Leilani Dowding Talks Tough Love Miami, Divorce, and Show Drama
For the next month or so, you can wake up every Monday morning to enjoy our review of Vh1's third season of the show Tough Love Miami. Not only will you be delighted by our wit and humor, but you can look forward to reading about one of the castmates that we are calling our favorite and after interviewing her, a unicorn. Why? Because she is on a reality show, and is some how beautiful and smart. Very, smart actually. Meet Leilani Dowding.
If you caught the first episode,
you know her as the only Brit on the show. What they failed to mention
is that she studied economics at the University of London, has her own
very successful clothing line, and is a former Miss Great Britain. Oh,
and in 2003, she was rated #89 on the FHM Sexiest Women
in World list. Why is she on this show? We have no idea. So, we decided
to get her on the phone and ask her ourselves.
New Times: You are from London and live in LA. What do you think of Miami?
Leilani Dowding: I love Miami! I just love the weather. I love that you can do so much outside. When I was living in England, I never thought I was an outdoors girl. I would always be inside. With the weather, there is just so much to do outside. When I am there, I love to go paddle boarding, wake boarding, and the beaches in Miami are like getting into a bathtub. When I was done with the show, my friends came down from England and we went out every night.
What made you want to do Tough Love in the first place?
I have always been in a relationships. In England, I was engaged two different times. When I was in LA, I was actually married. He was also married to Raquel Welch before me, but that's a different story. After I split up with him, I have just been single. It wasn't hard for me to date guys, but it was really difficult to transition to something serious. I didn't know it was me or the culture difference, I just didn't know what was going on. So, I figured, why not?
Weren't you voted one of the hottest women in the world by FHM Britain? Really, you have a problem finding men?
I do! It's easy for me to meet people. I meet guys all the time, but it's hard for me to A.) meet someone I am really attracted to and B.) change it from dating to something more serious. I definitely needed help.
You were once married to Richie Palmer, the restauranteur, who is very wealthy. Have you ever been called a gold digger?
I have. But I was the one who wanted to get divorced from my ex. He just assumed I would want something from it and offered me a huge settlement. Because it was my choice, I didn't ask for anything. Because he is a lot older, people assume that yes, I was a gold digger. My ex husband was amazing and such a gentlemen. But he didn't want kids and I did. That is why we didn't work out. We are still friends and if he ever thought I was just out for money, he would probably never speak to me again.
Steve Ward said your ideal man is tall, handsome and rich.
I actually said I like that is tall, good looking and successful. My definition of success I think is a lot different from other people. I don't judge success by money. It's you achieving your goals and doing what you want to do in life. If you train for a marathon, do you finish the marathon? That is my definition of success. It is you being at your best and doing the best for yourself. A lot of people assume I am talking about money, but that is the God's honest truth. When I won Miss Britain in 1998, my question was just that, "What is success?" and I gave that same answer.
We all watched your first official blind date on Tough Love was with George French from Miami Social. Did you recognize him?
No, I didn't. I had never watched it.
On that date we and your date saw your topless modeling photos.
It's nothing that I am ashamed of. Go on to Google-- anyone can find them. They are from my modeling days. But they have never been on my Facebook. I will yell at my sister all the time for things on her Facebook I know it's going to get her in trouble one day. But for the first date with someone, it was quite embarrassing. How do you explain that to someone? And, they had told me he was a banker and he didn't look that cute in his photo, so I really didn't put that much effort into myself for that date.
You are in Miami a lot now. There are actually paparazzi photos to prove it. Are you and George still dating?
(Long pause) I am in Miami a lot. You know I can't say anything! You will just have to tune in and watch.
Who's the most and least crazy in the Tough Love house? Christine seems to be pretty sweet.
Well, she seems so now. But keep watching. I can't say me or any of the ladies weren't crazy. That's how we ended up on the show, right?
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about arts and culture events in Miami and offers you won't hear about anywhere else.