KELLY BROOK IN DUBLIN

For­mer glam­our model Kelly Brook says she’s healthy and feels good – and that’s all that mat­ters to her now she’s stopped let­ting body shamers rule her life

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - CONTENTS - IN­TER­VIEW TANYA SWEENEY

I’m try­ing to pin­point the ex­act look on the young male sales as­sis­tant’s face as he gazes at Kelly Brook, pos­ing in front of him in Skech­ers’ Henry Street store in front of a bank of pho­tog­ra­phers. Is it lust? Not re­ally. Ado­ra­tion? Per­haps. In­fat­u­a­tion? Meh. Rather, it’s some­thing ap­proach­ing warm af­fec­tion. And come to think of it, every­one in the room looks at Brook ex­actly the same way.

Her tonged caramel waves have a life of their own. Her eyes, friendly pools of dark brown, are framed with long eye­lashes. Her laugh bounces off the walls.

This pho­to­call – where Kelly launches YOU by Skech­ers as their brand am­bas­sador – is not her first rodeo. She knows how to pose ef­fort­lessly; to elicit the en­ergy that Skech­ers girls like Kim Kar­dashian and Brit­ney Spears are famed for. And then there is of course, the body.

To­day, her fa­mous curves are cam­ou­flaged un­der a plain T-shirt, camel biker jacket and skinny jeans. Hers is, fa­mously, a body known for launch­ing a mil­lion lust­ful boy­hood fan­tasies.

Whole rain­forests have been de­stroyed down the years as the me­dia have paid breath­less trib­ute to her cello-like pro­por­tions, her lus­cious wom­anly soft­ness, her 30FF chest.

I ask her if it both­ers her that her bust is one of the first things that springs to peo­ple’s mind about her: whether she will ever tire of the pre­fixes like ‘Curvy’ Kelly Brook or ‘Busty’ Kelly Brook that doggedly fol­low her around.

‘No… it tells a nar­ra­tive doesn’t it? It’s fine,’ she shrugs.

De­spite many ca­reer highs and lows (of which, more later), there has al­ways been a fas­ci­na­tion with Kelly’s fluc­tu­at­ing fig­ure. Ear­lier this year, she was body-shamed by on­line trolls (one cal­lous com­menter was moved to write: ‘bro, you have gone a lit­tle chubby’). Her fans came out swing­ing in re­tal­i­a­tion, but after two decades in show­biz, Kelly her­self is prag­matic about the neg­a­tive at­ten­tion.

‘Well, I have put on weight,’ she says. ‘I started in show­biz at 18 and now I’m nearly 40 [she’s 38]. There is an el­e­ment of, well, your body and your face chang­ing.

‘You’re go­ing to look dif­fer­ent and that’s okay as long as you’re healthy and you feel good. I’m not re­ally as­pir­ing to look like an 18-year- old. That’s not re­ally what I get up in the morn­ings for. It’s what young girls want to read about,’ she adds of body shape. ‘A lot of young women strug­gle with body is­sues and there’s a lot of body sham­ing go­ing on, so it’s nice when there’s a pos­i­tive role model out there. When girls are con­stantly on a diet and wor­ry­ing about be­ing skinny, girls can think “that’s more of a re­al­is­tic body type, she looks like she eats”. And I do.’

It hasn’t nec­es­sar­ily al­ways been this way: in 2015, Kelly went from a Size 14 to a Size 8. At that

point, she was the new body of the Atkins diet, she was star­ring in her first big US TV show – NBC sit­com One Big Happy – and was liv­ing in healthob­sessed Los An­ge­les. A year later, she has re­turned to a healthy Size 10-12.

‘I look at pic­tures of when I was re­ally skinny at some points in my life and I re­mem­ber some of the times be­ing some of the sad­dest,’ she ad­mits. ‘ There was go­ing through a be­reave­ment when my fa­ther passed away,’ she says of her fa­ther Ken­neth, who died of cancer in 2007, while she was star­ring in Strictly Come Danc­ing. ‘ Then I had a break up, or my boyfriend was cheat­ing on me.

‘I would look at those pic­tures and think, “wow, I was so thin”, and I prob­a­bly thought I looked great but you re­mem­ber how you felt at that time and I would not swap places with that girl in a mil­lion years. You re­alise that just be­cause some­one is su­per skinny, doesn’t mean they’re happy. The fat­ter I get, the hap­pier I am.’

Much of this has to do with be­ing loved up with French boyfriend Jeremy Parisi. The two jet­ted into Dublin for Kelly’s Skech­ers pho­to­call and stayed in the Mor­ri­son Ho­tel during their whirl­wind visit to the cap­i­tal.

