Jerry Hall may have married rock royalty, but she is a famous figure in her own right: a modelling icon, photographed by legends such as Norman Parkinson, immortalised in paintings by Andy Warhol, and an actress of stage and film. Here, our correspondent meets the Texan super talent, one of Mandarin Oriental's original Fans
It's a grey, overcast afternoon in London when I arrive at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London to meet Jerry Hall, supermodel, actress and arguably one of Texas' greatest ever exports. Despite the weather, Hall is in high spirits. Wrapped up in layers of soft biscuit, her famous blonde hair hung loose around her shoulders, this fashion icon is every bit as fabulous as you'd imagine. The legendary drawl may be softer, tempered by 30 years of living in Britain, but her beauty and presence are as striking as ever.
Jerry Hall playing Mrs Robinson in the 2010 stage production of The Graduate
Engaging, warm and open, she is a great lunch date, and our conversation takes an enjoyably winding route. We touch on topics as diverse as touring with The Rolling Stones and sitting for Lucian Freud to writing poetry and singing at Glastonbury. As our time together comes to an end, she says, 'I loved that lunch, Heston is aah-may-zing.' Jerry Hall, you are, too.
Do you know Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London well?
I come here a lot for lunch, and I visit The Spa with my daughters [Elizabeth and Georgia May]. I met Yoko Ono here for dinner once, when Elizabeth was dating her son. She's so lovely. And she always stays here.
Have you been to other Mandarin Oriental hotels around the world?
The first Mandarin Oriental I went to was the one in Hong Kong. It's the best hotel I've ever been to in my life. Mick [Jagger, her ex-husband] and I went there in the late-Seventies; it was amazing. I've also stayed at the hotels in Tokyo, Bangkok, Barcelona and New York. They're all so peaceful and elegant, and have the yummiest food.
Which of the Group's hotels is next on your list?
The new one in Bodrum looks wonderful. Mick and I travelled to Bodrum many years ago to stay with Ahmet Ertegün [the founder of Atlantic Records]. I'd also love to visit Miami. Tracey Emin spends a lot of time there. She's a friend of mine, as we're neighbours in the South of France. She loves Miami in the winter; the art scene is very happening there.
I've worked with my daughters who are models. I can't resist directing them
Are you a big foodie?
Good food is one of the great pleasures in life. I like French, Italian and Asian. I eat just about everything.
Do you like getting the family together for big meals?
Oh, yes. I have four kids [as well her daughters, Hall has sons James and Gabriel] and they've all moved out except for the youngest, but they come home for the weekend a lot. And they've kept all their junk in their rooms, which is frustrating as I like to be able to vacuum! We were all together at Christmas and Mick came. We're very friendly. I really like his company. He's quite funny and we've pretty much always got along well.
Do your daughters steal your clothes from your wardrobe?
They go in there, treat it like a shop and take whatever they like. But I'm quite flattered they want to wear my stuff. What I don't like is when they decide they don't like something, when I was thinking it was quite nice.
In the Seventies, your modelling heyday, you did fashion shoots with legendary photographers such as Helmut Newton and Norman Parkinson. Was it as glamorous as your pictures look?
It was so much fun. It was hard work and I travelled a lot, but when you're young you have all that energy. I worked with some great photographers and they took some lovely pictures. And I adored doing it; I was so lucky.
Jerry Hall modelling in 1986
Were you tempted to take pictures, too?
No, I'm not very technical, but I liked collaborating with the stylists and the photographers. I still model sometimes – I'm amazed they keep asking me to do it! I've worked with my daughters who are models. I can't resist directing them.
Is the modelling industry different now?
They're making more money, that's for sure! I'm so glad for them. Georgia has just bought a house. She's only 23.
You act in films and in the theatre. Do you ever get stage fright?
You always do a little bit. But it's good as the adrenalin makes your brain work. You just have to keep breathing and try to have fun. Eventually it gets better. The opening night is always terrifying.
Is the theatre like the catwalk in any way?
