30 January 1980 |
Bournemouth, Dorset, England
|Alma mater||Royal Holloway, University of London|
|Spouse(s)||Richard Palmer (divorced)|
|Relatives||Chris Dowding (father)
Zena Dowding (mother)
Melanie Dowding (sister)
|Height||1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)|
Dowding grew up in Bournemouth, and has a younger sister Melanie. They were brought up Roman Catholic by their Filipina mother Zena, and British father Chris. Leilani was named for her mother's cousin and her name literally means "heavenly flower".
Dowding and her sister attended St Peter's School in Bournemouth. She did well in school, earning eleven GCSEs and three A-levels. She studied for an economics degree at Royal Holloway, University of London, in Surrey, with the intention of becoming a city trader. The then-18-year-old entered and won the 1998 Miss Great Britain competition. In Hawaii later that year she became the first woman of Asian descent to represent Britain in the Miss Universe pageant.
After her success in beauty pageants, Dowding dropped out of university to pursue a full-time modelling career. Although she had not originally considered topless modelling, she started appearing as a Page 3 girl in The Sun in 1999. Her younger sister Melanie ("Mel") Dowding also had a brief career as a model.
In 2003 she was rated #89 on the FHM Sexiest Women in World list.
Dowding has been a guest on various British television shows, modelling on the Big Breakfast and This Morning, and appearing on Faking It Celebrity Wrestling and Celebrity Fear Factor. She has also enjoyed a season in pantomime as Tiger Lilly in Peter Pan.
Dowding appeared on a charity Page 3 episode of The Weakest Link where she lost out in the final round to Jakki Degg. Dowding was competing on behalf of the RSPCA and breast cancer charities. She joked before the show: "I look forward to using my brain for the first time in three years."
She also appears in the American TV Reality Show Tough Love Miami, in which she deals with her own superficiality in order to find a suitable mate.
She featured on The Millionaire Matchmaker (Series 8 Episode 10).
Dowding has her own clothing line, the Leiluna Collection.
Dowding has been engaged to former Wimbledon and Northern Ireland defender Mark Williams and was engaged to former Middlesbrough attacker Jérémie Aliadière. She was briefly married to restaurateur Richard Palmer – ex-husband of Raquel Welch, and is now divorced.
In 2014, Dowding uploaded a photo of herself dressed as a murdered Native American chief. This was considered extremely offensive by Indian Country Today News.
- "Biography". Leilani Dowding's Official Site. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
- "Leilani Dowding". Archived from the original on 6 June 2008.
Leilani was my mum's cousin's name, it means heavenly flower
- John Aizlewood (15 January 2006). "The top 10 footballers' Page 3 playmates". The Times. London: News International. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
- "Student Leylani Dowding carries off the Miss Great Britain Universe honours". BBC News. 12 March 1998. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "The Sexiest Women In The World 2003" Archived 19 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine.. FHM. Retrieved on 4 May 2012.
- Beauty and the beast (From Dorset Echo)[permanent dead link]. Archive.dorsetecho.co.uk (27 April 2002). Retrieved on 4 May 2012.
- Giovanni Iozzi (13 July 2002). "Jakki has the most up top!". The Sun. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
- Rajesh Modha Tops off a Million Dollar Night! | PokerNews. Uk.pokernews.com (16 December 2006). Retrieved on 4 May 2012.
- Ladbrokes Poker Vegas Dream Packages Archived 7 September 2012 at Archive.is. Pokerplayer.co.uk (30 March 2009). Retrieved on 4 May 2012.
- Tweet (4 November 2011). "Leilani Dowding". Maxim. Archived from the original on 22 January 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- Meet The Cast Of Tough Love: Miami. Blog.vh1.com (7 September 2011). Retrieved on 4 May 2012.
- Russell, Stacey (14 October 2011). "Leilani Dowding Talks Tough Love Miami, Divorce, and Show Drama". Blogs.miaminewtimes.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- Julie Moult (22 July 2013). "Even her poor dog looks embarrassed as Leilani Dowding draws attention to herself with peculiar paddleboard yoga |". Daily Mail. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- "Is This Model Wearing the Most Disgusting Native American Halloween Costume Ever?" Indian Country Today News. 5 November 2014.