Mil­lie Mack­in­tosh

The en­tre­pre­neur and for­mer Made In Chelsea star is fit, de­ter­mined and ready for the fu­ture – mar­i­tal bliss in­cluded

Women's Health (UK) - - CONTENTS - IAN HAR­RI­SON ROISÍN DERVISH-O’KANE pho­tog­ra­phy words SASKIA QUIRKE styling

Mil­lie Mack­in­tosh has changed. Not so much that she’s un­recog­nis­able – the per­ma­nently golden honed mid­sec­tion is still front and cen­tre – but there’s been some­thing of a seis­mic shift in the way the 28-year-old en­tre­pre­neur per­ceives things. It’s as if she can see straight through the bull­shit, past the weighty ex­pec­ta­tions of other peo­ple, and hap­pily fil­ter it all to work out what she wants and, per­haps more im­por­tantly, what she needs.

As she stands tall in a se­cluded jun­gle par­adise – in Clapham no less, a short jaunt south of the river from her pad in Not­ting Hill – with strong, lean thighs any sel­f­re­spect­ing VS an­gel would be proud of, there is a quiet, grace­ful strength to Mil­lie. It’s a strength that, if it did in­deed ex­ist the last time she and the Women’s Health team met up in early 2016 to shoot her sec­ond cover for the mag­a­zine, was mas­ter­fully con­cealed be­hind self-aware hair flicks and a guarded man­ner that all made sense when, just weeks later, her sep­a­ra­tion from then-hus­band Stephen ‘Pro­fes­sor Green’ Man­der­son was pub­licly con­firmed.

There’s no ar­ro­gance to Mil­lie. Within mo­ments of slip­ping off her robe to be snapped in the first of seven swimwear styles she’ll model amid over­sized palms and ferns, she’s made her first self-dep­re­cat­ing com­ment of the day – that she doesn’t think any­one can see her abs. (Oh, come on.)

I play this pre­pos­ter­ous re­mark back to her over turmeric, ginger and lemon shots (what else?) at Camilla Fayed’s plant-based West Lon­don eatery, Far­macy, a few days af­ter the shoot. She laughs, cringes in a way that wrin­kles her nose, then ex­plains: ‘When I did my last cover, I was do­ing a lot more weights. I lived re­ally close to a gym [that was kit­ted out for weight train­ing], so four times a week I was lift­ing heavy and do­ing pull-ups.’ A hall­mark of strength if ever there was one. And now? ‘I found a re­ally great trainer (PT Jojo Thompson) who comes to my home once or twice a week. We do a mix­ture of mat work, core, Pi­lates-based move­ments and then, like, ket­tle­bell hell. Lots of cir­cuits,’ she says. ‘I’m do­ing a slightly dif­fer­ent type of train­ing, and

I feel stronger in a dif­fer­ent way.’

There’s the evolved Mil­lie I men­tioned ear­lier. And the ap­proach ex­tends to how she plans her fit­ness.

‘I work out what I need for the week – men­tally and phys­i­cally,’ she says. ‘Or I might have a goal in mind, like an event, and a par­tic­u­lar dress I want to wear, so I’ll do an arms and abs ses­sion.’

MIS­SION: RE­STORE

I won­der if becoming more at­tuned to her needs is a di­rect re­sult of the shit that’s hit the fan in Mil­lie’s world over the last two years. First came the di­vorce from hus­band Man­der­son that played out in the me­dia as well as In­sta­gram posts, lead­ing one to fairly spec­u­late it was ac­ri­mo­nious AF. A speedy re­union and en­gage­ment to her ex and fel­low Made In Chelsea alum­nus Hugo Tay­lor sparked fur­ther sur­prise – and in­vited even more col­umn inches. Mean­while, Mil­lie’s epony­mous fash­ion line, the top-sell­ing ex­ter­nal brand on Asos, grew from strength to strength – un­til it didn’t. In March, it folded when her com­pany Cam­mac went bust, re­port­ing losses of half a mil­lion – £178k of that per­son­ally for Mil­lie.

