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May 2019
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2003-06-10 Nelson remembers his modelling days

Not a lot of people know this, but I was once a model! When I say 'once', I mean 'once'. I made my modelling debut, and I would imagine my modelling farewell, a couple of weeks ago as part of a big charity fashion show at the trendy "Odeon" club in Dublin's Harcourt Street, in aid of the "Irish Kidney Association".


Having attended Sligo Model School as a boy, it was possibly inevitable I would end up on the catwalk, though catwalking and back-biting was not on the curriculum at the time.


Normally I don't get out of bed for less than E10,000, but I made my way along to the "Odeon" for our afternoon rehearsal - it was for charity after all. Anybody who's anybody in the Irish fashion scene was there, and somebody who's nobody in the Irish fashion scene was there too, and he wouldn't have missed it for the world.


The little fiery and somewhat rude lady who was organising and staging the entire event didn't want to be there, as she kept reminding us, as well as reminding the people who kept calling her on her mobile and interrupting her already chaotic flow.


She didn't normally do charity gigs, and had turned down a huge, very well-paid job abroad to do this *bleeping* *bleep*! She left us hanging about for hours, and when she told us we would have to wait another hour or so, we decided to abandon the rehearsal.


She clearly didn't realise who I think I am! Now I am well used to working with big egos and fraught tempers, but in the fashion scene everything seems magnified.

In the evening, everyone shared one dressing-room, where the air was choking with cigarette smoke and expletives, clothes flying, boobs flashing. The 'real' models had endless quick changes, so there was no time for modesty - "oh, there's another boobie, peep, hello there." The place was swarming with photographers and TV cameras. I had a mental picture of these guys drawing straws for weeks to see who would end up with this gig.


The stunning beauties chain-smoked throughout the evening, scenting their hair with nicotine, while ruining their designer outfits, not to mention their designer insides. I watched from side-stage as these true 'pros' strutted their stuff.

Then my moment came. "You're on, GO!" Shoulders back, head high, poised, raised eyebrows, pouting lips, and with an altogether smug and sultry demeanour, I set off.


Aaagh, what do I do with my arms? Does my bum look big in this? Now when I am modelling, I pretty much go blank.


You see, you can't think too much or it simply doesn't work, but when I am out there, I can do anything you want, just so long as I don't have to speak.

I was floating down the catwalk, high above a crowd who were fixed on their next moving exhibit - me. My five minutes on the catwalk had begun. I glided down the ramp, oozing sex appeal, and if the truth be known, trying to conceal a huge cheesy grin.


When I got to the far end of the vast room, a sense of relief hit me. I turned around, and saw that I had to walk back what looked like four miles.

Would anyone even notice if I did a 'runner'? Better not, so off I went on my return journey. Horror of horrors, in the distance and heading straight for me was an eight foot supermodel with attitude. As we came close to each other, she stopped. I stopped.


She was a sultry beauty : I was a blushing tenor. She put her hand on her hip, while the other pointed loosely in the opposite direction. I refrained from mirroring her image as I thought it may give the wrong impression, or worse still, I would break into my "I'm a little teapot" routine. So I just stood there, and smouldered. The name was 'Bond'.


That night, this sultry beauty drifted home feeling rather beautiful, and sat by the phone. The next day, I sat by the phone.


It never rang. I think I am happier in the world of music anyway. Maybe I am just not cut out to be part of the world of fashion.


After all, standing around looking fabulous is so draining.