First Lesson We Learn, Class? If You Don’t Want Your Naked Pics Winding Up on the Internet You Don’t Pose Nude!!!!!!

Check out our new advertisers and Follow AdultFYI at [email protected]; Follow Gene Ross at [email protected]

from – Former Harrow School art teacher Joanne Salley learned a hard lesson last year when revealing photos of her taken by a colleague went viral on the internet. Here, in an exclusive interview, she talks for the first time about what really happened

It is surely the fantasy of any bored schoolboy to have a beautiful schoolmistress upon whom to harbour a crush.

For the pupils of a famous, centuries-old North London boys’ public school, that dream recently became reality. When she first arrived at Harrow School to take up her teaching role in the art department, Joanne Salley – a former Miss Northern Ireland – found herself the object of innocent schoolboy infatuations.

But last year the fantasy turned sour when the teacher became an unwitting internet sensation as revealing photographs of her spiralled out from the school and across the worldwide web.

Joanne, 33, is vibrant and bubbly, with a gentle Northern Irish lilt to her speech, and a warm and trusting manner.

As she clacks into the Knightsbridge café she’s suggested we meet in for coffee (she’s staying at a friend’s flat nearby) she is wrapped in a cream cashmere sweater and wheeling a suitcase behind her – in a few hours’ time she will fly to her friend Lisa B’s ‘wild’ themed 40th birthday party in Ibiza.

With her friendly personality, abundant honey-coloured hair and long, slim legs it’s clear to see how Miss Salley would have won legions of teen admirers at the school.

Only last year life had seemed perfect. Joanne was living in a flat with half an acre of garden at the end of a pretty private lane on the school premises.

Classes were just a ten-minute walk away, and in her private time she could walk through the wood to play golf. But just when she felt she couldn’t be happier, her whole world fell apart.

It was late spring and Joanne was invigilating a GCSE art exam. ‘The boys were all quietly working at their tables. I felt so proud knowing they would do really well in their exam.’

At that moment, she received a phone call from a colleague in the school medical centre. She asked if Joanne was sitting down. ‘There are nude photographs of you circulating the school,’ the woman said.

Joanne laughed, and told her not to be silly – that the boys must have Photoshopped her face on to someone else’s body. Then suddenly she remembered – ‘and it felt like a ton of bricks falling on my head’.

Two months earlier, the head of photography had persuaded Joanne to pose for some photos. ‘She was a friend of mine, a good person, I loved her very much.’

Joanne had modelled since the age of 19 and had posed for her on two previous occasions; once for her website and once for her portfolio.

Lately, she had been asking if she could take more pictures. ‘I was quite busy and kept putting it off. Then, in February, she asked again if I was free that weekend. And I was.

‘We liked to choose the clothes I’d wear for shoots together, so we went through my wardrobe. It was fun, dressing up – and I love having my photo taken.’

That day, her colleague took around 200 photographs of Joanne in various outfits out in her garden. ‘It was all just a bit of fun,’ says Joanne.

Shortly before they finished the shoot, the women moved indoors and Joanne posed for half a dozen more shots wearing jeans and a white T-shirt.

‘And then she suggested, “Why don’t we do this or why don’t we do that”, and out of all the shots indoors there were just two which could be described as revealing.

‘I had taken the white T-shirt off. I immediately regretted them after they’d been taken. I’m really self-conscious and don’t even go topless on the beach.’

Joanne believed the images would never be made public, but two months later those photos – which had been ‘stolen’ from a memory stick apparently left in the school’s photography room – began to circulate via email and text message.

It took only a couple of days for the public schools of England to be agog with it.

Shortly afterwards, the rest of Britain would be able to view the pictures of the pretty schoolmistress; Joanne posing provocatively in a pair of tight jeans with one breast exposed as she stares moodily into the camera; Joanne arching her back in a chair; Joanne leaning against a bookcase crammed with history of art books, her long tousled hair hanging down to the small of her tanned back.

