy Spinner, Hemel Hempstead

It's the sort of girl who goes to all the right parties: polo, Ascot and Wimbledon. I hate the It label but I'm associated with all that and I can't get rid of it. There's a time and a place for everything and I want to move on. The problem is, I've moved on, it's just that others haven't.

Where's the best place you've ever stayed?

Ursula Ambroke, Maidstone

Le Tousse Roche in Mauritius. It's an exclusive, very romantic hotel.

Do you know how much a pint of milk costs?

Helena Shortlands, Crouch End, north London

I don't, actually. A pound?

Who did you vote for in the last election?

Mark Collins, Leeds

Conservative. I'm not sure who for - I went back to Hampshire to vote. I just put the tick in the box.

What bores you most about your lifestyle?

Linda Free, Worcester

Freelance paparazzi - they're constantly outside my door. I ignore them but I find them frightening. It's not particularly nice when someone's waiting for you to screw up.

Can you cook?

Nikki Husband, Milton Keynes

I can cook pasta and toast.

What's your greatest insecurity?

Justine Finstock, Penarth

My weight - I worry I'm too thin. I'm always being told I look anorexic, but I eat for Britain. I just find it hard to put on weight.

What's the most money you've spent on one shopping spree?

Gael Riversdown, Pembroke

pounds 1,500 on a leopard-print dress by Givenchy. I don't really go on sprees; I usually buy one thing, then feel guilty and come home again.

What career would you pursue if you weren't an It Girl?

Ali McDonald, Mile End

When I was little I always wanted to own a sweet shop. Now I think I'd like to own a clothes shop.

Where you surprised when Sophie and Edward announced their engagement?

Karen Pike, Stockton-on-Tees

I'm delighted by the news - we all thought it was kind of inevitable.

Next Week

peter tatchell, then followed by margaret cook

Send any questions for Peter Tatchell, gay rights activist and Margaret Cook, ex-wife of Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, to: You Ask the Questions, Features, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL (fax 0171-293 2182, or e-mail by noon on Friday 22 January

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