You could be mistaken for thinking in five inch Louboutin heels supermodel Elle Macpherson has made a huge effort for the waiting paparazzi as she drops her youngest son to school.
But the woman herself is keen to make out, despite her jaw-dropping looks, she’s far from marching on the runway when she drops her son at school. Elle, 48, says: “Are you mad? You think I doll myself up to drop my baby off at school. No way!
“OK, there are some pretty crazy outfits there when I go to do the school run – I’ll give you that. But if I’m made up and wearing heels then I’m on my way to work. The majority of the high end looks where from when I was straight off to film for the new series of Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model.
“It’s not like I’m getting dressed up for school. Come on! I’m dressed up to go to work and I’m dropping my baby off on the way. It’s not a big deal. I always wear shades as I don’t have my face on that early.
“I guess I can see where you’re coming from, but people really shouldn’t think I get out of bed looking like that. I’m the same as any other woman on the school run.”
In real life Elle, 48, giraffe like at 6ft tall minus heels, wonderfully softly spoken, refreshingly has wrinkles around her eyes and still has the power to turn every single head in the room when she trots in.
Single Elle is preparing for the second series she’s fronted of Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model to air on Sky Living. And whereas last year she seemed nervous about the role, this year she seems to have found her television feet. “I can’t create a career for this girl but I can certainly make a platform for a girl that’s unusual and looks interesting,” she says. “I can give them a nice entrance into the industry and that’s the hardest thing sometimes. I love doing this show and getting towards the end of the series there are some real surprises in store.
“We didn’t come off as being bitchy in the show did we?” She asks.
Nope, in fact Elle is like the mother figure for all the wannabe models on the show.
She lets out a sigh of relief and says: “Thank God, I wouldn’t want to be some bitch on this show. I have a lot of tenderness for the girls.”
Nowadays it seems the supermodel, who is an international ambassador for Revlon and owns and runs her own lingerie empire – Elle Macpherson Intimates, is far from bothered about her infamous body. She’s more interested in enjoying staying fit and achieving body wellness.
“I don’t want to be ploughing away for hours on the treadmill,” she explains. “I’m not working on keeping this body anymore. I’m much more interested in wellness and well being – rather than the shape of my body these days.
“I go to see James Duigan at Bodyism for a workout, if not then I go and train with my tennis coach Tanya Bennett who’s amazing. I water ski, snow ski, hike and I really love my sport. I like the feel when I’m doing it.
“It’s not about feeling horrific and stiff afterwards. I enjoy the active lifestyle and being outdoors.
“I’m not feeling pressure to keep my body in shape these days. People that are watching the show will see clearly that I’m not 20. I’m not under any illusion that I am. That would be very silly of me.”
And it sounds like as she approaches 50, and after three decades in the fashion industry, she’s ready to leave her modelling days behind her once and for all.
Her first cover in 1986 for Time Magazine featured the headline “The Big Elle” and she’s appeared on the cover of the infamous Swimsuit Issue of Sport’s Illustrated a record five times.
But now modelling just doesn’t flip her switch.
“The modelling is the part that takes the least amount of time and energy for me and the truth is I don’t enjoy it as much as I did,” she carefully explains. “It’s not a case of been there done that – but I’m not as interested in my physical image anymore. I’m all about getting behind the camera now and that’s why I’m pleased I have the opportunity to be an executive producer on this show. Being involved in different aspects of my career is where I’m getting satisfaction these days.
“It would have been easy for me to have just fronted a show about modelling as a model and just read my lines and played it cool and gone home. But that wasn’t an option. I wanted to immerse myself in it completely. And learn about the industry – I see my future in television and there are various projects I’m looking into.”
In the 1980s, together with Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Cindy Crawford, Elle was propelled to supermodel status.
But Elle, who has two children - Arpad Flynn, 13, and Aurelius, eight – from former love Arpad Busson, admits nowadays she’s glad the fashion world is making a conscious effort to except diversity in body shapes, ethnicity and size in models. “There has always been a lot of diversity in the industry,” she says. “I make my bras for Intimates to fit busts from a double A cup to a G.
“The body size debate has always been an important issue for me. I just think we’re all becoming more aware of it now.
“I’m interested in designers like Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton who are communicating a great message through their work about a different type of beauty. I think that’s what is happening in the industry right now.”
Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model, Sky Living on Mondays at 9pm