Dunedin designer Colleen Pugh with her Ryan Gosling
tea-towel. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
As far as gifts go, the humble tea-towel is usually a
safe bet when it comes to eliciting indifferent reactions from
But when Hollywood heart-throb Ryan Gosling was presented
with a tea-towel created by witty Dunedin designer Colleen
Pugh, the response was one of utter embarrassment.
The tea-towel features three hand-drawn versions of Gosling,
along with the comical line ''Hey girl, I bet you'd rather be
doing these dishes''.
It was given to the actor yesterday during an interview by a
Rotten Tomatoes reviewer for Gosling's new film Gangster
Squad. The mortified actor buried his face in his hands
before crying: ''It's like looking at the sun - I can't stare
directly at it.''
Miss Pugh (33) is revelling in the resulting media attention
the associated video has created.
After watching the interview from her Northeast Valley home,
she knew exactly how Gosling felt because she, too, was
feeling embarrassed, she said.
''This is the biggest thing that has ever happened to me.
''I'm in shock really. It's absolutely incredible.
''I felt as embarrassed as he did when I saw the interview.
''I'm a fan - he's easy on the eye. He's No 1 with lots of
women I know.
''The tea-towel is maybe a bit creepy, but I can assure you
I'm not a stalker.''
Despite the embarrassing moment, Miss Pugh said she was
enjoying all the media attention, and the other upside was
people had been contacting her from around the world on
social networking websites, congratulating her and asking for
orders of her products.
Her tea-towels and prints are popular - particularly the ones
with the slogan: ''When life hands you lemons, make a gin and
She sells thousands each year and, since the Gosling
interview, had received the same number of orders in 24 hours
that she would usually get in two months.
''This was all totally unexpected. Now, I have to figure out
how I'm going to get through all the orders.
''I'm only one woman.''
Inspiration for the tea-towel, and her other printed
products, came from her well-honed sense of humour.
''Ever since I was a little kid, I've been into jokes.
''I think that doing funny stuff is hard to do. People like
to feel good and have a laugh - that's why people like my
Not content with her sudden rise to prominence, she now plans
to design a similar tea-towel with a James Bond theme.