A lot of my friends thought I was mad/joking/drunk (or all three) when I broke the news I was going to be a model. Don’t get me wrong, it came as a surprise to me too.
Over the summer, I read on Twitter about Liverpool Fashion Live, who were mad keen to have a wide variety of women modelling at their fashion event to raise money for Claire House in October. Claire House is a Merseyside hospice which helps children and young people with terminal illnesses and life limiting conditions, a truly great charity.
Liverpool Fashion Live stressed they were looking for people of all shapes and sizes to strut their stuff on the catwalk, including those who’d never modelled before. I wavered for just a few seconds, then fired off an application – and to my absolute delight they accepted me.
The organisations behind Liverpool Fashion Live, Room 31 and The Style Factory, were both very passionate that every sector of society should be represented in the fashion show, including curvy women, so I knew I wouldn’t be a Billy No Mates on the day itself. True to their word, I found myself in the company of a surprising range of diverse models from the moment I got there. Models ranged from aged 14 – 80 years of age, making sure everyone was represented – and gorgeously, at that.
Liverpool Fashion Live was held in the swanky surroundings of Pan Am in Liverpool’s Albert Dock, we were asked to attend from 2pm, not only for fittings but for hair and make-up too.
When I’ve done television appearances – The Wright Stuff and The Vanessa Show, both for Channel Five – yes I enjoyed the broadcasting aspect, but I love and adore getting my hair and make-up done professionally. The experts can do the business in that department so much better than I ever could. Sure enough, Wigan & Leigh College’s make-up artists did a smashing job of pinning my hair up and putting on catwalk make up, the foundation was darker and thicker than I’d normally wear, to make sure if stands out under such bright lights.
I had my nails done as well, by Gemma Nails & Beauty, a really vampish red. The very colour nails should be!
Everyone involved in Liverpool Fashion Live contributed their services for free, all to raise money for Claire House and worked flat out for a good twelve hours.
I must confess, before I took part in LFL I believed models to be snooty and spoilt madams. I’m not too proud to hold my hands up when I’m wrong; every single one of the women I spoke to were lovely and welcoming and supportive to me and the others who’d never modelled before. I had a long chat with Models of Diversity, a modelling agency who have women on their books not traditionally seen in the world of fashion. They use women with disabilities, and of plus size as well, such as the beautiful voluptuous Angelica Fenney, and really promote the notion that everyone can be beautiful.
I had three dresses to wear on the night, one a Simply Be wedding dress – if I wasn’t married already I’d have snaffled it into my handbag, it was that nice – and two other beautiful full length formal gowns, each owned by Becky Hannon, star of this summer’s Big Brother. Becky is a bit curvier than me so we had to make some amendments, but it’s amazing what you can do with a tight belt and sash!
I was honestly made up to be doing the cat walk, with all the press snapping away, that alone was enough to make me feel amazing, but I didn’t expect in a million years there’d be male models, escorting me. Fantastic! There were firemen as well, from the Firemen Models agency who only engage serving fire fighters. Such lovely boys! (As you may well have noticed by their picture…)
Liverpool Fashion Live really did confirm to Liverpool – and the world – that variety is a wonderful thing on the catwalk, that full figured women are just as valid in the world of fashion as our more slender contemporaries.
I’m hoping they run the event next year as well. One thing’s for sure, I’m putting my name down for it, if they are…