Finally – finally! – I get to meet the Jordan that is also Katie Price, but only after the most exhausting and exhaustive negotiations ever. It's this day, no this day, this time, no this time, then there is some contract that keeps going back and forth which demands that we use her portrait photograph, rather than take our own. And then, at last, we have an appointment and I'm half-way there on the train when I get a call to say sorry, the Jordan that is Katie Price can't make it today but she will rearrange. She'd better. Oh, she'd so better. Then I can strangle her or, failing that, at least give her a good kick up the backside.
Anyway, another day is set, a week later, and this time I get all the way there – to the offices of her management in West Sussex; she lives nearby – without a halt in proceedings. Katie is late though, but it's not her fault. She's been to dressage and, I'm told, is now "caught behind a tractor". I pass the time by riffling through her lingerie range, which is hanging on a rail. It is very pink; lots of bows; sold at Asda. She's had to fight for her bows, she later says: "To even add like a bow or chain or something costs a lot of money, but I'm like, do you want me to put out something I'm not going to wear myself?" When Katie does arrive she is apologetic and I do not kick her up the backside. This is not just cowardice and talking the talk without being able to walk the walk – although I accept that's a huge part of it – but have you actually ever seen Katie's backside? There is nothing to kick! It's tiny; she's tiny. I even blurt: "But you're so tiny!" as if this is news to her, which it so isn't. She says: "If only I had a pound for every time someone says that."
I think if Katie could charge a pound for every time someone said that, she would. Katie has both a Katie Price website and a Jordan website where you are "free to look around" for either £3 a month or £25 a year. Katie manages to sell several exclusives exclusively to several magazines simultaneously in the same exclusive week, week after week. I don't know if she charges for passing the salt, but personally? I wouldn't risk it. Katie also has the lingerie and the bed linen and the calendars and the perfumes – her second, Besotted, has just been launched – and the pony books and the autobiographies (three) and the novels, Angel, Crystal and Angel Uncovered, all bestsellers which routinely outsell the entire Booker shortlist. Katie will shortly be bringing out homewares, cosmetics, clothing and, according to her manager, Claire Powell, "the most amazing hair products ... she's designed all the packaging herself." Katie has recently undergone a breast reduction and, waste not want not, is even planning on selling her removed implants on eBay. I'm not sure how many breast operations she has actually had, probably because I'm not assiduous enough in keeping up with these things, but I think it is safe to say these breasts just do not know if they are coming or going. Still, as Katie is someone who always lands on her feet, I guess it's kind of handy that she can now see them.
Seriously, she is an incredible phenomenon; a former Page Three girl who has so transcended the genre that, now, 90 per cent of her fans are women. She's amassed a £30m fortune by creating an empire out of herself, but should we approve? You know: ultimate product of the reality era, only two obvious talents and even they're fake, and blah, blah, blah. But I don't know. There is something about her "Hey,-I'm-Making-This-Work-For- Me!" spirit and resilience which does make you think: you go girl, you go. Do you ever feel self-pity, I ask her at one point. "I have a whinge," she says, "but then just get on with it." Still, probably best to reach over for the salt yourself. Why chance it?
We move upstairs to a meeting room where we are joined by Claire. Claire and Katie have been working together ever since I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, the reality TV show during which Katie first met her husband, the Australian pop singer Peter Andre (whom audiences of their ITV2 fly-on-the-wall show, Katie and Peter, probably best know as: "sh'up, Pete, sh'up"). They now have a son and a daughter, David and Sue. OK, only kidding. They are Junior Savva Andreas and Princess Tiáamii Chrystal Esther. Personally, I think Junior has been rather short-changed, but there you have it. Thanks to Claire, Katie went into the jungle as Jordan – topless model; always falling out of nightclubs – but came out as Katie – wife, mother and The Endorser. "I thought that if she continued doing the glamour," says Claire, "by the time she was 30 there would be lots of other people around, and that she could do a lot more than what she was doing." We settle around the table; coffee for me, tea for Katie. True enough, the super-white teeth are a bit scary, but she is genuinely beautiful. I'm minded to tell her she always looks better without all the make-up, but I'm guessing she's been told that a lot, and don't want to be charged another pound. Whatever, she is gossipy and friendly, says Pete is away at the moment so last night, for dinner, "I had a bowl of Cheerios". You don't cook, then? She does, she says, but she has to do it right "with all he trimmings, so it's not quick". Her favourite meal is chicken Kiev with chips and sweetcorn which is what her mum always used to make her on a Saturday night and which she ate in front of the TV. "First Murder She Wrote and then Blind Date." She is cheerful even though, it turns out, the day didn't have the best start. "Harvey," she says, "was the biggest shit this morning. He didn't go to school. My mum's got a black eye coming and so has the driver. Kicked off so bad." Harvey is her son by the footballer Dwight Yorke, although they'd split up before he was born. Harvey is autistic and has septo-optic dysplasia, which means he is also partially blind. I ask if she gets frightened when Harvey goes off on one. "Nah," she says. "I'm used to it." Have you learnt anything about yourself, through having Harvey? "That I can be patient," she replies. Are you frightened of anything? After a long think it is: "Um ... spiders. Waking up with a spider on my bed frightens me." "But," interjects Claire, "in I'm A Celeb... you had one in your flipping hand!" Katie says having one on your hand is not the same as waking up to find one on your bed. She then says: "Do you know who she reminds me of?" This is directed to Claire, about me. "Claudia Schiffer," I suggest. "Kate Moss?" Katie laughs quite hard – I should have looked harder for her backside and then made sure I kicked her up it – then says: "No, Janet." "Janet?" I query. "Janet Desmond, Richard Desmond's wife," says Katie. I say maybe it's a Jew thing. Janet Desmond, wife of Richard – proprietor of OK! magazine – is Jewish, as am I, I tell her. Actually, Katie, so are you. I think.
