How we’ve missed our buddy Holly. Nearly 60 issues and 1,800 days may have passed since FHM’s last meeting, but nothing about her has changed. The body’s still stunning; the sense of humour’s still coarse; the outer persona’s still laid-back; the inner persona’s still fiery. At 25, her career may have entered stage three (Operation: Break Hollywood), but Holly Valance is still the girl FHM fell in love with as soon as she entered our lives as 16-year-old Ramsay Street schoolgirl Felicity ‘Flick’ Scully. The girl who, just after she’d turned 20, told FHM the joke: “What do you tell a girl with two black eyes? Nothing, she’s already been told twice.” The girl FHM bought a business class ticket to Purgatory.
“After my first shoot I got a letter from a priest condemning me for posing in a bikini,” she recalls. “It was hilarious! I was going to Hell as far as he was concerned. I was like: ‘Dude,
I was already going to Hell.’”
And, somewhat inevitably, she’s going there via Hollywood. West Hollywood, to be exact, a suburb where she shares a house with Aussie actor Alex O’Loughlin. And where, after four years’ hard graft, she’s beginning to flourish. High-profile cameos in Prison Break and Entourage have been followed by a scene-stealing, ass-kicking turn in DOA: Dead or Alive.
Later this year she’ll be appearing in Scott Caan’s Mercy and an as yet unnamed comedy by Kevin Connolly (E in Entourage). And this month she’s hitting a screen near you as the pop princess ‘Diva’ in Luc Besson’s hostage drama Taken – a film where her character advises against going into the music industry because of the intense publicity. Something Holly has highlighted before, in fact.
“I wouldn’t go as far as saying don’t do it,” she says. “But I don’t agree with the paparazzi stalking you. That’s kind of gross. There are people who like it. But they are obsessed with celebrity, not with acting or music. They cannot be out of the public eye; it would destroy their ego.”
Like Paris Hilton, say. Someone Holly has shared both a filmset () and a toilet with. “She pushed in front of everyone and walked in with a bunch of friends,” recalls Holly. “I was like: ‘How fucking rude is that?’ Of course, I said something when I was working with her. I’m a loudmouth, I always say something.”
She does. It’s one of the reasons she’s more than just a hot face and body. Another is the fact she realises her actions speak louder than words. Hence why her summer holiday entails going on a government-shaming charity mission to Eastern European mental asylums. “I’m going to need some serious therapy, but who gives a shit if I am upset? A few ugly pictures in my life is nothing, these people live this way.”
And why she’s back on the front cover of your favourite magazine. “It’s good to be back!” she shouts at us. “I haven’t done a sexy shoot for a while and I’ve felt left out. You guys do your 100 Sexiest each year and from what I hear, I haven’t been polling well, so I need to remind your readers who I am. Out of interest, where was I this year?
Um. You were 61st.
…Seriously? That is pathetic. I need to lift my socks up. I used to be in the Top 10 and I am relying on everyone buying the September issue to help me in my quest. I am quite unhappy about the whole thing to be honest.
Okay, moving on, we hear you’re a regular at kick-boxing fights?
I love it. It’s like modern-day warriors. If I have a friend fighting I will leave the arena with absolutely no voice whatsoever. I go crazy and I’ve realised that the older I get, the louder?I get. I used to be really embarrassed of loudmouths, but now I am one. People tell me to “shut the fuck up” when I don’t even realise I’ve been screaming.
Have you ever knocked someone out?
I’ve been fighting since I was 14, but no. I was grading for a belt once and I punched my teacher and gave him a bloodied nose, but otherwise I’ve not done anything and I’ve only been hurt once. I checked a leg kick and my friend kicked into my knee and dropped me. That was really painful. I was on the ground trying not to cry or act like a big puss.
Big puss? In DOA: Dead or Alive you appeared to be genuinely quite hard.
It’s all about the gurn. I’m not going to pose, pout and try to look pretty when I am punching someone’s head in. I want to look brutal. I really love the fact my girlfriends say: “Jesus, ?Hol – it looks like you nearly ripped her head off.” I’m like: “I was trying…” I loved DOA. Getting paid to do kung fu six hours a day for four months is my idea of heaven. I want to be an action hero.
Agreed. Especially if all your films contain a topless fighting scene. Shame it was only seven seconds…
Well, you can pause it and zoom in, but, I warn you, you may only get a pastie [spoilsport adhesive nipple covering] and be disappointed.
Indeed. What percentage of the scripts you get offered have pointless nudity?
A lot. But that happens if it’s not an amazing script: “Whack a tit in there, that’ll work.” At present, unless it’s a fantastic script and a fantastic director, it’s not something I am really interested in doing, but who knows? That day may come. I tell you what… if I get back into the Top 10 in the next 100 Sexiest I will do a nudey vid. Actually, I take that back. I am retracting that. I am retracting that…
Too late, the readers have started voting. Talking of nudity, do you look back at your Kiss Kiss video and wonder what all the fuss was about?
