Former grid girl Leilani Dowding has claimed it’s double standards to praise Sam Smith for stripping off in their racy music video after there was mass outrage at Formula One models for wearing sexy outfits.
In a string of tweets the Real Housewives Of Cheshire star admitted she ‘absolutely loved’ her time working as a model on the circuit until ‘angry women’ saw to the fact that grid girls were banned from the sport.
Leilani questioned why Sam’s recent video for their new single I’m Not Here To Make Friends hasn’t spark the same outrage that grid girls did.
Grid girls were axed from Formula One in 2018, with bosses saying at the time that it was not in keeping with their ‘brand values’.
The move mirrored the Professional Darts Corporation’s decision to end the practice of glamorous women escorting male players to the stage, though tournaments still feature a troupe of female cheerleaders dancing to walk-ons.
Outrage: Former grid girl Leilani Dowding has slammed the praise Sam Smith received for their racy music video, after the Formula One models were banned
Annoyed: The Page Three said she ‘absolutely loved’ her time working as a model, and claimed those who called for their ban were ‘attacking beauty and women (pictured in 2001)
Revealing! Sam’s new video sparked some backlash with its inclusion of performers clad in corsets, suspenders and nipple tassels
In her tweet, Leilani wrote: ‘I remember all those angry women who are sure to ban grid girls and podium girls.
‘Where are their voices now when kids can watch graphic hardcore or a touch of a button, and pop stars wriggle around in simulated golden showers.
Leilani ended her tweet: ‘Me on left doing what’s now banned’ before sharing a snap of herself as a grid girl in 2002 alongside a grab of Sam from their new video.
She continued her tirade by responding to a follower who also shared a snap of a former grid girl.
They wrote: ‘The darts and F1 and boxing got rid of these because it was degrading (even though they were paid and it was consensual) yet SS is applauded. What a [clown emoji] world.’
Leilani then responded: ‘Degrading. It was fun and amazing money, and something so many girls wanted to do.
‘They attacked beauty and women’s form and that’s why you see 14-year-olds wanting to cut off their breasts.’
Another user posted: ‘I think it’s disgraceful that it was banned personally. It’s the year 2023 and if a woman is happy to do a grid girl job and get paid well for then why shouldn’t they be able to.
Opinion: Leilani questioned whether Sam’s recent video for their new single I’m Not Here To Make Friends would spark the same outrage that grid girls had
Hitting back: She added that ‘kids can watch graphic hardcore porn at the touch of a button’, while some followers replied branding the ban ‘disgraceful’
Star: Leilani (pictured in 2014) worked as a grid girl in the early 2000s, after rising to prominence by representing the UK at Miss Universe in 1998
‘I’ve never once heard any woman who did that job complain about how they was treated,’ with Leilani responding: ‘Nearly all of us absolutely loved it.’
MailOnline has contacted a representative for Sam Smith for comment.
Sam’s new video saw them dance alongside a large number of performers wearing corsets, suspenders and nipple tassels.
In other scenes, the dancers are filmed slowly thrusting on a bed wearing only black leather underwear and later surrounding the artist, while dancing provocatively.
The video sparked many to question whether it was too much, as some said the video needs to be kept away from children and is akin to a Playboy photo shoot.
However, others were quick to point out how similarly risqué videos have been released by global artists such as Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax. Madonna‘s Like a Prayer, Miley Cyrus‘ Wrecking Ball and Queen’s I Want to Break Free.
Backlash: Sam’s video sparked many to question whether it was too much, as some said the video needs to be kept away from children and is akin to a Playboy photo shoot
Defending them: However, others were quick to point out how similarly risqué videos have been released by global artists such as Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax
In 2018, walk-on grid girls were axed from Formula One as motorsport bosses said they would not feature in the upcoming season because it is not in keeping with their ‘brand values’.
Sean Bratches, F1 managing director of commercial operations, said: ‘Over the last year we have looked at a number of areas which we felt needed updating so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport.
‘While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 Grands Prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.
‘We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.’
While many supported the decision, the sport was also criticised for taking the glamour away from the sport, with some claiming grid girls, who work long hours on race weekends, shouldn’t have their jobs taken away from them.
Several former grid girls also publicly questioned the move, including Lizzie Cundy and Melinda Messengder.
The move mirrored the Professional Darts Corporation’s decision last week to end the long-established practice of women escorting male players to the stage.
Outrage: Grid girls were axed from Formula One in 2018, with bosses saying at the time that it was not in keeping with their ‘brand values’ (Melinda Messenger and Katie Price pictured)