"I used to get scouted a lot by different agencies."
Leonardo DiCaprio has been spotted with supermodel Neelam Gill on numerous occasions, prompting dating rumours.
In June 2023, the pair were spotted having dinner together in London with the Hollywood star’s mother and her partner.
The pair appear to be inseparable and have been pictured at the same celebrity hotspots in London, Paris and the Amalfi Coast.
The dating rumours continue to be fuelled after they were spotted on a yacht together in St Tropez.
But who is Neelam Gill?
The 28-year-old grew up in a flat above a family-run shop in Coventry.
She was raised by her Sikh parents, who had an arranged marriage when her mother was just 20.
Neelam’s parents split when she was eight years old and she said of the divorce:
“I thought I would never get over the pain… I was numb for years and years.”
She became estranged from her father and her mother later remarried. Neelam now uses her stepfather’s surname, Gill.
Growing up, Neelam experienced racism. She recalled:
“I remember walking to school and someone shouting ‘P***’ out of the window.
“That was normal. I’d get comments like, ‘Does your dad own the corner shop?’ or ‘Is he a taxi driver?’ It makes me angry. It’s not something I’d stand for now.”
Neelam did very well at school, achieving four A*s at A-Level. She planned to go to university to study psychology and also had ambitions to be a fashion journalist.
But she ended up going into modelling. At the age of 14, she signed with NEXT model management.
Neelam said: “When I was 13 and living at home and going to school, I used to get scouted a lot by different agencies.
“But there aren’t really any modelling agencies in Coventry, so I didn’t pay any attention to it; besides, I didn’t really look like model material at that age.”
She later signed with Model 1, home to Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Yasmin Le Bon.
Neelam Gill made her debut on the catwalk for Burberry’s fashion show during London Fashion Week.
She made history in 2014 when she became the first Indian model featured in a Burberry campaign.
Neelam previously admitted: “I didn’t even tell people in school that I was interested in modelling or that I’d been scouted, because when people found out, they were like, ‘What? Her?!'”
On the Burberry campaign, Neelam said:
“It made me realise I had to take this seriously.
“Since then, I’ve seen diversity in the industry change for the better.
“There is still a long way to go, but the progress from when I first started is vast.”
Although Neelam’s links with Leonardo have hit headlines, he is not the first A-list star.
In 2015, she was rumoured to be dating former One Direction star Zayn, which prompted a tirade of racist abuse online from 1D fans.
Neelam said: “I don’t care if people call me ugly but when it is about your skin colour that is unacceptable.
“I see comments such as ‘she is black as f***’, or ‘like that refugee I saw on TV’, and then they find my family and troll them.”
In May 2022, Neelam opened up about finding the courage to leave her abusive ex-boyfriend, rumoured to be American rapper J Stash, who she dated in 2017.
She explained: “To put it bluntly, I nearly died in my relationship. I really didn’t think I’d make it out alive.”
Neelam later discovered that he went on to kill a subsequent girlfriend, Jeanette Gallegos, by reportedly shooting her in front of her three children, before turning the gun on himself.
She continued: “It was only in that instance that I had an outpouring of support.
“People didn’t believe me at the time — I don’t know if it’s because of my job that people couldn’t fathom it.
“It was strange. They’d say, ‘You must feel so much relief because that could have been you.’
“And I was like, ‘An innocent woman has still died’.
“I felt sorrow for her and also guilt, even though I didn’t know her and I’d never spoken to her.”
Her rumoured romance with Leonardo DiCaprio comes after Love Island host Maya Jama shut down her own dating rumours in April 2023 after she was seen wearing a ‘Leo’ necklace.
She tweeted: “I’ve been minding my business on holiday and said I wouldn’t respond/pay attention to any of the silly stories anymore but you need to stop now…
“That is literally my star sign. We are not dating. Move on please.”