My Secret Life: Elle Macpherson, model & businesswoman, 47

My parents were ... very young when they had me. My mum was 16 and my dad was in his early twenties.

The house/flat I grew up in ... For the first 10 years of my life, it was a split-level modern house on Beauford Avenue, Caringbah, in Sydney. I was proud that I could spell "Beauford" by the time I was five years old, and remember thinking we had the best looking house on the street.

When I was a child I wanted to be ... a teacher like my great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather, who set up the first school in Australia. As I grew older I wanted to study law; after accepting a place at university, at 16 years old I took a gap year to earn money to pay for my education. And then I started modelling...

If I could change one thing about myself ... I change on a daily basis if possible. I realise that I am the only thing I have the power to change – not my environment or others.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at ... skiing fast, and memorising all the words to every song.

You may not know it but I'm no good at ... electronics.

What I see when I look in the mirror ... I honestly don't look in the mirror, except for when I am working and then I see an image that supports my brand.

My favourite item of clothing ... Elle Macpherson Intimates lingerie of course! I wear something from my collection every day – it's all comfortable, beautiful and sexy.

I wish I'd never worn ... that dress my mother suggested for my high-school graduation, and those Bo Derek-style braids.

It's not fashionable but I like ... cowboy boots from the Kemo Sabe store in Aspen; listening to Bob Seger and Fleetwood Mac.

I drive/ride ... an Aston Martin DB5 1964, a convertible Fiat 500 or a Jaguar V5. Also, a beach cruiser bicycle.

My favourite work of art ... is the Jean-Michel Basquiat self-portrait I bought with every last cent I had about 20 years ago.

My favourite building ... is the Opera House in Sydney Harbour. It has unbelievably modern architecture for when it was built.

A book that changed me ... 'From Atoms to Angels' by Paul D Walsh-Roberts. And Noam Chomsky's 'Manufacturing Consent'.

The last album I bought ... I was given Simon and Garfunkel's 'The Columbia Studio Recordings, 1964-1970' for my birthday. It reminds me of the music my parents played when I was a little girl. I also downloaded a new song under the direction of my 12-year-old son. It's called 'Billionaire', by Travie McCoy, featuring Bruno Mars.

My secret crush ... Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam.

My greatest regret ... No regrets, but I would like to be able to play an instrument. At the moment my limit is playing 'Yankee Doodle' on the guitar.

My real-life villain ... Villains? Nope!

The person who really makes me laugh ... is my son Cy and my eldest son's response to Cy.

The last time I cried ... was last night, through fear, frustration and jet lag.

My five-year plan ... There's an old proverb, which says, "Tell God your plans and watch him laugh". I could never have predicted the journey of my life thus far.

What's the point? Is there ever a point? Although I believe in the power of intention.

My life in six words ... Faith, intimacy, spontaneity, evolve, rebel, tribal, true. Oops – that's seven!

A life in brief

Elle 'The Body' Macpherson was born Eleanor Nancy Gow on 29 March 1963 in Sydney, Australia. She began modelling at the age of 17 and was part of the supermodel set in the Eighties. In 1990, she launched her own, highly successful lingerie range. She has two sons from a previous relationship and lives with them both in the UK. Elle is presenting the next series of Britain's Next Top Model which starts in July on Living TV

Elle Macpherson is supporting Barclays' £500,000 Take One Small Step competition, encouraging the public to vote for their favourite local business idea.

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