SHEFFIELD Olympic diving hopeful Monique Gladding is ready to make a splash with local artists.
For the 30-year-old, who lives and trains in the city, has been chosen as the subject for the celebrity portrait competition at Art in the Gardens in the Botanical Gardens in September.
She will be following in the footsteps of the likes of actors Bradley Walsh and Bruce Jones, comedian and DJ Toby Foster, singer Dave Berry, artist Joe Scarborough, BBC weather presenters Paul Hudson and Lisa Gallagher and, last year, the Earl and Countess of Scarbrough.
Artists from across the region will paint a portrait of her from a photograph for the ‘Portraits of Distinction’ competition. Pictures have been taken by Sheffield portrait artist and photographer Trevor Neal.
After working with Monique and her husband and coach, Steve Gladding, he said: “They were very generous with their time during their hectic training and international competition schedule.
“It was very challenging because this shoot was much more than a sitting. It was about capturing diving in action. It is the first time the competition has involved photographing the movement of the subject and it involved quite complex technical set-ups”.
Trevor did two photo shoots – one at Ponds Forge while Monique was training and the other shoot at a friend’s palatial house, creating fashion-inspired and elegant interior shots assisted by fellow photographer Ken Grint.
Artists – amateur and professional – have a choice of 85 photographs of Monique to choose to work from.
She was born and raised in South Africa and began diving in 1998 at the late starting age of 18. She was an international gymnast until a knee injury prompted her to try diving.
Monique said: “Having studied art at school, my passion still continues and it is something I love and use in my downtime to relax and unwind. Working with Trevor was a wonderful and memorable experience. His pictures really capture my personality both in and out of the pool. I am really looking forward to seeing the different interpretations from the artists and to judge the event in September.”