THERE’S little doubt that Vogue Williams has been blessed with the genetics of dreams. Yes, she trains regularly, but her super-lean, athletic physique comes relatively easily and, as a result, it wasn’t much of a struggle to get back to normal post-pregnancy.
However, whisper that last bit, because Vogue admits today that her rapid snap-back wasn’t something she felt like celebrating – in fact, it made her extremely conscious of the message she sent out to other women. So much so, she deliberately hid her body away following the birth of her second baby, Gigi, last July.
“There is so much pressure put on women about this and I didn’t want to add to that when actually, instead of worrying about losing the baby weight, we should be worrying about where our pelvic floor is at and how our mental health is doing. All of that is so much more important.
“It’s purely down to my body type that I went back to how I was before without too much effort, and I did find myself trying to hide that for the first few months. I’d always done my tanning stuff [Insta posts promoting her line of self-tan products], but I wanted to wait so as not to annoy people.
“I just didn’t want to make anyone else feel bad by being all, ‘hey, look at me after having a baby,’ because the last thing anyone wants to see is someone who’s lost the weight quicker than you.”
Empathetic and sensitive, it’s an honest admission and shows that Vogue, 35, understands that with influencing comes responsibility. She recognises that the speed with which she regained her pre-baby body would be completely unrealistic for most new mums.
She also points out that she knew she’d be criticised for losing weight too quickly – there is judgement and policing right across the spectrum when it comes to women’s bodies.
“That’s the thing about the internet,” she says. “If you lose the weight fast, everyone assumes you jumped into it and if you don’t then you get people saying: ‘Ooh, she’s still carrying her baby weight’. So you kind of can’t win. People think it makes them feel better if they say something awful about someone else, but I would rather be super-positive and then whatever you put out comes back.
“And when it’s to do with anyone else’s body, the best thing you can do is not pass comment at all.”
The vast majority of Vogue’s social media interactions are positive, she says. She has a “lovely group of people” (all 840,000 of them) following her and it generally feels like a very supportive community. But occasionally she sees a comment that cuts deep.
“Sometimes you see that and of course it gets to me. I am happy, my life is amazing, I have two amazing kids, a great husband [former Made In Chelsea star Spencer Matthews, 32] and I’m so happy in my life and with what I’m doing, so I pull back and remember that. But some of the stuff that’s written is just so awful.
“And Spencer wouldn’t get nearly as much as me. It’s normally always pointed at women.”
Is she a feminist?
“I’m definitely a feminist. It’s so important as a woman to be a feminist, especially considering everything those before us fought for. It doesn’t mean you’re a man-hater or burning your bra, which is why perhaps some people shy away [from the label]. But as a girl it is so important to know your rights.”
Like so many of us, Vogue was deeply affected by the disappearance and murder of 33-year-old marketing executive Sarah Everard last month.
It happened just a couple of miles away from the south-west London home Vogue shares with Spencer and their two children, Theodore, two and a half, and Gigi, eight months, and so felt too close for comfort.
“I know people go missing all the time, but it’s so frightening when it is so close to you,” she says. “We don’t live very far from there. She was going home. My heart breaks for her family, it’s the worst story you can think of.”
I’m definitely a feminist. It’s so important as a woman to be a feminist, especially considering everything those before us fought for.
The outpourings since Sarah’s death have opened up a national conversation about male violence and sexual harassment and the risk assessments women have to make every day as they go about their lives.
Vogue says it’s so ingrained as part and parcel of female life that it’s only the events of the last few weeks that have made her realise how limiting these constraints can be.
“It’s normal to be like that, it’s just part of life as a woman. I often wake up really early in the morning and I would love to just go for a run. But during the winter it’s quite dark and I would never in a million years go outside in the dark on my own, even before all of this happened.
“I wouldn’t feel comfortable out on the streets on my own, and I think most women feel the same. It shouldn’t be that way, but I can’t see how it will ever change either. I don’t think it will ever feel 100% safe and that’s really sad.”
Sparky and sharp as a tack, Vogue is always good to talk to. There’s rarely any waffle or spinning off on tangents, she sticks to the question in hand and answers it straight. This business-like approach to life must also work well managing a busy household as a family of four.
“It’s quite hectic – total mayhem – but it’s also amazing. Gigi is a brilliant little baby, so cute, it’s like she’s just so happy to be alive! And Theodore absolutely loves her so it’s all been going really well.
“I think this time around I’m more relaxed, so it just seems a lot easier I suppose. I put her down and she settles herself, but that’s probably down to the fact we couldn’t pander to her as much as we did Theodore, because we have less time now with two.”
Being born in the middle of the pandemic means Gigi hasn’t had the chance to meet many of her family. Vogue is careful not to moan, but concedes that this lockdown generation of babies and their extended families have really missed out.
“Obviously people are going through way worse than what we are, but it is really upsetting. One of my brothers has never met her and even my mum has only been able to see her once.
“I haven’t been able to get to Ireland because of the quarantine and travel rules so I’ve not been home in over a year. By the time people get to meet her, she’s going to be about a year old, so it’s a big part of her life to miss.
“Everyone has things going on that are upsetting during Covid, and when you put it into perspective with what other people are going through with illness and losing their jobs and their livelihoods, we’re getting off lightly I suppose. They will all meet her soon enough.”
