FHM, May 1996
"From the sweet one in Eternal to the horniest thing in the charts, Louise Nurding is British pop's newest sex kitten."
For the last three hours I've been watching Louise, ex-Eternal babe and now full-time pop siren, give good face for FHM's photographer, and quite frankly I'm not sure my trousers will ever un-crease. This milk-chocolate skin vision pads around the photography's East London studio in a series of increasingly revealing outfits, attracting appreciative glances and comments. And she may be small, but she's certainly perfectly formed. "This is the sexiest shoot I've ever done," she says as she sits five feet away from me, wearing next to nothing. As they're about to complete the final shot, the photographer's dog bounds in, makes a beeline for Louise, rolls onto his back and implores her with his eyes to give his stomach a tickle. I know how he feels.
As part of Eternal, Louise Nurding possessed a totally innocent image. Eternal were the female Take That: a set of all-singing, all-dancing cute buns with radio friendly tunes who enjoyed a string of huge hits singles, award-winning albums, sold-out tours and high-profile chums like Robbie Williams. Then, nine months ago, she was out on her ear. An announcement was made to the effect that she would no longer be working with Eternal. Vituperative rumours were quick to circulate: the others were jealous because she got all the attention, she was on a star-trip with an ego the size of Bulgaria, they'd never liked each other anyway... and so on. The truth is harder to ascertain, however, since she stills shares management and a record company with the others. "Being solo just suits me more as a human being," is her oblique - and only - reply to enquiries.
Louise is 21 now, though the four years spent cloistered in Eternal seem to have left her cryogenically frozen at 16. Barely a year ago, she was "Miss Teen Dream" - cuter that a basket of labrador puppies, all cheesy grins and baggy beige suits. And while she has yet to transform into a pulsating uber-vixen in real life, she can certainly turn it on for the camera: pouting, purring, coyly spilling out of her underthings in a manner that brings to mind the young Kylie.
If things go to plan, with a single in the charts right now and an album on the way, Louise could be Britain's answer to Mariah Carey. If not, she'll be Eternal's answer to Andrew Ridgley. Hey, but that's pop. So, before we go any further, let's get to the bottom of this new-found sex kitten status...
What do you think about when you need to look sexy?
I don't think about anything. I just don't smile.The photographer said to me today, "You look 12 when you smile." If I don't grin, I can smoulder more.
Still, you seem to have raunched up a bit since your Eternal days...
Raunched up? We've all grown up a bit - myself and the rest of Eternal - and so have the people who buy our records. I don't think I'm raunchier, I just think I have to explore other avenues and appeal to all kinds of people. The more people that find you appealing, the more nterested they are in the music...hopefully!
Sure, but it won't damage sales to have scantily-clad photographs of you all over album sleeves will it?
(Coyly) I don't really know. I think of the sexy stuff just as fun not setting out to be some sex kitten. I think if you're sexy it should come out whatever you're wearing - you shouldn't have to put on a bra and the smallest pair of knickers you can find.
Are you single right now?
(Coyly again) Well, not completely. No, I'm single really. I don't have anything major going on in my love-life right now. I'm too busy to have an intimate relationship. I do go out with guys but it's difficult to get majorly involved. I have been in the past but it can be over pretty sharpish when you haven't seen them for a few months.
The newspapers have been getting into a pickle over your alleged relationship with Jamie Redknapp. What's the truth?
Well, me and Jamie have been friends for a long, long time...
Oh, you would say that...
It's true! I like male company and I've got a load of male friends. 'The Sun' said that we'd been seen out and about together and made it sound like there was a definite relationship there. We're mates, really good mates. You know, I'm young, I go out with different guys, and Jamie is just one of those guys. He's a good boy and one of my closest male friends.
All women hate something about their bodies, right? What's your hang-up?
Oh God, yeah, I hate my knees. I hate my legs. I think I should go to the gym more. I have footballer's knees. Maybe that's why I hang around with footballers - it makes me feel better. But I have great hands. I've been told I've got piano fingers - I'm proud of that.
Now that you've achieved professional pop babe status, how do you feel about it?
(Laughs) Well, I do enjoy it when men say, "I've got you on my wall." But I take it with a pinch of salt. I might be gone tomorrow.
When you do a show, what's it like looking out at a load of male faces, knowing that a number of them have fantasised about you dusting their living room in a French maid's outfit?
When I'm up on stage, I don't think about anything except the song I'm singing. Anyway, the majority of my audience is female, and I can't think that many of them would want to see me in a French maid outfit somehow!
Talking of which, have any boyfriends ever asked you to dress up in any outfits?
