20 years on: “I was the girl on the cover of Pulp’s ‘Different Class’ album”

Next week it’s exactly two decades since our very own Clare Zerny graced the cover of one of the 1990s’ classic records. Here’s how it happened

Editor Stephen Emms' original 1995 vinyl release of Different Class. Note how thoroughly worn it is. Photo: SE
Editor Stephen Emms’ well-thumbed original 1995 vinyl release of Different Class. Photo: SE
It’s such a classic cover, and synonymous with the 1990s for everyone of a certain age. How did it come about?
I was 16 and it was actually my first modelling job after I won a competition and was signed to Select Models. It paid a pittance but I didn’t care; given the choice I’d have actually paid to do it. Pulp were one of my absolute favourite bands of course. I can remember my agency calling and saying it wasn’t very good money – and I was like, whatever, I’ll do it.

Who’s your friend in the picture?
I can’t remember. He was just hired along with me. We were outside Regent’s Park shooting at the railings and I remember the cardboard cut-outs kept blowing over as it was such a windy day. But sadly I didn’t get to meet Jarvis; I was pretty gutted. I think it was Nick Banks the drummer who was there on the day – he was lovely, very friendly – but alas it wasn’t Jarvis.

Fast forward to 2015: Clare poses with something she baked earlier. Photo: CZ
Fast forward to 2015: Clare poses with something she baked earlier. Photo: CZ

What did your mum say about the lyrics of Disco 2000 printed above the image (see below right, including the immortal line “You were the first girl at school to get breasts”)?
Ha, my parents didn’t know who Pulp were – I doubt they ever noted the lyrics. My friends and I certainly laughed at the irony of it, though. We’d regularly hear the song out at indie clubs we and everyone went a bit nuts when it came on. One of so many fond memories of that era; the 90s were just so awesome for music.

The sleeve was one of 12 reversible album covers. Note the Disco 2000 lyrics at the top. Photo: SE
The sleeve was one of 12 reversible album covers. Note the Disco 2000 lyrics at the top. Photo: SE

Did it make you “famous” locally?
I think it went down pretty well. Certainly don’t think it harmed my credibility. There was a choice of twelve covers within the sleeve and everyone I knew would turn them around in record shops so that my picture was at the front. It must have driven them mad having all these kids messing with the inserts and wondering why it was always Disco 2000 left at the front. And one of the guys on the school bus asked me to sign his copy by my picture; I could have died!


So, any other famous 1990s covers you care to disclose?  No, but I did play Shirley Manson’s clone in Garbage’s The World is Not Enough for that year’s Bond a couple of years later. Growing up and listening to the band, people always said I looked like Shirley and there was a point when I was riding through central London in the back of a people carrier with her thinking, well this is weird. We actually had to kiss in the video: I read later in an interview that she said she enjoyed it. Ha.

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Clare Zerny is a pastry chef, our Patisserie Diaries columnist and a presenter. She has had regular stalls at the Alma Street Fair and across north London. Follow her on @clarezerny


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  • Benny Fonzarelli

    The boy in the pic is a good friend of mine, Sym Gharial, who himself found rock n roll stardom as the bassist of Brighton psycho-rockers, The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster and is now making waves with his new band, Piano Wire…
    We’ve been mates for years and he only told me about being on this cover the other night!