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Angie Davidson interviews top glamour model Sophie Howard

I'm thrilled to bits that top glamour model Sophie Howard has agreed to help us raise awareness by telling her story. Sophie is 23 and has been modelling regularly for two years; she graces the front covers of magazines such as FHM, Loaded and Nuts and has regular appearances in the Daily Star.

Sophie was studying English Language and creative writing when her mum decided to send her photograph in to Loaded magazine. At the time Sophie wanted to carry on at University but then 2 years ago became a full time model - and is now considered one of the top in her profession.

Whilst at 6th Form College, studying for a GMVQ in business studies, Sophie became very tired and a rash appeared literally all over her face and body. She says that the hands and face were the worst as it was impossible to hide the rash there. Doctors thought it was acne and prescribed various creams and pills but nothing seemed to work at all.

Good old mum to the rescue - she insisted Sophie should go privately to see a dermatologist and he immediately diagnosed lupus. Once Sophie's GP had been given the diagnosis he said that if anything happened or changed she should let him know straight away as this condition needed monitoring.

Sophie, like all young ladies, had her first boyfriend and they were watching a video when she suddenly found it impossible to breathe properly. She said she could only sit upright and pant - which at the time must have been very bizarre for her boyfriend! She couldn't inhale or exhale fully and couldn't lie down at all due to the pain.

Her doctor was called and Sophie was sent straight to hospital. It was thought that she might have a blood clot in her lung but it turned out to be a chest infection. Sophie was prescribed anti-malarials and thankfully the rash also disappeared.

Now the only signs of lupus that Sophie experiences are some joint pains and tiredness and occasionally the rash rears its ugly little head again. For example she will become extremely tired if she has been on a week long location shoot which can be very intense. Her knees can also ache when posing in one position for a long time. She says she doesn't like to complain at work as people she works with don't know what lupus is and also you simply don't like to moan at work. This is something most lupus patients say so even if you're a top model the situation frustratingly remains the same!

Sophie intends to carry on studying part time at University to finish her English degree and has aspirations of becoming a teacher one day. In her spare time she loves to visit Southport (yes I know, I thought Cannes or Paris but it's good old Southport!), where she plays tourist going to the funfair and even playing bingo! So if you're ever in Southport look out for her!

Finally I asked for secret about Sophie that no-one knew - so World exclusive scoop - she used to be in the Salvation Army (honestly!!) from aged 10 to 16 Sophie could be seen in full uniform playing her tambourine!

Sophie is a lovely, down to earth young lady (I'm sure mum's very proud!) , we all wish her well with her career and, of course, wish her the best of health. Thanks again to Sophie for telling her story, she has been part of our Bollywood Ball and part of our Awareness Month activities & I'm sure will help again so watch out for more news here.

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