No, they haven't. All the boyfriends I've had have been into what I wear anyway - sporty, white, plain underwear, which is quite handy really, because it's the most comfortable.
And if a guy wanted to dress up in something 'special' for you, what would you suggest?
Definitely not Superman or anything like that - if a bloke walked into the room in a Superman outfit, I'd run. I'd prefer all in white like "an Officer and a Gentleman."
Ever been turned off by a bloke when he's taken his trousers off because of his keks?
Not so much their trousers, but when they've taken their socks off!! Eurgh! Men's feet are horrible.
Sorry. We don't think about our feet much...
Yeah, but I really look at a man's feet. Actually, I try not to look because it'll put me off. But to be honest, if I find someone really attractive, it's generally due to his personality as much as the way he looks, so if he takes his trousers off and he had a big bum or a flabby bit around the stomach, I wouldn't be bothered. If I've chosen to get into a situation where he's going to be taking his trousers off, then it's not that important.
So you've never been shocked to discover that a bloke you've fancied likes to wear leopard-skin tangas?
No. But I wouldn't be the kind of girl who'd go, 'That's disgusting!' I'd just have a laugh with him. I'd be like, "Whoa! Dig your pants!" I've got embarrassing underwear too, that my mum bought for me a couple of years ago, with flowers on or whatever.
Yeah, and have you noticed that you always pull on the day when you haven't got your lucky pants on...
Well, yeah....not that I usually get my trousers off on the first date, of course!
Yes, of course. And what would a man need to do to impress you in bed?
Variations. And it's nice when a guy takes time out to make sure that you're comfortable and you're having a good time. But then again, it's also nice to be spontaneous. And it shouldn't be the guy doing everything - in bed it should be 50-50. It shouldn't all be down to you boys.
You were born in 1974, which seems horribly recent to us. Here are a few general questions...who were Mary, Mungo and Midge?
Haven't got a clue!
Another one. What is a Spacehopper?
Oh no, I don't know any of these!
And if I were to say that word 'Chopper' to you, what would you think?
It's a helicopter isn't it? No? Oh, you mean the bike. The ones with the big, long, black seats. I used to have a Chopper! A purple on! (Proudly) I had a purple Chopper!
Ahem. See, I'm not that young - I had a purple Chopper and it was always too big for me. I had to get a leg-up to get on it. And I'd have to ring the bell and hope someone was home to help me stop.
Know any good jokes?
Yeah, but not clean enough to tell in print.
Oh go on....
It's really filthy...
Don't worry, I'm not easily shocked.
Okay then. What's the difference between a woman and an oven?
Ummm...I can't imagine.
All right then. An oven doesn't fart when you take the meat out of it.
Sorry, but I don't know any clean ones.
When was the last time you were chatted up?
Weeks ago. I need to get out more!
Do you ever chat guys up?
No way! Quite a few of my girlfriends will say, "I like him, I'm going to talk to him." But if I like a guy, I'll stay on the other side of the room. I'm really shy. Most of the time my friends go over and start talking to him and bring him over.
So they sort you out then?
Yeah, they're good like that, but actually it really embarrasses me. And I've never been out on a date with a man I didn't know before.
Now you're talking. On the centre spot, or between the goalposts.
That was a joke, by the way. Please don't write, "Her fantasy is to shag someone on a football pitch."
So who do you fancy at the moment?
Ooh, yes, that Portuguese guy who plays for West Ham.
That'll be Dani.
Yeah, I think he's really cute. That's the first time in ages I've seen a guy and gone, "Wow, he's gorgeous."
Why is it that young starlets - you, Dani Behr, er, Patsy Kensit - are always linked with soccer players though
I really don't know. Like I say, I don't always date footballers. I can go out with other guys. I do think that footballers are getting a lot more glamorous these days, though. They're like pop starts now. When I got out with my football mates, there are always a lot of girls hanging around.
Which team do you support?
Chelsea and Liverpool. my friend's brother plays for Chelsea - Scott Minto - so I grew up knowing him. And then I know a few Liverpool guys - Jamie Redknapp, Phil Babb, Jason McAteer. We go out clubbing and stuff. I become a bit of a lad with them.
Do you like being famous?
Well, I'm not at that horrible famous stage - I'm not Michael Jackson! I like where I am at in my career, because I get all the perks but I can still do everything I want to, like go to the supermarket.
What do people say when they meet you?
"You're much smaller in real life!" But I am not that tiny - I'm five-foot four.
And advantages to being small?
Well, you know what they say - good things come in small packages.