When Shabby ended her stint in the final series of Big Brother
by walking out of the house, she left behind a lot of stress and
worry and the object of her affections, Caoimhe. DIVA was waiting
to give her a debrief.
'I've lived a billion lives and I plan to live a billion more. I
wouldn't want any other life than my own. I have the perfect life.
I am happy.'
I can't remember the last time I heard someone so positive. The
day before we meet, I spotted Big Brother Eleven's Shabby
swaggering around - alone - on the London Underground, smiling
uncontrollably in her Artful Dodger get-up, toying with her
trademark braces, and, no word of a lie, readjusting her beloved
trilby. Love her or loathe her, there's no denying it: charisma
oozes from this self-confessed 'feisty lesbian squatter'.
When we meet - just over a week after she dramatically walked out
of the BB house - she's already had a couple of dates and the offer
of a crash pad with a mysterious former BB housemate.
At a glance, and to use a phrase synonymous with the hit Channel 4
show, which ends this year after eleven series, it was as if Shabby
was 'playing up for the cameras'. We may live in an age of CCTV,
but let's face it, the real world's nothing like the BB house. Ask
the 24-year-old Shabby why she walked and she'll tell you she
feared the viewing public hated her. The reverse seems to be true.
In fact, as we go to press, public campaigns to get her back IN the
house have reached fever pitch. For the moment at least, she's the
most popular gay girl in the country.
And it's not hard to see why. Five minutes engaged in conversation
with Shabby is all it takes to conclude that, while her name isn't
authentic (rumour has it it's Keeley Katchadourianan, but we can't
be sure - and is not knowing all part of her mystique anyway?), her
character most certainly is. 'I've always marched to the beat of my
own drum,' she explains. 'I've always done what and dressed how I
On returning to the house, she muses with a knowing smirk: 'There
would be a lot of things to consider. I walked out at the perfect
time. There's no such thing as rational thinking in there. You
exist in a state of paranoia, anger, fear and impending doom, which
is why I left.
'You argue, eat, sleep, think, smoke... and did I say sleep? I was
getting on average four and half hours sleep a night. If I went
back in I can pretty much guarantee that I'd do something or say
something that would turn the public's opinion. Some people respect
you more for walking. I'd like to go back, but maybe just for a
task. I'd like to do the voice in the diary room!'
But for today, she's content spending the afternoon in various
states of undress in front of the DIVA camera. And not for the
first time; her recently reformed punk band, Voodoo Hussy, featured
in DIVA's Naked Issue a few years back, with Shabby, naturally,
But without her band mates by her side, she seems strikingly more
beautiful - a dark-haired Purdey (Joanna Lumley in The Avengers),
dare we suggest - with incredible, lively green eyes, which she
frames in thick black eyeliner. Davina apparently asked if her
trademark eye-makeup is, in fact, Sharpie marker.
Her eyes really come alive when I mention the subject on
everybody's lips: Caoimhe. Sexy, statuesque and straight, the Irish
beauty rapidly became Shabby's best friend, and, within days, the
object of her uncontrollable affection. Thus, the British public
were presented with an unfolding lesbian crush story seldom seen on
'In Hollyoaks, and that kind of thing, they [lesbians] are always
nutty and obsessive,' agrees Shabby, as we discuss that old
chestnut: gay girls falling for straight girls. We ponder for a
while, trying to think of any positive examples of her situation.
'I can only think of Naomi and Emily in Skins,' she suggests,
citing DIVA's former cover stars. 'A lot of people have said that
watching me and Caoimhe was like watching them… except in Skins,
they end up together.' She frowns, and I feel for her.
I wonder how to push the subject further. Despite her cheeriness,
Shabby's evidently still reeling from the pain of unrequited love.
A pain that seems to step up a gear over the course of the shoot
when she receives a call from Caoimhe's boyfriend (yes, really),
for whom she's become an unlikely confidante. She met him the week
before, on the sofa of BB's spin-off show Big Brother's Little
Brother, with no prior warning from BB producers (taking the
surprise in her stride but saving her tears for her dressing room).