As is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly nor­mal in celebrity in­ter­views, I am told ex­pressly by the PR be­fore­hand, more than once, that any ques­tions about Kelly’s per­sonal life are strictly ver­boten. Whether the sparkly ring on her wed­ding fin­ger ac­tu­ally means any­thing will re­main a mys­tery.

Pre­vi­ously, Kelly was quoted as say­ing about Parisi, who she has been see­ing for three years:

‘One time my boyfriend ac­cused me of dat­ing Keanu Reeves, I’ve never even met Keanu Reeves. Things writ­ten about me get me in trou­ble be­cause peo­ple be­lieve it’

‘We’re not putting any pres­sure on our­selves. We’re not en­gaged, we’ve got no plans to marry. We’re happy and just en­joy­ing what we have.

‘He’s so lovely and fam­ily- ori­en­tated. He’s not got a big ego. His pri­or­ity is fam­ily, it’s not ca­reer or work, which is what I’ve al­ways found in the past. You just know when you come first? I know it’s me and him first, then every­one else comes after.’

Kelly’s pre­vi­ous en­thu­si­asm for en­gage­ments hasn’t gone un­no­ticed – she’s been fi­ancée to ac­tors Ja­son Statham and Billy Zane as well as marine­turned- Glad­i­a­tor David McIn­tosh).

‘I’ve been pi­geon­holed as this silly, gig­gly glam­our girl who dates bad boys, but that’s never been the real me,’ she is quoted as say­ing re­cently.

The real her, rather, loves noth­ing more than muck­ing about on her ex­pan­sive Kent farm, close to where she was born and raised. In fact, you’re more likely to find her there, tend­ing to her ap­ple and pear trees and gar­den­ing, than on the Lon­don or Los An­ge­les red car­pets.

‘I’ve lived in Kent for 10 years, and I travel around the world and have spent some time in Amer­ica. I only move from my home­town if I’m work­ing but I’ve never gone that far away from my fam­ily. There’s not re­ally that much pri­vacy in Lon­don – you get a load of pho­tog­ra­phers and stuff,’ she adds. ‘You might get the odd one down in Kent and it’ll be like, “what are you do­ing in my lane?’’’

To the lo­cals, mean­while, she’s plain old – not ‘Curvy’ or ‘Busty’ – Kelly Brook.

‘I know every­one there as I’ve lived there for so long. I’m sure they still read the mag­a­zines and know what’s go­ing on.’

These days, stay­ing healthy is a big pri­or­ity; it’s a no­table switch for the woman who once owned her own plush Lon­don bar, Steam & Rye.

‘My ther­apy is gar­den­ing,’ she notes. ‘I’m around na­ture, plants and trees more than I’m around peo­ple, and that’s re­ally good for your state of mind. I’m not the type to sit around with all my girl­friends and gos­sip. I’m not re­ally like that,’ she adds. ‘I don’t re­ally feed into that neg­a­tiv­ity and I don’t like all that stuff. I’d hon­estly rather be plant­ing bulbs.’

She is, she notes, a world away from the glam­orous and well- coiffed per­sona that comes to work. In her spare time, she likes to go to the beach, or ride her bike to the park.

‘If I man­age to clean my teeth and brush my hair, that’s enough,’ she smiles.

‘I’ll have done enough for my­self for the day and it’s all about ev­ery­thing that needs do­ing on the farm. Con­stantly be­ing wor­ried about your fig­ure… well, it’s a bit nar­cis­sis­tic, isn’t it? There’s enough of that when I get to work and it’s all eyes on me for most of the day, like to­day. But most of the time, no one cares about me. I should think that most peo­ple imag­ine me in a pent­house apart­ment in Lon­don, on the red car­pet, par­ty­ing ev­ery night, but my life has changed so dra­mat­i­cally.

‘After own­ing a night­club for three years, and rolling out of it, I feel I’ve done a lot of that. It feels like such a long time ago.’

I re­mind her that even if she wasn’t one of the world’s most el­i­gi­ble bach­e­lorettes thanks to her gor­geous looks, own­ing a fully li­censed night­club would have made her even more of a catch, es­pe­cially to Ir­ish men. The thought makes her cackle. ‘It’s hi­lar­i­ous that hav­ing a 32FF bust and then own­ing a night­club is what would get you a boyfriend quicker in Ire­land,’ she laughs. ‘“She’s got a great body”, “Oh, that’s al­right”, “She also owns the pub”, “Oh, now I def­i­nitely should date her!”’

