Beauty in the blood

All four of my girls are mod­els – and me, too! By Carol Gille­spie, 46, Glas­gow

Chat - - Contents - By Jen­nifer Knight, 69, from Cram­ling­ton

As I strolled through the shop­ping cen­tre, I linked arms with my el­dest daugh­ter Fiona, then 12. We were shop­ping for clothes – some­thing I loved do­ing with all my four daugh­ters.

It was just a nor­mal evening in 2011 as we swung our bags and chat­ted away.

‘Ex­cuse me,’ I heard some­one call out.

She in­tro­duced her­self as Ali­son, and we were sur­prised to find out this stranger was a scout for top Scot­tish mod­el­ling agency Colours.

‘Has your daugh­ter ever thought about mod­el­ling?’ she asked me.

We got chat­ting and she gave me her busi­ness card.

It’s true Fiona was beau­ti­ful. Tall with long, red hair flow­ing down her back and elfin fea­tures.

But she’d never thought about mod­el­ling.

She’d chucked on any old thing for our shop­ping trip and hadn’t both­ered with any make-up.

‘I can’t be­lieve it,’ Fiona said, de­lighted.

A week later, af­ter my hus­band Charles and I did some re­search, I took Fiona along to the agency.

They made us feel re­ally com­fort­able and re­as­sured.

Fill­ing us in on what would hap­pen next, Ali­son ex­plained they’d move at Fiona’s pace. She was still so young. With the cam­era snap­ping away, Fiona posed for her first head­shots.

‘She’s a nat­u­ral,’ Ali­son raved, flick­ing through the pic­tures. They signed her up there and then.

Girls of 12 can have such low self-con­fi­dence, so it was the per­fect boost for her.

Soon, Fiona, who’s now 19, was be­ing pho­tographed for mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers.

But she was still able to con­tinue at school and en­joy a nor­mal life­style.

Ooz­ing with con­fi­dence in front of the cam­era, mod­est on the other side.

Her sis­ters Ni­cola, now 18, Emma, 13, and So­phie, 12, were all very sup­port­ive. And all grow­ing into beau­ti­ful young women, too. I wasn’t sur­prised when, in 2015, Ni­cola had some news… ‘Mum, guess what?’ she said, bounc­ing through the door. A dif­fer­ent mod­el­ling agency had ap­proached her on so­cial me­dia and of­fered her work! She was so ex­cited. Feel­ing loyal to Colours, I spoke to Ali­son and ex­plained the si­t­u­a­tion. Did they want to snap her up be­fore an­other agency did? Af­ter a quick look at pho­tos of Ni­cola, they were sold. So Ni­cola was the sec­ond Gille­spie signed to Colours. Al­ways a keen pho­tog­ra­pher, Ni­cola of­ten used Emma and So­phie as her own mod­els. And it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore Colours saw the pic­tures. ‘We’d love to sign them, too,’ Ali­son said. An­other two gor­geous Gille­spie girls to add to the col­lec­tion! Charles and I couldn’t be­lieve it. ‘Four girls, all mod­els,’ Charles said, smil­ing from ear to ear. Ev­ery­one al­ways said how much the girls looked like us both. They were such daddy’s girls. And we were all so happy. Huge brands hoped to have our daugh­ters as

the face of their cam­paigns.

Some in un­usual set­tings, too. One at Stir­ling cas­tle, an­other on a pri­vate beach.

And for a num­ber of shoots, the girls worked to­gether.

One saw Ni­cola, Emma and So­phie pose side by side for Dreamin­g­less mag­a­zine.

Aside from the mod­el­ling, all four were ex­celling at school, too.

‘You girls are just amaz­ing!’ Charles and I raved, ad­mir­ing both their pho­tos and school grades.

But then our lives fell apart when Charles was di­ag­nosed with bowel cancer.

In March last year, he died, aged just 49.

He’d been our rock, so de­lighted with the girls’ achieve­ments and the won­der­ful fam­ily life we’d cre­ated.

Our lives would never be the same again.

But as the girls came to terms with los­ing their dad, they knew they wanted to con­tinue the mod­el­ling. To make their dad even prouder.

That’s what Charles would’ve wanted.

Then, late last year, Ni­cola had some sur­pris­ing news.

‘Colours want to sign you as well,’ she said ex­cit­edly.

What? Is she winding me up?

Ni­cola had snapped a cou­ple of pic­tures of me and they loved them.

Never very glam­orous, I al­ways shoved on a T-shirt and a pair of jeans.

I was an engi­neer – not ex­actly model ma­te­rial.

I was a bit un­sure at first, but I’ve al­ways been very open to try­ing new things...

My first shoot made me feel amaz­ing. It was nerve-rack­ing but re­ally up­lift­ing.

Now, all five of us are signed to Colours.

And the girls are still pur­su­ing their dreams.

Fiona is do­ing an Ac­coun­tancy de­gree and Ni­cola is study­ing Busi­ness at univer­sity.

When Emma or So­phie need to book time off school for mod­el­ling, the staff are very un­der­stand­ing.

The girls know their main fo­cus is their stud­ies.

And they miss their dad so much.

I think Charles would be both sur­prised and proud that I’m also mod­el­ling.

He used to tell me all the time how beau­ti­ful I was. And I know how proud he was of all his daugh­ters.

I’ve be­come both a mum and dad fig­ure to the girls, but we work as a team.

At home and on the cat­walk.

Me? I al­ways shoved on a T-shirt and a pair of jeans...

Ali­son Bruce of Colours, says, ‘The Gille­spies are an in­cred­i­bly beau­ti­ful and grounded fam­ily who have a real fu­ture in mod­el­ling. It’s un­heard of for an agency to have five mem­bers of the one fam­ily on their books.’

As the num­bered ball popped up on Chat Mag Bingo, my heart raced.

Two more, I thought. My sec­ond-to-last num­ber popped up. And then…

I won a full house on the 90-ball bingo in Sap­phire, bag­ging the £1,000 jack­pot!

In the chat rooms, my fel­low roomies con­grat­u­lated me.

A month later, I had a £1,000 win on a spin while play­ing my fave slot game Tiki Is­land!

‘An­other win?’ my hus­band Ivor, 66, beamed.

We had grown-up chil­dren, 10 grand­kids and two great­grand­kids, and we loved spoil­ing the littl’uns!

Af­ter a day of visitors, I’d en­joy a game of bingo. I had some smaller wins, too, on Sap­phire and Tiki Is­land.

In Fe­bru­ary, I bought 10p tick­ets for Sap­phire, and went to make a cuppa…

Num­bers are au­to­mat­i­cally dabbed off, but not many of mine were called at first.

But then they kept on flash­ing up…un­til I’d won the link game and an­other jack­pot of £1,250!

As my 70th birth­day’s com­ing up, I’ve planned a trip to Spain and a coach trip in the UK.

We’ve a wed­ding and an­other great-grand­child on the way, too.

While we’re cel­e­brat­ing, I’ll raise a glass to Chat Mag Bingo!

X Xxx xxx xxx x Daddy’s xxx xx xxxx xx x xxx girls xx xx xx x

Fiona on one of her pho­to­shoots

Gille­spie gang! Fiona, me, Emma, So­phie and Ni­cola

Just in time for my 70th!

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