As the oft-repeated tale of her first meeting with Blunkett goes, Fortier told the cabinet minister, who has been blind since birth, that she was tall and blonde. (She’s a brunette of average height). She also reportedly wondered aloud what it was like to sleep with a blind man.
Two years ago, Fortier’s and Quinn’s first son William was born — Quinn had had a vasectomy reversed — and Fortier is now pregnant with her second child. It’s still unclear who the fathers of the children are. Blunkett believes William is his son, and has private DNA tests to prove it, although these are not binding in the courts. He is pressing ahead with a paternity suit — which the Quinns are fighting — and which is currently working its way through the courts.
While Fortier’s ambitions may have worked against her in her personal life, they’ve clearly served her well professionally. She’s said by many to mix a giggly, little-girl charm with a pushy, in-your-face attitude and thundering self-confidence to get what she wants. In that regard, she is credited with helping to boost The Spectator’s circulation, making the title profitable and transforming it into a sexy brand name.
Ironically, she joined The Spectator when it was owned by another older, powerful man: Conrad Black, later granted a peerage and since caught up in a scandal of his own, albeit a financial one. Fortier regularly volunteered that “Conrad” agreed with the direction in which she was taking the magazine.
“It went from being a totally political magazine to a lifestyle one during her tenure,” said Roberts. “And she was the one responsible for getting in the new advertisers.”
Susan Farmer, consumer p.r. director of the Diamond Trading Co., the marketing arm of De Beers, said Fortier was the one who sold her on The Spectator.
“She’s very amusing and has enormous charm and enthusiasm,” said Farmer. “Everything we’ve ever done with the magazine has been successful.” Last year, the DTC sponsored the 175th anniversary issue of The Spectator, and it regularly takes out full-page ads in the title.