EXCLUSIVE: Nadia Forde talks life, love and new beginnings with Independent Style
An exclusive photoshoot with Independent Style
"If I meet someone, I tell them I don't want them to Google me. I don't know what's going to come up, I have no control over it and it might not be accurate. I'd rather them get to know me for myself."
A sit-down with Nadia Forde is like a reunion with an old friend. We've never met before and what brief interactions we've had have been mainly arranging this shoot.
As we enter her (temporary) apartment at the K Club in Kildare, Nadia isn't wearing a scrap of makeup, she's in a bathrobe making tea, setting out biscuits and welcoming our beauty crew with open arms.
One meeting with her and you immediately realise the stark contrast between her public and private personas. She's more girl next door than FHM pin-up.
At 25 years old, she's a modelling veteran. She made her first foray into the industry at 17, and, as she says, 'I grew up in this industry'.
She's the much talked-about model-turned singer-turned tabloid fodder, who's name is rarely out of the headlines.
But the girl in front of me, who wears pug pyjamas and has a Minnie Mouse stuffed toy sitting on her perfectly made bed, isn't concerned with the headlines.
She split from Ireland rugby player Luke Fitzgerald two years ago and most recently, hasn't been able to escape rumours of a romance with Rory McIlroy.
"I want to be with someone I can 100% be myself around and I haven't found that," she says. "It's just going to take a really special person for me to think about it. I'm so comfortable on my own that it's going to take a lot - I've been single for two years."
And she isn't one to take pending love lightly.
"It took me six months to go on my first date after my last relationship," she explained. "It was horrific. I should really use this interview as a chance to apologise! It was nothing to do with him, it was all me!
"I'm not against the idea of a relationship, but, like I said, they'd have to be pretty amazing."
This doe-eyed old romantic explains that her less-than-traditional childhood is, in part, the reason behind her decision to protect her heart so fiercely.
Nadia has never spoken about the intimate details of her upbringing, only that her grandmother raised her and prior to that, she moved from cousin to cousin.
She briefly touched on the subject during her stint on 3e reality show, Nadia Goes to Hollywood, which aired earlier this summer. And her upcoming track Haunted delves into her past more deeply.
"Even though it's not the stereotypical family, it's my family," she explains.
"I'm happy that it's out there now and there's no shame in it. There's this idea of the perfect, cookie cutter family. What is perfect? Flaws are nice."
"There was one time time in my life, where I realised that I'd become an adult. I've learned how to protect myself, and sometimes, there's only so many times you can get rejected. It's true and that's how I feel.
"Unfortunately, I've learned that you can't control what other people do - your parents, your friends, your relationships. The only thing you control is how you are. There were a few years I was uncomfortable in my own skin about it. I was confused about the whole situation when I was trying to figure out where I was and what I wanted.
"Someone said to me, 'These are the cards you're dealt and it's not changing'." "You can wish it was there all you want, but it's not changing."
In fact, it was through music that Nadia uncovered this new, enlightened side of herself.
"I think with writing Haunted, I realised there were emotions I never knew I had."
Through putting her private life in the public forum, she has been inundated with messages from hundreds of others in similar situations reaching out to her.
"It was quite exposing. I mean it's overcoming one barrier to even put it on paper; another to get a producer and let you sing it, then there's a whole other set of feelings to release it and for it to be out there."
Her foray into singing isn't an unexpected move for those in Nadia's inner circle. After making her panto debut in 2012, she decided to pursue it as a full-time career. In September of last year, she performed in front of 50,000 people singing the national anthem before the Ireland v Germany and Croatia games at Aviva stadium.
Soon after, Hollywood called, and, as expected, so did the reality tv show. Then the FHM shoot. And now, she resides in London promoting her album BPM and making more music.
"Once you know you can survive that, you can do anything," she said of her Aviva gig, which gave her the confidence she needed to move forward move from modelling.
"I intentionally kept it quiet, I wanted it to be 100% before anyone saw it. This isn't a joke. This isn't my hobby. This is my job now."
While she maintains a 'never say never' when it comes to freelance modelling work, her main focus is music. And her high profile as a result of thse modelling gigs has brought it's own set of troubles with it.
"I've gone through the craziest few years of a girls life in - first relationship, first heartbreak. And while I wouldn't say everyone knows about it, i is there for people to find if they want it
"I find myself in a situation that if I meet someone, I tell them I don't want them to Google me. I don't know what's going to come up, I have no control over it and it might not be accurate.
"I'd rather them get to know me for myself."
When you do Google Nadia, an array of scantily clad images come up, photos which, she agrees, can give men an over-sexualised perception of her.
"I definitely think that because my friends say it all the time," she says. "I think that guys might have that opinion of me, I think when they meet me it changed. Remember, I wear pug pyjamas and have a Minnie Mouse stuffed animal on my bed."
Photography: Caroline Quinn (www.cquinnphotography.com); Styling: Laura Mulett (www.lauramullett.com) and Assisted by Holly Leni; Makeup: Amy O'Neill at Makeup Forever, Clarendon St, Dublin 2 (www.mufe.ie); Hair: Trudy at Wilde Salon, 93 Morehampton Road, Donnybrook, Dublin 4 (www.wildesalon.ie).