"They'd just make up stories..."
Against the backdrop of the Leveson Enquiry, a former Page 3 model tells Charles Thomson how she turned her back on the 'sleaze industry'.
Weds 14th December 2011, Yellow Advertiser
A FO RMER Page 3 model, Elen Pyle says she has now turned her back on the 'sex and sleaze industry' to seek a future in music.
The 38-year-old, from Benfleet, has told how a series of fabricated stories and indecent proposals forced her to stop playing the media game and seek her fortune elsewhere.
She spoke out as she launched her own online radio station.
A latecomer to the glamour-modelling industry, Elen had previously been a successful businesswoman. After leaving home at 16 and taking a job in the reinsurance industry, she had a mortgage by the time she was 21. But despite her enviable income, she knew she was in the wrong game.
"I hated reinsurance," she said. "It paid the bills but I didn’t enjoy it in any way. My next step up would have been an underwriter and I couldn’t get excited about it. Money doesn’t really drive me, as much as we all need it. I was looking for a way out of the rat race.”
She spotted an advert for ‘models wanted’ in a newspaper and went to meet a photographer in Rayleigh. He told her she would be perfect for page three and sent some pictures to the Sport. Elen was soon in touch with legendary page three photographer Jeff Kaine, who took her under his wing.
She said: “He was my guide and one of the few people I did respect in that industry. There aren’t many people you can respect in the sex and sleaze industry. He was a true guide and friend throughout my career. He died earlier this year. We were still in touch. He was at my house in February. It was such a loss. I still miss him.
”I was the only model at his funeral. They’re a funny lot, models.”
Under the modeling name ‘Sacha’, Elen’s page three career started strong. For six months there was a stream of stories about the busty broker bearing all. After that, says Elen, the stories went a bit mad. One was titled, ‘Don’t Call Me Bimbo: Brave Sacha Thumps Brute and Crowd Cheers’.
She said: “All it was, was I was getting some abuse on a train from some blokes. I told them off and a few people were like, ‘whey!’ That was all I said and they made a full story out of it.
”Another time my car got broken into and they made up a story about my knickers getting stolen. Bum Bandit Leaves Sacha Knickerless.”
She appeared on TV shows like ‘Kilroy’, ‘Jerry Springer’ and ‘Guilty’ but says they were ‘staged for money’.
“They asked me to go on Trisha, too. I drew the line at Trisha.”
Not all of the stories were false. In 1999 Elen appeared as a credits girl on The Late Hour and was attacked by Rod Hull and Emu. The next day, Hull fell off his roof trying to fix his TV aerial and died. The Sport ran a story about how Elen had been the legendary puppet’s final victim.
A lot of the stories, though, were made up.
She said: “They’d just make up stories and they’d raunch everything right up. Sometimes my boyfriends would get grief about it from their mates. So I wasn’t happy about what they said but I just thought that anybody who believed what they read in the Sport was an idiot. It was obvious that it was all sensationalized crap.”
Elen said the odd porky was small fry compared with a lot of what she witnessed. She described the seedy and sometimes dangerous side of the industry.
She said: “People get exploited heavily in that industry. I saw a lot of nastiness; a lot of young girls being pushed into a lot of things with the temptation of money. You see fathers bringing their 16 year old daughters along. It’s very warped.”
Elen said she received a stream of indecent proposals.
”I was constantly offered an awful lot of money to do things I didn’t want to do, from sleeping with people to lap dancing to heavy porn to going away on high escort trips. I was offered £80,000 to go on a week-long boat trip with a load of other girls and a load of Arabs. You can understand why people, especially young girls, do it. I sit here sometimes thinking, ‘God, for a week I could have bought half a house’. It can be very tempting. But I knew that you did not get paid £80,000 to stand around and smile sweetly. You can make an awful lot of money if you’re willing to sell yourself in every way.
”Fortunately, I got into it when I was 24, not 16. I knew my mind and I never wanted to be pushed into anything I wasn’t comfortable with.”
A meeting with an influential newspaper man opened her eyes to the dangerous side of the industry.
”I went to the home of a man who said he had the power to really boost my page three career. It was a huge, ostentatious house. I was still working in the city at the time so I marched up there in my pinstripe suit. I showed him my portfolio and he said, ‘That’s very nice but now I need to have a proper look at you’.
”I followed him to his bedroom and I wasn’t feeling comfortable at all. He wanted to see my figure and I knew that as a model I couldn’t be shy about showing off my figure, so I went into his en suite and got into my underwear. I stood in front of him and he told me to take my bra off. Then he told me to come and sit next to him.
”He said, ‘If you want to be one of my special friends then I can really help you’. I stood up and said, ‘If you’re saying I’ve got to sleep with you to get in the paper then that’s not what I’m all about’. Then he said something to me which was very true. He said, ‘Well you’re going about this the hard way’.
”It was only when I got up to leave that I realized he’d locked the door. I didn’t let myself get put into any position like that after that. I was really quite scared.”
In the year 2000 Elen was becoming increasingly disillusioned with the modeling world and had set her sights on turning her passion for dance music into her career. She went to Ibiza and began working as a club promoter. She used her page three ties to promote the club night and was also followed by the TV show Ibiza Uncovered. Despite being a new promoter, she turned the club into a success.
She said: “Ibiza was the hardest place to promote in the world because it was the clubbing capital of the world. It was an incredibly intense summer but I loved it. I already knew I didn’t want to be a page three model anymore but I knew after that summer what I wanted to do with my life.”
One day she recommended a DJ to her bosses and they told her to book him but she’d have to look after him. That was her first taste of DJ management. In 2006 she set up Ideal DJ Management and now looks after several international DJs. She’s now launched another venture: Ideal Club World Radio.
The online radio station broadcasts globally.
She said: “We have all kinds of music on the station but it is predominantly dance music. It serves as a platform for my DJs and other musicians.
”There’s a wealth of music out there that’s not being heard on any decent platform. Most radio is very commercial and cheese-on-a- stick. It’s all about the money whereas we aren’t.”
The station is on-air 24 hours a day and Elen’s DJs can broadcast live from anywhere in the world. She says her end goal is to have the biggest global independent radio station in the world.
She said: “On commercial radio DJs aren’t allowed to play what they want to play. My DJs can play whatever they like. That’s the way it should work. It’s raw, it’s real, it’s straight down the line. There’s no other station like it out there at the moment.”
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