It was only a matter of time before we turned our Spiker Spotlight on the most fabulous diva in the house. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the doyenne of Thunderball: Stefano (aka. Joan).
Name: Stefano ‘Joan Collins’
Number of Years Playing: Over 3 decades
Been with the Spikers since: 2006
Ciao Joan. Tell us a bit more about where you are from, your Dickensian childhood in Sicily and what brought you to London in the end to seek fame and fortune? When were you discovered by Carlo Ponti?
Why, daaaaaaaa’ling, what a vivid imagination you have! It must have been all of those years growing up like a savage in the desolate nothingness of mid-America.
My childhood was actually spent in Veneto, Italy’s wealthiest region, with a higher GDP than the whole of Portugal. So not that Dickensian, I must say, more akin to what my dear sister Jackie described in her novels: opulent and hedonistic.
But just like my beloved friends Sofia (Loren) and Gina (Lollobrigida), I’ve always been attracted to foreign lands. The allure of London was far too strong to resist and, alas, I decided to leave Padova, my beautiful Medieval hometown, safe in the knowledge that the world had grander plans in store for me. And, well... Also because I had gone through the whole list of eligible bachelors alarmingly quickly...
In the ’80s you made a name for yourself tearing up the silver screen as Alexis Carrington in “Dynasty.” How the hell did you transition from that to Art Director in Gaming? Tell us more about you how you pay the bills… ahem I mean diamonds.
Well, yes, the grand plan turned out to be becoming Director of Art for the mobile games department at Capcom, for quite a long time, actually, more than 9 years. It did interfere with my filming career a bit, but I was always so good at multitasking. And I learnt sooooo much dealing with all of those Japanese. I mean, the British can think they are the best passive aggressive bitches in the world, well, until they meet the Japanese! I did treasure all of that first-hand experience while playing Alexis, of course, but I guess I did go a bit over the top, leaving the ‘passive’ firmly behind...
So you’ve been in the club since before the days when Caesar and Cleopatra attempted to rule the world—God were they delusional. What’s changed the most in the club since those horse drawn chariot days?
It’s funny how you speak of Cleopatra... You too must have known that the role was MINE until Liz, that sly little whore, stole it from me! I never forgave her, but, then again, she’s always had BROADer appeal.
The club, like me, hasn’t changed much through these many years. I mean, the same over-the-top drama, the same ruthless bitchiness, the same delusional attitudes. The various mafias (Brazilian, Chinese, Italian) always fighting for the crown (or tiara), amongst the frantic back-stabbing and fake smiles, like in a cheap Mexican soap-opera...or Game of Thrones. I guess the arrival of all these millenials (is that how they are called nowadays?) did change things a bit: even more tedious, pointless moaning! But, yes, also a fair share of firm bottocks, which is always rather lovely...
Volleyball is very big in Italy. I mean 1/3 of the club is Italian FFS. Did you pick up volleyball back while growing up in the slums of Scampia or were you drawn to the sport after you expatriated yourself to London?
Oh, don’t be silly, dear! The only real reason I ever took to volleyball is the very reason I exist: the silver screen itself, of course! And again the Japanese. You know, they created quite a lot of sports-themed animated series back then when I was a little girl, and they used to show them all on Berlusconi’s tv channels. Well, I guess they were cheap... Anyway, those about volleyball are the ones which caught my young feverish imagination. I mean, what’s not to like about playing with balls, after all? So you can say my brilliant career in both sports and the arts has been moulded by TV.
Ok, now it’s time for our lightening round of questions:
1. Pizza or Pasta?
HOMEMADE pasta, darling, obviously! The secret is discreetly vomiting afterwards.
2. Italodisco or Dubstep?
Italodisco, naturally. Giorgio Moroder has been a dear friend of mine for (many) years! And the only ‘dub’ I tolerate is the self-dubbing I had to do back in the 70s for my movies.
3. Madonna or Kylie?
Oh my, Kylie of course! The only Madonna I speak to has ALWAYS been a virgin.
4. Gucci or Versace?
Gucci. Sorry Gianni, darling, but it’s so uncouth to get killed by an ex-lover. I mean, always strike first, I say.
5. Sapphire Blue or Rose Gold?
Sapphire Blue, like my eyes, or the colour of my favourite outfits. Rose Gold is not even a colour, but something made up by a (probably millennial) twat down at Apple.
Now back to Down Home with Joan…
After moving to Wandsworth, has it been difficult to maintain your previous level of poshness? What do you enjoy most about South of the River?
Well, darling, the move to Wandsworth was necessary because I couldn’t stand all of those tourists in central London one minute longer. It was really hard to cross the river but the poshness had gone from central London the minute they opened ghastly endeavours such us Madame Tussaud’s, Pizza Express or The London Dungeon. And at least I understand what people are saying in South West London... Not that I’m interested in what they have to say, of course...
What I do enjoy about Wandsworth is... the prison! I’ve always loved going to play volleyball against those lovely rapists and murderers. Oh the thrills! And they strategically positioned the showers (with see-through glass) just in front of the court, how sweet of them! I tell you, it was hard to remain concentrated on the right kind of balls, but I’m proud to say we did manage to win all the time.
Having an Italian perspective that’s been coloured by your many years living abroad, do you think Italy has ever been or is still culturally divided into north and south?
Ah ah ah, darling, you are so funny! There’s not such thing as Southern Italy. There’s Italy and there’s Northern Africa. Not even the same continent!
Besides your numerous awards you’ve picked up—this season you won MVP, Biggest Bitch and Miss Congeniality—what have you enjoyed the most about the club?
Well, I asked myself about this very eclectic string of wins and I concluded that either I’m schizophrenic or so are my fellow volleyball players. I lean towards the latter. But I have to admit that what I really enjoyed the most about this volleyball club is the chance it gave me to make new friends, and from so many different backgrounds as well! Life as a star can be so lonely at times, but all of these beautiful people filled mine with years of bitching, drama and evil laughter. What more can a girl want?
What else have you learned from playing in an organised sports team? What can you apply from your volleyball life to your Alexis Carrington (semi-real) life?
What a clever question... The volleyball court is a battlefield so you always have to be alert, a moment of distraction can cost you dearly, just like in real life. Always keep an eye on your opponents and use their weaknesses to your advantage. But above all, ATTACK is the best defence.
In your 13 years in the club, share with us your top 3 memories or highlights of being a Spiker? They can be from training, social events, tournaments abroad… any context really…
Well, I do remember that a friend of mine came to support us during one of our tournaments abroad, in Bologna. Well, he got so drunk that he randomly climbed up the stage to collect the Best Player/Level A award even if he doesn’t even play volleyball! I had to go and take him down before he got stoned to death... It was lovely!
I also fondly remember the Barbie And Ken tournament in Berlin all those years ago, we must have won something because I’ve still got a ken in leather outfit...
But probably the best memory is only recent, when my fellow team players called me on Facetime while giving out the awards that were mentioned before. I was abroad for a tournament, but they still wanted me to be part of the celebrations. That felt really special, and even an old hag like me shed a small tear.
Between working 9-5, volleyball and constantly shuttling through European airports chased by a band of make-up artists and hairdressers, what else do you do in your free time?
Oh, I relax. I mean, I’m so good at relaxing. I usually fly off to my property in Sardinia and I look out to the sea from my terrace, thinking: God, I hope I look as marvellous up here for all of those peasants down there as the down there looks to me.
What’s something most of us in the club don’t know about you, but should? Honey, we already know your age.