Given that she is no stranger to the gos­sip col­umns, thanks in part to that afore­men­tioned pen­chant for bad boys, I ask about the strangest non-truth ru­mour that’s ever been writ­ten about her. ‘Oh, there are so many,’ she sighs.

‘One time my boyfriend started ac­cus­ing me of dat­ing Keanu Reeves be­hind his back,’ she says of the ru­mour that broke in 2014, at the time she was thought to be see­ing McIn­tosh.

‘I’ve never even met Keanu Reeves, but this guy was so dev­as­tated that I was hav­ing an af­fair with Keanu Reeves. These things writ­ten about me get me in trou­ble be­cause peo­ple be­lieve it.’

The one other thing giv­ing Kelly’s pri­vate life a run for its money in the headline grab­bing stakes is her roller­coaster ca­reer.

At 16, she left the famed Italia Conti academy and be­gan work­ing as a glam­our model. It was a stylist at a photo shoot who sug­gested Kelly au­di­tion to re­place Denise Van Outen as co-host of The Big Break­fast in 1999 with Johnny Vaughan.

She got the gig but after fluff­ing a cou­ple of lines and com­ing a crop­per with the au­tocue once or twice, the press sav­aged the new­comer.

How­ever, since then, her tele­vi­sion CV has been padded out with sev­eral high-pro­file gigs, among them pre­sen­ter of Love Is­land, con­tes­tant on Strictly Come Danc­ing, and Bri­tain’s Got Tal­ent.

On the act­ing front, things are slow and steady. One Big Happy has been can­celled, but Brook has a TV host­ing gig lined up for the new year, and will

ap­pear in an episode of Mid­somer Mur­ders. She has no in­ter­est in ap­pear­ing on re­al­ity TV again, though she would hap­pily host a show. And when it comes to cherry pick­ing act­ing roles, she is care­ful not to up­set the del­i­cate bal­ance of her hard-won good life on her farm.

‘I have a great team in Amer­ica and they’re very good in terms of say­ing, “you def­i­nitely have a chance at this part!” when I re­ally don’t have a chance,’ she laughs.

‘I don’t think you can un­der­es­ti­mate how much re­jec­tion you go though during pi­lot sea­son in the US,’ she says of the cou­ple of months when pi­lots for new shows are cre­ated and ei­ther picked up or re­jected.

‘’They key is to be re­al­is­tic and ruth­less about what you go up for,’ she sur­mises. ‘I don’t go for the roles that I know I’d be go­ing into a lit­tle half-a***d. I usu­ally do one or two au­di­tions a year, and I’ll of­ten book one or the other.

‘ There are roles you know you’ll do a good job on, but you know that Keira Knight­ley is also in the run­ning, and they’ll al­ways go to Keira first and hope that this will be the year she does tele­vi­sion,’ she adds. ‘It’s al­ways a good idea to know ex­actly where you are in the tier.’

But, as the me­dia is of­ten fond of re­mind­ing her, de­spite an im­pres­sive CV, built up over two decades, hers is a ca­reer pos­si­bly more marked with false dawns and non-starts. It’s a crit­i­cism that Kelly wears very lightly.

‘I see it more as a marathon than a sprint, and it’s okay that I didn’t be­come a world­wide su­per­star when I was 21,’ she notes.

‘Some peo­ple did be­come world­wide su­per­stars at 21 and you don’t hear about them any more. I’m in it for the long haul. I’ve never re­ally bro­ken out big time, but things have been con­sis­tent in terms of jobs and my in­come. I’ve had a lot of re­ally good mo­ments.’

What would life have been like had she be­come a mas­sive su­per­star at 21? Quick as light­ning, she replies: ‘I’d prob­a­bly be an a***hole.’

SKECH­ERS has launched two lim­ited edi­tion styles as part of its YOU by Skech­ers col­lec­tion. For each pair sold, €5 will go to the Marie Keat­ing Foun­da­tion. The YOU col­lec­tion is avail­able at Skech­ers stores na­tion­wide. For more de­tails, see Skech­ers.com

I’VE NEVER RE­ALLY BRO­KEN OUT BIG TIME BUT THINGS HAVE BEEN CON­SIS­TENT”

Kelly Brook in Dublin ear­lier this month and, in­set left, with the new Skech­ers de­sign

Kelly in her early glam­our mod­el­ling days and, right, with for­mer fi­ancé Ja­son Statham in 1999

Kelly with cur­rent beau – and ru­moured fi­ancé – Jeremy Parisi in July this year

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