But – ac­cord­ing to so­cial me­dia memes, at least – ev­ery dif­fi­culty presents an op­por­tu­nity. Right now, Mil­lie is choos­ing to lean into the prac­tice that helped her stand firm fol­low­ing her di­vorce. ‘When my thoughts get a bit out of con­trol and my mind is rush­ing, yoga just brings ev­ery­thing back down to earth,’ she ex­plains. ‘It’s hard to stay calm… but you’ve got to re­mem­ber that you are not your mind. You are an ob­server of your mind.’ Oh hey, yogi chat. As for styles, Ms Mack­in­tosh loves the deep stretch of yin and gen­tler restorative classes. ‘It’s just ly­ing on the floor with bol­sters un­der you,’ she says. ‘You can hardly feel the stretch. But it’s so good for you.’ The mat isn’t the only place Mil­lie chooses to be mind­ful. ‘I use the app Headspace daily – I’m do­ing the med­i­ta­tion for anx­i­ety at the mo­ment. With the process I’ve just been through with my busi­ness, it’s made a real dif­fer­ence,’ she says. ‘It’s not like, “Oh my god!” It’s more grad­ual.’ So it helps her keep her head while the on­go­ing tabloid pan­tomime plays out? A pause. ‘You know, you can’t con­trol cer­tain things that hap­pen to you, but you can con­trol how you re­act to them – and how they af­fect you.’

All very prag­matic for a woman many write off as just a posh party girl. Mil­lie is evan­gel­i­cal about self-care, too – and her def­i­ni­tion is more real-world than you might think. ‘[Self-care] might even be some­thing like say­ing no to plans with peo­ple and not feel­ing bad about it. Ac­tu­ally go­ing, “No, do you know what, I re­ally don’t need to go out and drink loads tonight and I’m not even go­ing to make an ex­cuse,”’ she says. ‘It’s about say­ing, “I’m re­ally sorry, I’m just not up to it,” and just hav­ing a night in by your­self.’

And what a night. Af­ter eat­ing din­ner be­fore 8pm (‘I do this miso sea bass with brown rice and what­ever greens are fresh’) and stick­ing any left­overs in a Tup­per­ware, she set­tles down on the sofa to watch an episode of her cur­rent Net­flix ob­ses­sion, US chef David Chang’s se­ries Ugly Beau­ti­ful. If fel­low foodie Hugo isn’t work­ing away, he’ll join too. Then she’ll run a bath with Jo Malone’s rose bath oil, sound­tracked by Clas­sic FM and lit by the flicker of gold can­dles from her lat­est bath, body and beauty col­lec­tion for Boots. Then it’s off to bed with a book. Cur­rently it’s Dolly Alder­ton’s Ev­ery­thing I Know About Love (‘about self-love’); next up is You Are Badass: How To Stop Doubt­ing Your Great­ness And Start Liv­ing An Awe­some Life by Jen Sin­cero – ‘I don’t like the term “self-help”,’ she says – neat nose wrin­kling into a cringe again. But ev­i­dently, such ti­tles do help. ‘I’ve got a good book called Feel The Fear And Do It Any­way [by Su­san Jef­fers]. My books are by my bed. Some­times I’ll read a page or two and go right to sleep.’

‘WHEN MY MIND RUSHES, YOGA JUST BRINGS ME BACK DOWN TO EARTH’

FAC­ING FOR­WARD

With the in­tri­cate de­tails of her bed­time rou­tine com­mit­ted to mem­ory (and my recorder), now feels as good a time as any to come clean about my se­ri­ous sleuthing of Mil­lie’s so­cial feeds. I read out a sup­port­ive com­ment from Maria Hatzis­te­fa­nis, founder of skin­care and make-up brand Ro­dial, that gave me pause.

‘The road to suc­cess is not a straight­for­ward one, we all go through a few chal­lenges be­fore we get it right.’ Af­ter a look that all but says, ‘Do I need to get a re­strain­ing or­der?’ Mil­lie speaks truth­fully. ‘I think you can’t be suc­cess­ful with­out fail­ing along the way...’ The waiter chooses that mo­ment to ask if we’re fi­nally ready to or­der. Im­pec­ca­ble tim­ing. Mil­lie opts for the macro bowl (a gut-lov­ing mix of quinoa, sea­weed, sauer­kraut, sweet po­tato and miso) and, be­cause there’s some­thing more than a lit­tle in­spi­ra­tional about her when you’re in her com­pany, I fol­low suit. As I ready my­self to steer the con­ver­sa­tion back to tricky ground, Mil­lie takes charge. ‘I think about lots of peo­ple I ad­mire, and their first busi­nesses didn’t re­ally make it. Look at Char­lotte Til­bury. Her make-up line now wasn’t her first at­tempt. So, al­though it’s been a re­ally dif­fi­cult time, re­mem­ber­ing that has helped me. I’ve learnt so much do­ing it, so it’s just… it’s a gam­ble. I was re­ally pas­sion­ate about it, I put my all into it… and I don’t re­gret it at all.’

