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CHASING A DREAM
Lauren Dally emerged on the Australian sports modelling scene in a big way in 2007 when she won the FHM Girl Next Door competition. Bollywood and commercial campaigns followed. Now, after putting her career in front of the camera on hold for a few years, she is back and making serious inroads.
Lauren, great to have you on Athletes Talk. This is a new segment for the site, we’re branching out into the world of sports models and you’re the fortunate first. I assume this is the greatest thing that has ever happened to you right?
Oh it’s up there, as it is for you interviewing me I’m sure. Haha.
Yes, there is a definite level of mutual respect. I won’t disagree with you there. So let’s talk sport. You grew up in regional Victoria. It’s pretty hard to escape Australian Rules footy in that part of the world isn’t it?
I’m originally from Ballarat and for those who don’t know it’s a gold mining town near Melbourne. You can pan for gold and that’s about it. Growing up, there was always sport on TV, cricket, tennis. But I lived with my Nan and she was a huge AFL supporter. Loved Geelong and was a huge Gary Ablett fan!
Your Nan sounds like a legend! Who didn’t love Gary Ablett back in the day! But you’re in Sydney now. How has that changed your sporting tastes? I’ve seen you raising a glass to the South Sydney Rabbitohs!
Yes I’ve been to a few games. I love the Bunnies! I like that the boys are bigger and much rougher than in AFL. I was watching the State of Origin this week too. What an amazing atmosphere. It’s nice to see people so passionate about their teams.
Yeah sport doesn’t get much more passionate than Origin time. So when it came time to school sport, were you getting in amongst it or were you one of those coming up with dodgy excuses to sit on the sideline?
I’ve always been quite athletic, growing up I played netball. Being 5ft 11 they would use me as the Goal Defence. There was no getting past me! Haha. Then in high school I turned to volleyball and represented Victoria in the U19’s. These day’s however I’m more into individual athletics, relying on your own abilities.
A state volleyball player hey? Now there’s a little gem of information I didn’t know I’d unearth! You’re big on keeping fit and a lot of the readers of Athletes Talk by their own admission would love to have the commitment you have to training. What’s your advice to them?
I am active everyday, I love nothing more than walking. It clears your mind, being out in the sunshine and looking at all the beautiful scenery here in Sydney! Between that I alternate my days with weights, high intensity interval training and bikram yoga.
Modelling is a bit more ruthless than people think isn’t it? You have to work hard!
It can be a hard industry especially as you get older. I work as a commercial model which is great, as you can really be any age or size. I hope I can be a positive role model to younger girls. To show that you can be whatever you want to be.
So how did you get your start in the modelling game?
Well if you don’t count being crowned Miss Ballarat, a competition with all five of us in the competition! I would say my biggest break was in 2007 winning FHM Girl Next Door.
Yeah I remember that. What did that do for your career?
It was fantastic. I am so thankful for the opportunity. To walk into a shop and see yourself on the cover of a magazine next to people you look up to and admire is quite a special feeling.
Did you enjoy the whole experience?
It was a great shoot to be apart of. Men’s magazines shoots can sometimes have negativity towards them. But it can be done in a sexy yet tasteful manner. This competition suited me as I feel I have all the attributes that a girl next door has.
The punter out there only sees the finished product. The glamorous photos that light up magazine pages. But there must be a level of discomfort when so many people are standing around ordering you to be at your best for the perfect photo?
It can be. But you get used to it. I’m so invested in getting the best shot I don’t even notice they are there most of the time.
What did you learn about the industry from that FHM experience?
Looking back I should have pursed it further and I could really have catapulted my career, but at the time I didn’t want to be known as just a glamour model because I have a lot more to offer.
You’ve recently done a shoot for FHM in Turkey as well. It had a huge online impact. How do you feel about that sort of response?
Yes, after 7 years away from modelling I am back and more eager than ever to succeed and follow my dreams. I have had an overwhelming response on my social media sites. It’s such a nice feeling having positive comments and messages.
I’ve heard a whisper you did a TV ad for some tyres in your youth. Be honest, back then were you just thinking “how good is this I’ve made it?”
Oh you haven’t seen anything yet. My Nan took some modelling snaps in her knitted jumpers. We’ll save them for another time. Haha. I loved being in front of the camera. But thinking back though the lines I had for the tyre commercial, they were quite risqué for a 15 year old!
What where the lines?
“My boyfriend has real performance, wink wink, since he bought his new Marshall low profile tyres.” Haha. Cringe.
You recently moved to Sydney to seek more opportunities. What was the trigger point for the move for you?
Getting older was certainly one of the reasons. I was working in real estate for five years and there were a lot of times I was doing seven days a week. Unless you have a real passion for it, in my opinion, it’s not worth it. There has always been that “what if” in my mind. So I’m here to do what makes me happy and see if I can fulfil my dreams. If not, at least you know you gave it your all.
Modelling sounds more fun that real estate to me!
It sure is. One day I’m in lingerie, the next I’m running along the beach for a fitness campaign. Or I’ll be shooting a TV Commercial for make up. Or being an extra in a Bollywood film! I love that everyday is different.
Ah, so a bit like being a journalist without the lingerie hey! Haha. But I’m intrigued about the Bollywood bit. What was the movie called?
It was called “The Singh is Kinng.” They filmed most of it on the Gold Coast. It was a lot of fun to be a part of.
So go on then. What was your role?
I had to run around pretending someone jumped out of a birthday caked with a gun. Look out for it at all good video stores. Haha.
What you’re saying reminds me of a famous scene in the Steven Segal movie “Under Siege”. You should have told them you’re great at changing tyres now!
I’m afraid I wouldn’t know how to change a tyre if I had to. But hands up who wants to show me how. Haha.
Careful Lauren. You’ll destroy the internet with offers like that. So what’s on the horizon for you now?
I really want a career in TV. I’ve done a TV Presenting course at NIDA and did some work experience recently at Channel 7. I know that’s what I want to do. But I love modelling. So I’m going to continue to model and hope it will lead to other opportunities.
It’s a tough game but it sounds like you’re on the right path. Who’s helping you out?
Well it just so happens I am looking for sponsors so I’d love to hear from you! Hint hint. Haha. I would like to give a special thanks to Mr Paul Heyman though. He’s been like a mentor to me and I feel very lucky to have his support. The future is looking very bright indeed. Sometimes all you need is that one person who believes in you and your whole life can change for the better. So I think you just have to keep working hard and believe you are worthy.
Good luck. Thanks for the chat Lauren.
Lauren’s website is: laurendally.com.au