On Monday she was a marketing manager from Swindon. Yesterday she had become Britain's newest tabloid icon

A 22-year-old marketing manager returned home to Wiltshire last night having been herself marketed in the most direct manner imaginable by two of the nation's raciest rival newspapers.

On Monday she was anonymous but by this morning Melinda Messenger's face, and most of her body, are recognisable to millions of readers of the Sun and Daily Star, which have this week fought an unprecedented battle to each claim her as their own.

Ms Messenger is now being hailed as "The Sun's Page Three Girl for the Millennium" and "The new Sam Fox".

But it was the Daily Star that first exclaimed "ooh-aah" and propelled the former flight attendant to prominence, having talent-spotted her on a poster for a West Country double glazing firm.

As brickies and bus drivers the length and breadth of Britain were muttering "Thanks a Mel-ion" on Tuesday morning, the Sun's West country correspondent Chris Pharo was taking Ms Messenger under his wing and whisking her over to his paper's headquarters at Wapping, east London, to meet the editor and strip down for the first of a series of exclusive shoots.

The Sun may have been a little slow off the mark this time, but it soon eclipsed the Star with its much bigger cheque book. Melinda went topless for the first time on its legendary Page Three on Wednesday.

The previous day executives from the paper took their new "super babe" to a "sparkling movie premiere party" for John Cleese's new film Fierce Creatures, where she was snapped "wowing" Cleese, Michael Palin and Angus Deayton.

The Sun's deputy editor Neil Wallis - standing in for editor Stuart Higgins yesterday - was cooing with delight as Ms Messenger discussed the potential for a long- term relationship with his downmarket rag.

"Have you see her? She's the most amazing glamour find we've seen in years. I really do think she could be the next Sam Fox and as you know Sam Fox is almost part of the English language now."

Warming to this theme, Mr Wallis went on: "Sam and Melinda are similar. Both are fresh-faced, natural and actually very intelligent as well. Sam didn't have O-levels and stuff like Melinda, but she was a smart girl."

Equally smart is Paula Jones, the London-based modelling agent, who signed up Melinda Messenger on Monday, having first interviewed her a month before the Star picture appeared.

"She was nervous about giving up her job and I never push girls into this since I don't have a crystal ball," she said.

"But, as soon as the Star ran its feature, the situation changed and it was obviously time to start talking to her seriously about the job."

Paula Jones is confident that her newest client will make a pretty packet not just posing for the Sun but in advertising and personal appearances. The time is right, in her opinion, for English roses to grab back the limelight from international supermodel.

"Our pretty little English girls have been pushed to the back a bit in recent years as foreign models like Claudia Schiffer have been feted. But now is the time to come forward and say: `Listen, you don't have to go to America and pay a million dollars for Cindy Crawford when you can have me, Melinda from Swindon'."

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup