Jade Thompson bullied for being ginger
WITH red hair and freckles, Jade Thompson was an easy target for playground bullies.
She was a quiet kid and it was difficult to put up with the name calling and people even STARING in the street because of her unusual looks.
Her future didn’t look like being anything out of the ordinary as she was brought up in gritty Stoke-on-Trent and settled into a nine-to-five job.
But today 20-year-old Jade is on course for worldwide fame and riches as a SUPERMODEL.
And the appearance that once seemed an obstacle to greater things is now her biggest asset.
No one was more surprised than Jade when Elle Macpherson praised her as “unique” with an “amazing body” when declaring her the winner of TV’s Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model.
Throughout the TV series against 12 other beauties Jade captivated viewers with the unusual mix of her hair, skin and her slender, Size 8 figure.
Presenter Elle recalled: “When we met Jade she said we wouldn’t meet anyone like her — and she was right.”
After bagging the most sought-after prize in British modelling, Jade is now in the perfect position to fulfil her dream of becoming a lingerie model.
She told The Sun: “I never expected to win, it was 100 per cent a surprise.
“Juste, the other girl in the final with me, has been a model for five years so I automatically thought she would get it.
“But then I suppose the point of the show is to discover an unknown.
“Although I’m tall I felt tiny in the model house. Juste was 6ft in her bare feet.
“And although I’m really thin no one in the modelling industry has boobs so I’m seen as a curvy girl.
“When I went to America with the show I loved it, and the photographers there seemed to love me — my figure fits better over there.
“Now I’d love to go to the States and become a Victoria’s Secret model.”
Showcasing the bras and briefs for one of the world’s most famous lingerie firms is a far cry from Jade’s previous job as an insurance adviser.
She explained: “I did that after I quit my degree in nursing. I knew nursing wasn’t for me but I never had the confidence to become a model.
“I had thought about it but I never said anything to anyone. I was going to go into nursing and be a normal girl.
“I live in Stoke with my mum and we don’t have anything to do with modelling here.”
Her big break came when Jade attended the TV show’s live event last year — and was besieged by model scouts.
She recalled: “I was asked by Wonderbra and a modelling agency if I wanted to be a model and a scout for the show approached me and said I should attend the audition.
“My mum, my boyfriend and my friends all told me I had to go for it — and I’m so glad I did.”
The 13-week show pits 13 wannabe models against each other.
They all live together during the series, go through a series of modelling challenges, and the girl with the least impressive photoshoot each week must leave.
The judging panel is made up of Elle, top designer Julien Macdonald, celebrity stylist Grace Woodward and male model Charley Speed.
As well as having to pose with a falcon in one challenge, Jade also had to walk a husky down the catwalk in the final.
In one episode she even plunged into a tank in the London Aquarium while wearing a designer dress to be photographed with rays and sharks — quite a tough gig for a non-swimmer.
She also modelled bridal wear in the Florida Everglades and completed a nude shoot as part of the show.
Jade revealed: “I can’t swim and I really thought I was going home after the aquarium shoot. As well as good comments from the judges I also got negative ones too.
“Grace said I was like Marmite, that you’d either love me or hate me which was quite upsetting, but it made me stronger and even more determined to win.
“Modelling is quite a crazy industry but the show has given me the confidence to deal with whatever situation I might face.”
Jade’s single mum, Dawn Evans, 47, an after-school club assistant, brought up Jade and her siblings alone.
She is understandably very proud of her daughter.
Jade explained: “My mum is thrilled, but she always jokes that she doesn’t know how she ended up with such different kids.
“My dad’s black and his family are from Jamaica so I’m mixed race, but my ginger hair is from my nan.
“I have three older brothers, one is paler than me with a blond afro and the others have much darker skin than me, so we’re a real mix of genes.
“I am in touch with my dad but I live with my mum.
“She’s done an amazing job to bring us all up on her own.”
But Jade’s eye-catching red hair made her a target for bullies at primary school. She said: “I was called freckle face and ginger nut and I was quite upset.
“People would even stop and stare at me in the street. But after leaving primary school I started to like having ginger hair and freckles.
“I was a really quiet kid but once I found the right group of friends at secondary school I really came out of my shell.”
And even sharp-tongued judge Grace finally came around to her magical looks.
She said in the show: “Jade is like her name, she’s a rare and precious stone we’ve found in the rough.”
And Jade is grateful for their mentoring.
She said: “To be guided by someone like Elle is incredible.
“She’s been at the top for a long time and she’s now a brand by herself, with her skincare and lingerie ranges.
“I also really look up to the models Lara Stone and Lily Cole.
“Lara has boobs and a gap in her teeth like I do, and Lily is ginger so they are both an inspiration for me.
“My dream is to model for labels like Calvin Klein and Victoria Beckham, but I love the High Street too. My two favourite shops are Topshop and Miss Selfridge.”
Jade has already completed a cover shoot for Company magazine, one of a raft of top-notch prizes for winning the competition.
The package includes a contract with agency Models 1, a cosmetics contract with Revlon, a fashion campaign with Miss Selfridge and a Peugeot RCZ sports coupe.
Plus there’s a holiday for two to Jamaica, which Jade hopes to take next year with her electrician boyfriend Reuben Burt, 20.
Jade said: “I know there will be knockbacks along the way and people who don’t like the way I look but you have to take the good with the bad.
“I can’t wait to get started as a model now, it really does feel like my dream has come true.”
“I would love to have my own brand like that and I know I can work hard enough to get it.
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