MEET YOUTUBE STAR JIM CHAPMAN WITH HIS SISTERS SAM AND NIC
From shy, anxious teen to top vlogger and now author, JIM CHAPMAN attributes his success to the fabulous women in his life – from his mum to his wife, beauty vlogger Tanya Burr, and sisters, Pixiwoo’s Sam and Nic
In the past month, I have published my first book, tried my hand at designing clothes, travelled the length and breadth of England, nipped to New York and been announced as the new face of Hugo Boss’s watches. I’m totally aware of how bonkers that sounds and I’m not saying it to blow my own trumpet. In fact, I truly believe that a lot of the credit should be attributed to the women in my life who are, quite frankly, total badasses.
Eight years ago, when I graduated from the University of East Anglia with a degree in psychology, I was shy, had no idea what I wanted to do and was worried about the future. It was my mum, Judy, my big sisters, Sam and Nic, and my now wife, Tanya, who led by example and who really showed me what was possible.
I grew up in Norfolk. Until I was eight years old, I lived in a tiny hamlet called Wilby that consisted of about four houses and a horse on a green. From there I moved to Attleborough, which suffers from ‘small-town syndrome’ (once you leave, you are not welcome back). As it happens, I don’t think I’ve been back since I moved to Norwich when I was 15, after my mum met my stepdad and they pooled their resources to buy a house. My sisters Nic and Sam, being seven and ten years older than me, were out of the family home by then, but they never went far. (Tanya and I live in London now, but the rest of my family – I also have a twin brother, John – are within a two-mile radius of each other in Norwich.) Sam recalls changing my nappies and doing all the baby stuff – it’s hardly surprising that she is super protective of me.
The person who has undoubtedly had the biggest impact on me is my mum. She is my hero and deserves an MBE, a Nobel Peace Prize or an evening with Marti Pellow from Wet Wet Wet (she’s had a crush on him for as long as I can remember). She raised me and my siblings single-handedly while being physically abused by my late father. Growing up, there were constant arguments and times when my dad would threaten to crash the car with us all inside but I didn’t know then that wasn’t normal and mum was very good at hiding what happened when we weren’t present.
When I was little I was a real daddy’s boy and remember relishing the time I spent with him when he was in a good mood. We’d play football and read magazines that came with a glow-in-the- dark T rex. Despite all the things he inflicted on her, Mum never spoke badly of Dad to me. She gave me enough credit to come to my own decision about him, in my own time.
At that age, the realisation that your home life is less than ideal doesn’t come easy. If it’s all you have ever experienced, how do you know it’s wrong? It’s easy to say, ‘Why didn’t she