Q. What was your favourite TV show when you were
A. The Munsters (An American comic-horror series).
Q. Is it true you had alcoholic poisoning at the
age of eight?
A. I blame that on my brother and sister who have
a very warped sense of humour. We were in Majorca at a barbecue where there
was this very nice red liquid to drink - which was sangria, quite a deadly
thing - and they kept filling my glass up. I was slowly sinking under the
table. I remember desperately wanting to go to the toilet, but I couldn't
move. I was ill for about a week after that. They reckoned I'd had six
bottles of sangria. the pain in my stomach I'll never forget.
Q. Did you train with John Currie and want to
be a skater like him?
A. I didn't train with John Currie. We had the
same trainer at Solihull ice rink. I started when I was nine and I became
very serious about it. I'd go in the mornings before school and then again
in the evenings - up to six hours a day. Then when I saw Currie winning
the Olympics I thought 'God, I know that man'. I had a mad crush on him
when he was younger, he was so beautiful.
When I was 12 I had an operation to straighten
my toes and it meant I couldn't skate again because I couldn't put my foot
in a tight boot. I wasn't professionally minded though and I didn't mind
giving it up.
Q. Did you ever predict to your schoolmates that
you would be a star at such a young age? If so what was their reaction?
A. I didn't so much predict as tell them the most
abominable lies. I remember once I had the whole school thinking
I'd be leaving at the end of the week because I'd just been cast in a new
musical with Julie Andrews. I'd get bored and invent these stories and
believe them myself sometimes.! End of the week I got a load of presents
off my friends and then on Monday there I was again saying I'd decided
not to do it after all.
Q. What's it like being small and a star?
A. The only time I dislike being small is when
I see lovely women with great long legs and I think 'Oh wow I wish
I was like that'. And when your fans meet you and go ' Oooh, aren't you
little!' as if it's something dreadful. otherwise I don't think about it,
though it's true I am verging on the very small - four foot eleven.
Q. If people say unkind things about your appearance
what are your reactions?
A. If the press say it I won't read it because
it'll put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day. But when people in
the street laugh at the way I look I just stick my nose up in the air and
walk on as though I'm better than them - which annoys them. It's much better
than turning round and swearing and looking hurt.
Q. If you were offered money to pose nude in a
man's magazine what would you do?
A. No. I'd get a stand-in to do it with my wig
on. I just haven't got the physique to pull it off. Not only that, it's
just not me. I'm too modest.
Q. How much do you earn a month and do you spend
it mostly on clothes?
A. I don't get money the way most people do. I
get a basic wage, which is fifty quid cash per week, then if I need
clothes for costumes or photo sessions I ring up the record company and
say 'Please can I have some money' - but that has to be paid back through
Q. On average how much does one of Melissa Caplan's
outfits cost you?
A. The same as anything else in the shop. They're
always under a hundred quid which for nowadays is very good.
Q. Is it true that most of your lyrics were inspired
by dreams and nightmares?
A. Yes, but also horror films and books of horror
stories and science fiction. That's the main thing, the fear of death.
Q. Are you business minded?
A. To survive you've got to be business minded.
I'm business minded only in the fact that I don't trust a soul, not even
my manager and he knows it. Before I do anything I check it out myself
and I won't sign for something unless I approve of it. But the reason I'm
like that is to survive, having been ripped off early in my career. Rather
than lean on anyone with my trust I just do everything myself.
Q. Do you have a strong personal life?
A. I've never had a personal life. I'm just discovering
what the word 'boyfriend' means because I spent 20 years of my life totally
alone, totally tomboyish, going to wild parties and being known for being
totally aggressive. I've always been too weird for people to associate
Then success comes and everyone understands you.
But I'm happiest when I'm alone because then I can be as extreme as I like
without frightening anybody.
Q. Where does your name come from?
A. My parents deny any knowledge of where they
got the name from, but there is a town in Texas called Toyah. In Red Indian
language it means 'water'. Also the neighbouring town there is called Wilcox,
so that must be where my mum got it from - it was definitely her who named
Q. What was your school nickname?
A. I had a lot. When I was ten it was 'Barrel'
because I was very fat. Then it became 'Toilet' when I was about 14, not
only because it sounds like Toyah but I was always hiding in the toilets
during lesson times, having a smoke or something. And then I had a best
friend called Trisha and she was very thin and I was very fat and we were
known as 'Stick 'N' The Mud' - I was The Mud.
Q. What do your parents think of what you're doing
A. My parents are my greatest fans, but when I
first said I was going to move to London and become an actress and a singer
they tried to discourage it because it's such an insecure profession. Although
my dad gave up on telling me what to do when I was about 12 and just said
'Let her get on with it' my mother still nags me about the way I look -
only now it's because my hair's yellow and she preferred the red I used
Whereas when I was younger she nagged me about
'destroying' my hair. So the viewpoint's changed completely. Well, bleaching
your hair isn't good for it. You have to put the life back in so I overcondition
it. It's not something I'd advise kids to try themselves.
Unknown Magazine, 1982