And Shabby's since been offering him a shoulder to cry on. 'He's
just missing her like crazy, dude. I guess he wants to speak to me
because I'm probably the only person who understands. Having that
conversation with him just now, [I realise] I really fucking like
him. He does genuinely love her to bits. He said, "What if she
comes out and decides she doesn't want to be with me?"'
Doubtless, it's Shabby's level-headed and dignified handling of
what many perceive to be harsh behaviour on Caoimhe's part that has
endeared her to the public. Over the course of the afternoon, she
alludes to offers of grand sums from gossip rags eager for the low
down on 'Shabby's pain'. But, commendably, she's turned them all
down, refusing to turn her personal life into a commodity. Bearing
this in mind, I tread sensitively, as I try to get to the bottom of
this unlikely love affair.
How do you feel about BB housemates who lie about their
sexualities to get into the house?
Well, Caoimhe said she was bisexual in her audition tape.
How does that make you feel?
I hate it. Of course I hate it.
Did you feel she was giving you the come-on
She is a massive flirt: she admitted that. I think she was
flattered by my attentions, but I don't think she meant to lead me
on. I don't think she realised how serious my feelings for her
Have you ever liked a straight person
The person I had my longest relationship with so far was a
straight girl. She's got a boyfriend now. We lived together for two
So do you feel the same for Caoimhe now?
So far. But maybe I'll meet the girl of my dreams today! I have a
date tonight with someone you may or may not know… I met her on
Saturday. But apparently she turned to one of her friends and said,
'I wish she'd shut up about Caoimhe'.
Would you say you're a sexually free
Yeah! [But] I didn't have a wank in there, not once. What's the
longest I'd been without one before? Not very long! I was sharing a
bed with a girl I had the massive hots for. She'd roll over in the
night, and maybe think I was her boyfriend or something and give me
a little spoon. And I'd wake up and think, 'Oh god, for fuck's
It seems that once the floodgates have been opened, Shabby can
talk for England about girls. She admits that there have been a lot
of 'very sexy' ones throwing themselves at her since her BB
departure. But while she admits to being a 'bit of a tart' (her
words) before going into the house, she suggests now's the time for
a proper, serious relationship.
In other news, she coyly confirms after some gentle pressing that
she went out on the town with BB7's Nikki Grahame the previous
weekend, after the blonde 'asked Big Brother' for Shabby's number.
From one blonde to another, she claims the late Brittany Murphy was
her ideal woman, and from one troubled soul to another, I'm
surprised to learn that Shabby's more than happy to divulge about
her relationship with old friend Lindsay Lohan, with whom she
competed for the lead role in Disney's The Parent Trap in the late
What was that experience like?
It was a strange experience, being driven around in limos. I
screen tested with Natasha Richardson, who's sadly passed away now.
I hung out with Lindsay all the time. They got rid of the other two
girls and it was just me. On the last day they picked her."
Can you imagine what your life would've been like if you'd
got the part?
I can imagine it'd be just like Lindsay's! I'd have probably ended
up doing a lot of the things she's done. It's too much, too young.
Too much money, too much attention; I don't blame the girl for
going off the rails.
Did she have that glint of rebelliousness, even
She was very much the same at that age.
Did you get any sense of her sexuality?
Well, we really loved each other. I don't think that was
necessarily in a sexual way, we were like, 11 or something. Part of
The Parent Trap was filmed in England, and when she came here to
film she tried to call me, but her mother said she wasn't allowed
to talk to me anymore and that was the end of it. Bloody Lohan
mother! I want to see Lindsay again. I think we'd get on just as we
did then. How different our lives went from that one
That's an understatement. While a decade of infinite fame and
fortune has damaged Lindsay beyond comprehension, Shabby's life has
taken a different path entirely. The former child actress still
maintains a passion for film, probably more so these days than
Lindsay. Her independent film production company Apocalypse Club is
now well underway, with a dark, TS-Eliot inspired drama in the
pipeline, in which Shabby plays the lead role. Despite many arguing
that on paper Shabby's lifestyle indicates instability, I see
surprisingly little of Lindsay's recklessness in Shabby.
