‘We Didn’t Have Much Money’ – Muay Thai Star Liam Nolan Recalls The Reluctant Start Of His Modeling Career

Liam Nolan Ali Aliev ONE Fight Night 18 35

“Lethal” Liam Nolan is just as comfortable striking a pose as he is striking an opponent.  

The Englishman – who will return against Nauzet Trujillo in a lightweight Muay Thai battle at ONE Fight Night 19: Haggerty vs. Lobo on Prime Video on February 16 – has been modeling since the age of 13, albeit very reluctantly at first. 

Nolan’s mother worked hard to make ends meet and raise her son as a single parent in the north of London, but it was often difficult.

Although spending time in front of the camera wasn’t the youngster’s choice, he accepted a modeling job so he could contribute to the household and make some money.

“Lethal” recalled that decision ahead of his upcoming clash in Bangkok, Thailand: 

“I never wanted to do it. I kind of got forced to do it. I didn’t actually enjoy it. It’s only now I talk about it, but my family had me do it because they knew someone in the industry and it helped massively with the bills. 

“Even in my young mind, I knew the weight of the contribution I was making. We didn’t have much money, so I was earning a little bit doing jobs and stuff, which was good.” 

Nolan never expected to be reimbursed for any money he contributed to the family, but his mother never forgot what he’d done for them.

In fact, the 26-year-old’s lone parent had an incredible work ethic herself, and when her financial situation improved, she made sure to return the favor.

Nolan said: 

“When I was 16, I did a big job for £3,000, and I gave all of it to my mum. Years later, when her business began to do well, she paid it all back to me, plus an extra bit to say thank you. So yeah, it came in handy a lot over the years.” 

Liam Nolan Still In Front Of The Cameras 13 Years Later 

Instead of it being something he wanted to tell his friends about, a young Liam Nolan tried to keep his modeling career quiet when he was at school. 

However, when bigger contracts started rolling in, he had to walk past himself in prominent stores – and that meant his classmates did, too. 

“Lethal” said: 

“I did some stuff for BHS (a big UK department store chain) as a kid. I always thought it was a little bit embarrassing because all the boys would rip me for it. I never wanted to tell them I was in all the shops. 

“Literally my whole school would walk past BHS, and I was on the shop window in the high street, and that was it!”

Nolan has a more pragmatic view of the industry now. After modeling for half of his lifetime, the Londoner sees it as a job like any other. 

Although it’s not his top priority, he’ll still don the gear and jump in front of the camera if the right offer comes along. 

He’s also aware that his career as an elite Muay Thai fighter might make him a more acquired taste for some brands, but with the sport experiencing a surge of popularity, who’s to say the grizzled look won’t be the new thing? 

Nolan offered: 

“To me, it’s just work. I like to keep busy and earn money. I’m a grafter, so if I’ve got time and I’m not training, then I’ll go and earn money. 

“I mean, I’ve got cauliflowers and I’ve got scars on my face. Sure, there’ll be brands that will like that look and some that won’t, so I don’t really think about it or take it personally. Every company has its own look, doesn’t it? 

“I could end up being the first Gucci model with cauliflower ears. Who knows? It’s the new look these days!” 

More in Features

Shamil Gasanov Oh Ho Taek ONE Fight Night 18 31
Danielle Kelly Jessa Khan ONE Fight Night 14 11
Mayssa Bastos Kanae Yamada ONE Fight Night 20 13
Rambolek Chor Ajalaboon Soner Sen ONE Friday Fights 51 28
Lara Fernandez Yu Yau Pui ONE Fight Night 20 15
Elias Mahmoudi Edgar Tabares ONE Fight Night 13 28
Suablack Tor Pran49 Craig Coakley ONE Friday Fights 46 23
Aaron Canarte Akbar Abdullaev ONE Fight Night 12 5
Christian Lee becomes the new ONE Welterweight World Champion
Scottish Muay Thai fighter Amy Pirnie
Jarred Brooks Joshua Pacio ONE 166 12
Hiroba Minowa Gustavo Balart ONE 165 77