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Laila Rouass
Laila Rouass in scenes from Footballers’ Wives


Leila’s mother is Goan and her father Moroccan. One of seven children, Laila was brought up in London's East End. As a child, her mother banned her from having a mirror in her bedroom - she wanted her to concentrate on "brains rather than beauty." She would also temporarily switch off the electricity so Laila had to read with her siblings by candle or torchlight instead of watching TV.

She was a victim of racism in the school she attended. Her first job was washing dishes at her Mother’s catering company – but she was sacked for being late. She was drawn to acting after accompanying her aunt, who was a dancer, to an audition for a film. After dropping out of the famous Lee Strasbourg drama school in London, she went to India on an assignment and stayed there for a few years. She was presenter for MTV Asia and hosted the Indian version of Blind Date.

India Today, 1 March 1999 reported her intention to open a Goan restaurant in Casablanca.

She returned to England and acted in the British soap Family Affairs, the Hollywood film The Four Feathers, and in Hollyoaks, where she plays Detective Inspector Dale Jackson. However, Footballers’ Wives made her a star.


Laila Rouass: Red hot and rocking
15 April 2005: The Times of India


She's London's latest Cover Girl. Laila Rouass is on fire. She's Amber Gates, the sizzling siren in the British soap Footballers' Wives…

She's turned down an offer from an Arab sheikh, who was ready to pay her 1 million pound for a date…

Here's more masala about how Laila turned down $250,000 to pose in the nude for Playboy. Why? "I'm not saying I won't do it later.”

Laila's Indian connection is something she's proud of.

"I've lived in Mumbai for six years. My mother is from Goa and I love coming to India.”

Full text, 630 words, at

15 March 2005. FemaleFirst

Laila Rouass was a victim of racism in school. She was picked on throughout her childhood because of her good looks and skin colour. She said: "I got a lot of male attention, which I think had something to do with the bullying. There was a certain amount of racism, too, at school.

Kids will always find something to pick on, whether it's your colour, your religion, the way you look, your size. You try and stand up for yourself, but it's really difficult when you've got 20 or 30 girls against you."

Full text at


11 February 2004

FOOTBALLERS' Wives hottest new signing Laila Rouass has revealed that in real life she had a 12-year sexless marriage.

Laila, 28, who plays bisexual Amber Gates in the new series married close family friend Abdeslam Rouas when she was just 16.

The pair divorced last year, without consummating the marriage.

For full text at click here

Star Chat - I'm really a good girl!

22 February 2004

Footballers' Wives star Laila Rouass, 28, might play a swinging schem

er, but in real life the finishing schooled actress says she's sweet and

Footballer's Wives' Amber is a wild one, isn't she?

Oh yes! Amber is a sexual predator. If she wants it, she goes for it and gets it. She can even make Tanya Turner blush. Luckily I got away without doing any nude sex scenes, though. They're all Tanya Turner (played by Zoe Lucker), because Amber's husband Conrad takes a liking to her.

What do you think about playing someone so outrageous?

It's great fun being a bitch like Amber. It's a great part for me because Asian women - and in particular Muslim women - are always portrayed as being so well-behaved, so it will be great to break the stereotype. She just doesn't have any limits - I think that is why people are going to love her. But I couldn't behave like her in real life!

How did you get the role?

I was in Hollyoaks (playing cop Dale Jackson) when the call came through about Footballers' Wives. My contract wasn't finished at Hollyoaks, so for a while I had to commute between Liverpool and London working on both shows.

I was shattered and getting a bit confused as to which character I was playing!

After this role, would you do any sexy men's magazine shoots?

That would be nice! But I have to be careful - I am a Muslim and I don't ever want to upset my parents by being too risque.

You had a particularly interesting childhood, didn't you?

Yes. Born in London to a Moroccan father and Indian mother, I grew up in both Morocco and London.

Have you always been such a good girl?

I did have a brief rebellious period. Coming from a Muslim family doesn't mean they lock up their daughters in veils all the time. They are just quite conservative and having five other daughters, had to keep us all in check.

So I was sent to military school in Morocco for a while, which was fun. I don't think Mum and Dad realised it was co-ed as previously I had been at an all-girls' school.

But then I went to finishing school in Morocco, which I found a real bore. I know how to get out of a car like a lady, what to say in polite society and how to flirt - which comes in handy - but I'd rather be training with the lads than learning to apply make-up.

Tell us about your time in India

At 18, I got a part in City Of Dreams and ended up staying for six years! When I was in Bombay, I was spotted in a nightclub and asked to audition as a presenter for the Asian MTV.

It was a dream job and I travelled all over Asia and the Middle East and got to meet some of the biggest names in the pop world. It's funny - the really big names, like Shaggy and No Doubt and Bon Jovi, couldn't be nicer to get on with. But some others were so difficult. I hope I don't ever get diva-like.

Did you really present India's version of Blind Date?

Yes. The biggest dating tip I took from there is don't seem desperate - play it cool. I haven't had any massive dating disasters, although I did go out to dinner with one guy, who said he was full after the starter, so made us leave. I was a bit confused, but I didn't realise until I got home that he couldn't afford the meal. Bless him.

So are you single at the moment?

No, but I don't want to say who I'm seeing. He's a journalist and he's lovely. I've known him a couple of years and I met him through work, but we have only properly got to know each other in recent months.

Do you have any secret crushes?

I love David Beckham, and Denzel Washington is gorgeous, but I really love George Michael. I'm convinced I could make him fall in love with me - I could be the woman to turn him!

What do you think of the trademark Footballers' Wives outfits?

Some of the clothes I wear on the show I wouldn't touch - it wasn't hideous, but just stuff that totally wasn't me. Some of the dresses were slit down to the belly button and I'm not that happy with my belly.

When you got the part did you start frantically doing sit-ups?

No! I'm really, really bad at exercising. I don't do anything and I could eat all the muffins in the world. I'm not big, I'm not small. I'm happy with my weight. I do need to exercise a bit more, though.

What future plans do you have?

I just live for the moment, I don't have any long-term plan. Obviously I have dreams, but I'm not working on Footballers' Wives thinking next I'll do a pop single or make a movie. I'll know when it's time to move.

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For the Fooballers’ Wives Official website see:


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