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Family affair

FAMILY MATTERS: Jasmine with Ashley Walters and his wife Danielle Isaie

I RECENTLY caught up with Top Boy actor Ashley Walters, who, when he wasn’t telling me about his new line of baseball caps and headphones, shared his thoughts with me about social media.

We were at debate held at ITV studios to explore the impact of social media on young people. Ashley and his wife, actress and entrepreneur Danielle Isaie were among the attendees and both spoke to me about how technology is changing our lives.

“Social media has meant that we spend less time with our children and they talk to us less about things because they spend so much of their time on social networking sites,” Ashley said.

“But when it comes to business, over the last few years I’ve been able to reach parts of the world that I’d never been able to reach before, so in that sense, social media has progressed my career.

Having that kind of global reach is an amazing thing. I remember the days when I had to use a phone box to call my mates! I grew up in that era, whereas a lot of the kids today have grown up in the age of social media. So while we’ve had to adapt to this new trend, they’re experts at it.”

Danielle added: “Social media has definitely made us more anti-social. Like he [Ashley] was saying, we’ll all sit there, there’ll be like five of us in a room, and we’ll all be on our phones! Eventually, I’ll look up and be like: ‘Hi, let’s have a conversation!’ So in that sense, it can be quite annoying.”

ALL SMILES: Wretch 32 and Jas

Also in attendance was UK chart topper Wretch 32, who told me: “I think social media has changed the world for the better and tiny bit for the worse,” he said. “The reason I say for the better is because I’ve got a little brother who lives in Canada and now we’re buttons away.

“But the down side is, you never know who is on the other end of the buttons, so it can be used well and misused at the same time. As an artist, using platforms like Twitter and YouTube has helped me a lot, so I definitely think it has done more good than bad. But with something as big as the internet and social media, there’s always a flip side to it.”

The main event saw lots of young people, media leaders and broadcasters sharing their views and the debate got pretty heated! But it was a great discussion.


LEGEND: Joan Collins

BEFORE MARIAH, Whitney, Cher and other so-called divas, came the acting legend that is Joan Collins.

This week I was invited to spend the evening with her at a wonderful event titled One Night With Joan. The once in a lifetime event held in London gave the audience the opportunity to hear about a golden Hollywood era from the famed British actress of Dynasty stardom.

Joan guided us through the story of her life, accompanied by precious old film footage, photos and secrets of her celebrated life and career, as one of the world’s most glamorous and intriguing personalities.

We heard first hand about her marriages, her being broke and how Hollywood changed her fortune.

The stage set was minimal – just a simple throne for Ms Collins and an old school telephone on a stand, that rung every now and again to take us to the next chapter in her journey. “And then I got a call ‘bbrring brring’,”Joan recalled. “It was Hollywood!”

As she paced around the stage, she talked us through her early years being born in Paddington, west London. As a teenager, she used to write to movie stars for their autographs. How times have changed – now her fans tweet and converse with her regularly!

It’s hard to believe whilst hearing her tales of working alongside Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly that she’s 80 years of age when she still seems so youthful.

She laughed as she recalled starring in her sister, famed author Jackie Collins works. “I starred in [the film adaptation of Jackie’s book] The Stud – and I showed my boobs! I was chastised for being over 40 and naked!”

When the conversation turned to men, it was clear – by her version of the story anyway – that she played the game on her terms. Married five times and idolised by many a Hollywood actor, she recalled an encounter with a certain Rat Pack star…

“One night, Frank Sinatra called and asked me to dinner,” Joan said. “He said he'd send his plane to pick me up. He was in Hamburg, I was in the UK. I politely declined saying: ‘I have an early call tomorrow.’ He replied ‘I can change your call, doll.’ I didn’t go – but Linda Evans did!”

As the event came to an end, Joan’s final nugget of gold was: “Live for the moment and enjoy every second of it. I think of life as a predator. You've got to eat it before it eats you!”

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