Mad about Laurence
PUBLISHED: 15:19 21 January 2009 | UPDATED: 16:02 25 August 2010
A SUPERFAN obsessed with designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has even changed her name to be one step closer to her flamboyant idol.
A SUPERFAN 'obsessed' with designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has even changed her name to be one step closer to her flamboyant idol.
Mother-of-one Johannah Cohen, 30, from Welling, is so fond of Llewelyn-Bowen, also known as LLB, that she dresses like him, has written a series of books about him and now even shares the same name as him.
Changing her name to Johannah Caroline Llewelyn Cohen as a birthday present to herself last November, the fan is now preparing to fork out £30,000 on a loft conversion to fit all her LLB cuttings and memorabilia she crams into her living room.
"It is just a way of saying I am a really big fan and I wanted to do it for a while," she said. "It was just having the nerve."
Her dedication to the purple-loving designer from Blackheath started back in 1996 during the pilot of his makeover show Changing Rooms.
She recalled: "It was his personality, his dashing looks, his sense of dress and he is a brilliant designer. I just love his work. It is absolutely brilliant.
"I do dress like Laurence with frilly shirts. My husband finds it hard to take in really.
"My dream job would be to work with Laurence as his personal assistant.
"It was my dream's ambition to run his fan club. I rang his office up and asked him and he said 'I am not going to say yes or no'."
Now Mrs Cohen spends most of her evenings updating the two fan sites and religiously making cuttings of every mention of her idol.
Her memorabilia collection has grown so much that it has taken over the living room sending her husband Stephen to distraction.
She said: "My husband is tripping over stuff at the moment. He sometimes gets annoyed with it."
She met her husband whilst she was working as a domestic assistant at Queen Elizabeth's Hospital in Woolwich, where he still works as a porter.
But it was only after the couple married on May 31, 2003 that she told him about the other man in her life.
She said: "I kept it hidden. I wasn't sure how he was going to take it. I told him and he just said 'oh no.'"
"He hasn't met Laurence yet. He said if he met him the once he wouldn't know what to say to him.
"He does get annoyed so I have managed to not go on about him so much. It can get to him quite a lot. He says 'all you talk about is him'.
"It is not as bad now. I have managed to calm it down a bit."
But Mrs Cohen still tries to make it to every event LLB is at and even went up to Chester to one of his Homes and Garden shows where he was speaking.
Bagging a front row seat and sitting through his talk twice, she sought him out at his VIP tent to hand over a book she wrote about him.
It was the first of a series of nine stories she has since written with LLB and Mrs Cohen as a detective duo "like Starsky and Hutch".
She said: "I was on the mobile to a friend and he came out. I walked behind him and said 'excuse me can I have a word?' and he told me he was just off to a fashion shoot and would be back.
"I didn't think he would be but five minutes later he came out of the tent and somebody was trying to take him somewhere else but he said 'no, I have promised that girl I would come back.' I gave him the book that I went up there to give him.
"When he asked what it was about I said 'you are in it right the way through.'
He told her he would read it 'with great interest'.
Despite admitting she was 'obsessed' by the TV designer, Mrs Cohen said that she gets hurt by people saying she should 'get a life'.
"People who say it is irrational and a bit daft - it is nothing to do with them," she said. "It is best to ignore them."
n Are you an obsessive fan? Call the newsroom on 0208 269 7012.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Bexley Times. Click the link in the orange box below for details.