She is, I think, but it's perplexing. In researching her I kept reading that her "maternal grandmother" was Jewish which is weird, because Judaism is matrilineal so if her grandmother was Jewish, then so is her mother and so is she. Why is it always thrown so far back? She says: "Because we don't follow it." She then adds: "I'm useless at any religion. I'm so open-minded I don't judge anybody on anything, and I think that is the best way to be." But you're still Jewish, I say. "Maybe that's why I'm so..." she rubs her fingertips together "... in my job ... wanting to earn money. It's good, innit?" I do not know what to say to this. Mazeltov? Does this mean there is never going to be a range of Katie Price Kosher Pickles? I ask what money means to her: "No one can live without money," she says. "Money and religion are the big things, and that's it, and I stay away from religion." So it's money as religion? She continues with: "We love to earn money, who doesn't? It gets you things and it's security but at the same time it doesn't bring you good health and not always happiness. I just think Harvey is going to need to be set up for life, with his ways, and I want the other kids to have a good start in life, too."
Her attention span is short – that's why, she says, she was "shit" at school – but she is otherwise engaged and lively. I'm surprised, although I couldn't tell you why. Perhaps it's because after so many exclusive interviews given exclusively week after exclusive week, I assumed she'd be thinking "Enough with the questions, already" and would just go thRough the motions. Still, she will sometimes answer questions as if I've asked another question entirely. When I ask why she thinks so many women want to buy into the Katie Price brand, she says: "I know I'm changing the subject but it's the same kind of thing – I'm really flattered when girls want to be like me but when you get some girls who sort of slate me then try and be like me that really pisses me off, because it's a respect thing." I think she is talking about the glamour girls who try to be her, which is not the same thing at all. I think if she had answered the question she'd have said it's because she is "real", which is probably true, that is why people like her, but also weird, considering so much of what and who she is has been artificially constructed. Perhaps it's because she is "real" but only on her terms. And that's what we admire.
She is known to be a hard grafter, famed for it, but I don't think it's just money that motivates her. I think success as a kind of revenge helps her along, too. We get to this when we discuss her "novels". I've read Angel Uncovered and agree it cannot be compared to Nabokov: "Her birthday [Angel's] the year before had been amazing. Cal had booked them a surprise trip on the Orient Express. In Venice, they stayed at the luxurious Gritti Palace Hotel ... the list of presents he bought her had been breathtaking too – a diamond necklace, a matching diamond bracelet, a set of Louis Vuitton luggage and Christian Louboutin heels. But gorgeous as they were it wasn't the expensive presents that had made the trip so special, it was spending time alone with Cal." Christ, I'd just take the presents and to hell with the time with Cal, but that's just me, I guess. Naturally, she doesn't write the books as such – a ghost-writer does – and she understands why the book world is hostile. "They're not really into me and I've got to respect it. I don't sit there and write my books and I've always said that. I'm always honest, I'm not going to bullshit people. But a lot of people do sit there and type up their books, that's what they are really good at, and then they see some glamour girl come in who thinks she can move everyone to the side, and put her name to a book – although it isn't just me putting my name to the book, because I do say how I want the stories and all that..."
Claire: "You use a Dictaphone, don't you?"
Katie: "I talk into a Dictaphone and they [Rebecca Farnsworth, her ghost-writer] go away and type it. I've got so many other things to do I couldn't sit there and type, plus I didn't pass English."
