Breasts and business sense have conspired to make Melinda Messenger the Samantha Fox of her day - a Page Three girl turned contemporary cultural icon. In the world of the tabloid, Melinda is goddess. Authentically and fortuitously named to sound more like a Play Station adventure-game heroine than a 27-year-old from Swindon, Melinda has now soared beyond the arena of the much-thumbed, ketchup-stained chest shot to... well... Channel 5. From October, she is to host her own chat show, "Melinda's Big Night In".
The Pamela Anderson of the southeast (sort of), prize-winning bulldog meets Cheshire beauty-parlour manageress. Top-heavy Bardot wannabe. Miss Torquay 1992.
Melinda is just a nice, small-town girl, you understand, with solid values and a fiance called Wayne. This is the message that has been constantly pushed out since Melinda sparked a tabloid feeding frenzy and suddenly became the topless lovely of the moment. The problem is, it is probably true. With her soft little "Oooh-Arrr" accent, her new, six-bedroom Swindon farm house, and her football shirt-favouring boyfriend, Melinda Messenger is the archetypal girl-next-door made good.
Shell suits to riches:
Melinda Messenger had a nice little job in marketing, thank you very much, when she was "discovered". Modelling in her underwear in a local double-glazing firm's poster - the genre of 1,000 Advertising Standards Authority complaints - Melinda was plucked from small-town anonymity to spark a huge tabloid war by grimy organs wishing to feature her charms. Suddenly Melinda Messenger was the Spice Girl of the "glamour" modellin' world. "It was terrifying - crazy," explains our heroine. "I felt totally out of control. I thought the fuss would die down, and I'd go back to my marketing job, but the phone never stopped ringing with modelling offers."
Despite fame, fortune, and a dinner invitation from Val Kilmer, Melinda has stuck by her man. Or, in this case, boy. Wayne Roberts was a roofer working for his dad when the pair met in a nightclub in Swansea, as you do. Says Wayne, 22, of Melinda's shock success: "I went through every emotion." Sadly, our heroine has fallen out with her mum, Avis, over her breast-baring tendencies. "Mum's never going to be happy with what I'm doing," explains the lovely.
"If it all ends tomorrow I'll just get another job," says Melinda. A healthy attitude, Miss Messenger.
Whatever happened to one Samantha Fox?