My Life in Ten Questions... Erin O'Connor

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The Independent Online

English fashion model Erin O'Connor spoke to The Independent Online about her talent for singing like Tori Amos, dreams of owning and ice cream van and why she turns to Terry's chocolate orange in times of woe.

What would you normally be doing if you weren’t talking me?

I would probably be boarding a plane, superglued to my Blackberry, organising work projects, particularly for my T-shirt company with partner Kate, writing 'pleading letters' to sponsors for my foundations 'the model sanctuary' and 'All walks beyond the catwalk' -and arriving in a new time zone, where I would end up posing to within an inch of my life on a shoot, before I set to work on the return journey, where I try to remember to eat, sleep and call home.

What’s the most surprising thing that’s ever happened to you?

It was being talented spotted by model agent aged 17 on a school trip. This altered my destination into education-I was planning to become a school teacher, like the majority of my family.

If you were Prime Minister for the day, what would you do?

If I were prime-minister for the day I would no longer need to answer this question.

Is there a phrase you use all the time?

The phrase I use all the time is - 'Does that make sense'?

Do you have any hidden talents?

I can play the flute. Music was my favourite A-level and I used to love composing my and stylising my voice to sound like 90's singing sensation Tori Amos. Although in hindsight, I just sound very fidgety and anxious!

What are you particularly bad at?

I'm bad at rationalisation - very bad.

In moments of weakness, what do you turn to?

I turn to Terry's chocolate orange, bed and epic conversation with girl friends - in that order.

Describe the house you grew up in.

The house I grew up in was a typical 70's semi with an uninspiring colour scheme of varying shades of brown. We could afford to add flair in the form of burnt orange curtains and matching cushions and I remember heartily picking wood chip off the wall, whilst trying to avoid the steely eyes of the plastic deer head that mocked me daily and lived at the bottom of the stairs. I can still smell the smoke from dad's work clothes that were only permitted to live in the hall, and my once a week bath on a Sunday evening before school with tiles that looked like birds were resting on them. I recall mum’s diplomatic cry as the naughty neighbour’s kids beat tennis balls up the kitchen wall - once knocking the clock into the sink. But most of all, I will always appreciate how cosy and safe my family home was - it will always be my favourite place and I will spend a life time trying to replace it.

What did you want to be as a child?

As a child I wanted to be a ballerina, ice-cream van owner, wife of George Michael, a nun and a music conductor.

What were you like at school?

At school I was very shy and coincidentally inherited the title 'little miss worry guts' and that was just among the staff. I learned early on that I could make people laugh and as my small neat body betrayed me by growing to dizzying heights, I used it as a tool that translated into complete slap-stick comedy. I didn't belong to any one tribe, the ravers, indy kids, swots, but rather hinted that I belonged to all of them by always skirting enthusiastically around the periphery.

Erin is currently supporting Velvet’s Campaign for Trees. Visit to nominate your local area for a chance to make it more lovely and green! Velvet is committed to the environment, and for every tree used, it grows three more.