Kate Moss speaks with an Estuary English accent. Learn about the pronunciation features of an Estuary English accent via an analysis of Kate Moss’ accent, voice and speaking style.
Kate Moss has been at the centre of British fashion since the 90’s. We are all familiar with her famous face, but not so much with the voice that goes with it. This is because for much of her fashion career, Kate Moss avoided appearing in radio or television spoken interviews.
Kate Moss’s “Unacceptable” Estuary English Accent
Originally from Croydon, London, Kate Moss has an Estuary English accent. Below are some of the pronunciation features observable in her accent:
- /t/ in the middle of words said as a glottal stop
- -ing word endings become -ink endings, for example ‘somethink’
- /r/ sound in some instances pronounced with the lip down to sound more like /w/ (Cockney pronunciation feature)
At the time Kate Moss rose to fame in the early 1990’s, the British media was not as diverse as it is today in terms of the accents it portrayed. In the British public eye at least, there was very much still a sense of what is the ‘right’ way to speak and of how English ‘should’ be spoken.
When people in the public eye did not speak in the so-called ‘right’ way, then written complaints were often made to the BBC. One show in particular called Points of View would feature letters of complaint focusing on issues of language or grammar and the supposedly ‘right’ way to say things.
Although the pedantic British public has nothing to do with Kate Moss herself nor her decision not to speak in public, it does serve to evoke the kind of Britain she was living in in terms of accent and speech—one where you would have been openly judged or publically criticized for not speaking supposedly ‘correctly.’
As an Estuary English speaker with South London pronunciation features in her accent, Kate Moss’s accent is anything but ‘proper English’.
Why Didn’t Kate Moss Give Interviews?
Answering the question of why Kate Moss didn’t give interviews during her heyday, the answer could be either because of her unacceptable Estuary English accent, or potentially because being interviewed caused her to feel anxiety (a kind of stage fright).
The fashion world within which Kate Moss rose to prominence was one in which the glossy magazines ruled the day. It really didn’t matter if Kate Moss didn’t appear in spoken television or radio interviews—she didn’t have to—because she was still fronting advertising campaigns for the world’s biggest fashion brands.
Perhaps, then, Kate’s decision not to appear in spoken recorded videos was nothing more than a calculated, clever P.R. decision. By not speaking in public, it could even have served to make Kate (the fashion brand) more elusive and compelling.
If Kate’s decision to be quiet in the public eye was a calculated P.R. move, it was an effective strategy for its time. Importantly however, it’s a strategy that probably wouldn’t work so well today now that video has such an important role to play in advertising and marketing. Interestingly, some of the most famous models of today built their fame up via television first, e.g. Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Bella Hadid.
Did Kate Moss Suffer from Public Speaking Anxiety?
Kate Moss is not shy. We know this because she is enjoys hosting large parties for her celebrity friends. However, based on glimpses I caught of her while researching this post, it struck me that Kate has a vulnerable, self-conscious side to her too. I wonder if Kate could be confident, outgoing and expressive when in her comfort zone in front of the photographer’s lens and at the centre of the party, but otherwise may suffer from anxieties related to speaking in public, in particular when being interviewed?
Could it be that Kate Moss avoided being interviewed on television and radio for so long because the direct questioning would cause her to experience panic? I speculate that this may be so because in the video clip below, Kate’s has a startled ‘rabbit in the headlights’ expression when being interviewed.
Kate Moss: A Magnetic Personality for Video
In recent years Kate has begun again to appear in recorded interviews. Glimmers of self-consciousness are still there, but the Kate of today is able to speak well when being interviewed and seems to even enjoy herself. Importantly however, these recent interviews featuring Kate on YouTube are ones where she is being interviewed by old friends such as Kate Phelan, Director at British Vogue, or Nick Knight, Photographer.
If Kate does happen to suffer from public speaking anxiety or panic, being interviewed by friends within her comfort zone is something that could make a big difference to her interview performance; it could make all the difference between having a fun time or experiencing a ‘rabbit in the headlights’ moment of panic during the interview.
Whether or not Kate Moss does experience anxiety or panic in particular interview situations, it’s a great thing to see her facing her (potential) fears and speaking to camera again. She’s magnetic, and it’s fascinating to see more of the personality behind her famous image.
Extend Your Learning
◼️ Learn about Cara Delevingne’s posh, urban accent.
◼️ View an Example of the Estuary English Accent.
◼️ Learn about Estuary English via Gill at EngVid.
Professional English: 12 Words You Pronounce Incorrectly.
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