Content from: The Yahoo fansite
HOW DO I LOOK?; ALICE MARTINEAU, SINGER/SONGWRITER
BYLINE: Interview By Nick Duerden
"I DIDN'T properly get into singing until quite recently. I was a model before that; a booker approached me in Jigsaw one day and asked whether I'd ever considered modelling. I hadn't, but naturally I jumped at the chance. I was 17 and in my gap year before university. To be honest, modelling had never been anything I'd ever considered. Did I feel beautiful? Well, I never had any trouble getting boyfriends, so I knew I couldn't be that bad.
"Anyway, it turned out that I was too short to make it a proper career. I'm five foot seven, and you have to be at least five foot eight. That inch is all -important, apparently. So, no, I didn't do any catwalk, but I did get quite a few photographic assignments. A lot of teen mags basically, things like Just 17 and Jackie. I also did a few fashion spreads for Tatler but, to be honest, that was because I had a friend working there. "After university she received a first class honours degree in English from King's College, London I wasn't really sure what to do with the rest of my life, so I fell back into modelling. I went for an audition with an agency called Uglies, and passed! They take on anyone who has unusual features or, I suppose, is actually ugly. Hopefully, they didn't see me as ugly, just different. It was great fun, an entirely different vibe from what I'd been doing before. No more castings and tons of rejections, just things like MTV ads and appearing on Richard & Judy. I never made much money out of it, so when I eventually left to start my life properly, it was no big thing.
"By my mid-twenties, I decided to give singing a crack. Again, it was simply a case of, Why not?' A friend of mine, whose stepdad is Robbie Williams's manager, encouraged me to send a demo along to him, and he loved it. He helped by opening a lot of doors for me, but ultimately wasn't able to manage me because Rob had become too much of a worldwide concern by then.
"It was difficult getting a record deal at first because of my illness. I've had cystic fibrosis since birth, and I'm becoming increasingly ill because of it. Life expectancy is somewhere in your mid-thirties, and I've been on the waiting list for a heart, liver and lung transplant for the last year and a half now. I guess that put people off signing me. But I've always been very self-motivated and confident, so I carried on and eventually landed a fantastic deal with Epic.
"It's quite a daunting position to be in, suddenly thrown into the public arena. It's almost as if I have a responsibility now to look sexy in order to sell my record. I guess my experience in modelling helps, but I'm less vain now than I've ever been before. That said, I love having my photograph taken. After several hours in make-up, I no longer look the way I did when I first got up in the morning. When I see the results, I'm really pleasantly surprised. I'm not bad- looking!
"As I get older, my condition worsens. Basically, I'm gradually deteriorating, which is why I so seriously need this triple transplant operation. But to be honest, I think that's unlikely to happen now. There are fewer and fewer transplant operations of any description each year.
"Not enough people are carrying donor cards, probably because it's something they don't want to think about, and the odds of finding a suitable donor for me are so much greater because I don't just need one vital organ, I need three, and all from the same body.
"My condition has completely altered my self-image. I've got thinner as I've got older, which I know is something that most girls would probably love. But for me it's not a good thing. I hate getting skinny. I do try to counteract this by eating a lot, but it's difficult because when you are ill, you lose your appetite.
"I was more curvaceous at 17 than I am at 28, but I'm becoming more blase about that. You are who you are, you're given what you're given, and there's no point in getting upset or depressed about it.
"Of course, I still do have my bad days. It's frustrating that the album is about to come out at a time when I'm really quite ill, because it means I'm not able to promote it as much as I would like, but I balance this by focusing on the positive things in my life.
"The record deal has given me loads of money, and that's fantastic because I'm very, very good at shopping. Give me a credit card and I can do an awful lot of damage. In fact, everything that is happening to me right now is amazing. My dream has come true, so it's difficult not to feel really very lucky."