She can understand why novelists who do their own typing may resent her, "but ultimately I'd say there is room for everyone. It's the same with the horse world I'm into now, the dressage. You get so many snobs. That's the one thing about this country. If someone is good at something they always try and drag them down. I love it if they try and drag me down because I'm like, watch me, I'll be more successful, and I just love it. Love it!" She remembers every snub: the management companies who wouldn't take her on because of her Page Three history; the singer Rachel Stevens at some GQ awards do. "It was when she was big and she was with her manager and someone asked for a picture [of them together] and she was like: 'No, no, no,' probably because I wasn't good enough. And I was thinking: fucking hell, you'll be over with soon. And where is she now? Strictly Come Dancing..." You wouldn't do Strictly Come Dancing, I ask. "I haven't got the time," she replies, "unless they want to pay me five million, then I'd do it. Five million to have Pricey on the show!"
Have she ever regretted doing anything? "Eurovision. Never again. It was just awful. I still can't sing that song. Makes me cringe."
She will say that Jordan and Katie co-exist happily, but I do wonder. I say that recently, on the reality show, she seemed upset that she'd slipped out of the FHM Top 100 Sexiest Women list, although it's not a big deal, I've slipped out too. She laughs again – I so should have found that backside – then says it's because she doesn't take her top off any more. "I've moved away from that although in my head sometimes I'm like, why can't I do a shoot and get my kit off just to prove I can still do it? I do get rebellious and say, 'Let's just do a shot and put it in a men's mag'. I'm like, can I do a shoot to go in Nuts and Zoo? And Claire's like, why do you want to be in Nuts and Zoo? It's just to do a bit of glamour modelling..."
Anyway, time to go, even though we've yet to discuss her latest perfume, which is what we were meant to be doing. It does smell very nice, though. We part affectionately, kiss each other on the cheek. Her next plan is to conquer America, and she'll shortly be moving over there with the family for a few months. Her ultimate ambition? "World domination," she says. Katie Price: she may not consider herself a Jew, but you do have to admire her chutzpah.
How one woman turned her life into a bestselling brand
It's not all about looks you know. The books began with Being Jordan, Katie Price telling her "real story in her own words", in 2004. A number one bestseller, the hardback currently costs £16.99. (For a "personalised message from Katie" add £4.99.) Following on from that, 2006's A Whole New World described her "passionate whirlwind romance" with Peter Andre. The latest, Jordan: Pushed to the Limit, was published earlier this year.
That's only the beginning. The mother of three came up with the Mermaids & Pirates children's series featuring Katie the Mermaid and Peter the Pirate. There are six books so far...
Once the children get a bit older, the Perfect Ponies series (there are eight, to date) follow a group of "yard girls and their ponies"...
... and when the pony lovers turn into teens, there are Katie's novels: Angel is "a sparkling and sexy tale of glamour modelling, romance, and the treacherous promises of fame", while Crystal is about an aspiring singer. They're £6.99, not counting the personalised message from Katie that can be added for only £4.99.
When not personally signing books, Katie is personally signing merchandise, including The Jordan Workout DVD, the "exact" workout she used to get in shape in the three-month period between giving birth to Junior and getting married to Peter in a fairytale wedding dress. That's £17.99 (plus £4.99 for message). There's an A2 poster (£14.99), with new image every month, or for £5.99, an A4 photo ("put me on your window ledge in a frame or maybe even on your dart board!" Katie suggests on her website). Purchase the same image on a mousemat for £8.99.
All the senses are covered with Katie Price. Listen to her singing (with her husband) on A Whole New World. The CD costs £9.98 but all proceeds and royalties are going to five charities – and 100,000 copies have been sold so far.
If listening's not your thing, why not try something a little more aromatic? After the success of her perfume Stunning (which was a number one bestseller when it launched last year), Besotted, the new perfume from Katie Price, is now available from leading retailers (from £18).
Grooming is covered too. The Katie Price Haircare Electrical Range by Martin Yaffe International is now available from Superdrug stores nationwide. And, last month, K P Equestrian went live... now you can extend the grooming to your horses, who can wear monogrammed Katie Price fleeces, while the rider sports K P Equestrian velour.
Don't worry if you can't fill the outfits – The Katie Price Lingerie and Swimwear Range, available from George at Asda, is for women with D-G cups. Katie says: "I love that my range gives you boobs!"
Sleepy? Head to Matalan where her Bedroom Collection went on sale earlier this year. "Created by Katie herself," says Matalan, there are "three inspiring designs".
Oh and if you feel you've missed anything about Katie's life, tune in to the next instalment of ITV2's Katie & Peter: The Next Chapter. It's the latest in a series of shows: When Jordan Met Peter, Jordan and Peter Laid Bare and Marriage and Mayhem.
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