How We Met: Misty Gale & Michelle Gomez
'She'll shoot up the side like Spider-Man on steroids while I'm flailing around at the bottom'
Sunday 01 February 2009
Michelle Gomez, 38, is an actor best known for her role in the award-winning comedy series Green Wing. She has also had roles in Black Books and the BBC sitcom Feel the Force. She divides her time between London and Los Angeles
My husband [the actor Jack Davenport] went to the Galapagos Islands in 2000, presenting for Holiday, and Misty was the researcher for it. Jack and I had just got married, so I came along for the ride. Misty was like something out of a Jackie Collins novel. Effortlessly glamorous with great hats, luscious hair and a knock-out smile. She was brimming with confidence and vitality, and I was really drawn to that.
We all ended up on a 72ft yacht. Misty and I had a great time. From day one we found each other incredibly funny. We stayed up late playing ridiculous drinking games under the stars, awash with tequila. At the end of it, Misty and I had the usual "Yeah, yeah, we'll stay in touch" conversation but we both knew we meant it.
I think you've got different friends for different things and Misty has become my jolly hockey sticks kind – out in the open air, getting the wind in your hair; there's not much sitting in with tea and biscuits with us. We went wall-climbing at a centre in Ladbroke Grove, then there were the numerous water-skiing summers, which she dragged me along to. We always try to do something we've never done before, something that scares or challenges us. It's why we bonded so well.
But we're not always strapped to a Jet Ski. Most recently I watched her walk up the aisle, which was amazing; over the course of our friendship Misty has had boyfriends who have come and gone, so it was fantastic to see her find her man and do her version of happily ever after.
We've grown and changed together over the years. Initially she was like an overexcited Labrador puppy; now she's more like a calm, streamlined retriever.
God has been good to her physically, too – she's perfectly proportioned, with phenomenal legs and a great body. At times I stand next to her and look like a 14-year-old skateboarding lesbian; it's not fair.
I don't think we expected our two-week trip to turn into an eight-year friendship; it's hard in this business to maintain relationships, as you're always jumping around. But we've managed to stay in touch. She's so dependable and always there at the end of a phone if I need her.
Misty Gale 37 is a former BBC TV producer and director who worked on programmes from Holiday to Points of View. She's currently finishing her first novel, called Superyacht. She lives in east London with her husband
We first met in a BBC canteen fairly early on in my career as a TV researcher. She came in with Jack, who was there to talk about going to the Galapagos for Holiday. It was a predominantly male shoot, so it was nice to have Michelle along. It was a fantastic experience and we really hit it off. We waded knee-deep among sharks, paddled through mangroves and swam around the boat with turtles – we both cried at the end as we were so overwhelmed; it set the tone of our friendship.
We've done a lot of adventurous stuff together. We used to go water-skiing near Heathrow. She's got beautiful, slender legs, but when she's on the lake they stick out like a catamaran; it's the funniest thing. It's the same when we go ice-skating – those funny little legs are just like Bambi's. With the wall-climbing, it's a different case – she'll shoot up the side like Spider-Man on steroids, while I'm stuck flailing around on the bottom rung. She said to me the other day, "That's the beauty of you; if I want to do something different, I know you'd be up for it." And I feel the same way.
We've been friends for years now. I could be lying on my bed and feeling awful and I'll ring Michelle up, as she's a wise old bird. She settled down earlier then me, so she's always been the one giving me advice on relationships; she tells you how it is, which is sometimes what you really need.
We've gone through seminal moments, too. When she suffered a loss in the family I was her confidante: I'd lost my mum when I was young so I was able to empathise with her. We talked about it a lot. Outwardly she's tougher than me, and very funny, but she uses these attributes to hide a latent vulnerability, which I find very endearing.
We've been round to each other's places for loads of dinner parties, and in summer, I'd go round to her flat, where she has this small terrace. She'd make little vegetarian pastries, we'd have a glass of wine and lie on a pair of recliners and have a gossip.
She has quite a low boredom threshold, so if we're out and someone's droning on about something, she'll just pull this face at me – she's very expressive – to crack me up. She's naughty, really naughty.
She came to my wedding last year, and it was so lovely to have her there; she's not around that often these days, so it really meant a lot that she could make it.
She's worked really hard to get where she is, but now of course she's always got so much going on. She spends quite a lot of time in LA and I miss her when she's not around – I do wish we could do more stuff together. The Americans should consider themselves bloody lucky they've got her.
Michelle Gomez stars in the RSC's 'The Taming of the Shrew' at the Novello Theatre, London WC2 (0844 482 5170, www.novello theatre.com), from 12 February to 7 March
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