Miss J Alexander: ‘I’ve been comfortable in my own skin since birth’

The former America’s Next Top Model judge and catwalk coach talks big bows, the power of Pride and a surreal meeting with Imelda Marcos in Manila

This jolly outfit, which I wore to the Oscars last year, was very simple. I found the opera coat on the floor in the Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta. André Leon Talley recommended me to the school and I used to fly in [to cast student shows and teach them how to walk] in between filming America’s Next Top Model in LA. The coat was one of the student’s prototypes but I was told they’d finished with it.

The bow, I kid you not, I made at 7.40am on the morning of the Oscars. After I did the bow, I realised I had to do big hair so I ran to get the wig at about 10.45am. Walking on to the red carpet when you’re 6ft 4in, your freaking afro makes you damn near 7ft tall, with your big oversized overcoat and big bow – people are looking at you. Someone said to me: “Can that bow look any bigger?” I said: “Yes, but it would have to have sticks to hold it up.”

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Miss J Alexander: ‘I’ve been comfortable in my own skin since birth’