How do I look? Tracey Emin Artist, age 41
Independent, The (London), Mar 12, 2005 by Fiona McClymont
NO ONE THINKS I'm very pretty or good-looking, but I do know that some people out there think I'm really sexy. "Sexy", that's the compliment that I get the most. I'm not sure why. The fact I've got really big, soft breasts helps, and that I'm husky and brown. I also think people get the idea that I'd be a really good bit of rough.
I have been sexy and I may be sexy again in the future, but for the moment I am not. My libido is at an all-time crushing low. Most of the time I don't feel attractive. I hate my vagina, absolutely hate it with a vengeance. I think part of that is about how much certain parts of you are loved and appreciated - and you're talking to someone who hasn't had a shag for nearly two years.
I've got a really crooked mouth and my teeth are aggressive- looking and quite scary. So I always think I'm sending out the wrong signals, which is a problem. I might get a brace; I'm actually seeing someone about that. But I've had so much done on my mouth over the years already - I've always had really bad teeth.
The most beautiful I feel is when I'm in LA. People look at me there and they can't believe what they're looking at, because the whole of my face is moving and my teeth are just mad. It's not an LA look is it? And somehow, instead of feeling conscious of it, I actually bloom.
It's an important thing, inner love for yourself. My favourite thing about me is that on the back of my spine, on the lower bit near my coccyx, I've got like a whole mane of hair going up about four inches. I love it - it's a welcome rug! Sometimes when I get really drunk I start showing it off to people because I'm very proud of it. It's the kind of thing that a lot of women would wax and remove, a lot of men would too, but I feel quite good about it.
The best thing though is that I don't have herpes any more on my face. For years I had it so bad - there was one point when it was like shingles and I was really ill.
I stopped smoking over a year ago and I put on a stone and half. When you're in your thirties you can put weight on and lose it again, but when you're over forty it's more difficult. I don't move like someone who's middle-aged, I don't behave like someone who's middle-aged, but hey-presto I am.
I don't like myself when I put weight on; I like being as thin as possible. I know exactly how much I weigh every day. At the moment I weigh nine stone two and I'd prefer to be eight stone two. I want to feel light and ethereal, I don't want to feel heavy and weighted down.
And I don't like looking or being ordinary: being normal-weight is being normal and I'm not normal, so I don't feel that it suits me. Sounds mad I know, but that's the way I feel.
I've never been a wally. A wally to me is someone who just dresses in a very regular kind of way. Even if I do dress regular there's always a twist to it. I used to dress really outrageously when I was younger but as I've got older I've toned down quite a lot. It's simply because I'm really busy so I have to dress more like having a uniform - I wear Helmut Lang jeans and cashmere jumpers, Yves Saint Laurent pin-striped jackets and trainers.
I used to make all my own clothes when I was a teenager, because I couldn't find the clothes I wanted in shops. So it was great to customise a suit for Gresham Blake. It's a white suit and I've sewn on the back, in white letters, "COKE-FREE TRACEY". I really hate cocaine. I've never taken it, never will take it and I get really pissed off with people who do take it - although there's hardly anyone I know who doesn't. E
The suit customised by Tracey Emin will be under auction at Christie's on Monday, as part of Cancer Research UK's Art For Life event (see page 35). For tickets call 020-7009 8870.
I came across this while searching around to see if she really did have a boob job (something I noticed in a recent photo but is probably not true).
She has been reported to have had - and has made a lot of poignant art regarding - repeated trauma in her life, including sexual abuse, abortions and depression.
So, I thought that it was an interesting insight into the candid descriptions of body image from someone who could relate to many of us here.
X-posted to purgatorium