Source: Sky Magazine
Date: July 1996
Heading: "I'm Not Out To Shock..."
Interviewer: Grub Smith
Louise: "I'm Not Out To Shock..."
Here's a success story. Nice girl, about 12, living in south London. Says she wants it bad. To be a star. Cut straight to 16th birthday and she's jiggling around the stage as one fourth of sugar-coated girl group, Eternal. Debut album sells three million copies, band seen on magazine covers, fans go bonkers.
Another story. Slightly older, wiser girl wants out. Has musical differences with chums and seeks solo career. A couple of hit singles, new album, appears in the nuddy for Sky. In showbiz terms, she's doing all right.
Louise, often labelled "ex-Eternal" (but perhaps that's better than her full moniker, Louise Nurding) is chuffed. At 21, she's got the flat in Chelsea, mobile phone, dealings with one of footie's best-looking blokes, oh, and a thriving musical career. No wonder she's all smiles.
Sitting on a chair in a make-up room in a photographer's studio, Louise glances up, eyes the size of Jupiter, sniffles politely and apologises for having a cold. The previous day she performed at a roadshow in wet, freezing weather before an audience of 50,000. They were all screaming for Boyzone and she felt inclined to remind them, "Hellooo, I'm Louise." During her stint, a sponge mike attached to the side of her face ended up soaked with rain. As she sang, she sucked up the water and gave herself a sore throat. "Now I'm coughing like a drain," she says in a rusty voice.
But unlike the rest of the world when they're riddled with germs, Louise looks like an advert for Holland & Barratt. The sort of girl most blokes would want to nurture. Or corrupt. Her face is a daydream of toffee-coloured skin, Bambi eyes and Dynasty teeth. Hers is an exterior that's barely been tickled by time, let alone ravaged by it.
Dressed in sweat top, ripped jeans and trainers, she wears the props of an ego-free zone. "I suppose I'm vain to the extent I like to feel comfy with myself and so I spend a certain amount of time looking in the mirror," she admits. If I'm going out on a special date I enjoy getting ready. I'll have a bath, do my nails, cream my body, but I'm definitely not obsessed with looks." When asked if she thinks she's beautiful, Louise presses her hands to her scalding cheeks and squeals, "Nooooo, oh God, nooooo. I'm very grateful for what I've been given, it could have been a lot worse. But I'm not in awe of my looks. Some days I peer at the mirror and think, 'You're all right, you are.' Other days I want to give up. I used to get really upset when bad photos of me were shown in the press, but now I've learnt to let things come and go. [Ponders for a moment] Although I did tear up some of my last holiday snaps. The ones of me in a swimming costume."
Lord only knows what might happen when she sees polaroids from this particular shoot to promote both this Naked issue and, coincidentally, her "Naked Single" and "Naked Album". All in the name of rock 'n' roll she strips off and makes a titanic effort to relax. "I'm not somebody who enjoys getting her body out," she squirms. "this is a big thing for me. I can't help thinking about all those thousands of people who will be scrutinising these photos once they're printed."
You might end up hanging on bedroom walls...
"I suppose it's flattering to think that someone wants to admire my picture but I do take it with a pinch of salt. I'm more worried about my knees."
"I hate my knees. They're chunky. I rarely wear a skirt and I never get them out on stage."
There must be some bits of your body you do like.
"I used to like my back, but then I had a mole removed and it left a huge scar. Gone are the days of backless dresses. My hands are pretty decent. I've got long fingers. Usually it's only the top half of my body that gets an airing."
Louise is not a member of the Paula Yates school of behaviour. She wouldn't casually strut naked in the path of a new boyfriend ("Oooooh, I'd be too embarrassed. I'd have to be totally comfortable with someone before I'd even consider doing that!"), wee in a public place ("I'd rather be shot") or moon out of a car window ("Umm, nope, never done that"). Most of us would slot her into the pigeon-hole labelled: "Demure."
"I have got high moral standards," she reveals. "I'm not a prude and I enjoy having a good time but I also like to be careful. I'm not out to shock and I'm fairly easily shocked."
A handful of Louise's thoughts on nudity...
Page Three: "I wouldn't do it but I'm not disgusted by it in any way. I can take it or leave it. I don't think it's degrading, and if the girl is happy doing it, then why not? If a boyfriend of mine got a kick out of Page Three, I'd laugh."
