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Ladies of Rylstone Raising Cash for Cancer Research and Raising a Few Eyebrows in the Process

Aired April 26, 2000 - 2:51 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: If you think British society is a bit like an overstarched shirt, our guest may change your view. The Ladies of Rylstone are raising cash for cancer research and raising a few eyebrows in the process. Their calendar features women between the ages of 45 and 66 in the buff. The British version earned a half- million dollars. And now the ladies are here to conquer America. Angela Baker and Tricia Stewart join us from New York. They're better known these days as Miss February and Miss October.

Ladies, thank you for being with us. Welcome to America.

ANGELA BAKER, "MISS FEBRUARY": Thank you very much. Thank you for asking us.

TRICIA STEWART, "MISS OCTOBER": It's a pleasure, thank you.

ALLEN: Are you getting comfortable with the these titles -- Miss October.

BAKER: Yes.

STEWART: Oh, I'm very comfortable with Miss October.

ALLEN: It's really amazing. I've seen news reports on this before. You expected to sell about $5,000 worth of calendars. You have sold half a million dollars worth. In your widest dreams, would you have imagined the success of your project?

BAKER: Never, no. We would have been really pleased if we would have made 5,000 pounds at the beginning.

ALLEN: I know that, Angela, this came about after you death of your husband to leukemia. This was a fund-raising project. But how did the idea to go nude in a calendar surface, and how did all the women get talked into doing it.

BAKER: Well it was Trish's idea, Miss October's idea. We were about WI meeting, that is held once a month, and they were asking for photographs for the WI calendar, which is usually scenes of villages or sunsets, or you know, post boxes, and Trish just turned to me and said, we could do our own calender. We could call in it "The Alternative WI Calendar," and we could do it with no close on and doing crafts of the WI. ALLEN: And what did you mouth drop open?

BAKER: I went, oh, yes, sure, Trish, sure.

ALLEN: Tricia, what's up with that? Where did you think of this? And then how did you get the nerve to tell everyone, come on, let's do this thing.

BAKER: Well, I thought it would be really amusing to do and very different, and I told the others over supper, a few of the other girls, and we all just laughed about it, and it was a joke for a long time. It wasn't until Angela's husband became ill that the idea of the calendar became a possibility. And then when he died in July 1998, we just made up our minds up that we would do it, dedicate it to him, and raise money for leukemia research, and we have.

ALLEN: Some would say the pictures are tastefully done, and we're having to cover up a little more as we show folks at home.

What is the reaction from family and friends? Is this considered G rated, R rated, X rated? What are you hearing?

BAKER: No, no, they loved it. My kids were really proud that we've done it and raised so much money.

ALLEN: And now you are taking on America, this hard body, youth culture obsessed country that we are. Are you ready for that challenge?

STEWART: Oh yes, they're ready for us now.

BAKER: We're really proud that we can be here, and you know, promote the American calendar, and we're going to raise money as well for the Leukemia Research Fund in England, we're going to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America.

ALLEN: I also noticed that the calendar, it has a touch of humor. You're just covering up certain parts, with teapots, and flowers and what not. Is this also a hurray of sorts for older women and older women's bodies, their images.

STEWART: Well, we didn't do it for that reason; we just did it to raise funds. But unintentional side effect has been to change the perception of the older women, but that wasn't why we did it. We just did it because we could really.

(LAUGHTER)

BAKER: Because we dared.

ALLEN: Dare I ask about next year's calendar?

STEWART: Well, this calendar, the American version, goes through to December 2001. So it's 2002 really. We have a long time to think about that. We might do women of the world, so look out.

(LAUGHTER)

BAKER: So watch out.

ALLEN: We shall, indeed. Angela Baker, Tricia Stewart, AKA Miss February and Miss October. Thank you both for being with us. Good luck to you.

BAKER: Thank you very much.

STEWART: Thank you.

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