It's very different, but there are a few similarities in that it's a live audience and there's lighting and you're telling a story. But fashion shows are like silent films, you're just acting out a drama.
Last Christmas, you played the Wicked Queen in a pantomime, Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. How was it?
It was fun, I love comedy. My kids came to watch me on opening night. It was hard work, though, as we did 12 shows a week and had to go on stage twice a day.
You were painted by Lucian Freud. How did you find the experience?
I loved it. It's like modelling because you're posing, but it's over a long period of time, so you get to know the artist and form quite an intimate bond. With artists – just like musicians – you have to be careful when you look at a work in progress. You can't point out one specific thing, because then they'll start thinking about it. So you say, 'It really works' or 'It's so beautiful,' which won't change their train of thought or interfere.
You also posed for Andy Warhol.
Andy painted six portraits of me. We met when I was 16, in Paris. I was so young and didn't know who he was, but we became great friends. He was one of the really great artists. I have one of his paintings of me; another is in the Andy Warhol Museum [in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] and Roman Abramovich has one. Andy was lovely. He would have loved Twitter.
Have you tried painting as well?
I did two paintings: one of my son, Gabriel, when he was a baby and one of apples in a cork bowl. When I worked with Lucian Freud I wrote down the names of his paints; when he was out of the room I'd look at all of his paint tubes and brushes. I then went out and bought them all. I tried painting using his technique, copying the way he'd mix the oil and the turpentine – and then there are the rags, the way he wiped the brush. It actually made a big difference using his technique, colours and brushes.
How do you like to relax?
I go on holiday, stay in a luxurious hotel and write poetry. I've been on poetry-writing retreats with the Arvon Foundation. It's challenging, as they give you a subject, you write about it, then read your work out to the group.
Do you enjoy a challenge?
I do. I performed at Glastonbury last year, singing some songs I wrote. I was so nervous. But I like the excitement and adventure of new things.
Do you travel a lot?
I go to New York quite a bit and stay at Mandarin Oriental. Usually I go because I have some work, but my kids are often there. My son James is doing an HBO series directed by Martin Scorsese, so he's there a lot. I also go shopping and see old friends.
Did you travel much with The Stones?
Yes. It was crazy going on tour, but great. We took the children. And they still go. They love it. I'm great friends with all of The Stones and their wives and kids – and so are my kids. It's like a big extended family.
Do you go back to Texas much?
I do. I have a house in Austin, which is a great city. My kids love it; there are lots of bars and things to do. My son Gabriel, who is 17, wants to go to university in America and he likes the idea of Austin. But London is home now; I'm so lucky having so much family here.
Fashion shows are like silent films, you're just acting out a drama
What have you got planned over the coming year?
I'm doing the American version of the TV show Who Do You Think You Are? My family is part English, Scottish, Irish, Dutch, Danish and Cherokee. I'm 10th-generation Texan, my relatives went there early on. All the men in my family have been law enforcement officers, but we don't know what they did in Europe. It'll be interesting to know if they did anything creative.
Do you have any other travel plans?
I leave for New Mexico soon to shoot a film, Hellbent, with Billy Bob Thornton. I'm also going to Mustique later this year. And I go to the South of France in July; I have a house on the beach and a boat. I'm a captain! I also like to travel to the rainforest in Borneo in August. I'm spoilt rotten.
When you go away, do you prefer the city or the beach?
I live in one of the greatest cities in the world. Everything you want is here, so on holiday I like to go to the beach, swim and be in the sunshine.
What are your travel essentials?
I'm a light traveller, except for my beauty products and books. But I've just got a Kindle, because I love travelling with a small suitcase, a carry-on, preferably. I'm quite keen on the kind of holiday where you just take a swimsuit, pyjamas, kaftans and the trousers you travel in.
Finally, this has been such a great lunch. Will you come here again?
I have two girlfriends who I meet regularly. One writes plays and music, one is writing a children's novel and I write poetry. We have lunch and we read each other what we're working on. I should bring them here next time.