How she would regret agreeing to pose for those photos.

Joanne Salley is living proof that bad things happen to good people. She was born at home on the farm in County Tyrone where she grew up with her older sister Nicola, surrounded by animals and wide open countryside.

It was a secure and idyllic childhood, with Joanne and Nicola doing their homework while their mother cooked, and afterwards running out across the fields, climbing trees and collecting ladybirds in matchboxes.

Later, as teenagers, when her friends were discovering boyfriends and drinking, Joanne was busy practising her ballet, while teaching at Sunday school and working with children with Down’s syndrome.

Of her many interests, art was her main passion, and despite winning places at all the good art schools in England, she chose to go to the University of Ulster where she studied to be a silversmith: ‘At that point, I wanted to stay close to home.

After living in the countryside, even going to Belfast was a big expedition – we would only go once or twice a year.’

After completing the course, Joanne went to Cambridge to do a year’s training to be a teacher of art. She was very sporty (she rowed, ran, played everything) so her professor suggested that she apply for a job at Harrow School.

‘I went along to the interview and I fell in love with the place. I had the most amazing day. I remember getting back late and there was a message waiting for me from the headmaster saying that he would be delighted to offer me the post. I screamed with delight – I was so excited.’

For Joanne, Harrow was a dream. She loved the heritage of the school and the ancient buildings, although the job wasn’t easy to start with.

‘I had been Miss Northern Ireland two years prior to taking up the position, and everyone knew. I had to work twice as hard to shake off that label.’

She taught art, rowing, cross-country running, took Duke of Edinburgh’s Award trips abroad, taught cookery skills and was a boarding house tutor.

She describes the pupils of the £30,000-a-year school as ‘absolute gentlemen, so well-mannered, so engaged, so well brought up; I couldn’t have been asked to teach a better group of boys.

But I was one of only eight female teachers among 90 male staff, many of whom had been there a long time. It was tough.’

A few months after starting at Harrow, Joanne met the England rugby star Matt Dawson in a London nightclub and they started going out.

The following year, 2003, Matt was in the team that won the World Cup and the couple was thrust into the celebrity spotlight, meeting lots of famous people and posing for Hello! together.

Despite being offered opportunities to work in television, Joanne continued teaching but eventually, in 2005, decided to call it a day: ‘I had a sinking feeling as I handed in my notice. The school was my home. Teaching there was more than just a job – the boys had become like my little brothers or sons.’

Joanne moved into Matt’s Georgian townhouse in Chiswick which they began to do up together.

But in 2006 she went back to Harrow to cover for another member of staff who needed time off to deal with a family matter. ‘I had a lot of respect for this colleague and I wanted to do everything I could to help,’ she says.

Around this time, her relationship with Matt Dawson ended, and Joanne went travelling across Southeast Asia.

She returned to a job with another private school, Merchant Taylors’, and started dating a boyfriend who worked at another school nearby.

‘We were normal people leading a normal life – doing ordinary things like cycling at the weekend.’ But after a year, in 2010, she returned to Harrow, and felt it was something of a homecoming: ‘I missed the sense of family I had there and I wanted to go back.’

Little did she know that just a few months later, after receiving that phone call, she would be weeping hysterically in the art store-room.

‘It felt like it was happening to someone else,’ she explains of that time. ‘The whole thing was surreal. I had been so convinced there was no way those photographs would ever see the light of day.’

Busy preparing her pupils for their GCSEs, she had hardly seen her colleague since the day of the shoot, and hadn’t even been shown any of the pictures taken that day.

‘I couldn’t believe that that particular shot would be seen. I was mortified, devastated. I needed to get out of the classroom – the boys were working so hard I reckoned they wouldn’t miss me. I just ran out.’

She was taken to the medical centre where she sat on the floor rocking backwards and forwards and was given Valium to calm her – ‘I’d completely lost it.’

