A model comeback - after 28 years and 10 children

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The Independent Online
It is hard to imagine a middle-aged Naomi Campbell returning to the catwalk after bringing up a large family. However a 45-year-old Worcester woman has done exactly that, winning a major modelling contract after having 10 children.

Annette Edwards, whose last child, a son, was born only 19 months ago, will appear in advertisements for Nivea Visage face cream in a special Mother's Day campaign.

Mrs Edwards, who weighs 9st 2lbs, claims she has the same 36-24-37 figure she boasted when she began her modelling career with a Birmingham agency when she was 15.

She gave up work when she married at the age of 17. In the next nine years she had six children.

"I've gone back to modelling because at the end of the day I love performing in front of the camera," Mrs Edwards said.

"I did worry if it was time to stop when I hit 40 but I've always kept my shape and decided to go for it.

"I've won beauty contests and lovely legs competitions against people half my age and it still gives me a buzz.

"I was curious to see whether I could still do it and determination got me there.

"It's been hard and I have been rushed off my feet but I think that has helped me to keep my figure."

Mrs Edward's past modelling assignments include advertising Coca Cola soft drinks and Adidas sportswear.

Next month, following in the steps of supermodels like Elle Macpherson and Cindy Crawford, Mrs Edwards is to record her own fitness video, although the work for Nivea is likely to spark the most lucrative phase of her career.

She says she is happy that her big break did not come sooner in her career.

"I have absolutely no regrets about missing out on so many years' modelling because of the children - I would do it all again," Mrs Edwards said.

"I wouldn't like anyone else changing my babies' nappies and I still do the washing up. I just do everything a normal housewife would do," she said.

"I was an only child and I just think that's very sad. Its a lonely life and I decided I would not have a child on its own - although I didn't plan to have 10.

"It just happened and I love the different personalities of each one. They are all very proud of me.

"I breast fed all my children and used to take the little ones on modelling shoots.

"The thing that amazes most people is that I still don't have any stretch marks. But I just have a normal healthy diet, with no choolates, cake or biscuits, and I spend 20 minutes every day doing some gentle exercise. I actually spend very little time on myself.

"You get some people in modelling who are a bit jealous or bitchy - they are usually people who have had kids.

"Of the younger models I think Naomi Campbell is the tops because she just looks so elegant. I also think Jerry Hall is fantastic - she is so glamorous.

Mrs Edwards' husband, Rob, 39, is her manager.

"Basically, she is just stunning. Heads always turn when Annette walks into a room and even the advertising agency found it hard to believe she was the mother of 10 children," Mr Edwards said.

"Sometimes we have offered to produce their birth certificates as proof.

"She just has this air about her - and her style and confidence give Annette such an edge over younger models.

Jo Edwards, Nivea Visage product manager, said: "Its not about being the most glamorous, glitzy person on earth.

"Annette is a real person who is very attractive.

"For a 45 year old woman to have had 10 kids and maintained her looks is quite phenomenal."