I find, as the years pass, my morning routine becomes ever more essential to my well being. I dislike it when my mornings are disturbed.
I am not an early riser - the preservation of beauty requires at least eight hours a night - and I need a leisurely breakfast if I am to last the day. Not that I eat much - half a grapefruit, some quinoa and a glass of pepper juice - but I like to take my time. Then a stretch, and a look in the Mirror. The 3am girls always reassure me I'm fairest. I've never known them to let me down.
After breakfast: a bath. And then to work. Age will not wither me, but the maintenance of youth takes effort. There are eyebrows to be plucked. Grey hairs to be excised. Body parts to be moisturised. Once a week: a visit to the salon, for bleaching, botoxing, lifting shadows from eyes. At home: an hour in the gym working on core muscles. A model stomach cannot sag even a millimetre.
I lunch alone: a sliver of grilled chicken, a mouthful of salad. I rest a little, and then prepare for the night ahead. I manicure, coiffure, choose my wardrobe, with only Rosa to help. It does not do to have an audience. It is important to be seen when all imperfection has been eradicated. I like to dazzle.
So my days pass, as they have passed for years. Until this morning. This morning was different. Disturbing. And now I will have to act.
I had a long lie in as usual, meditating on a delightful night out. Cocktails at the Ritz. A film premiere. A nice little model to play with in the small hours. His smooth body and hard muscles proving a welcome distraction whilst Marco is away. Everything as normal until I picked up the Mirror. It took one tiny article to shatter my routine completely.
"Down at the Blue Note Club dancing the night away we bump into the ravishing Bianca Nievicata, daughter of Fashion King, Marco Nievicata, and stepdaughter of the gorgeous Catherine. She tells us her father is developing a new line for her age group. “ I’m so excited!” she gushes before rushing back to the dance floor. Where does this leave step-mum Catherine we wonder? Is she about to be supplanted as the face of Nievicata? Having met Bianca we can’t say we blame her Dad. Catherine may be good for her age but on balance we have to say, that Bianca is far and away the fairest of them all.”
No mention of my turn on the red carpet. The new Nievicata creation I wore (a stunning little piece in purple velvet). Just Bianca's pouty red lips. Her silky black hair. Her paler than pale skin. How could they let me down like this? I'd ring their editor, but it would only make things worse. Marco dotes on that child. Naturally, so do I. It wouldn't do to have that myth exposed.
Marco hasn't dared mention his latest little scheme. He must have been worrying how I'd respond. I will have to embrace it with enthusiasm. That should be easy enough - living with Marco has always required a certain amount of deception. I'll make suggestions about the launch: venues, celebrities, refreshments. I'll do all the grunt work, get the right publicity, make it go with a bang. Then, when they're reassured they have nothing to fear, I'll phone the Huntsman. He can take care of Bianca for me. As he has done so many times before.
The preservation of beauty takes considerable effort. It's well worth it - don't you think?
* A gossip column in the Mirror newspaper for the uninitiated.