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Relatively Speaking: Laura Lacoloe and Gordon Smyth

Laura Lacole is Northern Ireland's most prominent glamour model, and has appeared in Maxim magazine and on Page Three. She currently lives in east Belfast with taxi driver father Gordon and mother Helen

Name: Laura Lacole Age: 24

Occupation: Glamour model

Relationship: Daughter of Gordon

My strongest childhood memory about dad is the road trips he would take us on. Dad, my sister Mel and I would pile into the car every Sunday and visit somewhere. Mum would come sometimes too, but I seem to recall that most often it was just the three of us. Those trips are embedded in my memory – they happened every single Sunday.

Dad would find a really steep hill, drive up it, then cut the engine – in the back seat we would have to push forward and keep the car going before it started to coast down the other side.

When we were teenagers the road trips fizzled out a bit – we were too cool to be hanging out with our parents. They started again a couple of years ago, though, so Sundays still mean piling in the car and visiting somewhere. In the last few months we've been to the Armagh Planetarium and to Rathlin Island – I think we've been all over Northern Ireland and even ended up in Donegal where we found a B&B and stayed.

Living with my parents is fine – I'm an adult, though, and I'm a lovely person to live with so there isn't any friction between us!

I'm very close to my dad and he's amazingly supportive of my career. I started modelling at 17 and then glamour modelling at 19. I think he might have suspected I'd move onto that and when we talked about it dad was all about me doing what made me happy. I think he was more enthusiastic than mum but they've both always backed me in what I wanted to do.

In the early days of my modelling career I had to fly back and forth to England. Dad was great. He made sure my travel arrangements were sorted and even paid for my flights if I didn't have the cash. Mum provided the comfort – she made me packed lunches and made sure I brought everything I needed.

I think Dad is still my biggest fan. I honestly don't think I would have the career I have now if it wasn't for his help in the early days."

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Name: Gordon Smyth Age: 55

Occupation: Taxi driver

Relationship: Father of Laura

When Laura was little she was an extrovert, she would talk to absolutely anyone. She was also keen on astronomy and had every book about it on the market.

Laura went to Ashfield Girls' School, in east Belfast, and loved science. She had a recurring illness during her teens, though, and ended up leaving there with almost no qualifications.

The thing that makes me proud now is that Laura gets asked to speak at universities all over the UK about what she does. She spoke at Glasgow University last month and one of their leading female scientists came up to her and said she was convinced by Laura's argument and her stance on the issue had changed.

I'm very proud of Laura's modelling career. A year after she left school she was photographed posing with a car – but not topless – at the Paris Motor Show.

I have that picture on my living room wall – in fact, so does her granny.

I think she's achieved a lot and hasn't let anything stand in her way. She's travelled all over the world – recently she was in Thailand and Hollywood and I think she's been photographed in every country in Europe.

The glamour modelling was a bit of a surprise, I will admit, but in this day and age it's not a big deal.

Laura has the support of all her family. She has just started studying with the Open University. She's currently doing a science foundation course and hopes to turn that into an astronomy degree.

I would always have liked Laura to go to university but it just wasn't possible for her when she left school.

I'm pleased she's doing it now, though, and planning for the future.

She's hoping to use it to start a company that gets younger people interested in science by using modern techniques."

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