You’d expect the stars of Sky One’s Gladiators to be good all-round sportspeople – keen on keeping fit, up at the crack of dawn to go running, and so on. You probably wouldn’t expect them also to be qualified as an architect, juggling a career as a model, and preparing to compete in a celebrity polo match.
Step forward Amy Guy – aka Siren. Grace Fuller asks the questions.
Sport grabbed Amy Guy young.
“I was always very sporty as a child,” she recalls with a smile, “and began horse riding from a very early age. Over the years my sporting ability gave me the opportunity to represent my country in various fields.” She’s using the term ‘fields’ literally here. Amy hurdled for Wales, ran cross country and played netball at national level, and represented her country in riding for five consecutive years in Mounted Games and Show jumping, finally achieving her goal of being part of the Great British squad and competing at international level. I’m exhausted just thinking about keeping up with her, and then she adds that she also played polo at university “and turned my hand to stunt riding and jousting.”
Sport wasn’t Amy’s only gift. Her parents were adamant that she put her education first. Straight As through school and college kept them happy, and Amy even found time to be part of the UK’s Mathematical Team.
A degree and a Masters in Architecture, work placements in impressive companies, a job in Kuala Lumpur… Is there no end to this girl’s talents?
Apparently not. At this point in what seemed a very structured career path, something unexpected happened. Amy won the title of Miss Wales, and came 7th in Miss World. A friend entered her (don’t they all say that?!) but she defends the contest vigorously, calling it an amazing experience. “No matter what hype and criticism pageants get, unless you have competed in one, you shouldn’t mock them. They provide girls with a vast experience of world culture and travel, and do an awful lot of charitable good.”
After that came Miss UK, Miss World Sports & Fitness, and sponsorship to run a selection of marathons across the globe.
Alongside study, sport and travelling Amy has also made time for modelling, enjoying jobs with international fashion and sporting brands such as Ralph Lauren, Jimmy Choo, Adidas, Nike, Asics, La Perla, Janet Reger, La Senza and Zara.
And Gladiators? Ah, well… Another serendipitous moment. “I applied to be a contender – and was asked to try out as a new Gladiator… When I was selected out of 12,000 applicants it was an absolute dream come true. As a child I was probably Gladiators’ biggest fan and never failed to watch a show. ”
Now Amy (renamed as Siren, goddess of perilous seduction) swings on the rings, unleashes her power and brings down the contenders who cross her path. The experience has reignited her sporting ambitions, and she has her sights set on competing in the Modern Pentathlon in the 2012 Olympics.
She strikes me as a curious mixture. Clearly hard-working, high-achieving and very focused… but with some oddly frivolous dreams too. “My goal, apart from competing at the Olympics and to build an eco-house, which will be filmed for a one-off documentary this year, is to be a Bond Girl!”. Right. It sounds far-fetched, even for Amy, but as she has just completed her first role in a feature film, The Flirting Club, directed by Oscar nominated director Alex Jovy, maybe it’s just another rung of the ladder.
More immediately, however, Amy has her sights firmly set on winning the Celebrity Arena Polo match at the British Open on Sunday 19 April, in which she’ll be competing against Katie Price, alongside two top polo professionals, in front of thousands of spectators. Her Gladiators experience has stood her in good stead for the training, although it’s a while since she’s been on a horse. “It’s like riding a bicycle – once you have learnt it just comes straight back to you… The most difficult part is co-ordinating the stick. Most people think that if you can ride you can obviously play polo, but that’s like comparing a sprinter to a hockey player I guess. It takes a while to master the hand, ball and eye as one, as well as controlling an animal beneath you.” Quite.
Polo has an elitist image, but Amy stresses that times are changing, in all aspects of equestrianism, not just polo. “If you choose and have the ability to play/compete at the highest level, then, as with any sport it will take up a lot of your time and will of course cost you money. But people can participate… at all levels. There are many polo clinics and farms across the country that allow you to turn up and borrow a horse and all the equipment necessary for you to play… You don’t expect people to have their own swimming pool to learn to swim do you? It’s just the same with riding.”
This pragmatic approach has clearly stood Amy in good stead throughout her many careers (at 25 she’s had more than most have in a lifetime). The last word should go to her. “I’ve proved through Gladiators that I’m a tough chick, so watch this space...”
Tickets are still available for the British Open Show Jumping Championships (16-19 April at Birmingham’s NEC). See www.britishopenshowjumping.com for more information and to book, or call the NEC Box Office on 0844 581 1301.