The Pommie tourist is easily spotted. Socks teamed with sandals, those swaggie hats with corks (made in Taiwan), crackling sunburn and a drone of complaints about the quality of our sausages, the flies and the gassy beer. But to be completely fair to our English compatriots, holiday hassles do occur when two cultures clash. English siren Nell McAndrew's recent Aussie sojuorn was no exception. The 24-year old is the human form of Lara Croft, the heroine from the top selling Tomb Raider computer game, and was down our way recently to plug the series' third instalment. And, like ant tourist, Nell had her fair share of hiccups. "We arrived at our hotel in Melbourne at 2.30 in the morning, only to find we weren't booked in," a jet-lagged Nell recounts. "It was the weekend of the footy grand final, so I think the staff gave the rooms away to the highest bidder. We ended up in this dodgy hotel with no hot water - so it's freezing showers all round. Then when we came up to Sydney they told us we can't drink the water. But hey, that's all part of travelling. Anyway, Australia is far too beautiful to let any of that get in the way." So it was with great pleasure that FHM finally got to sit down with a slightly dehydrated, if a little whiffy, Nell McAndrew.
Nell's an interesting name. It sounds like a barmaid off Coronation Street.
I'll let you in on a secret, my real name is actually Tracy. A photographer gave me the name Nell. She said "(puts on Yorkshire accent) You can't be Tracy from Leeds, it's so common." She thought she'd jazz up my image.
It's hardly a sexy name like Lulu or Gigi?
What do you think I am, a porno star? Yeah, it isn't that sexy, is it. But everybody calls me it so I've just got used to it.
What do you think your best feature is?
From what I've been told, people say my eyes. They're green with a bit of yellow, they're really devilish. I'm the devil's child, hee hee.
Can you scare off men with them a la Damen from Omen films?
For sure, I'm a Scorpio, and you never cross them, because they've got a sting in their tail. They're the sexiest sign in the zodiac after all.
You used to work in a bank. Was your line always the longest with men wanting to make deposits?
I'd like to think so, but all the girls there were fairly good-looking.
It sounds like the sexiest bank in Britain?
Trust me, it wasn't as great as it sounds. It's not as if we all swanned about in our knickers or anything. Counting pennies all day isn't exactly that sexy. The staff were all women and just this one bloke. He'd worked there for years, but you can probably hardly blame him.
In this month's FHM we've got a lingerie special. Do you think women realise the power lingerie has over a man?
I'm not a man, so I can't speak for them. But there's something very sexy about leaving just a little bit of clothing on, even if men just tear it off. But that's part of it, like getting a present and ripping the wrapping off.
When you're dressed up as Lara Croft for your Tomb Raider III appearances, do fans try and trick you out or do they try and ask you out?
When I first got the job I thought I' going to have all these cocky men coming up to me going "how do you get past this level then?" But no one's actually asked. I wouldn't know anyway, I've not quite mastered the game yet. But do I get asked out? Yeah, all the time. They'll come up and say "what are you doing tonight?" I just say, "sorry, I'm Lara tonight and she's off on a big adventure". If they don't bugger off, then the security guys drag them away. Politely though.
Lara's breasts are enormous. Have you required any enhancement?
What are you asking me, have I had a breast enlargement?
Ummm yeah. I was just trying to be tactful.
No, they're not all mine. I had them done about 15 months ago, long before I got the Lara Croft job. I'm well impressed, I think they look quite natural. I don't have a problem with it at all, as long as the girl does it for herself, not for somebody else. After all, you're the person who has got to live with it if something goes wrong. But life's short, you might as well enjoy it.
Would you ever pose nude?
Maybe in the future. But I don't need that kind of exposure right now. It'd have to be tasteful and they'd have to pay me a hell of a lot of money.
So you enjoy looking at nude women then?
No, never. But I think women have got great bodies, but I mean that in an aesthetical sense of the word, not a lesbian one. Because I like fitness and training, when I see a woman that works out, I'll think "yeah, she's got an excellent body". It's an appreciation, it's not like I want to have sex with her.
So what's your perfect man?
I really hate beer bellies, but to be honest, I'm not really into the body building type either. One thing I like is a guy who's a little bit smaller than me.
What about if he's got a small penis?
No, I don't like them at all. I must confess I've never been in that situation. But if I was, I'd be too polite to say anything. I'm a very polite person.
On the photo shoot you dropped a $300 pair of sunglasses overboard, why didn't you dive in after them? Lara would have...
Because I was all made up and had those expensive outfits on. I can't dive so I would've had to hold my nose and jump and that wouldn't have been a good look. There's no way I would have made it to the bottom.
If you were shipwrecked who would you most likely be, Mrs Howell, Ginger or Marianne?
Okay, forget that question. If you were shipwrecked, who would you most like to be shipwrecked with?
If it had to be just one person I'd say Al Pacino. Or Pacino with a bit of Billy Idol thrown in - a gentleman with a bit of wild in him.
The Lara outfit is very sexy. Has a boyfriend ever asked you to wear it in the bedroom?
No, no one has ever asked me that. To be quite honest, it's bloody uncomfortable and I can't wait to take it off. So yeah, you're right, it probably would work in the bedroom. Although the real Lara powers in it.
Out of 10, what would you give yourself in bed?
Ummm, 10. I've got to say that, haven't I? I'm hardly going to say I'm shit. I love sex, so I hope whoever I am with is willing to please me as much as I am them. The think I hate is the way men fall asleep straight after. Why do men do that? I'm ready to go again and they're fast asleep.
Supposedly it's to do with the blood rush from the penis to the brain. So being a perfect 10, there's no room for improvement?
I suppose you're right there. I'm just being overconfident. The older you get, the wiser you get. But I don't think you have to play the field, it's much nicer to gain the knowledge with just one partner.
Interview and pictures taken from the January issue of the Australian edition of FHM. Copyright belongs to the respective owners.
Interview John Bastick. Photography Richard Dillon. The Croft Times.