The supermodel you wouldn't recognise

She is one of the country's most ubiquitous models. Her image adorns billboards, magazines and television screens – she has five TV commercials running at the moment. She appears in adverts for companies from Dolce & Gabana to Domestos and her credits include shoots with Kate Moss and Mario Testino.

You wouldn't recognise Nina Taylor if you saw her in the street, though. She is a hands, feet and legs model, known in the industry as Kate Moss's hand double. Her mitts are insured for £2m, so forget rock climbing. Even opening a can or chopping a carrot are cardinal sins that invalidate her cover. Shaving her legs is similarly prohibited.

"It is hard to find someone who understands my situation every time I want to open a can – it is difficult to convince them to do it for me without their thinking I'm a prima donna," she said.

"But this could mean losing a lot of money to me, it is not worth the risk." A chipped nail could mean that Taylor, 29, misses out on a day's work. Break a finger and it could be curtains. Given that she earns up to £5,000 a day, each vegetable takes on a sudden menace.

Taylor, who is signed to the Hired Hands agency, got into body part modelling 10 years ago on her cousin's suggestion. "She just kept complimenting my hands. I ignored her at first but the idea grew on me."

She is one of only a few women in the country who does body part modelling exclusively – it allows her to be a "big fish in a small pond". Because her face is never in shot, Taylor can work for rival brands where more famous models cannot. "That's how I can be pictured cleaning a toilet one day and stand in for Scarlett Johansson another," she says.

"I can work with the best people in the business: I have done shoots with Mario Testino and John Swannell. I do not think I would have got to do that as a general model; I'm just not model material." Recently, she has worked for Harper's Bazaar, and you will see her in television adverts for Activia, Herbal Essences, Douwe Egbert's and Rimmel London. "On a magazine shoot, I could be modelling £5m of jewellery and, relatively speaking, earn next-to-nothing. But on an advert, I can earn thousands shooting a scene where I am cleaning a toilet." For a shampoo ad, she spent hours elevated in a harness so her hand would appear to come down from the top of the shot.

"Working with Kate Moss, we did an ad for Rimmel, they needed a leg shot and she didn't have time to do it. The public does not know that it was my leg and that I stood in for her and made sure the job got done, but the photographer and the people paying my wages will.

"It is a silent satisfaction, driving down the road and seeing my work on a huge billboard, or sitting at home when one of my ads appears on television: my hands are everywhere, you'd just never know it."

The discipline has its critics. "People think it is really easy and, while it is not rocket science, you have to be very precise," she said. "It is not just putting your hand in the shot, it is a case of millimetres because you are focusing on such a small part of the hand."

And her anonymity can work against her. Ms Taylor claims that she knows of a rival model who has masqueraded as her. "You can get away with it if you are sufficiently brash and naughty," she said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Lead Systems Developer / Software Developer

COMPETITIVE + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Lead Systems Developer / Sof...

Recruitment Genius: Social Media & Engagement Manager - French or German Speaker

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The world's leading financial services careers...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive - 6 Months Contract

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Digital Marketing Executive...

Guru Careers: Account Manager / Senior Account Manager

40-45K DOE + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Manager / Senior Account Manag...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future