Britain's best foot model earns her living wearing designer heels- but has to live in UGG boots to protect her feet
15:03 GMT, 24 October 2012
Wearing designer high heels for a living might sound like every fashion-conscious girl's dream job.
But spare a thought for Britain's best foot model – who makes her living modelling the world's best designer shoes – but has to take such great care of her feet she can only wear UGG BOOTS at home.
Gemma Howorth, from Chelsea, London, spends her working day slipping her immaculate feet into Jimmy Choos and Louboutins worth thousands of pounds.
But the fashion conscious foot model can only dream of wearing the stunning shoes on a night out – as slipping her tootsies into anything other than comfy flats could damage her sought-after feet.
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No Jimmy Choo for you: Gemma has to take such great care of her feet she can only wear her trusty black UGG boots unless she's working
Perfectly pampered: Ms Howorth can spend more than an hour every day looking after her feet and legs – and has a vigorous beauty regime
Famous feet: Gemma Howorth in an ad for Jimmy Choo- though she is rarely able to wear such high-fashion shoes outside of work
A friend suggested foot modeling to Gemma and she has been making a career from her feet for over 10 years. Though she is often given shoes after photshoots as gifts, she says she usually gives them away
Ms Howorth, 28, who earns up to 3,000 a job, said: ‘My friends always tell me that I have the best job in the world, being paid to wear all these amazing shoes.
‘But it's pretty depressing knowing that I can never wear them myself on a Saturday night.
‘I've been given pairs of shoes after modelling jobs to keep before – but I usually end up giving them away to my friends, because if I wore them, I'd probably lose out on work.
‘A bunion could be the end of my career, so anything other than comfy flats are strictly reserved for special occasions.
‘I do keep a few pairs that I love in my wardrobe – but mostly I just have to admire them from afar.
‘It's not only the danger of hard skin or bunions, but if I trip over in heels and bruise my leg, I'm out of action for at least a week.
‘My big fluffy boots don't look very glamorous, but they do keep my feet in the best condition.’
Ms Howorth, who has been a foot and leg model for 10 years has spent thousands of pounds on moisturising treatments to keep her assets in tip top condition.
Time consuming: 'I have to sweep away all the dead skin with a body brush, and then moisturise every morning and evening'
'A bunion could ruin my career': As well as forgoing fashionable high heels for UGG boots, Gemma follows a rigorous regime to keep her tootsies in tip-top condition
She can spend more than an hour every day looking after her feet and legs – and has a vigorous beauty regime.
She said: ‘I spend a lot of time looking after my skin. Every morning and evening, I have to sweep away all the dead skin with a body brush, and then moisturise.
‘It takes a long time, but it's immediately noticeable if I miss a day – my skin starts to look dull.
‘As well as not wearing heels, I have to be careful not to knock my feet or legs during everyday life.
‘Some people might not even notice if they get a little mark, or a bruise on their leg from knocking into something – but to me it can mean losing a day's work.
‘I can't ever sit with my legs crossed, or spend too long sitting down, to prevent varicose veins or cellulite.
Sacrifice: Gemma admits she would love to be able to wear socially the kind of shoes she has modeled in campaigns for designer brands like Channel and Jimmy Choo, but has to save them for special occasions
Protecting her assets: Gemma can earn upwards of 3,000 per job so it is understandable why she goes to extreme lengths to keep her feet in good condition
‘If I've been sitting down for more than an hour or so, I have to get up and have a walk around.
‘My friends are used to me not being able to do things and go out because I have to stay in and look after my legs sometimes.’
Ms Howorth started working as a foot and leg model after being scouted by a friend who worked as a photographer in her teens.
Dipping her toe into business: Gemma has now started an agency for body part models
She said: ‘I'd never really thought twice about the way my feet looked, but my friend kept telling me that they were perfect for modelling.
‘I'd never even heard of someone being a body part model before, but she got me some work and people kept telling me how great they looked.
‘I'm very lucky that I get to do what I do – I've worked on some huge campaigns, for brands like Chanel and Jimmy Choo.
‘Some models spend their whole career trying to model for people like them – but as a foot model, you can get to the top of your game relatively quickly.
‘Growing up, I'd never have dreamed I'd be able to say I'd modeled for some of the best designers in the world – and now I work alongside models like Kate Moss.
‘It still feels weird seeing an advert and recognising your feet in it – especially if they're on someone else's body, though.’
Acting as her own agent, the work started to flood in – but Ms Howorth was disappointed to discover no agents catered for body part models.
She has now launched the UK's first modelling agency specialising in body parts, Body London, providing perfect face, hands, and lips to advertising campaigns around the world.
She added: ‘There are thousands of men and women out there who are desperate to model, but feel that they can't because they're not the whole package.
‘But often these people have a perfect face, or perfect arms, or lips, and they'll be in demand to stand in for other models.
‘I'd never have thought I could make a living from my feet – but they pay my mortgage.
‘It can be annoying to have to take such great care of them, but I wouldn't swap my job for anything.’
See Gemma in her 'shoe film for Jimmy Choo: