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Nicki Donohoe
Nicki Donohoe

The prospect of baring your heart – and a fair bit more – before a TV audience of millions would be enough to send most of us running for cover.

But Sheffield model Nicki Donohoe has positively glowed under the spotlight of comedy dating show Take Me out.

The antics of national tabloids, on the other hand, have had her seething with frustration.

The latest blow came last weekend when one of the red-tops accused makers of the ITV show of fixing the outcome and another claimed Nicki was secretly dating former Bros star Matt Goss.

“Matt is a friend of mine but I was mortified that this came out,” says Nicki, aged 35. “It made it look like I’d given an interview when all I did was say he’s a sweetheart. It really upset me.”

Of the ‘fixing’ rumours, she admits there was an element of truth: “Sometimes we got asked to leave lights on a bit longer, to avoid a ‘blackout’ too soon. But it wasn’t to the extent reported. And we never got told we’d be kicked off if we didn’t pick a particular guy.”

Nicki has been a contestant on the Saturday night show since the start of this series in January – and she looks like hanging on for few weeks yet. But she’s not downhearted about failing to win a date.

“I wasn’t looking for Mr Right; I’m quite happy being single,” says the young mum, who lives in Ecclesfield with eight-year-old daughter Scarlet.

“I was approached through my model agency and originally I turned it down. In the end I just went on as a bit of fun.”

Nor is she desperate for a holiday on the fictional island of Fernandos (in reality Cyprus) because her real-life job takes her to plenty of exotic locations.

“The other week I was modelling a swimwear range in Lanzarote… then, the day after, I was in Corrie, drinking Guinness,” says Nicki, whose other claims to fame include being the ‘legs’ seen running upstairs in the opening credits to TV soap Emmerdale.

As a make-up artist and stylist, she works on location from New York to London – and also finds time to act as a guest presenter on the Shopping Channel.

“Last week I had to drive to Peterborough to present a show with half my body spray-tanned brown and the other half white!”

Nicki admits that she has enjoyed her taste of stardom but she’ll be happy to step out of the spotlight again.

“I know it will only last a couple of months but it’s been an amazing experience and I’m genuinely overwhelmed by it all – I get stopped in the street now.

“On the other hand, every Saturday is nerve-wracking because I can’t remember what I said or how they’re going to edit it. And it also makes me feel I maybe ought to put on a bit of lipstick to do the school run!”