” Shilpa and I got along very well in the house- Big Brother. To the people of India – I can’t help, how the show – Big Brother was edited, but, I would like everyone to know that I am truly sorry for any upset I was made out to have caused and like Shilpa, I hope you can forgive and forget.” – Danielle Lloyd
Danielle Lloyd is an English glamour model and television personality. A former Miss England (2004) and Miss Great Britain (2006). In January 2007 she appeared on Celebrity Big Brother along with Indian Star Ms Shilpa Shetty Kundra. Later, She won the celebrity edition of The Weakest Link in 2008 and Total Wipeout in 2010. Danielle stood against physical abuse, domestic violence after facing it herself. She has donated all her competition earnings to charity till date.
Q.You had been crowned with the titles of Miss England in 2004 and Miss Great Britain 2006. Can you tell us a bit about your journey and why you chose to be in the field of modeling?
I had started entering competitions at the age of 17 when someone asked me to try modeling. Initially, I thought, It was not what I would like to do, however I was persuaded and won my first title that night called Miss Velvet Lounge. I then went on to win Miss North West, Queen of the World, Miss Hawaiian Tropic Great Britain, Miss England then went to Miss World in China 2004 and Miss Great Britain 2006. It was a snowball affect really, once you win one competition you automatically get put through to another one and so on. It was only after Winning Miss England in 2004 that I hit the National Newspapers, when every magazine wanted to interview me, take part in Fashion Shows and appeared on National TV.
After winning Miss Great Britain, the owners decided to try and raise some PR by sacking me then reinstating me blaming my appearance in USA Playboy. They failed due to the fact that they said you could not pose topless whilst being Miss Great Britain however in the Competition Rules this was not stated and clearly not an issue when they had numerous Page 3 girls who entered and previously won Miss Great Britain. They then tried to say I had cheated after 3 months later I started to Date Teddy Sherringham who was a judge on the panel at the time of the competition but again this was thrown out due to the fact that he Didn’t vote for me and I didn’t start dating him until months after the competition. I later had my Crown reinstated after a Court case, to have my Name cleared of any wrong doing. I don’t regret entering any of the Beauty Competitions as they took me all over the World and I met some incredible people who I still keep in contact with.
Q. You have turned entrepreneur with ‘Designed for Love’. Can You tell more about it?
I opened up Designed for Love some years ago and started off with Clothing, than Bags and now have Make up Brushes & Make up. I have been offered lots of different opportunities to sell items on my website but I like to choose my own style and this is something I am looking forward to branching out by later this year or early next year.
Q. The fashion industry has promoted unrealistic body expectations which have caused harm to the mental and physical health of many women. What do you feel about the same? How did you cope with such pressures and expectations throughout your career?
During my time as a Beauty Queen, then Model, I was quite lucky as I didn’t tend to gain weight until I became a Mother. Even when I was modeling and I felt a little “fat” or bloated they would say “don’t worry we can airbrush you”, that was how it was in those days and you kind of got used to it. However, I think now with all the body shaming and Fat/Thin shaming, I don’t think it is a good way to portray women by airbrushing them. I have posed quite a few times being pregnant with my boys and before and after, without airbrushing and I think it is very important that you let people see the real you. There is too much Mental Health issues around body shaming and young girls wanting to look like their Idol or top models, which is unrealistic and unfair to portray something that is not real.
Now I am a Mother of 4 Gorgeous boys. I have to eat sensibly and work hard in the gym every day to look the way I do, but I also eat and if I want chocolate or bread or crisps I will eat them as I am now in the frame of mind that I don’t care what people think of me, as, I love myself the way I am and that is what we need to teach each other especially the younger generation.
Q.You have been victim of domestic violence and showed the courage to stand against the odd. You not only helped yourself but many others who found themselves in similar situation. What made you take the stand and how important It is for standing for good. What would you like to urge females who facing the similar situation world over?
I was in two abusive relationships, the first one was not for that long so I did not even know or understand it was abuse but the second one it was 3 years and I certainly knew that was abuse. I was locked in a room, starved, spat at, battered for even looking at them or trying to speak, I couldn’t see my friends and family, I was bitten and eventually punched so hard in the face that I broke my cheekbone, cracked my jaw and had broken teeth. Abuse is the worst thing ever, as you believe that it is your fault, you deserve it, you caused it and you are brainwashed to believe its normal life but it is not.
