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Girls Aloud's Nadine to tackle fashion taboo

Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle said today she wanted to help "smash the taboo" that surrounded people who have to wear colostomy bags.

The singer, who is launching a solo career later this year, said the "pretence of body perfection" made it difficult for patients recovering from bowel surgery to feel sexy or confident.

Ms Coyle spoke out after her friend, hairstylist Connor Grant, had an operation in January which left him needing a colostomy bag for the rest of his life.

She said: "This was a big worry, especially in our industries where there is so much pretence at body perfection.

"I was amazed at the negative connotations that surrounds people with a stoma and also shocked at the lack of exposure in the mainstream media. This is one taboo which I am right on board in helping to smash."

The LA-based singer has agreed to be a celebrity ambassador for "designer colostomy knicker" company Vanilla Blush.

The company was founded by Glasgow-based Nicola Dames after she had major bowel surgery in 2006 which left her needing an ileostomy bag.

The 33-year-old wanted to help men and women who have had bowel surgery to cope with the aftermath of treatment and rebuild their confidence with "sexy" underwear and swimwear, turning a "medical problem into a fashion challenge".

Her underwear comes with a built-in pouch to conceal the bag.

Ms Coyle said: "Nicola has turned people's lives around with her underwear.

"You can still look and feel gorgeous whilst having a colostomy or ileostomy."

She is now set to appear at a nursing conference in Arizona in the US with Vanilla Blush models to promote the firm.

And Mr Grant will also be there as a model and hairstylist.

The 21 year-old said: "If I can make one person feel better about their body image then that is my mission complete.

"I just want to do something positive from a negative situation.

"I have gone from someone who didn't want anyone to know about the colostomy bag, to someone who can now speak about it openly.

"I am nervous about the modelling, but Nadine is coaching me and helping me. She really likes the campaign and that means so much to me."

Founder Nicola Dames said she wanted stoma nurses to understand the psychological benefits that wearing attractive underwear had on people with colostomy bags.

Nadine will be giving away one of her tops and write a letter to the people who give the largest donation to a fund to raise the £6,000 needed to take the models to the US.

All other donations made will be given to charity.

Mrs Dames said: "I am so excited to have Nadine on board. It's phenomenal to have such a celebrity figure supporting Vanilla Blush and raising awareness. With Nadine on board this is a real chance to smash the last remaining taboo."