It’s a strange thing that day you’re summoned into the office of the school careers advisor and told you should be an air traffic controller or radiographer and that you’ll never, ever work for the BBC. Quite how the furrow-browed know-it-all arrives at his verdict is baffling: a tick in the “Do you like outdoor pursuits?” box steers you inexorably towards a career in a bank – while a booming “Yes!” to the question “Would you work abroad?” means a life mapped out in taxidermy. Baffling – but it might just be that it’s all deliberately meant to haul you away from the single best job in the world: that of the bloke who gets to squeeze Girls Aloud into the tiniest and sexiest of outfits for their all-new, world-exclusive FHM photo shoot. To their credit, Girls Aloud make it easy. Lithe bodies in tip-top condition; two whole days of their lives committed to our carnival-tinged mega-production (fun-houses, test-your-strength thingies, candyfloss machines and mechanical bulls don’t come cheap!) and none of the “can’t be arsed being here” sulkiness that tends to blight their American compadres. Good for them: in the three years since the still-startlingly-young fivesome (Nadine and Nicola are barely 20) first rocketed to fame after winning Popstars: The Rivals, they’ve sold more than a million albums, scored nine Top 10 hits and, this year, completed their first ever UK tour. There’s a new single, Long Hot Summer, that’s still playing on MTV, an album on the way and a billion FHM questions to answer. Ladies – let’s get this show on the road…
This time last year you were single…
I’d still like to find Mr Right – but I do have a crush on someone. It’d be nice to say I was with someone, but I like to date as well – I want the best of both worlds!
Ever think you’d have had more sex if you’d not joined the band?
Probably, yeah! It’s the job, you see – you’re busy all the time and you’re more or less celibate the second you start.
And you can’t really be out shagging someone different every night of the week…
But a lot of people in this business do, because they don’t have time to settle down. I don’t mind dating and having fun, but when sex comes into it, it’s a different ball game.
What does “having fun” mean?
Going out, enjoying each other’s company… maybe first, second and third base – but nothing full-on.
Have you been snared by the poker bug?
No – the roulette bug. Me and Nadine went to Las Vegas earlier in the year and if I’d stayed a bit longer I’d have probably come back bankrupt.
How much did you blow? Five hundred?
Oh, easy. People probably look at me and go, “Blonde bimbo,” but I’m not the kind of girl who’ll just totter around in heels; I love cars, I’ve got a good business head, I love quadbiking…
What would be in your car pool?
Hmmm. My RAV4, a Range Rover, a Maserati, a Boxter, a Mustang and something imported like a Hummer.
Any funny memories of fairgrounds?
My dad used to take me on the helter skelter.
Well, when I was about 14 I used to go to this fairground in Windsor and I remember drinking cider and flashing my boobs off one of the rides at the passing boats. Oh God – my mum will kill me!
You famously entered our High Street Honeys competition way back in 2002 – were there any ruder shots that you didn’t send in?
No. And no sexy tapes or anything. Fair enough, I’m a kinky bitch when I’m in a relationship, but I wouldn’t want to do anything that might get out into the public eye.
How was the shoot for you – did you feel sexy?
I don’t generally walk around wearing so few clothes, so yes, I did. We’ve all had our hair and make-up done so we do feel really pampered.
Girls never win anything at the fair because they can’t throw: what are girls better at than blokes?
Everything else. We’re better at doing two things at once, better at organising, better at being on time, better at remembering things – the list goes on.
Anything you wish you could do like a man?
Go to the toilet standing up – it just seems easier.
And some cads don’t even wash their hands…
That’s disgusting – they hold theirs, and don’t wash their hands. And they don’t even wipe, do they? They just shake. Not nice.
What are the chances of you going commando on a date?
I do go commando if I’ve got really low trousers on ’cause you don’t want knickers popping out the top; so if it’s safe, then possibly.
Yeah – like, not with a short skirt.
Have you ever forgotten you’re out commando?
No – you know when you’re commando. I don’t ever do it just for the sake of it; I like underwear – I’ve got a really nice pink set and I’m a big fan of French knickers…
Is the thong dead?
No, I just think people are more into their little shorts at the moment.
If the band crash-landed, Lost-style, on a desert island, who’d be first to whip up a Swiss Family Robinson-style tree house?
Me. Some of the girls would join in, but I can’t see Nadine helping much!
Who’d be first to go skinny-dipping?
If you’re lost on an island you won’t really care, so I’d say all of us.
And where is this island, exactly?
Finally – your new hair colour is great. Have you completed the job…
…Down below? No need to do that – it’s a bit extreme, come on! Plus, there should never really be enough hair to do that anyway, should there?
So what’s gone down since you were last in FHM?
Well, I passed my driving test and I’m renting my own place now. I’m trying to decide where to buy.
Hmm: the nine-bed house in Liverpool, or…
…the scuzzy flat in London. Ha ha! I know. Tough decision!
Any good fairground memories?