IN FIT­NESS AND IN HEALTH

Of course, even when you pub­licly trade on your name, life isn’t all work, so talk nat­u­rally turns to Mil­lie’s home life. Lis­ten­ing to her and hus­band-to-be Hugo’s idyl­lic morn­ing rou­tine, it seems fair to con­clude that their im­pend­ing mar­riage is a thor­oughly good shout. ‘We both love eggs for break­fast, so one of us will usu­ally make some for the other – who­ever is rush­ing least,’ she says. ‘Or we might both go to a gym, get break­fast to­gether and then go about our days.’ Healthy breeds healthy, clearly. But she has the same gripe as many a health-con­scious co­hab­iter: the frus­tra­tion of watch­ing your male part­ner rou­tinely put away treats with no vis­i­ble con­se­quences. ‘Ob­vi­ously, be­ing a guy, he’s quite tall and can eat a lot more than me. He might have a few more treats,’ she says. Dare I men­tion the male me­tab­o­lism? She laughs. ‘He can go to the gym, like, not at all, and then sud­denly go three times and come home with a six-pack. I’m like, what?!’ The odd week­night Mex­i­can stand-off with a salted caramel Gü pot: a small price to pay for what sounds like, if not over-ro­man­ti­cised pre-wed­ded bliss, then a healthy, happy, sus­tain­able setup.

How’s the wed­ding prep com­ing along? ‘I’m try­ing to be re­ally chilled about it. I’ve got a re­ally great plan­ner and ev­ery­thing’s com­pletely un­der con­trol – and Hugo’s re­ally in­volved as well,’ she ex­plains. When it comes to the pre-wed­ding self-im­prove­ment brouhaha – the one task you just can’t del­e­gate – there’s re­fresh­ingly lit­tle sign of a bridal body count­down. ‘I’m not do­ing a spe­cific plan, I’m keep­ing up what I al­ready do. I don’t want to mas­sively change my body – I feel good about my body,’ she says. ‘I’m not about pun­ish­ing or de­priv­ing my­self. I’ve spent a while work­ing out what works for me – yoga ev­ery week and mix­ing it up with about five other work­outs, de­pend­ing on how busy I am.’

FEEL THE FEAR

Hear Mil­lie list her favourite classes and it’s hard to imag­ine her feel­ing so out of place in a yoga class that she bolted out the door be­fore the first om.

But one of the prime poster girls for the Lon­don fit­ness scene was once held back by gym­tim­i­da­tion. Why? ‘I think it was ex­er­cis­ing in front of peo­ple, and feel­ing like I would look silly,’ she ad­mits. But, with per­se­ver­ance, Mil­lie proved that she has more stay­ing power on the mat or spin bike than those nig­gling voices of self-doubt. ‘Be­fore go­ing to a new class, I might still get a lit­tle bit ner­vous, it’s just fear of the un­known. It wouldn’t stop me from go­ing.’

I get the sense that this three­time WH cover star is go­ing to de­ploy a sim­i­lar strat­egy in busi­ness. To see her­self de­fined as a ‘failed fash­ion de­signer’ isn’t go­ing to cut it. She’s push­ing ahead, putting the fin­ish­ing touches to her sec­ond beauty col­lec­tion for Boots and work­ing on a food project – not that she can say any­thing about it – so I risk stink-eye by ask­ing if she’ll be de­sign­ing dresses again soon, too. ‘I feel like my jour­ney with fash­ion isn’t fin­ished at all,’ she says de­fi­antly. ‘It’s be­gun.’ Maybe she’ll look to move to­wards more form-fit­ting ca­su­al­wear, and utilise her abil­ity to make a pair of Sweaty Betty leg­gings look so bloody good? ‘Most of what I wash ev­ery week is gym kit – like 80%,’ she laughs. ‘I’m usu­ally wear­ing sports bras.’ Re­lat­able. So, while she’s rat­tling off her favourite ac­tivewear brands (re­vealed over the page) I in­ter­rupt to ask: would she like to be the one de­sign­ing them? ‘Def­i­nitely,’ she says, smil­ing – and then drops three of the most tit­il­lat­ing words in the celebrity lex­i­con: ‘Watch this space.’ I rec­om­mend that you do.

‘MY WASH­ING IS 80% GYM KIT – I USU­ALLY WEAR SPORTS BRAS’

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