I feel like I was way more fearless when I was younger – piercing things and getting a tattoo. I thought it was all a really good idea at the time, but right now I don’t feel I would shoot a music video as provocatively. That said, it was fun and it was great shock value. Actually, I think it’s kind of cool. I can say to the grandkids: “Look at Nana’s jugs. Weren’t they perky 80 years ago?”
And 75 years ago, if these shots are anything to go by. As it’s the Olympics this month, what would be your sport?
I’m really not very athletic. I’m a shit runner. I’m really only good at swimming. I am a good breast-stroker. But the beaches here are like in Australia – it’s the Pacific Ocean, so the ?water’s not that warm. So we can go to all these beautiful beaches, but the sea’s not much fun. I’m a real sunbaker – I’m like a lizard, I love laying out.
Aside from that and kick-boxing, how else do you stay in shape?
Yoga, three or four times a week. I’m hyped after martial arts – walking around and wanting to fight everyone – so it’s good to do something that calms my mind. And then living in Los Angeles means I can lose a few calories baking in the sun or lose even more on a canyon hike. I should be hiking today, but I have to do this FHM interview. I’m blaming you for my fat arse.
Don’t people in Los Angeles drive everywhere?
I have a BMW X5, but the roads in LA are pothole central, so it’s crazy driving anything ?apart from an SUV. My one excess is my bling-bling diamanté-encrusted plates. My sister gave them to me. I’m an amazing driver. I drive like a game of chess; it’s phenomenal. I see ten moves in front of me, I am very aware of what is going on around me.
Is there an Antipodean enclave in Hollywood?
There is one, but I steer clear. I love the culture here and I am very patriotic to my new home. The only thing I don’t like about America is sometimes America thinks America is the world, so you don’t know what’s going on anywhere else. The President of a country might have died, but it won’t be on the news because some woman will have found a piece of cheese that looked like Jesus or some other random piece of crap no one in the rest of the world gives a shit about.
Do you get Aussie care packages of stuff you can’t get in the States?
My friends bring things over. Nothing exciting, though – stuff like Vegemite, Milo [malted chocolate drink] and Cherry Ripe [dark chocolate, coconut and cherry bar]. Vegemite ?is the hangover cure because there are vitamins in it. Pop a bit on some toast and you are ready to rock’n’roll.
Are you still obsessed by schnitzel sandwiches?
I had one two days ago, but it’s not just schnitzel, it’s all red meat. I crave it. I have a fried breakfast with eggs and bacon and hash browns in the morning, then a ham sandwich for lunch and then for dinner I might have lamb chops or something. Three red meat meals a day? That’s weird, isn’t it? I must have an iron deficiency.
Can be messy, too.
Oh yes. A couple of T-shirts have been lost after I have been wolfing down a hot dog or something.
Is laundry your least favourite household chore then?
No – I hate vacuuming. I hate it. I get all sweaty and it’s just a nightmare, but I’m hygienic, so I bite the bullet and do it. I am pedantic about keeping the house tidy, so I couldn’t leave it. We all have to do things we hate.
And what’s your drink of choice?
A margarita. Sometimes. I used to be a scotch girl, but I decided I should pick something that was lower in alcohol and larger in quantity, because I drank scotch straight so it was gone in two sips and I was blind drunk in ten minutes. I’ve switched to champagne, margaritas or sake.
Who throws the best night in Hollywood?
There are so many I’m not sure. Free goodie bags, free alcohol, free food… they all kind of blend into one another after a while. As long as I get fed, I’m happy. It’s not just the way to a man’s heart, you know.
So what would be the ultimate meal we could cook you?
Start with some bruschetta, with rocket and prosciutto and maybe some calamari. For main course, cook truffle-infused filet mignon with mashed potatoes and pour me a big glass of red wine. And then for desert serve me chocolate pudding – one of the volcano ones, where you crack them and then all the melted chocolate on the inside runs out. Follow that with a Cognac, and it would be just perfect. I would be like: “Oh my God!”
Good God. When was the last time you were ‘blind drunk’?
Not for ages. I get tipsy, and the last time was probably Saturday night. I’m a quiet drunk. All I want to do is dance. I get drunk, dance, then come home and think, “that was a good night.”
Maybe you’re just getting old?
Funny you should say that: turning 25 hurt a little bit. My mum’s got a really good perspective, though. She’s 52, looks incredible and says: “Shoot me if I get anything done.” I like that. If my Mum’s not chopping and tucking and pumping anything into her lips, I’m not going to either. I think I’ll grow old gracefully.
Good choice. But does this mean you’ll hang up your hot pants at 35?
I’m afraid it does. I don’t think I’m as fit and trim as Madonna, so I doubt I’ll still be prancing around in hot pants at that age. Don’t cry. I wore them for this shoot. And I have got a decade left. We can do a fair few shoots in a decade.
Original interview by Stuart Hood in the September 2008 issue of FHM UK magazine