Jerry Hall: I didn't want to steal the show. And other tall tales


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The actress enters 'Guinness World Records' by appearing in six West End shows on one night:

I'm always game - I adore a challenge. But when the idea was put to me - six West End shows in one night - I thought, this can't be right. But it appealed to me because my children adore Guinness World Records. I buy it for them every Christmas. And it was helping to promote London, which is now my home and which I love. I live in Richmond. I have a view over the Thames, and I keep a horse which I ride in Richmond Park. How glorious is that?

I went from Phantom of the Opera to Les Misérables to Fame to Blood Brothers to Anything Goes to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in two hours, 20 minutes, and I played in front of 9,124 people. Chitty has a long finale. But then they announced that I had set the record, and it was a fantastic moment. The scariest thing - much scarier than being in all the shows - was travelling between the theatres on the back of a motorbike. It brought back memories of when I had last done it - in San Francisco when I was about 18. Then it was all very Hell's Angels, and absolutely terrifying. I vowed never to go on the back of motorbike again.

The only speaking part I had was in Blood Brothers - and it needed a Liverpool accent. My Texan relations might tell me that that I now speak with an English accent, but I needed help to speak Liverpudlian. So I went to the greatest vocal coach there is, Joan Washington, who's married to Richard E Grant. I'd worked with Patsy Rodenburg, who is voice coach at the National Theatre but that was more to learn how to increase vocal power, which you need to do if you are going to reach everybody in a big theatre. But I'd never had to do a difficult, broad accent like the one in Blood Brothers, and Joan and I spent a long time together while I made these strange noises. But I'm used to this. I was in Picasso's Women, and although I wasn't doing a French accent, I didn't want to sound too Texan.

My main concern was not to upstage anyone. I didn't want to steal the shows or interrupt the action - they had to go on just as normal, which meant I had to get my cues right, not make any mistakes, and fit straight into the routines. I only had about a day's rehearsing, and there was a lot that could go wrong. There's a revolve in Les Misérables - you have to step on with your right foot, step off with your left. There's lots of scenery to bump into. Normally you know where to watch your back. But not here. Still I was on and off in about a minute and a half, and then it was on to the next show. It helped to have been a model. I am used to quick changes.

The other big project I'm supporting is the renovation of the Kingston Theatre, where I'm a patron. We have to raise £3m, and I'm helping to organise an auction next month in which I've got various friends to contribute items. I've put up a Christian Lacroix couture dress, dating from the late 1980s when he was at the height of his fame. It's a very special dress - it's other-worldly, with sequins and red ostrich feathers and big chiffon cape. Mick Jagger's giving a jacket, Ronnie Wood a drawing, Pete Townshend a guitar. I suppose I just love the excitement of live theatre - and I think that London's got the best live theatre of anywhere.

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