Dancing Queen - Abbey Clancy
PUBLISHED: 16:08 23 April 2014 | UPDATED: 16:08 23 April 2014
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What’s not to like about Abbey Clancy? From WAG to national treasure, Abbey Clancy has shimmied her way into the nation’s affections
When Abigail Clancy crash-landed in our collective consciousness, it was 2006, and the World Cup was taking place in Germany. Having met footballer Peter Crouch only a few weeks earlier, a still-teenage Abbey found herself splashed across the world’s media while in the company of Victoria Beckham, Cheryl Cole (then Tweedy), Alex Gerrard (then Curran) and Coleen Rooney (McLoughlin) - WAGs who had all but defined that term.
With big hair extensions, big designer sunglasses and toting big carrier bags full of expensive clobber around Baden Baden, the WAGs made it look as if England’s national sport was not football but slathering on the fake tan and going shopping.
England exited the World Cup in the quarter final against Portugal, quickly followed by recriminations about whether the wives and girlfriends had been a distraction. Preparing for the 2010 World Cup campaign in South Africa, then England manager Fabio Capello even likened the WAGS to a ‘virus’. And so Abbey had joined the ranks of the WAGs just as they seemed in danger of relegation from public affection. All the more remarkable, then, that by 2014, we find Abbey looking ever more the national treasure. How so?
Strictly Come Dancing played a huge part in that. Abbey waltzed to victory without seeming to trample over her rivals’ egos, or even to betray so much as a glimmer of expectation that she may actually win. We Brits love a modest winner.
But, above all, we Brits like a Nice Person, and the more we saw of Abbey, the nicer she seemed. She confounded our idea of the WAG as the scarlet-taloned fame-seeking missile.
When asked by a journalist once whether it had always been her ambition to marry a footballer, Abbey retorted: ‘Are you seriously asking me that question?’
Of meeting 6ft 7in Peter in a bar in Liverpool, she said simply: ‘I knew he was The One.’
Even when pictured in frocks seemingly held together only by gossamer and good intentions, there was something slightly demure about Abbey. She held her dignity through the odd tabloid scandal, and managed to be a fixture in the lads’ mags while also seeming wholesome. Most models feared any activity more dangerous than strapping on six-inch heels, but Abbey went horse-riding.
She smiled, unlike Victoria Beckham; she made for vivacious telly, unlike Coleen Rooney. When asked for her beauty tips, Abbey cited Nivea, not some £150-a-tub confection harvested from deep within the Amazon rainforest. She became an ambassador for everyday brands such as Lynx and Matalan. Wow, a Matalan Abbey Clancy Lace Pencil dress for a tenner...and it’s machine washable! Perfect for a night on the lash in Liverpool.
And when Abbey tied the knot with Peter at Stapleford Park hotel in Leicestershire in July 2011, there was no exclusive magazine deal, protected by a ridiculous veil of secrecy; instead the happy couple came out and posed for photographers.
Now Abbey’s fame is being put to good use. In February, she launched a £500,000 appeal for a new teenage cancer unit at Alder Hey hospital, and she joined Joanna Lumley and Zoe Ball to urge people to help mothers around the world by donating unwanted children’s clothes to a Marks and Spencer and Oxfam campaign, Love Mum.
We’ll be seeing even more of Abbey in months to come. She is the new face...or rather body, of Ultimo lingerie. As Ultimo’s founder Michelle Mone told the Sunday Times: ‘She is very sexy, that girl next door. But it’s not just the men that love her, it’s women, too.’ And you know which glamorous celebrity they first said that about? Marilyn Monroe.
Abigail Marie Clancy was born on January 10 1986 in Liverpool.
She formed a girl band, Genie Queen, managed by Andy McCluskey of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark fame.
In 2006, Abbey was runner-up in the reality TV show Britain’s Next Top Model.
In the same year, she met footballer Peter Crouch, then playing for Liverpool, now with Stoke City.
The couple married in 2011, three months after the birth of their daughter Sophia, and have lived in Prestbury, and latterly north London.