When I first started, with some actor friends, we had a kind of minder who dressed up like a handyman, bringing us out as statues on a trolley.
He was useful and helped to paint us up, too.
When I go on jobs on my own, I have to find someone to help paint bits like the back of my arm where I can't reach. It can take a good 90 minutes for full body paint.
Once I did a job as a gold statue and afterwards joined the partying, then went straight to bed. In the morning my sheet looked like the Turin shroud.
The longest I've ever stayed in place in one go without moving was at a party. It was for two and a half hours – it was awful. You need to be quite fit – it's actually quite hard work standing still. It drives you up the wall in your brain because you think 'I want to move'.
Sometimes I go into a trance when I'm performing but if you have to sneeze or something, you have to make something of it and 'come alive'.
Physically it's quite hard: you have to stand well, using your tummy muscles.
That's very important. If you stood with bad posture, after a while you'd have terrible backache. Also, you need to look relatively fit to look like a good statue, especially as some of the costumes are quite revealing. Ideally, you should find a costume in which you can wear thermal underwear underneath – it can get cold in winter.
As a statue you can feel a little vulnerable. It's rare that someone will hassle you but if they do, I just 'come alive' and tell them where to go. I've done that twice. A guy pinched my bottom once – it was at a private party and he was a Formula 1 racing driver.
The male statues get far more hassle. Women ask them for dates and I've heard of statues having phone numbers put into their costumes. One man said to me: 'You're the perfect woman – you don't talk, do you?'
To be a good statue you have to have a sense of theatre, of comedy, of timing, to make magic out of 'coming alive'.
My training and work in acting and dancing all helps and I do try to make people laugh. But, yes, it seems some people turn up on the street, covered in paint and don't know what they're doing: some just move all the time and others are quite frightening and make people go away instead of come to them. If you're on the street, you have to be careful of scaring children. Person or object?
People can forget you're human and have quite private conversations in front of you. Or, even after you've come alive, they'll continue to talk about you as if you're an object and analyse you. I've heard them discussing whether they think I'm slim or fat.
I do enjoy statue work when I'm resting between acting jobs – it beats working in an office – it's like being able to play for a living.
Some people become fascinated and won't stop watching you – I suppose it can be hypnotic. Sometimes they'll go still as well; it's as if it's contagious. Then again, some people will watch paint dry.
You have to be careful to eat beforehand. You're standing still so all the blood goes down to your feet and you can feel dizzy. My 'statue' friend actually fainted once but luckily someone watching caught her. It looked quite beautiful – a man catching a falling nymph.
I have been a statue in all kinds of places – from a party for the Sultan of Brunei's seven-year-old son to Big Brother's Big Mouth and have dressed from an angel to a Degas ballerina.
The classical statues work best. I spent several nights creating a Madame Medusa head for one job and I love the challenge of making costumes. The Medusa was a funeral company trade show and I stood on a tombstone.
I was really extreme in the early days about never being 'alive' in front of people at any point.