'People instantly jumped on a story just before I went in [to the
BB house],' she explains as we arrive at the subject that brings
out the most passion in her - squatting. '[The story was] about a
group of squatters who moved into a family's house while they were
on holiday. For the record, my squat group doesn't work like that.
We want to change people's assumption. My squat group's ethos [is]
of using unloved buildings that are being knocked down one by one
to make way for shiny new apartment blocks.'
I ask how Shabby's squat family reacted to news of her appearance
on the show. 'I think they were a bit surprised but supportive. One
of the times I was upset, they were considering coming down to the
house and breaking me out!'
She grows increasingly political on the topic, and her passion
becomes infectious. As she flails her arms in the air, dropping her
cigarette on more than one occasion, I find myself thinking about
squatting in a different, positive light.
However, Shabby exudes the most fire when I reach my final
question. I ask if there were any lesbian housemates from past
series of BB that she identified with. 'The only one was Anna in
Big Brother One,' she replies staring at me intensely, geeky in her
fandom. 'I thought she was a great representation of lesbians. She
was just a normal woman who just happened to be gay. She was one of
the reasons I came out. I'd love to meet her some time, and I would
hope that I could be as representative of young lesbians as Anna
was for me.'
She pauses for a moment. 'I've had messages from various girls
saying that because of watching me on there they've come out and
stuff. It's amazing. That changes the course of somebody's
Just like the legendary Anna before her, Shabby inspires just by
being herself. Shabby chic doesn't just describe this lovable
rogue's style, but her enviably passionate spirit too. She's a
beautiful little mess, this one.
Q: You said in your audition tape that you get a lot of poon tang
- what does this mean?
Pussy. I did get a fair amount of poon tang. But after my
embarrassing love story in the house I don't think poon tang is the
way forward for me anymore. Not heaps of it anyway. I cringe every
time I watch that VT. Everything I said in it made me sound like a
Q: I heard a rumour that you and Lady Sovereign had a thing and on
Big Brother's Little Brother she suggested she liked you. Is this
true and are the feelings mutual?
[Looks sheepish] No. We met once at my squat. I added her on
Twitter to say thanks for the support she gave me on BBLB. I
thought she'd hate me! Are the feelings mutual? Maybe if I didn't
love Caoimhe! Is that a diplomatic response?
Q: What do you like best about Caoimhe?
She's actually a massive geek and it's intensely
Q: Do you get bored of people always bringing up your upbringing
All this [stuff] came out in the papers about my privileged
background and it's all lies. They said I went to stage school,
that I had a rich Dad - they couldn't be more wrong. It's because I
speak eloquently, like that must mean you went to private school.
That's a load of bollocks!
Q: How often do you wash your hair?
Q: Would you rather have a two-foot tongue or a shoe constantly
attached to your face?
It would depend where on my face the shoe was. Could I have two
shoes for earrings? Shoes for ears! Cunnilingus would be very
difficult with a two-foot tongue!
Q: Who do you want to win Big Brother?
Josie, my Bristolian babe; she's hilarious, but she just needs to
let that tempter out because people will love her. If she can do
that she will be the champion.
Q: Have you ever been bullied in your life, and is that what makes
you a protector of the underdog?
That's a lovely question. No, but I've always been an outsider, so
I've always rooted for the underdog, ever since school, man. Things
I got involved in because I couldn't bear to see a person get
Q: When did you come out?
Thirteen. I didn't have much choice in the matter. My mother
overheard some voices… I had it quite easy to be honest, that's why
I find it quite difficult to give good advice.
Q: What advice would you give to girls who think they might be gay
but don't have a CLUE what to do?
Just to not be ashamed of who you are. It's ok to be gay. But it's
also a case of not rushing to come out, and bear in mind that your
family and friends will generally be a lot more accepting than you
think they will be because you build it up in your head.
This article originally appeared in DIVA, September