Centrefolds in girlie mags: "No amount of money could entice me to reveal that much. My body is for my eyes and, maybe, those of a specially chosen guy. It's not public property. But if other women want to expose themselves, fine. Good luck to them."
Male strippers: "I'm meant to be going on a hen night next week - one of my friends is getting married. I think male strippers are a laugh but I'd never get carried away and try to grab one of them. [Pulls a disgusted face] That wouldn't be nice."
Gratuitous semi-nude shots in magazines: "What can I say? I thought the Demi Moore photo of her pregnant was lovely. I didn't see the Jerry Hall shot in Vogue but there's definitely a fine line between what's tasteful and what's not."
Back in the dressing room, Louise is falling out of one bra and into another. The make-up artist tells her she's got "beautiful bosoms" and dewy-eyed, even beneath three coats of mascara, Louise thanks her, insisting she's merely average: "Thirty-four B, the most common size." Levering herself into lacy confinement, she tugs at the straps and hoists her so-called bog-standard cleavage skywards. It's the only part of Louise's physique that could accurately be described as plump. Wendy, her manager, is always close at hand. She acts as a litmus test for what's acceptable and what's not. Calling Louise "Precious one," she makes sure that schedules are met and the right photos are taken. Anyone who interferes with her star's well-being is politely given the cold heave-ho. Yet Wendy has every right to be careful. She knows how unrelenting this fame lark can be: a radio tour of the country, TV appearances, roadshows and legions of infatuated male fans.
Yes, although Louise proclaims to have the sex-appeal of Nora Batty, she is universally hailed as a lust-icon. She hangs out with gods of football (Jamie Redknapp, Jason McAteer, Phil Babb), lives with two men ("Just good friends") and she's a Scorpio, for God's sake! ("I know what they're meant to be good at.") But, at this moment in time, Louise is a single woman.
"I'm quite wary with relationships. Maybe it's being in this business. You have to be careful and make a judgement on the intentions of a person. I'm not the sort of girl who puts out. I might fancy someone but it'll take me a long time to meet a bloke and fall in love. One-night stands aren't really my thing either, I prefer something more lasting. I didn't have my first serious boyfriend until I was 18. I'd never slept with anyone before that."
What were you like as a kid?
"Obsessed with dancing. At 14, I was into clubs and having fun, but boys weren't on the agenda. Sex seemed a lifetime away. I knew it'd be something I'd try one day but definitely not at that point."
There are no pretensions with Louise. "I'm honest and straight up. Make of me what you will." When it comes to would-be lovers, she simply demands that their intentions are honourable. "I'd like to meet a man who's happy to be with Louise the person, not Louise the famous person. I don't care if he's a singer, a bus driver or owns a chip shop. As long as he's a kindly soul and likes me. Saying that, though, relationships are often stronger if you're good friends first."
Bingo! Jamie Redknapp: mate for years, a solid mucker, rather facially majestic, and, surely, the sort who'd give the thumbs up to such a female delight.
"Seriously," she says seriously, "there's nothing more to us than friendship. Romance is just not there. We've got separate lives. Jamie lives in Liverpool and I live in London. The press have tied us together. There's never been anything in it."
Maybe she's been put off Premier League players by the guys themselves. Louise reckons that whenever she hangs out with the footballers, she becomes a surrogate lad who's privy to their comments and marks out of 10 on potential female conquests. "They'll hit on a girl and then come back and report to me. It often makes me glad that I'm not on the receiving end. Although it's only a bit of fun," she adds carefully, "I'll often use them as adjudicator too, and get their opinion on a bloke. If they tell me he's only after one thing, I'm likely to be disappointed because I've probably fancied him for ages."
When it comes to dreams, her aspirations are straightforward. Top of the pile is the career. Then happiness, then a relationship. Possibly 10 years down the line, kids.
"Falling in love makes me feel vulnerable," she says, "I'm frightened of getting hurt. Nothing's worse than when you get to the point of no return and you need to be with a person. Maybe that's why I take my time and hold back. I can't afford to be that dependent right now. I get into someone and I feel wide open. I'm easily damaged, so if I were to change anything about myself, I'd probably choose to be less sensitive. On the other hand, I don't want to become hard and callous. That's a horrible thought."
No danger of that, Louise. The world's most beautiful girl-next-door turns back to the camera and gives it plenty.