Irish model Gemma Garrett claims Max Clifford conned her out of £24k
Irish model Gemma Garrett has revealed how she was ripped off by shamed PR guru Max Clifford.
The Co Down model was represented by the convicted sex pest after she became a beauty queen in 2008.
The former Miss Great Britain paid him an eye-watering £24,000 (€29,000) for just three months of work — but says he gave her nothing in return.
Following the celebrity publicist's conviction on a string of indecent assaults, for which he received an eight-year jail sentence on Friday, Gemma recalled her first meeting with Clifford, eight months after she was crowned Miss GB.
“He told me that he didn't take anyone on unless they were already famous, so he wanted money to represent me — a lot of money,” she said.
“Max asked me for £15,000 a month — he said it was an investment in my future.
“In the end I gave him about £24,000 to represent me for three months.
“At the time I was earning a lot of money and when it's like that, you think it will never end.
“He said he would advise me.
“He said he would turn me into a star.”
But rather than propel her into the big time, Gemma says all Clifford did in return for her £24,000 was invite her to two movie premieres she was already asked to attend.
Gemma, 32, admits she was naive to part with her cash, but said Clifford went out of his way to impress her with his clients, boasting about X Factor supremo Simon Cowell in particular.
Following Clifford's convictions, Cowell was the first high-profile client to ditch the 71-year-old PR man, saying he was “horrified” at his crimes.
Gemma said: “Beauty queens are a dime a dozen so I wanted to stand out.
“Friends of mine warned me against Max but I thought I needed to be signed up with him to make it because so many big celebrities were associated with him — he had so many powerful connections.
“He really tried to impress me.
“He went on and on about Simon Cowell being his client and said he needed to keep 15 stories a week about Simon out of the papers.
“It seemed to me like he had been riding on Simon's coattails for quite some time.
“He said all he had to do was make a phone call to a paper and the story was gone.
“That's why I thought it was so ironic when I heard about his charges — he couldn't keep that out of the papers.”
Gemma said her career advice from Clifford, known as the king of the kiss and tell, was to sleep with someone famous.
“The first thing he asked me was if I had ever dated someone famous — he wanted me to go down the whole kiss-and-tell route,” she said.
“But I had brought friends to the meeting and they told him that wasn't for me — I wanted to move away from that route.”
When Gemma heard the news that Clifford was accused of indecent assault, she said she “wasn't that shocked”.
“He was never sleazy with me but I would see how he could be,” she said. “I didn't warm to Max straight away, but I took him at his word. In the end he did absolutely nothing for me and my career.”
As it turned out, Gemma didn't need Clifford's help.
She has appeared in movies alongside Martin Kemp and Danny Dyer, and continues to be in popular demand as a model and presenter, as well as writing for the Sunday Life.
She remains philosophical about her brush with Clifford.
“Of course he ripped me off but you live and you learn,” she said. I was obviously very foolish but at the time, it really seemed like the right thing to do.
“It was a lot of money and it sounds crazy, but I look at it as a life lesson now.”