Liz Fuller: A Full Life


Former model and TV presenter Liz Fuller now splits her time between Los Angeles and Cardiff. Here’s why she loves coming back to Rhiwbina

“I’ve just got back from LA.”

Right now, life is good for Liz Fuller. Former model, TV presenter, and now a Hollywood talent agent, Liz has returned to her Welsh roots, adding Rhiwbina to Los Angeles as a place to call home.

Although her career has taken her to many parts of the world, her story starts in Swansea:

“I had a happy childhood. I went to every type of lesson going. I went to ballet lessons from ages of 4-10 but at the age of 11, I had my heart broken. I’d always wanted to be a ballerina but was told that I was too tall and too big-boned. I’d had my heart set on being a ballerina but realised I had to do something else.

“I was always into dancing and entertainment, so I joined the Swansea Grand Theatre School. I often say to my friends in LA that I can’t sing – I am perhaps the only person in Wales that can’t sing – so as a youngster, entertaining became my passion. By the age of 13 or 14, I’d decided that I was going to become a TV presenter or a beauty queen. There would be no doubt about it. I told my mum that ‘I am going to BE a beauty queen.’”

And she was true to her word. After being crowned Miss Cardiff in 1996, Liz went on to win Miss Wales GB, and the Miss Great Britain International title in 1996. Even so, Liz knew it wasn’t a guarantee to long-term success. Taking inspiration from her family, she set out to complete a solid education.

“There were several strong women in my family, including my mother, who used to be a French teacher. It was tradition in our family to go to university, so I went to Cardiff University to study Journalism. While I was there, I did a lot of modelling work, handing out leaflets and that sort of thing. One of my jobs was being Chris Eubanks’ flag girl, carrying the Union Jack when he did his tour of Wales.”

Having graduated in 1997, Liz then moved to London to further her chances of work.

“I got a job as a model on This Morning with Richard and Judy so you’d see me on TV most mornings during the week. I was also auditioning up to 8 times a day, trying to get various roles. It was hard work. There was no GPS back then so it’d be a case of grabbing my A-Z of London and finding out where I had to be, and travelling across the city to move on to the next one.”

Liz’s determination to go somewhere in life included a constant reflection on her progress:

“Back then, I made a promise to myself. The promise was that if I couldn’t find a modelling job within 14 days, I’d look to do something else. I made the same promise to myself with my TV presenting, although I extended the time to 6 months for that because that kind of work moves slower. At Christmas every year, I’d assess where I was with my career and ask myself if I was winning and adjust it accordingly.”

Her TV career had started at Morriston Hospital, which was only one of a few hospitals in the UK at that time to have its own TV station.

“I got my first big break presenting for Manchester United TV. I’d found out that their usual host was off work for two weeks so I pestered them for a shot at it. They said they would have preferred someone local to the area so I responded ‘How about I get on the train first thing tomorrow morning. Is that local enough?’ I then got work on a dating channel, setting people up and visiting all these wonderful places. I also worked at the Pop Factory with Steve Jones, which was a big deal back in the early 2000s.”

The gigs kept coming, but Liz was happy to take her time learning her craft in a certain role before moving onto the next.

“The shopping channels came calling so I started working on those. I loved the fast energy of live TV. Then Quizcall came knocking. They were looking for a presenter and wanted someone with good viewing figures at the shopping channel. I fitted the bill so Channel 5 took me out to lunch. It was at that moment that I knew I was doing something right!”

Quizcall was a new kind of quiz show, that allowed viewers to call in and win prizes on live TV. Its interactive element had made it a huge hit in Germany, and Quizcall went on to do well in the UK, benefitting from Liz’s professionalism and popularity.

“I was only supposed to do it for 6 months but I ended up hosting it for 5 years. Unbeknown to me, an agent in LA had watched me on one of the shows and wanted to sign me up. I got my visas sponsored and moved out there 14 years ago. I’ve been there ever since.

“I’m now a partner in a talent management firm and produce films. We started off very small but now have over 1,200 actors on our books. Showbusiness has always been my life and I have managed and mentored many beauty queens and actors, and introduced TV presenters and hosts to jobs over the years.”

She fiercely advocates for her actors.

“I protect my actors. No one takes advantage of them. The US is very different to the UK. There’s a lot of political upheaval there and it’s not at peace with itself. There were riots in LA in 2020 and it made me realise that I missed home. The hiraeth that all Welsh people experience when they are away from home started calling me back. I spoke on the phone with my mother one day. She’d been diagnosed with dementia a few years previous. And she said to me ‘I need you. Please come home’. It was as if everyone was calling me home.

“When I was little, there was a carving we had at home that read ‘Give your children wings so they can fly but roots so they know how to come home.’ Reflecting on my situation made me realise that family and health are the most important things in life. I realised that I needed to find a balance to live and work in both Los Angeles and Wales.

“I met my now fiancé, Phil, who’s a Rhiwbina boy. His family used to own a fruit and veg shop in the village so we made Rhiwbina our forever home when in Wales. He proposed to me last year and did a very good job of it. He took me to Dubai and I had some inkling that he was up to something. We got in a car, he blindfolded me, and then when he got me out of the car, all I could feel was sand underneath my feet. He’d taken me to an undeveloped piece of land in front of the Burj Khalifa. The boy did well!”

For now, Liz aims to split her work between the US and Wales.

“My plan is to continue working between LA and London for the next ten years,” she says.

“With Phil being an ex-snowboarding competitor, we would like to live in Big Bear, which is two hours away from LA during the winter months; it reminds me so much of the forestry in Wales.”

When in Wales, north Cardiff gives her time to step back from the glamour and the glitz, and to savour the simpler things in life.

“I don’t have to be an exaggerated, fun version of myself in front of the cameras as much these days. The real-life Liz is happy to be walking through the Wenallt with no makeup on and hair tied back. And I’m happy for those people I come across on my walks to not know about the things that I’ve done or achieved so far.

“I love the jet-set lifestyle, but I still love coming home to Rhiwbina.”

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