She won’t comment on the family’s controversial trip to St Barts in late December when London was in Tier 4 and everyone was instructed to stay at home, although she took to Instagram at the time insisting she’d been there working and hadn’t broken any rules.
Nevertheless, she does say this third lockdown has been the toughest of all for her. Vogue found the uncertainty was triggering the anxiety she’d been able to keep at bay over the last few years and so she turned to therapy to cope.
“I found the first month of this one particularly hard – it was so cold and dark and just not being able to see the end of it was tough. I felt nervous because it was like it was never going to end.
“I don’t have regular therapy, but I did recently go back. My anxiety was pretty bad. I take medication for it sometimes and it’s easier to try and figure things out in your mind if you’ve got someone else who is a professional and who can help you muddle through any stuff. He’s an amazing therapist and I’ll always go back and forth, I think. I’ll always have him in my back pocket.”
She adds: “You wouldn’t notice [my anxiety] for the most part, but out of nowhere it will come on. I’ve become good at managing it and when I find it a little too much I have beta blockers, which really help.
“I try to train every day, eat healthily and stay away from junk food because that’s a real trigger for me. If I’m not organised then I get stressed about the things I have to do so I try to have everything in order so I am less stressed and therefore less anxious. People have different coping mechanisms and, for me, watching what I eat, not drinking too much and training help the most.”
Being able to work “the whole way through” has also helped. Vogue has a weekly Sunday breakfast show on Heart, presents regularly on Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch and hosts a successful podcast with Spencer, which is in its third series.
This month she launches a new podcast, My Therapist Ghosted Me, with comedian friend Joanne McNally. Each episode is an hour of completely unfiltered conversation between two best mates, and Vogue can’t wait to get it out there.
“I wanted to have a positive, fun podcast that you could imagine as sitting around with your mates and talking about what’s going on during the week. We want everyone to feel like they’re out having drinks with us – it’s literally just a chat so the whole thing rolls.
“Joanne and I have always been in the same friend group since we were 18, but we clicked as really close friends in the last two years. She’s just one of those people that if you’re feeling s**t you can ring her and she will automatically lift your mood.
“If this year has shown me anything, it’s how much I value my friendships. I love being around her, she’s brilliant.”
Given its free-flowing, stream of consciousness, no-holds-barred kind of vibe… should Spencer be worried?
If this year has shown me anything, it’s how much I value my friendships
“He should be!” laughs Vogue. “But he loves being talked about so it’s all good.”
These days, Spencer works full-time on his Clean Co brand of low-alcohol spirits, and Vogue says he’s enjoying his new role as an entrepreneur after years of reality TV.
“He is loving it. That’s what he spends his nine-to-five doing now and it’s going really well, which is fantastic. I think this is more his vibe [than the celebrity world]. If the right TV project came along, I’m sure he’d do that, but this is his baby. He’s found something he really loves and he’s put so much of his focus and energy into it so it’s lovely to see how well he is doing.”
Spencer gave up alcohol three years ago and has said if he hadn’t, Vogue may well have left him. She plays this down today.
“I don’t necessarily prefer him sober because he wasn’t a messy drunk and he was never mean. But he is a million times more productive this way. He was drinking so regularly that he was never fully focused or motivated.”
They both hope there will be more kids in the future.
In the makeup chair with Vogue
What’s your skincare routine?
I change my products regularly so my skin doesn’t get used to the same thing. I use a liquid cleanser with a face cloth, then put a serum on and a night cream. I spray on Bare by Vogue Face Tanning Mist twice a week, and always use an SPF30+.
What’s your luxury item?
L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil – It smells amazing.
Who’s your beauty icon?
Kate Bosworth is gorgeous and classic.
Best beauty bargain?
You can get great false lashes in Primark. And I love Carmex for my lips.
What’s your top beauty tip?
I love an HD brow – it makes such a difference to your face and the way it’s framed. It can make you look younger.
Describe your beauty evolution?
I’ve had some horrific mishaps with my eyebrows in the past! And I take real care of my skin now as well.
“I wouldn’t say we were done yet. I would love to have more, if we are lucky enough. Spenny is the same, he’s up to five now. Seriously. I’ve told him that no one will invite us anywhere if we have five! But I think definitely four.”
While TV and radio will always be her first loves Vogue has built up a lucrative business as an influencer and collaborator, much of it via Instagram.
She has just launched a collection of pastel-coloured tracksuits with cashmere label Lucy Nagle and has teamed up with Fairy as the face of its new Non-bio Platinum Pods.
“Fairy is such an iconic brand and so when they came to me it was like: ‘Oh my god, I’m going to be a Fairy Mum!’ which was very exciting.
“For me my main base has always been TV and radio but then getting to work with brands I’ve loved for years is the icing on the cake.”
There are downsides to self-employed life, she says, but she wouldn’t change it.
“There is always something new to look forward to, that’s what I love about my job, it’s really different all the time. Sure, you don’t always know when work is coming in and sometimes things are slower, but for the last little while it’s been a nice run for me. I’m happy.”
- Fairy Non-Bio Platinum Pods With Extra Stain Removal are available from Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Wilko, Ocado and Amazon.
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