At 16 years of age, Hazell left school to work as a hairdresser. Her work colleagues persuaded her to try her luck at modelling. At 17, she competed in The Daily Star's "Search for a Beach Babe" contest and won. Still not old enough to pose on Page 3, she went to study fashion at Lewisham College. But later, a friend told her about The Sun's Page 3 Idol competition. Despite some initial uncertainty about entering the contest, she submitted some photos. She was eventually chosen the winner in December 2004. She won £10,000 worth of "sexy clothes" and "a one-year membership of the Rex cinema and bar".