I’m a shitbag when it comes to fairs. I think, “If I go on that ride, the seat belt’s going to come off and I’m going to fall out and die.” I’m really paranoid about it – I’m like that anyway. When I get home at night I’ll go into the flat and check that no one’s in there before I can even put the telly on. I think I need to go and see someone about it…
We once read a psychology book…
I’ve always been like it. I used to live with Cheryl, but now I’m on my own I have a lot of time to think and my little head must work overtime. I keep thinking, “I don’t wanna die yet!” It’s got to the point where I’m just terrified of things!
It’ll all come out in some reality TV show…
I tell you what I’d never do – that jungle thing. I mean, when they had to eat that fish eye and them kangaroo balls: what the hell was that? And I think I’d get caught out a lot; if I don’t like someone, and them cameras are all around…
Who would you take on in a celebrity boxing match?
Hmm – who do I hate? Rebecca Loos. And Abi Titmuss – my mum says, “The bigger they come, the harder they fall.” I’m smaller than her and quicker, too.
What’s your biggest extravagance?
You know what, I don’t buy anything big – I buy shit. It’s all complete rubbish! But I’ve got a greedy eye. Like, even if I don’t want that special butter, I’m like, “Ooh look, special butter…” It’s all just crap I don’t want!
Finally, are you familiar with the phrase “collar and cuffs”?
Not with this hair colour…
Strewth! Look at the size of your engagement ring!
Ha ha! Sometimes I feel like it’s hanging round me knee.
Does your fella, Ashley Cole, ever let you drive his motor?
Does he shite. He’s got some lovely cars – my favourite’s the Aston Martin. He won’t let us near it.
What’s he like when he’s a passenger in your car?
He’s pretty critical. Me hitting someone’s wing mirror – on his side – didn’t help. He screamed like a girl.
What would Ashley have done if Mickey Rourke had tried his charms on you during his recent London pulling spree?
In his dreams! It’s not what Ashley would have done, it’s what I’d have done. I’d have said, “You better ask him,” and I think Ashley would have knocked him out.
He’s quite a wee fella, your Ash; Rourke used to be a boxer…
Well I’ll box him then – he wouldn’t stand a chance!
After a night on the tiles, are you most likely to wake up with ketchup on your face or blood on your hands?
It could be one or the other, to be honest – I get to a point where I’ve had so much to drink I suddenly feel so starving that I have to eat or someone’s gonna die!
What was your wildest night out?
Probably the time I was sick out of the taxi window all down the side of the cab. I can’t remember much apart from getting barred from a nightclub in London – which I won’t name – for being too drunk. I got in the taxi and opened me legs so the paparazzi got a knicker shot and then I vomited all the way home.
Lovely! You’ve got a new pooch – any good dog poo stories?
It shit in our bedroom the other day on the floor – I went to run a bath and stood in it with no shoes or socks on. It squelched between me toes; I wanted to strangle him. It’s not a good look. I had to hop from bedroom to bathroom…
Yeah, naked. So, an even better look – you can all visualise that one…
Finally, is there anything on your mobile that makes you worried about it being nicked?
Yeah. Videos, pictures, numbers…
What kind of videos?
Things that shouldn’t be on there.
And are you involved in any of them?
Yeah. But I’ve got a special code on my phone, so you’d be very lucky to get in.
Ha ha! You wish. I’m a bit brighter than that. I don’t do obvious…
What do you think of our funfair?
It’s great. Does the shoot look good?
Like you wouldn’t believe. It’s been 13 months since we last did you: has it been lucky or unlucky?
Lucky, definitely – the best bit was the tour, our first tour: I never expected it to be so good.
Any embarrassing onstage incidents?
One night I was wearing a school uniform for this one part of the show and I forgot to button it up properly. My bra’s all hanging off and I go onstage and all the boy dancers are pointing to my chest and mouthing, “Nadine! Nadine!”
Last time we spoke, you were going out with a footballer: now you’re single. Did you dump him by text?
It was worse than that. We were on tour and it was a bad break-up. It had to happen but we’re friends now. So I kind of went wild on tour: every single night I was out after the show.
Your motto is “Be good”. Isn’t it better to be naughty?
Well, you can be good but naughty if you’re with the right people. But I try to keep it clean… most of the time.
Was there an “if it’s rockin’ don’t come knockin’’’ rule on the tour bus?
You just kind of knew who was with who in the bunks – or if the kitchen door was shut, not to go in there!
You have, it has been noted, tremendous legs…
Aww, I don’t know about that.
…but in the words of ZZ Top, do you know how to use them?
Well, I know how to walk on them and run on them and dance in stilettos – that’s what I can do. You could break an ankle doing that.
Do you agree that legs are what drives men most wild?
I think big bums are nice. Kimberley has a nice big bum – I love her shape. I wish I had a bigger bum!
Finally, would you be okay with a boyfriend having a vast stock of porn DVDs?
Yeah. Some girls have problems with their bloke going to strip clubs but not me – you have to let people do their own thing. But if he’s going to strip clubs on his own, every night, then you’re dealing with a psycho!
Original interview by Mike Peake in the December 2005 issue of FHM UK magazine