How We Met: Dannii Minogue & Tabitha Somerset Webb
'We are queens of the booty shake. I couldn't walk the next day after our first few nights out'
Sunday 04 July 2010
Tabitha Somerset Webb. 35, founded the handbag and accessories company Tabitha in 2003. She has just launched the clothing line Project D with Dannii Minogue. She lives in south-west London with her husband
I met Dannii six years ago when she rang to say she was a fan of my handbags then found out my office was down the road from her house, and, being Dannii, came down with her PA. We had a few celebrity followers, but they don't normally want to meet in person. I remember frantically tidying the office.
From the minute she arrived we were gossiping. I remember her saying, "I love you – we're going to be friends." I thought, "Hmm. Slightly weird," but I didn't expect to hear from her again. Then the next week she came back and we went out for lunch and it went on like that.
Because of who Dannii is, she has to build up trust with someone, but I think she realised fairly quickly I was in it for the right reasons. I just treated her like anybody else – I'm a bit mean and tease her about her OCD organisation skills, all the usual banter.
If we're just hanging out, we often have side-by-side manicures – we love all that. There used to be more wine involved but that's behind us now she's pregnant. I think it's nice for her because she just does normal stuff with me. We went to Selfridges the other day and she said she couldn't remember the last time she'd been in a department store. It's easy for celebrities to get cut off because everything is brought to you.
If my husband's away and Dannii is in the UK, she cooks for me every evening. I'll swing by her flat and we'll eat and chat. We're joined at the hip during those periods, then she'll go back to Australia for a couple of months so it can be a bit strange. Her lifestyle isn't normal, so you just have to be accommodating of that.
Newspaper stories about Dannii used to make me angry – all that supposed rivalry and bitchiness. She is a real girls' girl. She's driven but not one of those ultra-competitive women – if we're going out she'll do my make-up, lend me things. She doesn't feel the need to outshine everyone.
I'm glad the public perception of Dannii has changed recently. The Marks & Spencer campaign made her feel like she was being embraced by the British public and she was genuinely touched. I love that she still gets excited by it all. She's not jaded.
Working with your best friend on a fashion label is every girl's dream, but it has been hard graft. She is brighter than anyone gives her credit for and she has phenomenal business acumen. I get emails from her at 2am then at 6am again when she gets up – she's like Margaret Thatcher.
Dannii Minogue, 38, began her career as a teenager in the Australian soap 'Home and Away' before following sister Kylie into music in the early 1990s. In 2007 she became a judge on the ITV talent show 'The X-Factor'. She lives in London and Melbourne with her boyfriend
I was convinced Tabitha was Australian when I first met her. She was telling me all these things you shouldn't tell someone you've just met and she swore quite a lot – I loved it. When I first moved to London I found it quite hard to make friends because British people are so much more reserved than Aussies and I took it as coldness, so I liked that she was so open.
She has this great wild energy about her, and I'm attracted to strong, fearless women like that, so I knew within 10 minutes that we'd be friends. I think I even told her, which is a bit stalker-ish, but with all my close friends it's been instant like that.
I'm not too guarded about making new friends. I think the more you rely on your instincts, the better they get and I've done pretty well so far. We went for a few boozy lunches, then out dancing – we are queens of the booty shake. I remember actually not being able to walk the next day after our first few nights out together.
Back then it was very much the single girls' cocktails and dancing lifestyle – whenever you went to a party at Tabs' there always seemed to be a naked butler. Obviously, it's quite different now she's married and I'm having a baby and it could have been easy to grow apart a little, but working together is a nice excuse to keep spending time together.
Our friendship still feels very strong. In the six years we've known each other I have been through quite a lot, with my sister Kylie being ill and then losing a friend to cancer. I wasn't myself for a long time, and Tabs gave me support but also space. She's a good listener but she knows when to leave things alone, too.
The most stressful thing I've ever had to do was Tabitha's hair and make-up at her wedding. It was a huge responsibility; I had a new respect for make-up artists. I was running around after her for retouches.
We have a laugh at absolutely everything. I naturally tend to take things more seriously than Tabitha, so I love it that she brings out my lighter side. She's very free. I really want her to come to Australia and see where I live, but she says she is scared in case she falls in love with it and doesn't want to come back. I think it could happen; I reckon she's more Australian than I am.
Project D By Dannii and Tabitha is available at Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and stockists around the UK (projectdonline.co.uk)
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