I was asked to do a documentary for Comic Relief called Dangerous Love and it was only when I visited shelters and foundations and spoke with other victims, then I realized, it wasn’t my fault, I didn’t deserve it and its not normal life. Some of the people I met had been very badly injured and even burnt so I counted myself Lucky! Lucky that I didn’t have any physical scars but I had the worst scars mentally. I went on to support Woman’s Aid, the Shining Lightappeal and raised money through any TV work I done I donated my fee or winnings to help these amazing charities.
My advice to anyone Men and Woman who are in abusive relationships is to talk. You have to talk to someone, anyone, who can then support you, if you are locked in the house and someone calls make a sign for help, get the police they can protect you. It I s very difficult for me to say all these things, as I did not ask for help. I could not, as my family was threatened and if I left or complained, their lives were also put in danger. But after seeing so many people, who are and have been in abusive relationships you can get out and you can get help. Also, the Law has changed for you, please don’t suffer in silence, talk to Someone, Anyone, tell them and ask for Help. But please do not listen to their lies, saying I will find you and kill you or I will kill your parents. If you have them arrested and charged they can’t do anything to you. So, please ask for Help, I did eventually and had counseling.
Q.You had always been appreciated for being honest about yourself and circumstances. How important is being honest for the society in large. Do You think most people are not honest in life and what they miss if not being so?
Honesty is the best policy in my book, if you’re not honest with yourself then how can you be honest with anyone else? I have to say it as it is I can’t tell people something that I have either no faith in or it hasn’t worked for me. I can’t promote something that I don’t believe in I have to try it then if it works I will promote it.
People these days tend to tell people what they want to hear instead of telling them the truth. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I speak my mind, it is not good pretending or living your life a lie, be honest with yourself, others and you will be appreciated more. If they don’t appreciate you then you don’t need them in your life.
Q. Your stint at BIG BROTHER was quite controversial, especially with comments involving Indian Star – Shilpa Shetty Kundra. Did You actually mean so? If given a chance, what would you like to tell Shilpa Shetty Kundra and people of India?
My time on Big Brother was something that I will remember for the rest of my Life. Despite the controversy it brought to the public eye and the outrage and bitterness that took over in the press and National TV, what you have to remember is , it is a Game, a game for the Television producers to experiment with people’s lives which they did, they wanted something big that would bring in viewers and up their ratings, but I don’t think they even imagined what their experiment would bring!
There was a complete mixture of Ages, Class and Culture There was Me who was just a Beauty Queen, Jade who had come from nothing but won a previous Big Brother which changed her life and then Movie Stars along with one of the Jackson Five.
I’m not going to make excuses for myself, however Shilpa and I got along very well in the house- Big Brother. I loved her, she was and is – smart, intelligent and beautiful. We done each other’s nails, make up hair and swapped clothes, but, nothing was shown on Live TV of us doing this, nor when Shilpa dressed in my clothes and then she dressed me in her Sari. We both went into the diary room, Shilpa introduced herself as me in a Liverpool accent and I introduced myself as Shilpa in an Indian accent, we had a ball that day but they didn’t choose to show that on TV! They chose to show what they thought was “good viewings”.
I met up with Shilpa after the show as she invited me to the premier of her film. We chatted and had our photograph taken and she said that everything was just fine and she was pleased I attended her Premier.
To the people of India – I can’t help, how the show – Big Brother was edited, but, I would like everyone to know that I am truly sorry for any upset I was made out to have caused and like Shilpa, I hope you can forgive and forget.
Q.You have always volunteered for charity and people welfare initiatives. Why do these causes matter to You? What inspires you ?
I believe that you should give something back in life to those who need it, I have been very fortunate to have had a good career, well travelled and had the support from various charities and organizations throughout my life and I believe that I should give them something back. It is not always about you and if you’re able to give back then do so.
Q.You donated all the prize money which you won from TV shows – BIG BROTEHR, THE WEAKEST LINK, TOTAL WIPEOUT for charity. It really needs a big heart to do so. It is quite inspiring and would like to know more about the same? What makes you such a big hearted? Any incident or incidents you would like to share, which has made you think like that?
I got involved with the Linda McCartney centre in Liverpool as I had a breast cancer scare. When I realised just how much care, passion and enthusiasm the staff had for all their patients, I decided to ask them what equipment they needed. Along with my Mother, who at the time worked for Barclays Bank, we decided to do some more fundraising and have Barclays match it £ 4 £, we were able to buy two Faxitron scanners it is the first 3D breast special-designated CT system to offer 360 degree images of excised lesions. These scanners save time and more surgery for patients and I thought it would be an excellent choice and a very worthwhile piece of equipment.
