Anne's Q&A

Right now what are you doing?

Answering your questions! I'm looking to reinvent my own world for the next 20 years of my life.

What makes you happy?

Wearing thick chenille socks in winter and padding around barefoot the rest of the year. Also wearing my black cotton eye mask makes me very happy. I call them my martini shades—I can sleep anytime, anyplace, anywhere, when I wear them.

Are you an optimist?

No, I'm a realist, my optimism left me when I left my twenties and entered my thirties, which was quite some time ago! I guess I view optimism much like heaven, it would be nice if there was one, but let's get real people.

You're from Scotland originally but have lived and worked all over the world. How Scottish do you feel?

I feel extremely Scottish, a true Highlander in the Braveheart sense, but also have a strong dash of the spirited Viking. I grew up in the most northern town on the British mainland, called Thurso, which was settled by the Vikings and named after Thor. Being positioned at the very top of Scotland, it has a sub-artic climate similar to Alaska or Norway. The winds in the region literally blow straight in from Siberia in Russia, so you need courage to live in this extreme climate. Growing up, there I was 120 miles away from the nearest everything! For me the isolation and desolate windswept landscape was also an invitation for global exploration, which has stayed with me and led me to live an incredible and well-travelled life.

Are you critical of your own work?

Always, I am more critical than anyone else I know, not in a perfectionist way just in pushing the boundaries.

What inspires you to work?

It's not so much inspiration, more drive. I feel driven to create. I feel driven to make change.

When are you most creative?

I'm at my most creative when I'm on my own. I need thinking space, all gadgets turned off and a steady supply of fridge snacks to graze on.

How do you usually start your day?

Very grumpily! I've woken up every morning for the last three decades in severe pain from historic car accident injuries. It's always best to stay out of my way until I manoeuvre out of bed, my limbs start to function properly and I get in the shower. Now I spend the first few hours of my day meditating, doing yoga, going for a walk & swimming. At the end of it all I can talk without being grumpy, so I guess it's worth the effort for all around.

When you're working what music do you listen to?

A wild and digressive mix of everything from Pink, Kings of Leon to Monks chanting and new age mood music. I really believe that the right music for the right frame of mind is really important.

Favourite Album?

Boomtown by David & David, I hardly ever play it now but it brings me right back to a very happy time in my life.

Favourite Band or Artist of all time?

Has to be U2. They are the soundtrack to my life. Been listening to them since their very first album ... back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I had just hit my teens.

Favourite author?

Malcolm Gladwell. I only read factual books, for some weird and wonderful reason I find novels extremely hard to read because I'm dyslexic. I like how Malcolm Gladwell thinks. I only wish he wrote more frequently.

The book that changed you was?

I should be saying some smart arse novel here, but it was a property book called How To Sell Your Own Property. This book lead me down the path of my first fortune making and that in turn opened up my world to all sorts of possibilities.

Favourite book of the moment?

The Brain That Changes Itself by Dr Norman Doidge. This book is so relevant to how we view how our brains function and the new thinking on brain plasticity. I've used so much of what he's written to help two family members function better with challenges they deal with.

Favourite Magazine?

Without any doubt, the National Geographic. I've read it every single month since I was seven years old, so I guess you could say I'm a fan! I love it so much that when I went to Washington for the first time many years ago, on the first day there I headed on my pilgrimage to the National Geographic's head office.

Favourite Film?

Well this is hard to narrow down, so I'm going to cheat here and give you three. Each is a favourite for different reasons, all much too emotional to discuss. Breakfast at Tiffany's, Wizard of Oz and The Pursuit of Happyiness.

Favourite Actors?

There are so many great Hollywood actors many of whom are my clients. Helen Mirren and Judy Dench are my favourite female actors. With men it's hard to decide between Kevin Spacey, Sean Penn and I was a huge fan of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, so sad he's gone.

Favourite TV show of all time?

Has to be the original Star Trek series, space the final frontier. Loved it then, still love it today ... beam me up Scotty! Someone recently downloaded all the star trek sounds for me from the internet—so cool!

Favourite TV shows right now?

Oh so many—TV is great escapism. I binge watch most TV dramas. Often a whole series in one or two nights, then nothing for ages. Love House of Cards, The Bridge (Danish version), Downton Abbey, Orange is the New Black, Mad Men and most UK made BBC or ITV dramas. I do not get the following Game of Thrones has achieved. It's not for me.

Favourite food?

Couldn't live without potatoes. Also hard to live without broccoli.

Are you a good cook?

I make the best soups - they are legendary. If I have the time I'm pretty okay in the kitchen, but that tends to be at weekends mainly.

What does being veggie mean to you?

It means everything. It's the most important principal I lead my life by. I've been vegetarian and vegan for 42 years. I first pleaded to become vegetarian at just 3 years old. I feel humans have evolved a long way since our cave days, we've built civilisations and cruelty need not be part of our lives. I can go to bed each night knowing that I have not been part of any torture to any living being from the food I chose to put on my plate—my conscience is clear. I also chose not to wear or use leather, feathers, fur, shells, corals or any household or cosmetic product made from or tested on animals. In simple terms you probably wouldn't want to eat toddler with mint sauce and potatoes yet most people think it's OK to do that to an other species ... lamb anyone?

Your dream dinner party of six would include which guests?

I like to laugh. No let me rephrase that. I love, love, love to laugh, so my dream table would be made up of people who make me laugh. My late Aunt Ethel and comedians Billy Connolly, Danny Bhoy, Michael McIntyre, Ricky Gervais, the late Robin Williams and Joan Rivers who I'd have to sneak under the table along with Stephen Fry.

