Dishing it, digging it, slinging it, wallowing in it, we men just love it. We love dirt. But most of all we love a ‘dirt’ bird – a ‘rough around the edges’ lass who is simply insatiable between the sheets. That Abbey Clancy, for example. We mean, have you seen what she’s been up to recently? She wore a see-through dress to the Brit Awards and gave Crouchy a sly blowie on the beach in St Barts. She’s the epitome of a ‘dirt’ bird. You’d love to… you would. Only she isn’t, and she didn’t..
“Can I just clear something up? That dress was not see-through, it was the flashes of the camera. Everyone was like: ‘I like the way you did that thing showing your leopard skin knickers off.’ Who would want to flash their knickers? No one, it’s a cheap shot. No one wants to flash their knickers unless they are that type of girl, which I am not. It was absolutely mortifying.”
“And that other shot was the first time I snorkelled. I admit, because Pete is standing up and my head is under the water, it looks like something dodgy is going on, but it isn’t. I was getting a lesson off Pete. He was, like, hold onto me and put your face under – that’s all it was.”
And this, gentlemen, is the Clancy conundrum. When she’s in front of a camera, any kind, she’s everything you wish a one-night stand to be: raunchy, sexy, naughty. When she isn’t she’s everything you wish your girlfriend to be: savvy, stunning, shy and funny. And make no mistake: during FHM’s two-hour breakfast date (both eat, Abbey has a cappuccino, then tea and some biscuits, then shuffles nervously as we talk about being tortured and refuse to leave) she is just that. Abbey Clancy is FHM’s dutiful girlfriend.
A girlfriend who likes our ‘new look’, a girlfriend who laughs at our pathetic jokes, a girlfriend who has ordered the same as us, a girlfriend who… hold on. Is she ignoring our Scottish under-13 cricket anecdote in favour of staring longingly into the distance? “I’ve got a lot on my mind,” she smiles. “What with the move and everything.”
Ah yes, the move. Her and lanky boyfriend Peter Crouch (yes, he’s omnipresent, even though at that moment he’s in Africa on pre-season training with Portsmouth), have just bought a new pad. A pad that means at the ripe of old age of 22, Abbey is leaving Las Liverpool for the horsey domesticity of Surrey. A change of circumstances that, along with her first mainstream British TV presenting job – The Fashion Show on ITV2 – means her world currently revolves around the word new.
Which means that as well as a new house and new job, she’ll also need a new hairdresser, new gardener and new social network. Things that, incomprehensibly, Abbey wants our help with. “Where can I get my haircut?” she queries, before looking at FHM’s £9, plus £1 tip flat ginger mop, realising the ridiculousness of this question, smiling pitifully and moving on. “Okay, how about a gardener?” We explain that we live in London and hence are unfamiliar with that term. “Someone to go a club with?” Bingo! We’ll do it. You know it makes sense, Abbey. We mean, we’re friends already, thrice over.
Yes, while others make do with hastily-grabbed beach snaps, FHM has managed to coax Abbey in front of the lens for a record-nearing fourth time. “I loved the one in Majorca [Nov ’07], but this is my new favourite,” she reveals, flirtatiously pushing her breasts forward and tilting her head back. “I had to act drunk and not posey, but also be pretty, which was weird, but good because, for most shoots, I just have to stand looking pretty in a pair of knickers and a bra. This was different. It was really arty…”
I guess you could say that. Lighting a cigarette and pulling my pants down, pressing my whole body up against a shower door, spitting wine back into a glass, lying on the floor like I’d been possessed… it was totally crazy, but it was such good banter I just let myself go. Oh, oh: do you know what I want you to do?
Come upstairs and fix your washing machine?
(Looks confused) No, I want you to do a picture that is so airbrushed it looks like I’m not real. I want FHM to retouch me to death. Will you do that for me?
But we thought airbrushing was the work of the devil?
Are you kidding? I don’t care what all those other women say: I think airbrushing is fantastic. I absolutely love it. To be honest I can’t bear looking at a picture of myself that’s just taken on a camera.
