TV break for girl with a passion for fashion

A FASHION student from Camden is hoping to prove herself a cut above the rest in the new series of a reality TV show. Chelsey Oliver, from Adelaide Road, is taking part in Project Catwalk on Sky One

Ed Thomas

A FASHION student from Camden is hoping to prove herself a cut above the rest in the new series of a reality TV show.

Chelsey Oliver, from Adelaide Road, is taking part in Project Catwalk on Sky One.

Each week, the 21-year-old, who is half Canadian, is challenged to create new looks for top models and is judged alongside her fellow contestants by experts in the industry.

"I have had to take a year out from university to do the filming and concentrate on the show," said Chelsey, a student at the London College of Fashion.

"I talked about it with my tutors, and they decided it would be good to put the course on hold and focus on Project Catwalk properly.

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"We go out and meet celebrities and big names in the fashion world and are given tasks and materials to work with. Then we have just one day to work on the challenge.

"But to be honest, I love high-stress situations. I thrive on pressure and after four or five weeks of filming I realised I've got a real shot at winning - even though I'm only a first year fashion student and I'm the youngest contestant on the show."

The stern-talking judging panel includes designer Ben De Lisi, Grazia editor Paula Reed, lifestyle expert Nick Ede and weekly guests such as Nancy Dell'Olio.

Each week one unlucky hopeful is booted off and loses the chance to win a £25,000 cash prize and a spread in Grazia magazine.

In this week's instalment, screened last night, the contestants went to Primrose Hill to meet singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

"We filmed in a recording studio and got to sing with Sophie," said Chelsey, who says she learnt to sew at the age of six.

"I was having a lot of fun and being quite bold. I'm always very honest with my opinions and I'm not afraid to share them.

"The people behind the show have deliberately tried to turn me into a 'villain' character who clashes with other contestants. But that's just the way it's been edited, I'm not really like that!

"With Sophie, I was being cheeky and asking how short can a skirt go. We had a laugh and she said the model can always wear nice knickers. I definitely gave the viewers an eyeful!"

Chelsey's assault on the fashion world is not just confined to stitching and sewing. Outside of her studies and work as a designer, Chelsey is also a plus-size model at a London agency and has appeared in music videos and MTV photoshoots.

She says she loves colour and wants to be known as the Martha Stewart of fashion, bringing the crafts and arts into clothes.

She loves being based in Camden as it's got so much to offer: "I love living in Swiss Cottage, just near the Odeon cinema. There are so many nice cafés to go to on a Saturday morning. I can go to the gym or take a walk to Primrose Hill. All the amenities are so close by, and it's right by the tube station.

"It's walking distance to Camden Town too. It was so sad to see the fire at the canal market, it was such a shame. London needs to put some money aside to rebuild it and save the traders."

Sky One viewers can tune in at 9pm on Wednesday nights to follow Chelsey's progress.

Maida Vale fashion follower Kelly Osbourne fronts the show. She said: "I am always keen to see up-and-coming British talent break into the industry. Every single contestant on the show has such a distinct style and this is a really great opportunity to be able to give fledgling talent help, from the very best the industry has to offer."

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