Favourite alcoholic drink?

I don't drink alcohol, I gave it up at 13 years of age ... but that's another story for another time.

Favourite soft drink?

I don't drink sodas, except maybe one or two glasses a year, if I'm in some bar that doesn't serve any non-alcoholic alternatives and when I get half way through, I can't go on without feeling quite sick, but I love fresh juices. I've been juicing for 30 years—long before it became fashionable.

Favourite exercise?

I have loved moving my whole life, but loathe the idea of sweaty gyms, yuk! As a kid I competed in gymnastics, badminton and athletics. As an adult, I've been doing yoga for 28 years. All other forms of exercise I do are outdoors including swimming, walking, kayaking, plus I'm trying to turn afternoon napping into a sport too.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

That I'm a total space science geek and brain science groupie. I have no doubt in my mind that we are not the only life form with civilisations. I believe there is micro life in our own solar system but in all the billions of galaxies out there in the Universe, I'm placing a large bet on other highly intelligent life forms, hopefully ones that have worked out planetary sustainability and respect of life! As to the brain and its plasticity, we are only at the very start of discovering what it is capable of—it's exciting stuff.

What makes you smile?

Feeding the birds. I've done it since childhood. First it was a family of swans when I was a kid and now I have created a ‘bird cafe' on one of my terraces and each morning an entourage of feathered species flock to get breakfast a la carte. I also love to feed the seagulls down by my beach too. Sadly I also rescue birds all the time as uncaring fishermen leave hooks and fishing line lying around, leaving birds to constantly get tangled in it. On average I catch, untangle and release at least one wild bird a week. I even carry a special blade in my bag at all times that was given to me by my local veterinary practice, ready to do my rescue thing.

What makes you angry?

Cruelty to animals and cruelty to humans—in that order. The destruction of our planet. We have totally screwed it up. We should be ashamed

What little and big things freak you out?

Alarm clocks, people who only wear ‘labels' and look like walking billboards, dry cleaning, corporate working cubicles, waiting for a flashing green man to tell me when to cross the road, gold jewellery, the public who turn a blind eye to the intolerable cruelty in food production, orange fake tans ... all fake tans, bras (a former of modern day torture), coffee latte frappy capo mocha crappy ... coffee—it's just a bloody drink, wine drinking bullshiters who ramble on about the latest cheraz or whatever ... it's also just a bloody drink, pubs, white bread, women who don't vote, scary tight sportswear, air stewards treating men and women differently on flights ( I could write a scathing book on this), releasing I'm in my 40s, Laurel & Hardy eating felt hats, having too many passwords and pins to remember, pseudo vegetarians, people who take selfies all the time, women who exercise with the sole purpose of lifting their ass 3 inches, photoshopped family snaps, Apple computers changing their operating systems, fruit and veg being more expensive than processed 'food', department store cosmetic and perfume halls, doctors' receptionists who think they are doctors, people who drink and drive, being asked by total strangers if I'm Anne McKevitt. I could go on ... hmm quite a few things freak me out then ...

Favourite city in the world, not counting where you live?

Rome is pretty hard to beat. The history is awe inspiring, the art breath taking, the food amazing, clothes stunning and lets not forget the men ... sexy as hell.

What are your three most valued possessions?

Well let's leave out family and my cats because they are obvious, then it would have to be: my house keys, passport and Amex card—with these I can go anywhere in the world or I can stay at home.

If you were stranded on a desert Island you would do what?

I'd happily remain lost as long as there was an everlasting supply of fresh fruit, vegetables and sunblock. The only other thing I would need is George Clooney just after he'd completed a course in deep tissue massage! Oh some coconut oil, for that wouldn't go amiss too.

The three things in life you could never give up are?

Being veggie, my Scottish accent and my freedom.

What's your proudest achievement?

Boarding a train at 15 years old to leave home.

The craziest thing you've ever done with hindsight?

I'm torn here between going to Edinburgh on my own age 13 for a week, or Berlin on my own age 14, getting married 10 days after I met someone and before we'd even had a date or jumping out of a plane at 14,000 feet to clear my head. I actually need to do more crazy things. I didn't have those teenage college years the ‘f*ck it years' as Sandra Bullock put it so nicely in an interview. She missed those, so did I, so I intend doing a list of upcoming crazy things now ... watch this space.

If you had the power to go back and change one day in your life, what day would that be?

Oh boy that's a tough question. I don't think I'd change any day, because it would change everything.

Finish the sentence. I hope ...

the entire world becomes vegetarian before the end of the century. It's not just me. The UN says that we all need to become vegetarian or vegan, or we are going to run out of food and water ... seriously.

What makes you sad?

My Mum has lived with the cruellest terminal illness for quite some time. It has robbed her of almost everything we take for granted including her speech, any facial expressions, being able to write, walk, eat or drink, yet her spirit keeps her fighting where others would have buckled. I would do anything to have just one day, or one hour, or even one minute where she could talk or write again.

What makes you different from everyone else in the world?

I've never been inside a fast food joint in my entire life, not even one toe over the threshold of a door. I've never eaten fast food and never will. I've never even had a pizza delivery.

When you die you would like your gravestone to say?

I don't want to be buried. I want to be cremated. I'm claustrophobic and don't like coffins that are the height of bad taste. I really don't fancy dark shiny wood, embellished carvings, padded white satin and shit looking ornate brass handles—even when I'm dead. If I had to be buried then make sure my hair and make-up are okay, put me in a hessian sack and just shove me in the ground. The gravestone? It would have to say something like “Organic compost, $5.00 a bag, dig here.”

ANNE'S FULL BIOGRAPHY