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Page three girls

What is the page 3 girl, how can you become one - and what effect did it have on The Sun's circulation?

In 1969, Rupert Murdoch relaunched The Sun after buying it, and one of the changes that he made was to add a picture of a model to page three. The first, on 17 November 1969, was Ulla Lindstrom, the Penthouse Pet of the Month at the time. Ulla wore a shirt for her picture, and glamour models continued to appear throughout The Sun's first year of publication - always partially covered.

For The Sun's first birthday, editor Larry Lamb decided to make the page three girl topless - her 'birthday suit'. The first topless model was Stephanie Rahn, on 17 November 1970. Accompanying the picture is a small amount of biographical details - normally the model's name, age, home town, and some brief details, usually fictional, of the model's personality. Occasionally the model 'comments' on topical items of the news.

Larry Lamb's justification for publishing 'page 3' said that, like sport and politics, it's a part of life - an image of beauty in a world where there is much unpleasantness. However, in 1986, Clare Short, the Birmingham Ladywood MP, led a failed campaign against Page Three girls.

Effects of the Page 3 girl

The decision to make the page three girl topless was made while Murdoch was out of the country - but it's unlikey that he disagreed with the effect it made: sales rose 40% to 2.1 million copies within a year.

If you've wondered why you're unable to buy The Sun in North America, the page three girl is one of the reasons. In Britain it's legal for women as young as 16 to pose topless, which is considered underage in the US and Canada.

Other newspapers

The Sun isn't the only newspaper to have had page three models. In the 1970s, the Daily Mirror also had topless models, but they were dropped in the 1980s. The Star has its own topless models, called Starbirds, and The Sport generally has a topless model every few pages, and for a long time carried a feature known as the 'Nipple Count'.

How to become a page three girl

A typical page three girl is shorter than other models, typically less than 5'6" tall, which some say accentuates the size of the model's breasts. The average height is 5'4".

Virtually all page three girls are managed by one of three London agencies: Yvonne Paul Management, Samantha Bond Agency, and IMM. Becoming a page three girl involves normally writing to the agencies.

If you have breast implants, you're unlikely to get the job: Sun readers, in occasional polls, always prefer natural girls.


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