Hit & Run: Northern star

What sort of icon does Cheryl want to be? Her fame has, after all, reached the point at which her first name will suffice. Her mentor, Simon Cowell, has apparently offered her £1.5m – a 100 per cent pay rise – to return to the next series of The X Factor; she is supposedly the subject of a recent shoot for Vogue, and now the artist Lee Jones has immortalised her in his painting "Angel".

The artwork, which depicts a characteristically weepy Cheryl towering above the landscape outside Newcastle in a reimagining of Antony Gormley's sculpture "Angel of the North", will doubtless be forgotten in the coming weeks, drowned beneath waves of media speculation about the future of Cowell and his "chav princess", or about a WAG's suitability for the cover of fashion's most famous magazine.

But for her debut as an artist's muse, Cheryl effortlessly transcends both these titles. She has long outgrown the tedious "chav" label, long ago reinventing herself as a sophisticated style icon; leave being a chav to Kerry, Jordan and Jade. She has repudiated her WAG past, saying footballers' wives "are just as bad as benefit scroungers"; leave that to Abi, Alex and Coleen. Despite standing by her men – Ashley, the cheating husband, and Simon, the overbearing boss – she has demonstrated her independence from both.

One almost needs to be reminded that she has a day job as one-fifth of a rather successful pop group. Whatever her vocal talents, Cheryl nowadays contributes somewhat more than her 20 per cent share to Girls Aloud's fame.

She now has the opportunity to become an icon of a higher order. Like David Beckham, who slept on camera for Sam Taylor-Wood, or Kate Moss, who modelled nude for Lucian Freud and was cast in gold by Marc Quinn, she is now sufficiently revered to merit a latter-day Pop artist's attention and a space on the wall at Mayfair's Arts Club, where the canvas will hang in February.

"I feel the overwhelming warmth of the northern people towards Cheryl Cole," says Liverpool-born Jones, whose work already graces the homes of such superstar collectors as Madonna and Radiohead. "I see her as a new icon of popular culture for the 21st century, a beacon of light in these bleak times."

Jones' work is hand-painted, but its bold colour-scheme sometimes bears a resemblance to Warhol's screen-printed portraits of Marilyn Monroe, that most vulnerable and beloved of 20th-century icons. Like Marilyn, Cheryl comes from a troubled background and is all the more adored for it. Like Marilyn, she is admired by both men and women. Unlike Posh, or Jordan, or Kerry, or Coleen, or Jade, or Kerry, she is almost universally liked.

It's a decade since Antony Gormley's sculpture was erected in that disused colliery close to Cheryl's home town. Its emergence, like hers, was dogged with controversy (the Angel's construction in 1998 was loudly opposed by some locals; in 2003, soon after Girls Aloud won their own Cowell-conceived talent contest, Popstars: the Rivals, Cheryl was found guilty of an assault in a Guildford nightclub). But both have since become symbolic of their region, and cultural icons for the whole country. Cheryl Cole as the Angel? Now that is pop art. Tim Walker

Oh, dot-com all ye faithful!

It was billed as "mega Monday", the day when Christmas shopping was set to reach its peak online. Credit card companies claimed over the weekend that more than two million transactions would take place between midday and two pm yesterday, with traffic set to reach its peak at 1.31pm – it was predicted that websites' cash registers would take £16,000 every second. On Amazon, which was advertising a selection of "Festive Steals", such as jewellery and shoes, Hit & Run experienced no lengthy queues on the way to the till. We cyber-shoppers laugh in the face of those braving high street crushes. Rob Sharp

All the President's (good-looking) men

Barack Obama, as John McCain's daughter Meghan memorably observed, isn't bad-looking (for a president). Neither is his cabinet. In fact, the US President-Elect has put together an administration of impeccable physical credentials. Three of Hit & Run's favourites are:



Rahm Emanuel, 49, Chief of Staff

The White House's answer to George Clooney, Emanuel is the administration's obvious heart throb. Nicknamed "Rahm-bo", he's a notorious Washington tough-guy and the inspiration behind Josh Lyman, the arrogant-but-endearing Deputy Chief of Staff in The West Wing. His tantrums have become the stuff of Capitol legend: one incident saw him send rotten fish to a colleague once relations had soured. Married, so only be admired from a distance.

Timothy Geithner, 47, Treasury Secretary

What he lacks in smouldering masculinity, Geithner makes up for in baby-faced charm. A workaholic who eschews the limelight in favour of the corridors of the Federal Reserve. Given the state of the economy, he'll be working long days. And again, married. Sorry, ladies.



Jon Favreau, 27, top speechwriter

So young he makes the others look like underachievers. He once complained that girls assume he's lying when he tells them what he does. "If I wanted to hit on you," he told the New York Times. "Don't you think I'd make up something more outlandish?' Currently single. Alice-Azania Jarvis

There's trouble down pit, ladies

Lurking on chemists shelves are products that are just wrong: scented loo roll, balsam tissues, the female condom ... and now "hair minimising" deodorant. Sure and Dove will each unveil the products next month, and Unilever (their manufacturer) is predicting up to a third of its customers will switch to the formula intended to make underarm hair finer and slower to grow (take note Beyoncé, right). I know I will be comparing the exact thickness of my underarm hair before and after using the products, as well as monitoring its growth speed on a special wallchart. Carola Long

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 People

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Project Manager - Bristol South West

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager (PM), Key Banking Client, Retail ...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor