DJ Taylor: Glamour, as Mrs Quiggin often reminds herself, is rarely delivered on a plate

Life as we know it: No 24, Sammi Quiggin, Glamour girl
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The Independent Online

It was Mrs Quiggin who first sowed the seeds of ambition in her daughter Samantha's breast. In her youth, Mrs Q had worked as a make-up artist at the BBC, and been employed for a brief period on Top of the Pops. While other children were lulled to sleep with the works of Beatrix Potter or Roald Dahl, Samantha was nightly regaled with tales of her mother applying blusher to the cheekbones of Kylie Minogue or fastening Rick Astley's cuffs.

All these confidences worked their effect, and by the age of eight, Samantha was enrolled in Miss Collina's School of Dance and Drama and being tried out for juvenile roles at the local repertory theatre. If she was not particularly adept on these occasions, neither was she unignorably bad. On the other hand, the extra-curricular engagements played hell with her studies, and whereas most of her intimate friends left school with a handful of GCSEs, Sammi, as she was now styling herself, left with only a great deal of expensively treated corn-coloured hair and a well-nigh mahogany tan.

Mrs Quiggin was a realist. Sizing up her daughter as she loafed around the house that summer, she was forced to admit that Sammi was neither wonderfully good-looking nor especially talented. On the other hand, she knew that the house of popular entertainment has many mansions, and she thought that with a degree of encouragement and a little luck she might do. To this end, Sammi was enrolled in a modelling agency – not one of the West End concerns, alas, but an enterprise in Guildford whose proprietor Mrs Q knew – and, after a certain amount of refurbishment, sent out into the world.

All that was five years ago, and if Sammi has not exactly prospered, she has not quite failed. Last week, for example, she appeared at the opening of a nightclub in Farnham and featured among the backing dancers at a 1980s music festival. Just now she is living with a professional footballer – at this point starring in the Fulham reserve team – in a flat in Clapham. To Mrs Quiggin's regret, her daughter's occasional visits are not the joyous occasions she once anticipated, for Sammi is inclined to complain about Brett (the professional footballer), the late nights and the poor money. But then glamour, as Mrs Q often reminds herself, is rarely delivered on a plate: it has to be worked at.

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