For Esquire, May 2011
Britain's favorite pin-up, pinned down (not literally, that would be rude)
No one’s saying it’s not tough out there with the ballooning deficits and the housing crash and what have you. But even in today’s economy there are some excellent jobs to be found. Ask Kelly Brook.
“I was hanging from this rope in this tiny red bikini while these two blokes pinched and prodded me all over,” she says. “They were basically paid to pinch my bum!”
You don’t find jobs like that on Monster.com: “Bum-pinchers wanted for stunning model. Graduates preferred.” Evidently all the lucky pinchers needed to do was wear a pair of green gloves and go at her until she yelped and squirmed. Computers later transformed the gloves into CGI piranhas, and the scene then became part of Piranha 3D which came out last August. And, for a silly B-movie, it did really rather well. It made $75 million, on a $24 million budget.
“I knew it was going to be a success when I read in the script that a penis was going to get burped out of a piranha’s mouth in 3D,” says Kelly. “I thought - ‘mmm, there’s an audience for that’”.
We’re at the Chateau Marmont wading into plates of steaming spag bol - a savage meal for a sunny afternoon, and not the typical model-actress order, by any stretch. But then Kelly’s different. She defies the usual categories. She’s just come off a successful movie and she’s making no effort to capitalize on it. It’s the middle of pilot season in Los Angeles, and all the pretty people are off doing auditions, while Kelly’s doing anything but.
“Oh no, I haven’t done an audition in eight months! You’ve got to read all those scripts and learn all those lines.” She laughs. “I’m quite happy modelling.”
It’s part of Kelly’s charm that she’s never been the ambitious type. So many girls in LA are on the make, but Kelly’s easygoing and breezy. Happy to do the occasional Reebok commercial to stay busy, just so long as she has time for Pilates and shopping and weekend breaks in Cabo. She’s not one to chase opportunities - rather opportunities have always found her. They notice her in bars and walk up to her, smitten. They hear her laughing and fall over themselves. And even when everything goes wrong, Kelly comes out smiling, delightful and often with a cheque in hand.
“My mum says ‘you fall in shit but you come out smelling of roses!’” she laughs. “I’ve made quite a successful career out of being a failure!”
She’s being self-deprecating, but there’s truth to it. With TV, certainly, she’s struggled. The first debacle was the Big Breakfast, when she was only 18, and struggling to pronounce words like “intrepid”. Then years later, Celebrity Love Island called bearing gifts. “I told them I’m a model but they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” she says. (She was replaced for season two). Then Simon Cowell lured her into Britain’s Got Talent - she lasted a matter of weeks. But the payout was tidy. “He should have just taken me out to dinner to see if we had any chemistry, it would have been much cheaper!” she laughs.
Through it all, though, she kept modelling. And her wealth accumulated. She bought herself a Beverly Hills mansion with a stunning view, and a dream home near her hometown of Rochester in Kent - “it’s like out of a fairy book!” She flies private jets to Vegas. She’s doing really rather well. And with all that money comes confidence.
“When I started dating Danny [Cipriani, the rugby international], people were telling him, ‘oh she’s using him for publicity.” Kelly makes a face. Incredulous. “I make a few million a year being a model - why would I need to use a rugby player who’s making a couple of hundred grand?”
Her love life is the only fodder Kelly has given the tabloids over the years. And even this is a wholesome story about a cresting beauty in search of true love. She went from seven years with Jason Statham, to almost marrying Billy Zane to a shorter, more tempestuous 22 months with Cipriani that ended in June. But now she’s with another rugby player, Thom Evans, whom she describes as “more normal. He doesn’t need to be the center of attention. The previous guys have been big kids really. Show offs. And he’s not an actor, so I don’t have to sit and watch all of his shit films!” A couple of days after our lunch, she’ll announce her pregnancy.
At no point in Kelly’s story is there any actual misbehavior - no homebreaking or man-stealing. And certainly no hint of Lohan or Sheen. Not that she’s some kind of Mormon.
“Oh I’ve had my wild nights,” she smiles. “I’ve just got a good publicist. I’ve fallen out of a taxi and puked but you don’t see a picture of it because it doesn’t happen every week. That’s the difference.”
There was the time, for example, when she and her Piranha co-star Jessica Szhor took a limo from Arizona to Las Vegas. The cops pulled them over on the way and so, being drunk, they got out of the car to say hi. Instantly guns were drawn, the driver was laid flat on his bellow and the girls were up against the vehicle with their hands on the roof.
“I couldn’t stop giggling. You know when you’re not supposed to? We’re in the middle of the desert at midnight in our little skirts with guns pointed at us. We’ve got booze in the car… And the cops opened the glove box and all these cards for escorts fell out! I was thinking, oh God, what else is in there!”
They made it to Vegas in the end and dropped a fortune at Spearmint Rhino. “I was up the whole weekend,” she says. “But I didn’t do any drugs. That’s not me at all. I had the choice when I first came to LA - would I rather be hanging out with movie stars and doing gear every night? Or would I rather be home in bed? I don’t care to be part of the gang that much.”
Her phone rings with a text. It’s one of her friends who’s just finished an audition. Kelly breathes deep - it’s such a relief not to have to go through all that any more.
“I mean, I would do another film, if it was offered, and it was easy,” she says. “But it’s not like I’ve my phone has been ringing off the hook after Piranha 3D!” The only call she got was from Funny Or Die, asking her to do a Cameltoe skit.
“The writers wanted to do like a Covergirl commercial for these cameltoes that you shove down your pants? They call them Camelshows. It’s hilarious. Can you get it on your phone?”
We can. So we’re sitting there watching it - the English people in the corner, eating too much and making too much noise.
There’s Kelly, sporting a giant cameltoe, suggesting all kinds of varieties: “There’s puffy taco! And Catcher’s Mitt! And Lobster Claw!”
Kelly’s falling about laughing. “It was a real struggle - they had to make them out of foam. I had people prodding around that area all day, trying to get them right!”
That’s another job you won’t find on Monster.com. Have that baby Kelly and come back. We need you.