It turned out that a concerned pupil had gone to the medical centre the night before worried about the photos that were doing the rounds of the 13- to 18-year-olds in the school.

The memory stick had been found where it had been left in the photography lab. ‘When I had the strength to look at the pictures, I recognised them immediately as the photographs that I had assumed had been deleted, that no longer existed.’

Joanne’s normally bright and sunny face darkens when she recalls the episode.

‘I never wanted the boys to see me in that way. I thought my world had ended.’ For a time Joanne felt close to suicide and was kept in the medical centre for a week. But things got worse. She learned that the photographs were circulating around Merchant Taylors’.

And shortly afterwards, the headmaster warned her that the papers had got wind of the story. ‘Even though my family knew that it was completely out of character for me to pose like that, they were devastated and upset.’

Not long after the story appeared in the press, the actual images were printed in certain papers with modesty boxes placed over her private parts.

‘I felt like a knife was sticking into me, and being turned.’ Things couldn’t have got much worse.

But what started off as a public-school craze soon went viral globally.

When Joanne checked her Facebook pages, she found unpleasant messages from all across Europe, and even as far afield as Brazil and Venezuela.

‘For two weeks I couldn’t bear to leave my flat. I couldn’t face going anywhere, couldn’t see anybody, couldn’t go for a walk, couldn’t answer the phone, I couldn’t even read text messages,’ she says. She became so depressed that she could barely get out of bed.

The doctor signed her off work for six months. But then ‘an overriding sense of loyalty kicked in’ and she decided to go back and teach until the end of term.

‘There were exams to be marked and the huge speech-day art show to be put up. I couldn’t miss showcasing my students’ work just because of what had happened to me.’

Stepping back into the classroom was hard: ‘I wanted to be invisible.’ But the boys, she says, were ‘amazing and so respectful; they know that I don’t stand for any nonsense’.

After completing the term, she fled to Mongolia for the summer and lived in a yurt by the river on the steppe, riding alone every day.

Although she returned to Harrow last September, ‘I felt I was half the person I had been; this awful thing that had happened to me was never going to go away.’ Occasionally, the story would resurface in the papers.

‘I wanted to be known for the other things I have done in my life – not just for that.’ She finally handed in her resignation and left Harrow at Christmas.

By that time she was seeing dashing former England polo captain Henry Brett, whom she’d met through her love of the sport (she’d practised with the Harrow polo team).

He immediately asked her to move into his Cotswolds home. Together for several months, the couple broke up shortly before this interview.

One year on, the photo scandal is still fresh in Joanne’s mind: ‘I meet people and the penny will drop as they realise who I am. It’s like having a cloud over my head, or like carrying a rucksack loaded with rocks: sometimes the burden is almost too heavy to lift.’

Joanne has never spoken before about what happened to her, and has clearly found it difficult. ‘I’d rather people knew me for having raised £50,000 for charity, or cycled from coast to coast in Mexico, London to Barcelona, climbed Kilimanjaro, and the Three Peaks, run five marathons; I want people to know about the good things I’ve done, not one five-minute slice of my life that I will regret for ever.’

Joanne hasn’t seen or spoken to the photography mistress since the scandal broke. She looks sad when I mention her name. Did she ever get in touch? ‘No. There are some things in my life I don’t talk about; this is a drawer that I decided subconsciously to shut a long time ago – it’s not easy,’ is all Joanne will say.

But for Joanne, new opportunities are opening.

She is hoping to have a crack at television presenting. While the reigning Miss Northern Ireland she presented The Big Breakfast with Johnny Vaughan and loved the experience.

‘I have lived a life of labels – I was Miss Northern Ireland, then I was Matt Dawson’s girlfriend and now I’m this topless teacher – I’ve never simply been Joanne Salley, and that would mean the world to me.’

And with that she clacks off, pulling her suitcase behind her: an extremely beautiful girl, inside and out, who one can’t help but feel incredibly sorry for. Even if she is the living embodiment of every schoolboy’s fantasy.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply