Blondie’s Debbie Harry on why she removed all the mirrors from her house

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Kayleigh Dray
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Debbie Harry – aka Blondie frontwoman and the undeniable Queen of Punk – rose to fame in the Seventies, positively dominating the music industry with her powerhouse vocals, staunch feminist opinions, inimitable style and badass attitude.

Harry wasn’t just famed for her talents, however: the world was just as obsessed with her physical appearance, too. In fact, one of Andy Warhol’s most famous portraits is the one which focuses on Harry and her platinum-blonde mane, razor-sharp cheekbones and pouting lips.

Looking back on the time, she now says in a new interview that the preoccupation with her looks had a negative effect on her self-esteem.

Plagued by feelings of crippling anxiety, she removed all of the mirrors from her house in a bid to escape her own image, which was being projected all over the world.

“There was a time when I had to take down all the mirrors,” she tells The Sunday Times Magazine.

“I felt like I was looking at myself too much. The world made such a big deal of how I looked… it was problematic.”

As she’s grown older, however, Harry says she has become more respectful and appreciative of her appearance – so much so that she says she’d happily perform nude on stage, telling the magazine: “Would I be naked all the time now? Probably. It might horrify everyone, but…”

Ageing hasn’t just made The Heart of Glass singer feel more confident in her own skin; she discusses in the interview how it’s also changed her attitude to sex and relationships.

“It's not so completely hormonal,” she explains. “It's not as innocent. It's the human condition to want to share your existence with somebody. In that sense, we are pack animals.”

Harry adds: “Sex is a survival instinct.”

While Harry removed the mirrors from her house herself, a few months ago, TV presenter Claudia Winkleman revealed that when she was younger, her mother, Eve Pollard, would not allow mirrors in their home in order to remind her daughter that focusing on appearance is a “waste of time”.

Winkleman, 45, explained: “I was brought up by the strongest and most brilliant woman I’ve ever come across – my mum.

“She was strong, and fantastic, and taught me everything I needed to know in being female. We weren’t allowed any mirrors in the house, which would explain how I do my make-up… and the fact I look like I’ve slept in a skip.

“I was 15 going out saying, ‘Mum, I need to know how I look, give me an idea!’”

The Strictly Come Dancing presenter added: “She wanted to teach us that appearance is a waste of time, it’s not in the least bit important.”

Images: Rex Features



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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.