My Secret Life: Julie Verhoeven, 43, fashion designer and illustrator

'I can never wear enough clothes'

My parents were… the dog's bollocks. My mum was the boss – outspoken, funny and kind – and my dad was gentle, sweet and clever. They are sorely missed.

The household I grew up in… Pretty ordered, tidy and clean, with an Eighties sort of interior.

When I was a child I wanted to be… remembered – how awful is that?

If I could change one thing about myself… I'd like to have a commanding foghorn voice with perfect diction, instead of silly, girly muttering.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at… drinking alcohol, watching TV and pop trivia.

You may not know it but I'm no good at… conference calls, crossing roads, cooking, ironing, changing the duvet cover and relaxing.

At night I dream of… sadly, nothing.

I wish I had never worn… No regrets really – I can never wear enough clothes, though school uniform was a bit of a low point.

What I see when I look in the mirror… A masculine face, struggling desperately to try to look feminine with accessories and make-up.

It's not fashionable but I like… Costcutter. I kind of feel sorry for them, they're a bit overshadowed by Tesco Metro now.

I drive/ride… nothing, I would be a danger to myself and all.

My house is… in need of some TLC – it's an ever-mounting mass of clutter and colour.

My favourite work of art… Anything and everything by Magritte.

My favourite building… This is a bit of a silly one, but the brutalist 1960s flats at the Elephant & Castle roundabout, they're called Alexander Fleming House.

Movie heaven… The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, by Fassbinder – it's so desperate and dark.

The last album I bought… I'm a bit partial to naff CD box sets of hits of the decade… the latest one is Sixties and Seventies.

My greatest regret… I wish I'd been more sexually promiscuous as a youth.

My real-life villains… Jeremy Clarkson. He's just so boorish, he's a Home Counties crumpet – so smug.

The person who really makes me laugh… Alan Partridge; I really laugh properly at him.

The last time I cried… When the Freddie Mercury mirage came up on the Olympic closing ceremony.

My five-year plan… I kind of believe five-year plans are for losers.

What's the point? We're better alive than dead, so let's get on with it.

My life in six words… Room for improvement in all areas.

A life in brief

Julie Verhoeven was born in Sevenoaks, Kent in 1969. She studied fashion at the Kent Institute and became an assistant to John Galliano. She has designed for Louis Vuitton, Mulberry, Versace and Peter Jensen. Verhoeven also works as an artist and illustrator, and has exhibited at Riflemaker and the Hayward Gallery. Verhoeven has designed an espresso cup for the Macmillan Cancer Support World's Biggest Coffee Morning this Friday ( She lives in south London

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