Author and superstar agent Melanie Blake by no means washes her personal hair. As a substitute, she spends £150 each week on a hairdresser to return to her house and do it for her.
Blake, who grew up in poverty, earned thousands and thousands of kilos as a star agent earlier than writing hit novel Ruthless Girls.
Her newest guide, Responsible Girls, is printed on Thursday. Blake, who’s 42 and single, spoke to Donna Ferguson.
Stars of their eyes: Melanie Blake turned a star agent aged 23
What did your mother and father train you about cash?
That I did not wish to stay like them, in poverty. My dad was a printer who gave all his cash to a fanatical Christian cult. My mum was a cleaner. I grew up sporting charity store garments, getting meals from meals banks, dwelling on advantages and free college meals. I used to be determined to flee. I ended up homeless at 16 as a result of I could not stay within the household house any extra – it was too hectic with all my mother and father’ spiritual stuff.
I moved right into a squat in Manchester and obtained a number of jobs, saving on a regular basis so I might fulfil my dream of going to London and breaking into showbusiness. I did not know what I used to be going to do, however I deliberate on getting completely a great deal of cash – which I did.
Have you ever ever struggled to make ends meet?
No. From the second I left house and arrived in London at 17, I did not really feel like I used to be struggling as a result of it had been so terrible at house. I had £1,500 – cash I might saved by working from the age of 12 – which felt to me like £1million. That stored me going as I utilized for work at each single TV firm I might discover.
I spent a yr and a half doing promotional work, handing out drinks at occasions and getting inside touching distance of celebrities. However I used to be on the fallacious aspect of the rope. Simply as my financial savings had been working out, I obtained a job as a digital camera assistant on High Of The Pops. There, I befriended numerous pop stars and actresses. I additionally began working as an additional on TV soaps.
How did you make your fortune?
I obtained to know Claire Richards from pop band Steps and Claire King from TV collection Emmerdale. They each appreciated my opinions about what may very well be finished to make their careers even higher. They determined to make me their supervisor on the similar time. My life modified in a single day. I went from holding the cables of studio cameras to being a star agent at 23. Inside my first week in enterprise, I had secured £100,000 of contracts for my shoppers.
Again then, many superstar brokers simply sat round ready for telephone calls. They did not exit and discover work for his or her shoppers. I took a unique strategy and by the top of my second yr in enterprise, I had made £1.5million revenue. After I closed my company all the way down to deal with being an creator, we had generated revenues of £30million and I might personally made £6million.
Have you ever ever been paid foolish cash?
Sure. I wrote bonkbuster Ruthless Girls in seven weeks and have made half 1,000,000 kilos from that guide up to now.
What was one of the best yr of your monetary life?
It was 2011. I earned £800,000 as an agent. I used to be taking care of panellists on TV present Free Girls and main actresses from each TV cleaning soap. I labored lengthy hours and I had no life in any respect. I used to be giving the whole lot to my work.
Then, my mum was recognized with most cancers and died rapidly. It modified my perspective, I did not wish to work like that once more.
What’s the costliest factor you acquire for enjoyable?
5 items of jewelry from Jackie Collins’ property price £100,000. One is a 50-carat Morganite diamond pendant which she wore when she was writing 1990 novel Woman Boss. I learn all Jackie Collins’ books after I was a young person and she or he impressed me. I appreciated the truth that her heroines did not marry cash, they had been all impartial girls. I dated wealthy males after I was youthful and I had affords from them to take care of me for all times – however I stored pondering no. I would like my wealth to be my very own.
What’s your greatest cash mistake?
Spending an excessive amount of renovating a five-bedroom home in Crouch Finish, North London. I used to be engaged on the time and thought it was my endlessly house. After I offered it final yr for £2.25million, I did not make a revenue. I simply broke even after dwelling by means of a seven-year refurbishment.
The most effective cash determination you may have made?
Shopping for a five-bedroom, five-storey terrace home in Kentish City, North London, for £1.1million in 2009. I solely spent £150,000 renovating it and I offered it in 2015 for £2.7million.
Do you save right into a pension or spend money on the inventory market?
No. I’ve solely ever heard horrible tales about inventory market investments and pensions. I do not perceive the inventory market and I do not imagine in pensions. All people I do know who’s finished effectively financially has finished it by means of bricks and mortar. Moreover, I am financially safe now for the remainder of my life. I might cease working at this time if I wished to. However I will by no means retire. They will be nailing me down in my coffin and I will nonetheless be working.
Do you personal any property?
Sure, my house in Chelsea, West London, which I purchased final yr for £1.1million. No one was capable of view the property throughout lockdown, however I knew the home, so I paid for it unseen in money and obtained a discount. It is a attractive little indifferent studio home, most likely now price about £1.8million as I’ve renovated it. I will attempt to put an extension on it and add one other million kilos of worth. I am additionally planning to purchase a property in Amsterdam this yr for round a million euros (£829,000).
What’s the one luxurious you deal with your self to?
I like a blow dry. I by no means wash my very own hair. As soon as every week, my hairdresser involves my house to scrub and blow dry it for me. I pay her £150 every time. I’ve obtained hair extensions and it is excessive upkeep to have a glamorous look. To me, it is price it.
When you had been Chancellor, what’s the very first thing you’ll do?
I’d improve advantages for struggling households. Those that are in want ought to be supported greater than they’re. On the similar time, I’d do away with enterprise charges. I feel these taxes are killing this nation. My coronary heart breaks for all of the excessive road companies which have suffered throughout the pandemic. Eliminating enterprise charges would change folks’s lives.
Do you donate cash to charity?
Sure. Beneath my powerful exterior, I am an actual softie, particularly in terms of youngsters. Perhaps it is because I haven’t got youngsters of my very own. I give to numerous private appeals made on crowdfunding web site GoFundMe when somebody is attempting to boost cash for a sick little one. I additionally donate to youngsters’s charities and meals banks as a result of I relied on them as a baby.
What’s your primary monetary precedence?
To have the funds for to by no means have to fret about it. That, to me, is freedom. Fortunately, I’ve achieved that – so the whole lot else I now earn is a bonus.
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