Again, I believe in giving something back to the community especially when they have helped you and you never know if you or a family member or friends will ever need to be treated at the Linda McCartney Centre.
Q.You have been heavily involved in charity work as well as raising awareness for issues such as domestic violence and mental health. What organizations have you worked with, and why do these causes matter to you?
I worked with Women’s Aid, The Guiding Light Project after being involved in my abusive relationship and making my documentary Dangerous Love. They helped me and taught me so many things. I often send bags of clothes, shoes and gifts to the Women’s refuge centers and also the Children in Care centers, as these people go from their homes with nothing, but their lives is better here, than staying at home and being abused constantly. I have recently been welcomed as an Ambassador for Anna Kennedy OBE who runs Autism’s Got Talent which is amazing for these children who have autism and yet they have amazing talents and are so very proud to show them off. My Son Harry was born 10 weeks Premature we almost lost Harry numerous times but he came through it and now is a healthy 8 year old. He is a bit different to his other brothers, very emotional and can be very loud and easily distracted. He is currently being tested for various things like Autism and ADHD.
What I believe is when someone helps you and you become a strong person and maybe in a position to help others then why not? you should help those people less fortunate than yourself and show them that there is a life after Domestic Violence.
Q. What advice do you have for aspiring models and entrepreneurs ? Also, how important it is to give back to the society.
I think the Beauty Competitions have changed so much since I started out being involved in them. Unfortunately, some organizations see competitions as a money making scheme which is sad, as lots of girls enter these competitions spend thousands of pounds on dresses and travel and tickets for their families to come along and after the show the winner doesn’t really do anything. The only competition in England now, which is still ongoing and legit is Miss England, as that goes on to Miss World and you can have an amazing career like I did if your fortunate to win.
You have to look into any competitions thoroughly check out who runs it, who is involved in it and read all the Terms and Conditions for the competition. I say this, as sometimes, you can be asked to travel to other places for other competitions and have to pay yourself or get sponsors to pay for you which can be very expensive.
Also, there is always rumors of people who have “already been chosen to win” and some undesirables in the way, certain people see you as their property and can become a bit obsessed with you and very demanding in many ways. So, please check out everything about the competitions before entering and if you don’t feel comfortable in any way tell someone or leave.
As for Modeling, this again can be either amazing and if you are lucky to be chosen to work with good magazines or agencies you can go on to do anything you want and have an amazing career. However, these days everyone wants to be a Model or be famous due to Television reality shows that make you famous overnight. But, it doesn’t work like that as it can also have a negative effect on you, one minute you are famous and are in every magazine and earning lots of money, then the next year the new show comes out and they are then only interested in the new people, so your money dries up and you start to not get any work then the way you have been living ie. buying watches, cars, moving into apartments and going out every night all stops! This is what we have seen- an increase in suicide rates from people who have been on TV shows and once had everything and then have nothing. You must and I stress Must save money for a rainy day and don’t expect work to come in as much as it did when you started out as unless you can have a career like I was fortunate to have lasting over 15 years and still be relevant although not as relevant as used to be. You need to have something to fall back on and these young people today don’t think about that.
Make sure you use a reputable agency, never pay for anything up front! if you need photos for their portfolio ask them to take the money out of your future earnings you should never have to pay up front for anything! and watch out for those rogues they are always about. Don’t take your clothes off unless that is the way you want your career to go. You don’t have to take your clothes off and if they say you will get more work just say I want to keep my clothes on and see what work I get in!
Q. What is next in store for you?
I am happy being a Mother to my four Gorgeous boys. I have recently got married again and have a little boy called Ronnie who is almost two. He is adorable and loves his big brothers Archie 9 Harry 8 and George who will be 6 in August. My husband doesn’t like PR, he hates being in the magazines or papers and prefers a quiet life.
I am working on a fitness app for Mothers and also a Food daily diary for busy working Mothers, who need to feed their children but not with readymade meals or takeaway food, good healthy food which is quick and easy to do and the kids love it.
Also, I am going to be looking at a clothing range for children which isn’t expensive but looks smart and affordable for everyone.
I would love to visit India with my boys one day to see the different culture and teach my children the different ways of life in a different Country.