Now you’re kidding.
I’m not. I’d like to see a picture of myself in other people’s eyes. Because I always think ‘my legs look fat’ or something. Take those paparazzi shots of me on the yacht in Ibiza. Everyone else thought they looked lovely – I thought I looked like a pasty beached whale.
Really? With all the pap lenses aimed at your, um, paps it’s surprising you ever leave the house…
I’m critical of my body, but to be honest I’m not worried about people taking pictures. Most of the time it’s with a long lens and I’m oblivious, but even if it wasn’t I wouldn’t let it dominate my life or I’d end up having no fun. And when I’m with Peter, at the end of the day we are a normal couple, we’ll kiss, we’ll hold hands, we’ll do whatever we want to.
Like go on dirty weekends?
We’ve been away together, if that’s what you’re asking. Paris and Barcelona, which was excellent. They had the best bread at breakfast. My favourite thing in the world is a hotel breakfast, especially when it’s a big buffet. We got up, ate then went back to bed afterwards.
Okay – in homage to this shoot, FHM’s taking you for a dirty weekend. What should we do?
Surprise me. Pack a bag for me and say: “Here’s your passport, we’re going away for the weekend.” Conceal where we are going so I can wake up to find we’re going to an amazing hotel where our room has flowers and chocolates on the bed and champagne on arrival. I’ve just bought a dead sexy, tight dress from Hervé Léger that I’m dying to wear and, since this is a special occasion, I’ll put in on. I love to eat, so we’ll go out for dinner, including dessert, and a few drinks then maybe to a club or something and then we’ll be tired, so to bed.
What drinks should we order?
I tend to change my drinks throughout the night. Lately I have been having gin and tonic, then I like a beer, but if I am on the beach I’ll have a strawberry daiquiri. When I go out at night I will tend to drink Bacardi and Coke. Not wine, though. Wine makes me sick the next day.
Ah yes, the next day. We just lie in bed together, right?
Wrong. I have to do something when I have a hangover, so we’ll take a big power shower, ?then hit all the big shops. Just so you know, my preferred type of underwear is girly, lacy and sexy, but not slutty. I’ll end up coming home with a lot of crap. I always do unless I go with my mum and I guess she’s not invited…
Damn. When we get back you’ll have bought me a present. I would put the gown on and then when I am sitting putting my make-up on you would come up behind me and place a £1 million diamond necklace from Tiffany’s round my neck [somewhere in Africa a tall man on pre-season training starts panicking]. And then at night we would go for a slap-up meal again…actually that all seems to civilised and romantic. Let’s do something that suits my personality, something uncivilised.
Do you mean sex?
No. I’m talking about a mad club where we can have a few drinks, do what we want and just act really silly. I like to people watch, so we’ll sit and watch people dancing and swinging off things. Mind you, by the end of the night. I’ll be doing that myself.
So you’re a bit of a mover?
I tend to be right there in the middle doing some kind of silly shape. Which is why I don’t like pretentious clubs where everyone is worried about what they look like and who is looking at them. I can’t bear that. I prefer to go to a low-key pub or bar with all your own friends and make your own fun. If we’re in a resort we’ll hit the beach, catch some sun and maybe go scuba diving, which I learnt in Ibiza recently, or get a massage.
Now you’re talking.
You’re not getting a female. I have a woman you have a man, that’s the rule. I don’t like the thought of another man touching my body and I don’t like the thought of another woman touching yours, well Peter’s, so I tell him he has to get a big bloke. Actually, he moans and I relent. Although I make sure the woman’s ugly before she gets her hands on him. If she has a moustache she can do it.”
Ugly or not, can we get a happy finish?
Eugh - you are disgusting. Why are you making suggestions? This is my shoot, my interview, my weekend and my fantasy. What I say goes. Got it? Good. Anyway I’m sure the fact my 50 bikinis and I are letting you tag along will be incentive enough.
Abbey presents The Fashion Show on ITV2 from September
Original interview by Stuart Hood in the October 2008 issue of FHM UK magazine