Interview: Perou, Snapper Star of E4's Dirty Sexy Things

He's the outlandishly-dressed photographer in E4's 'concept doc', which follows a group of models as they are put through their paces for a series of artistic shots (and fight, argue and drink along the way, of course).

He's the outlandishly-dressed photographer in E4's 'concept doc' Dirty Sexy Things, which follows a group of models as they are put through their paces for a series of artistic shots (and fight, argue and drink along the way, of course).

Perou (single moniker only) - whose clients include Justin Timberlake and Dita Von Teese amongst many others - answers some of my questions. First, I wanted to know, does everyone actually call him that? The answer is yes, apart from his Mum.

You're already a successful photographer. Aren't you worried about being made to look silly in the show?

There is a slight concern about misrepresentation and in the first series there's some cut where I say "I'm Perou the photographer, therefore I take photos". The other part of that sentence got left out and reviewers pick up on what a dick I am. Perhaps I did say it, but people pick up on stuff you say and at the end of the day, it's a strange thing that people will have opinions about you from seeing you on TV.

Is what we see on screen really you?

It's not an act. I'm me. It's just another aspect of me. I live between LA, New York, London and a farm in Kent. And I'm a different person in all of those places. I'm a different person when I go and pick up my kids from school to how I am when I'm photographing Justin Timberlake in New York. I dress different and I behave differently, but it's still me.

The constructed reality genre, popularised by The Hills and The Only Way Is Essex, isn't everyone's cup of tea. Is Dirty Sexy Things similar?

This isn't constructed reality. This is what they're calling a "concept doc". As I understand it, in constructed reality, people are given a scenario and they act it out in their own way. A concept doc is a documentary with an idea. I'm a real photographer taking real photographs with real models. But it's based around an idea, it's not fly-on-the-wall - we are doing things especially to be filmed.

What can we expect as the series goes on?

People have said it's quite bitchy at the moment, you ain't seen nothing! I deliberately chose models that were stereotypical models and a mixture. We've got Lord Rob, who's an underwear model, with bigger tits than most girls. I deliberately got him up against a kooky editorial girl like Ocean. They'd never normally be in the same room together and there are tensions and clashes that come from that, which is perfect. As the shoots go on I've got to know the models, so the models I'm working well with, we're really collaborating and the shoots become quite spectacular. We weren't just doing stupid Fear Factor for models just to get some good TV drama, we were doing great shoots.

Talking of lords, is it true you used to be a butler?

I was a butler to Viscount Brentford, founder of the Keep Sunday Special campaign. I have much love for my old employer. I had one of the happiest times in my life working in his service. It's part of the awkward dichotomy of my life that I've come from being the servant to being the guvnor.

Which do you prefer?

The guvnor.

Before we go, tell us one surprising thing about yourself?

When people take a photograph of me, it's very difficult for me not to stick my tongue out.

Dirty Sexy Things is on Mondays at 10pm on E4.


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