SHE was the lads mags’ beauty who stole the heart of George Clooney.
In the second of our series on Nineties women, we take a look at how Lisa Snowdon went from being scouted as a teenage model to telly stardom and her latest role as a campaigner – and, of course, that relationship.Lisa had a five-year relationship with George Clooney[/caption]
What is George Clooney like in bed? That’s the question some people still ask Lisa Snowdon.
“I never tell,” says the TV and radio presenter, who met the Ocean’s Eleven actor on the set of a Martini advert in 2000.
She adds: “Sometimes I think it will be written on my tombstone — ‘George Clooney once dated Lisa Snowdon.’”
Long before their five-year relationship, Lisa, now 50, had already established herself as one of our hottest properties.
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As a girl, inspired by dancers in West End shows such as Cats and Les Miserables, she enrolled in the famous Italia Conti performing arts school.
Naomi Campbell was there at the same time, although Lisa says their “paths never really crossed.”
Then, at the age of 19, she was spotted pole dancing at a London rave club — and after changing her surname from Snowdon, she soon started appearing in fashion magazines such as Vogue and Marie Claire.
But at a time when “heroin chic” was admired, 5ft 10in Lisa was deemed too voluptuous for the catwalks.
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Once in Paris, a designer who she has not named hit her breasts, telling her they were too big — and in Milan, she was stripped down and told to lose weight.
But the lads’ mags adored her. Between 1996 and 2007, she appeared in FHM magazine’s 100 Sexiest Women list every year, bar 1998.
Big brands also loved Lisa’s girl-next-door looks and she appeared in ads for Triumph lingerie, and Dove soap.
A campaign for Kellogg’s Special K prompted a flurry of messages from women thanking her for being a woman with “real curves.”
Ironically, at school she had been bullied for being skinny.
She said: “As soon as I got my first magazine covers I thought, ‘So who’s the skinny little wimp now?’”
At the height of her career, she was said to be earning £100,000 per shoot.
It was a far cry from her roots in Welwyn Garden City, Herts, where she lived with her parents Nigel and Lydia, who both worked in insurance and split when Lisa was 17, and younger sisters Lesley Ann and Jo.
In the nineties, she famously appeared as the “Lynx elevator girl” who gets hot and steamy with a nerdy bloke, mistaking him for the source of an intoxicating scent.
The hunk who sprayed the deodorant in the lift was model Paul Sculfor, who dated Friends star Jennifer Aniston in the early 2000s.
Lisa and Paul ended up in a relationship themselves, and were pictured holding hands at the premiere of 1997 action thriller The Saint.
Other famous flings included former CSI actor Gary Dourdan and Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams.
As soon as I got my first magazine covers I thought, ‘So who’s the skinny little wimp now?’Lisa Snowdon
But it was her relationship with Clooney that really hit the headlines.
The advert they appeared in together featured Lisa as the host of a glamorous party who answers the door to the ER star.
Seeing he has arrived empty handed, she tells him: “No Martini, no party,” and shuts the door on him.
Lisa said: “George was charming, a really nice man, good fun and we had a great time. It was quite wild.”
While she has lost touch with the actor — who is now dad to five-year-old twins with barrister wife Amal — the relationship enabled Lisa to become best friends with George’s pal Michele Merkin, a former model and TV host who is now married to US billionaire Ted Waitt.
She is also still pals with George’s Ocean’s Eleven co-star Matt Damon and his wife Luciana Barroso, who she stayed with in the US last year.
Lisa mentioned Matt on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity in 2016, telling her campmates: “He came to my birthday party. He’s really nice.”
Despite her fantastic figure and modelling background, Lisa later admitted she felt self-conscious about showering in the jungle, where the women are filmed in their bikinis under the waterfall.
She said: “There was quite a lot of pressure — you feel massively exposed. We definitely delayed it for as long as we could until we were really, really reeking.”
Her telly career really took off in 2006 with Sky Living’s Britain’s Next Top Model, which she hosted and sat on the judging panel until 2009.
