Jess, a natural star

Jessica Ennis
Jessica Ennis
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Those eyes. They’re unmistakeable.

Peeping over the top of a Union Flag, it’s Jess Ennis, golden girl of British athletics and hopefully of the London 2012 Olympics.

But what of the picture beneath, depicting a glamourous woman posing seductively in a sequinned shift seemingly glued to her track-honed curves?

It IS Jess. Honest.

Beneath the expertly applied cosmetics and the honeyed, tousled mane - surely down to an artfully-woven set of hair extensions - there she is, our girl next-door, with reinforced Sheffield steel running through her soul.

This is how Jessica appears on the cover of this month’s women’s mag Cosmopolitan and inside, where she talks about body confidence (she gives herself seven out of 10. Hang-ups? No. Modest? Yes).

Unilaterally, men are going: Phwoar, we always knew she was a cracker.

Women? We are falling into two training camps. Some are fuming that she’s being painted up like an Olympic doll and that being pushed to cash in on her looks demeans her athletic prowess and damages her position as a role model.

They believe that society’s obsession with physical perfection has a hugely negative effect on us all: not least on young girls who look wistfully at magazine covers and feel so woefully inadequate.

I totally agree with the latter, but I’m in Camp B: I don’t think Jess is harming herself or anyone else by publicly displaying her glamorous side for once.

She’s only done what millions - including many mothers of insecure teenage girls - do for a night out.

As for being pushed into it, away from the track Jess has always loved getting dressed up. It must make her feel good after days spent in running knickers.

Without doubt, looks should not affect our success and standing. But every woman has the right to choose how to portray herself without being made to feel she’s letting down her sex.

As for the impressionable teens, Jess is a brilliant role model. She’s incredibly hard-working, she’s fit and healthy and doesn’t get papped falling out of clothes and nightclubs.

Critics reckon Jess’s face has been airbrushed in the shots.

And though I reckon it could actually be down to clever lighting, I’d agree Cosmo have gone a bit too far with their ‘sports girl to covergirl’ lily-gilding. It was totally unnecessary; she always scrubs up well.