Hello & Me: Celebrities discuss their experiences

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The Independent Online

Tamara Beckwith

I've had all my houses done over the years by Hello!, normally when I'm about to sell them. Often, if not always, it helps with the sale. I know it is a cynical approach, but that's the way it is. But I won't do a shoot when I've just moved into a new house. Then, I like to retain a degree of privacy. Even when I'm selling a house, I decide in advance which rooms I'm happy to have photographed. I never give them access to everything.

I always make sure I style all the rooms myself and have a quick look down the lens to see what the photographer is taking and what he or she is looking for. From there, it's easy to add flowers or rearrange furniture to make the room appear exactly as you want.

If you are lucky enough to get a photographer like Tim Street-Porter, you don't even have to think about it; you can just let him get on with it. But sometimes you can get stuck with a bunch of awful photographs.

Hello! isn't known for its probing interviews, so they're usually fairly easy. They try to look on the bright side and make the whole package nice and sweet. Anyway, at this point in my life I don't really have anything I want to hide. When they arrange the interviews, I know what I will be prepared to discuss and if they try to rake up stuff from the past I'm old enough and wise enough not to be drawn in.

If, like me, you live with your partner, you have to remember it is their house, too. Of course, it depends on the piece and what you are being paid; after all, if you are being paid you can't hold back too much. But I have a fantastic relationship with Hello!. I've never found them intrusive.

My husband, Giorgio, hates it but realises it is part of my career. He doesn't want to be in the pictures and doesn't want to hear about them. He makes sure he is out of the house as soon as the photographers arrive.

Michael Winner

I was in one of their very first editions – and of course at that time we didn't know they paid money for interviews. We thought it was just a normal interview – we did it for nothing. So they got about six pages of Jenny and me for free.

I think they do it very well. It's nice to know there's a magazine that's not out to kill you. It really is a great relief.

It does take a bit of time so they should pay money, bless 'em, because it's not like a normal interview where they come and take one photograph of you. My house is always tidy, but you do have to keep changing clothes, and walk around the place. I think it takes well over a day. But they do it very nicely.

The last time was a few weeks ago and I thought it was very good. Sometimes they do look a bit peculiar, but on the whole it's a nice magazine. They're very nice people. They're reliable. They do what they say they're going to do. I must say I like dealing with them. I regret they lost that wonderful countess, whatever she was – she was handing money out like it was going out of style, and very charming, too.

I don't actually buy Hello! because I've stopped buying all magazines except Country Life. But they do have it on my private jets a lot, so I look at it then. I look at it in amazement.

Jilly Cooper

I've been Hello!'ed, as you might say, a few times and it has always been a lovely and wonderful experience. When I became a grandmother for the first time, they photographed my daughter Emily and her husband Adam and my grandson Patrick on my lawn. I was terribly excited to be paid for just one very jolly day's work.

Another time, they came to see us at Christmas. They tried to ponce up the house a bit with furniture and flowers as it can be a bit of a tip. We had a giggle because they had just done Zara Phillips and her partner and we got a tenth of the money they did.

You can trust Hello! and they can be very generous. They're great, if you ask me, a force for good over the years.

I remember years ago a friend's mother said I should be careful not to get my picture in Hello! when one of my books was finally published. At that time, I think, some looked down on it, but now everybody reads it and loves it.

The only thing they sometimes do is put a bit too much make-up on you. You have to be careful they don't make you look like an absolute whore. They like people to look beautiful, but in their style – which isn't necessarily the same as yours. They can turn you into a bit of a Posh and Becks. But it's fun and a joke, and you get paid for very little work. It's all jolly nice.