Strictly Come Dancing 2013: Tess Daly says the pressure on female models to be thin and to take drugs is “immense”

tess daly

Before she became a TV personality, Strictly Come Dancing presenter Tess Daly – who is of course married to DJ and telly host Vernon Kay – was a model with a high-flying career…

However, in an interview with the Daily Mirror today, Tess has revealed that although modeling may seem like a glamorous career, it is in fact a world with a very dark side where drug taking and eating disorders are the norm.

Explaining how she first learned of the sinister side of her job, Tess said, “I remember seeing supermodels hand-in-hand heading to the toilets all the time…

“There were occasions, too, when I would go out to clubs and the models offered me drugs. I witnessed a lot of it.”

The paper adds, “Now she’s a mum to two girls herself – Phoebe, seven, and Amber, three – Tess regularly reflects on the dangers that could lurk for them, too.”

Revealing that taking cocaine was accepted practice in the world of modeling, and that she was frequently offered the drug, Tess added, “I was like ‘hang on a bit, what do we do here in this situation?’

“Because you need your agent on your side and to like you as a friend and not just another girl on their books.tess daly

“When they’re putting you up for the great jobs, you want to be at the forefront of their mind.

“You need to socialise with them because if you do, you get the work.”

However, Tess added that she was never tempted to use illegal drugs.

She said, “I was never tempted to go through the bathroom door and do it.

“It wasn’t what I was about and if I did, I knew it was a rocky road and would end in tears.

“Some girls could get away with that but for me it would have spelt disaster.”

She continued, “The girls didn’t look great on it. I couldn’t understand how they expected to turn up for work at 7am and look fresh-faced when they’d been up all night partying.”

And of the fact that models were, and still are, under extreme pressure to be thin, Tess remarked, “I had a couple of flatmates who just simply wouldn’t eat and I had never come across that before.

“It was hugely upsetting to witness someone destroying themselves and not being able to change their mind. I felt so helpless.

“They were just these level-headed, beautiful, down-to-earth, intelligent girls but they just wouldn’t eat.

“It just didn’t make sense as they were slowly killing themselves.

“I did what I could to help but there’s only so much you can do because it’s a disease that needs to be treated.”

Tess revealed that one of her friends ended up in hospital after her weight dropped to a dangerously low level.

She explained, “She went down to four or five stone but I hear she’s happy now and has a family.

tess daly 2“She got out of it – and out of modelling, too, because it chewed her up.”

And finally, when asked how she’d feel if either of her daughters decided to become a model, Tess said, “I would like to hope she makes the right choices.

“At the end of the day, you can’t be there when those choices are made and I did witness a lot of girls and guys who didn’t have a secure family base or anyone waiting at home perhaps.

“Some of them didn’t have a reason to say no. I hope that for my daughters it would be different.”

Here’s a reminder of Tess talking about the difficulties of being a mum to young children…

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is a trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, Big Brother, BGT and I'm A Celeb.