First love: Angie was a model at 17 and would spend her wages at top store Biba
Former model and workout video star Angie Best became a Playboy bunny to keep herself busy in the evenings when her husband, the late footballer George Best, went into hospital after a drunken incident. After just two weeks, she quit the infamous Playboy Club to go on tour with Cher.
She went on to earn the silliest pay cheque of her life by agreeing to go on Celebrity Big Brother with her son, the TV star Callum Best.
Now 70, Angie tells Donna Ferguson she has never saved into a pension and doesn’t own her home. She runs Absolute Best, a cannabidiol (CBD) company, with her partner Mark.
What did your parents teach you about money?
Absolutely nothing. It wasn’t talked about. My mother worked for the Government in the VAT office, and my father had betting offices. We had a nice house and I always had everything I wanted. I never even thought about money. So if it was tight or if we couldn’t afford to go somewhere, I wasn’t told about it. I just know that I had everything I needed and I was happy.
Have you ever struggled to make ends meet?
No, because you only struggle to make ends meet if you have expectations. I never wanted anything like the latest handbag. I would never go and spend my last pennies on a bottle of wine. I didn’t smoke. So if times were hard, I would just take away the excess and then times weren’t hard.
I became a model at 17 and the money I earned was fabulous.
My first job was modelling rugs. I remember sitting there thinking, ‘Jesus, this is easy and I’m getting paid for it.’ I loved every minute of it. I’d go every Friday to my agency to get my pay cheque, go to the bank – and then go straight to Biba, the famous London fashion store, and spend it.
How old were you when you met George Best?
The first time we met I was 18. I was modelling at Olympia. Suddenly, there was all this fuss and attention at the other end of the room and the people I was with ran down there to see. I stayed where I was. I was snooty in those days.
The next thing I know, this man is walking towards me and starts to chat. I was aware of who he was, but I couldn’t have cared less. I didn’t give a toss about football in those days.
That night, he asked me to go to Manchester with him. I said no, absolutely not. And that was the end of that. The next time we met, I was about 23.
I was living at Cher’s house and was invited to a party by Elizabeth Taylor’s boyfriend. I walked in and there were 50 women there, and five men. All the men were standing in a corner talking to each other, and all the women were on the other side of the room.
When I was introduced to George, I remembered that we’d met before. I said, ‘Nice to meet you, but I think you’ll be just fine without me here, so I’m off.’ And I left. Two weeks later, I was told Mr Best would like me to come to a party.
How long were you a Playboy Bunny for?
Two weeks. That was a time when George had got drunk, had an accident outside Harrods and went into hospital. I thought, ‘Sod this, I’m off, I’ve got to get a job.’ I wanted something to keep my evenings busy. So I walked straight into the Playboy Club and said that I wanted a job.
After two weeks on Casino Reception, where I got brilliant tips and made an awful lot of money, I got a call to say it was Cher. She said, ‘I’m going on the road, I need you.’ So I left the next day. I became her fitness trainer and her assistant and I changed her costumes backstage.
Have you ever been paid silly money?
Yes. I got paid a lovely amount of money for doing Celebrity Big Brother. I had fun too. I was in the house for eight days with my son, Calum. You get paid very good money. I don’t want to say how much exactly because I wouldn’t want to make people hate me.
What was the best year of your financial life?
I don’t have one. In my mind, I was paid what I was worth. Before George, I had a very good career and after George, I went back to that very good career. Every year of my life, I worked my ass off and got paid what I deserved.
What is the most expensive thing you have bought for fun?
Some nature-made crystal beads, such as amethysts and lapis lazuli. I bought them for £400 at a crystal show a couple of years ago. I now make crystal jewellery, which I sell on Etsy.
Memory: Angie with George and Calum in 1981
The best money decision you have made?
Investing in myself. When my partner Mark and I started Absolute Best, our CBD company, I decided it would be successful. And it’s doing very well, because it’s a sensationally fabulous product.
Do you save into a pension?
No, and I never have. I would say my pension is putting my money into my business. I don’t save money. It’s a tool so I use it. The money goes back into building the business. I’m 70 so I get the state pension. I get £160 a month because I didn’t live in this country for so many years, so they don’t want to give me anything else, which is fine.
Do you own any property?
Of course I do – I own my business, all my jewellery and myself. I don’t own my home. I live in Henley-on-Thames, which is an expensive place, and rent a very modest, sweet little two-bedroom house. I’m looking to buy a farm in Scotland as part of a business deal that I can’t say too much about.
What is the one luxury you treat yourself to?
A really good massage once every six months. I’ll typically pay £60.
If you were Chancellor, what is the first thing you would do?
I would take the money that we give all the other countries and give it to small businesses. There’s plenty of money. I’d say no rates for small businesses, and I’d fund that by cutting foreign aid.
Do you donate money to charity?
Yes, to very small charities at home who support animals and kids. Every time I watch TV, they want me to save all the animals around the world and give children their smiles and water and help them with their eyes. They want me to protect pangolins and save the polar bear. All in foreign countries. It makes me feel so guilty they should be suffering and I can’t help them enough.
So I want all that money to come back into our country, so we can make ourselves stronger and therefore help them in a way that makes sense, instead of paying the CEOs of those charities big, £200,000 or £300,000-a-year salaries.
What is your number one financial priority?
Security. To make sure I’ve got a roof over my head.
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