Okay, here it is. The one story I’m usually too reluctant to share. Partly because I’m worried most people will think I’m name-dropping or making it up (both equally plausible) but mostly because I’m too embarrassed to admit to the state I was in when I accidentally met Waity Kate, or the Duchess of Cambridge, as she’s now known. But here goes – the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me Moët!
Once upon a time, I lived a somewhat exciting life as a fashion blogger in London. When I say ‘fashion blogger,’ I mean I was someone who worked in an office and got paid by a digital publishing company to write about celebrity style, as opposed to someone tapping away in their bedroom in their PJs, getting paid by the internet. Although, that would have been A-okay with me too. The year was 2006, long before blogging was considered cool or something you could actually make a living from.
A few months after landing in London, I was lucky enough to get a foot in the door at a tech start-up run by three journalists. After doing a work experience placement, they offered me a part-time job writing for their network of women’s blogs, before quickly promoting me the role of full-time editor of their flagship fashion blog. Needless to say, I was STOKED. Finally, I could call myself a proper writer with her own proper business cards, a writer who worked in frickin’ London y’all. #lifegoals
It might sound uber-glam, but just like most jobs that sound glam in theory, such as a flight attendant or Kanye West’s social media manager, they’re usually anything but. Sure, there’s some great perks but mostly they involve a lot of passion, hard work, long hours and little pay.
Some of the best perks were the occasional invites to PR events. One of those invites was for the launch party of P. Diddy’s new women’s fragrance, Unforgiveable Woman. I know, cringe. Events such as these were always a win-win for a broke AF writer like myself, who lived off Tesco sandwiches and clothes bought from Primark. As I said, glamour was so not my middle name. These events generally meant copious amounts of free alcohol (bonus!) and free canapés, a.k.a. the weekly dinner diet of free-loading media types (double bonus!)
Never one to say no to free food, I agreed to attend Diddy’s do along with one of my colleagues. Taking full advantage of the free bubbly and Wagu sliders, instead of my usual dinner of wine-in-a-box and one-pound Iceland frozen pizza, somewhere during the evening I forgot to slow down and drink water. Before I knew it I was totally drunk and in a cab with my colleague, tagging along with some random model and her posse to continue the par-tay at the after par-tay. We were heading to Mahiki, one of London’s swankiest celebrity nightclubs, known for their mega-rich clientele and cocktails the size of your head in giant treasure chests.
Somehow Random Model was semi-famous enough to get her posse, which now bizarrely included us, past the door bitch who didn’t so much as bat an eyelid as we waltzed in. Usually places like this were notoriously difficult to get into unless you lived in Chelsea, were on the TV show Made in Chelsea, or a WAG. Sadly, while I was none of the above but this didn’t stop me from swanning onto the dance floor like I owned the place. It was while I was ripping it up Beyonce style that a pretty, petite brunette started dancing next to me.
“I really love your dress, where’s it from?” she asked, in a posh accent.
Chanelling my mum, who regularly feels compelled to brag about her thrifty purchases to everyone, I said proudly: “Thanks. It was only ten quid from Asda.”
The look on her face was one of surprise, awkwardness, embarrassment and regret. Clearly, she hadn’t anticipated that kind of reply and was now probably wishing she’d simply kept her trap shut. At the time I didn’t think much more of it, she was right, it was a pretty schweet dress. It was chic and black, with three-quarter sleeves and a wrap front, which often came in handy for disguising my Heathrow-injected podge. It had become my go-to work event dress, not only because it was super flattering, but because it could be easily stuffed into my handbag and required zero ironing. It was hands-down the best ten squid I’d ever spent.
All of a sudden, I felt an arm pull me away and drag me towards the bar.
“Do you know who that was?” my colleague shrieked, her eyes bulging out of her skull.
“No,” I shrugged, scanning the bar for my next drink.
“That was KATE FUCKING MIDDLETON!”
Of course my immediate reaction was to laugh-out-loud, but her face was deadpanned. She was serious. As my booze-soaked brain tried to process this information, I started to become acutely aware of three important factors. Firstly, I was hammered so my vision wasn’t exactly on point. Secondly the club was very dark and, without my glasses, I was practically blind. And thirdly, as my colleague pointed out, Kate had been regularly spotted at Mahiki and other exclusive nightspots over recent weeks when she and Wills had famously split. It was the spring of 2007, when the couple had broken up for a few months and “Waity Katey” was hitting both the party scene and tabloid headlines. Big time.
After scurrying back to the dance floor, so I could see for myself who I’d just been casually chatting with, the penny finally dropped. OMG! Not only had I been pulling my best Queen Bey moves alongside a proper real-life future queen, I had just drunkenly told KATE MIDDLETON that my dress cost ten pounds. TEN POUNDS!!!!!!! It was definitely time to go home.
Needless to say, I’ve never lived that story down. As someone who wrote about celebrity style for a living, it was both hilarious and ironic that I had no clue I was talking to one of the most papped celebs in the world about how povo I was. Awks.
To this day, whenever I see a picture of the Duchess, I can’t help but remember my epic fail. It was classic me – no filter, no shame and absolutely no self-control when it comes to free drinks. Who knows, as someone known for recycling her outfits (even if they cost more than what I make in six months), maybe Duchie was just a tiny bit impressed by my thriftiness. Or maybe not.