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