Jade Slusarczyk has certainly never felt degraded as a “walk-on girl.”
She’s bemused – as well as saddened – by the decision of the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) to axe the tradition. The PDC announced last week the long-established practice of women escorting male players to the stage would be abandoned, after talks with broadcasters.
But Jade, who has been a walk-on girl with Sky Sports for seven years and worked at major darts and snooker events across the country, said she was disappointed.
The 32-year-old former Miss Poulton, from Blackpool, said: “Some people say having walk-on girls is demeaning or degrading, but I don’t feel degraded at all. I’ve done events, exhibitions and appearances all over England, Europe and in America. I love it. I’ve been able to travel and see different places.
“I don’t wear skimpy outfits, I wear classy, knee-length dresses. I’ve never been made to feel uncomfortable or do anything I didn’t want to, there’s never been anything untoward.
“It’s like a big sporting family – I’ve made so many friends through it. The players and fans becomes your friends.”
For Jade, it was a career choice which suited her and her family circumstances.
Jade – who won The Face Of The Gazette competition in 2011 – said: “I cared for my mum since I was six. My mum was left disabled when we were involved in a bad car accident. So for me this line of work suited me, I couldn’t have done a 9 till 5 job. When my mum was well, I could take on work and when she wasn’t in such good health, I wouldn’t take on jobs.
“I lost my mum three years ago, which was a massive shock and it really floored me. I used to help look after my nan too, and I lost her two months ago.
“I just started getting into this work full-time. I’ve been a walk-on girl for Sky Sports for seven years and I do exhibitions and appearances, mainly snooker and darts. I recently got back from shooting in Las Vegas.
“There are people at the events looking out for your safety, and I’ve always really enjoyed it. It is the girls’ choice to do it. And it’s harmless. This all seems like madness to me.
“I appeared on the Jeremy Vine Show to talk about it and debated it with a feminist. I told her I’d always wanted to be a doctor, I did really well at school, but looking after my mum had to be my number one priority and a 9 til 5 job wasn’t an option for me. I’ve had thousands of messages of support on social media. I love travel, love meeting people, so being a walk-on girl is ideal for me.”
• Follow Jade on Twitter @miss_poulton