Lisa has also done presenting stints on Lorraine, This Morning and Loose Women.
She came third on Strictly Come Dancing in 2008, partnered with professional dancer Brendan Cole.
That same year she began presenting the breakfast show on London’s Capital Radio, firstly with former Big Breakfast host Johnny Vaughan and later with Dave Berry.
George was charming, a really nice man, good fun and we had a great time. It was quite wild.Lisa Snowdon
Announcing her departure in 2015, she said: “After seven and a half years of getting up at 4.30am, I hope people agree that I’ve earned a lie-in.”
More recently, Lisa has become a wellness guru with herself Care Sunday Instagram series and Get Lifted podcast, in which she discusses mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Self care has become important to her as she navigates her way through the menopause — and she has become one of a number of high-profile campaigners on the subject.
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Last week, she joined fellow TV hosts Davina McCall and Mariella Frostrup at the House of Commons to hand MPs their Menopause Mandate for better support and advice.
And she is regularly contacted by women wanting to talk to her about what she has learned since going through perimenopause symptoms in her early 40s — without realising what they were at the time. Suffering anxiety, low mood and insomnia, Lisa sought help and briefly took antidepressants before going on HRT.
She said: “I’m passionate about wanting women to reclaim their lives. I think back to generations before when we didn’t have this information and feel so angry.”
For someone who had always remained trim, putting on around three stone was difficult for her mentally.
Lisa recalled: “I was a little bit broken when nothing in my wardrobe fitted me — that’s a really hard thing for us girls. I remember sitting on the floor and just crying.”
She now focuses more on diet and exercise, with lots of protein, vegetables and strength training.
I’m passionate about wanting women to reclaim their lives. I think back to generations before when we didn’t have this information and feel so angry.Lisa Snowdon
But she won’t deny her favourite chocolate, crisps, wine and beer. She said: “I don’t see it as a guilty pleasure — it’s just pleasure.”
To de-stress, Lisa uses crystals, aromatherapy, candles and incense.
And life is better thanks to her fiancée George Smart, 42, who she first dated 20 years ago while working as a presenter on MTV where he was head of events.
She said: “We’re a really good team. He’s very kind and loving.
“We were together a long time ago and it wasn’t the right time. Then we reconnected and the stars aligned.”
When they got back together in 2015, Lisa’s hormones would make her “flip” on a night out and white wine sent her “cuckoo.”
She said: “Some days I couldn’t get out of bed because of debilitating bleeding during my monthly cycle but George would just hold me and tell me everything would be OK.”
Now Lisa watches her alcohol intake and they are able to joke about what a “nightmare” she was at times.
She admitted that she was “devastated” for a few years at the prospect of not having children, so she and George discussed the options available to them when they became serious.
But he told her he just wanted it to be the two of them forever.
George, who runs a marketing and advertising agency, revealed to The Sun: “Do I feel like I’ve missed out? Absolutely not.
“I’m 100 per cent happy that it’s just me and Lisa.”
For her 50th birthday in January, George whisked her away to Iceland — and Lisa has no concerns about hitting the milestone. She said: “I think if you feel good in yourself, then turning 50 shouldn’t be a worry and I do definitely feel good.
“I am pretty body confident. I think you get to a stage where you have a sense of acceptance which you don’t have when you’re 27, 28, 30.”
She and George, who live in Loughton, Essex, have been engaged since 2016.
As for the prospect of wedding bells, Lisa won’t be having a big do.
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She said: “If and when we do get married, it will probably be quite small.
“I don’t really want to spend loads of money on a wedding. I just prefer to keep it really intimate.”Once in Paris, a designer who Lisa has not named hit her breasts, telling her they were too big[/caption] Lisa later admitted she felt self-conscious about showering in the jungle, where the women are filmed in their bikinis under the waterfall[/caption] She came third on Strictly Come Dancing in 2008, partnered with professional dancer Brendan Cole[/caption] Lisa’s life is better thanks to her fiancée George Smart, 42[/caption]