GIVEN the fact she’s a bona fide glamazon with legs up to her armpits and the sort of fun, engaging personality that people are naturally drawn to, it would be easy to assume that Lisa Snowdon is brimming with confidence.
So when we catch up with her in Soho one week after her sixth Fabulous cover shoot (she arrives carrying boxes of sushi for lunch), it’s surprising to find that behind the big smiles and huge likeability, she’s not so self-assured.
Lisa says she’s got to age where she’s ‘finally learned to be kinder’ to herself[/caption]
- Dress, £12, Topshop – buy now
“I still get very self-conscious and nervous before I do any hosting job. Like, always. Anything! Literally, I’m like: ‘Ahh!’ The nerves are crippling,” Lisa admits.
“If it scares me, I know I need to do it. It’s rewarding when you complete a personal challenge, but if I really don’t want to do something, I won’t. I like that I’ve got to that age where I feel like I’m being kinder to myself.”
On the surface, at least, Lisa has everything going for her. At 47, the TV presenter and model looks incredible – her face is untouched by surgery or Botox. And there’s an easy, genuine warmth that gives her the every woman appeal that came through the airwaves when she presented Capital FM’s breakfast show until 2015, and is obvious whenever she hosts fashion and competition segments on ITV’s This Morning. It’s also the reason why Lisa was the first choice to host Fabulous’ new celebrity mum and daughter podcast Things I Told My Daughter.
But it’s no secret that Hertfordshire-born Lisa has previously struggled with her mental health.
Lisa admits she still gets very self-conscious when doing a hosting job[/caption]
- Dress, £25, Topshop – buy now
- Oversized shirt, £39, Topshop – buy now
Last year, she revealed she’d been diagnosed with depression in 2015 as she struggled to process some turbulent life events, including her parents’ divorce during her teens and a couple of abusive relationships.
One ex, will.i.am’s communication manager Adereti Monney, who she dated in 2014, was arrested after publicly attacking her during a row, although Lisa refused to press charges.
Cognitive behavioural therapy, antidepressants and exercise helped her manage the problem, and while depression still “comes and goes, depending on what’s going on in my life”, there’s now a bigger picture to unpack.
During a recent video post on her beauty blog Youglow-girl.com, Lisa is filmed having acupuncture. She gets teary during the treatment as she describes “all the stored up anger and emotion” she feels and how she “hates” being “so pent up, so often”. Can she explain why she suffers from explosions of intense emotion?
Lisa, 47, still looks incredible despite her face being untouched by Botox or surgery[/caption]
- Satin slip dress, £25, Topshop – buy now
“It has to be a hormone thing,” says Lisa. “That or I’m just a psychopath! Us girls, especially as we get older, our hormones play a big part in the rages, crazy anger, anxiety and in feeling a little bit helpless sometimes and a little bit more nervous about situations.”
Presumably the rollercoaster of moods could be linked to being perimenopausal? “From what I gather, it is, absolutely. Put two and two together. I’m 47, so it’s definitely going down that road.”
Anything, even the smallest of things can see Lisa “freaking out”, including “needing to paint the house or something stupid like the scaffolding still being up”. When she makes these admissions, it’s accompanied by a remorseful, slow shake of her head.
“It’s irrational behaviour,” she sighs, adding that one way she’s found to shrink the monster is by keeping active. “I’m able to process things more, I don’t get as angry or anxious if I get myself to an exercise class or go for a run. I also try to monitor how much sugar I have – diet plays a part in my mood swings – as well as alcohol. Unfortunately, that’s full of sugar and it affects your hormones. It’s just about trying to keep everything on an even keel.
Lisa says CBT, antidepressants and exercise helped her manage any mental health woes[/caption]
- Dress, £12, Topshop – buy now
“I can recognise now when it’s rearing its ugly head. I’ll be like: ‘I don’t know what’s happening!’ Then I’ll get my period the next day and be like: ‘That’s why I was a nutcase the other day.’”
Lisa’s weight has also been affected by hormone imbalance, she believes. She blames becoming “puffy” in her arms and tummy on “circulation and lymphatic drainage” problems. But since the beginning of the year, she has lost about a stone (“I don’t have scales”) by sticking to a protein-rich, three-meals-a-day diet plan and drinking water by the litre-load.
“I’m not massively into diets and never have been, because I think everything is fine in moderation. But I started doing a couple of things at the beginning of the year and noticed a big difference,” says Lisa. “I have a massive recyclable water bottle by my bed and drink at least half a litre as soon as I wake up.”
When Lisa revealed in May that she uses chopsticks instead of a knife and fork to “trick” herself into eating less, it seemed out of character. She’s forever been an advocate of healthy eating and has never compromised her health or happiness to be a certain size.
Lisa dated her fiance George Smart 18 years ago but rekindled their romance four years ago[/caption]
Case in point: in the ’90s at the start of her modelling career, she quit a high-profile job in Milan after being stripped in a bathroom and instructed to lose weight.
So why is she eating spag bol with chopsticks?
“I’d just got back from Japan. It’s just about taking time and appreciating food, especially if you’ve taken time to cook it,” says Lisa.
“If I get home and I’ve got a fork I’m literally like…” she snatches a pair of chopsticks from the coffee table and pretends to shovel food into her mouth. “I’m not even stopping for air. In Japan, we were a bit more dainty, it was a bit more considered, we ate more slowly and got fuller more quickly and for longer. It’s just a little thing [I said] and everybody jumped on it.”
A few days after her chopstick admission, Lisa got everybody jumping on again when she posted a nude Insta selfie. It was taken from the floor of her dressing room at home in Epping Forest, Essex – knees pulled to her chest and arms carefully positioned to protect her modesty.
You can’t help but wonder what Piers Morgan would make of it. The Good Morning Britain anchor famously became embroiled in long-running Twitter debates with model Emily Ratajkowski and Kim Kardashian-West after they uploaded naked pictures to their social media accounts. They argued it was a demonstration of their rights as women and feminists. Piers disagreed.
“I think it is [female empowerment],” says Lisa. “It’s owning your body, it’s owning how you look and it’s just a naked body at the end of the day. I’m not offending anybody, I’m not showing anything that’s obscene, it’s all done tastefully – in my mind anyway. For me, I think my body looks better when I actually haven’t got clothes on!”
Refreshingly, Lisa isn’t afraid to admit that a share-worthy selfie doesn’t happen at the drop of a hat.
“It takes about 20 snaps to get a good one, maybe more!” she laughs. “George hates it. He’s like: ‘Really? How many selfies? Delete them.’”
George Smart is her fiancé, the “patient and loving and nurturing and kind” Yorkshireman who proposed five weeks after Lisa left the 2016 series of I’m A Celebrity! and who she first dated 18 years ago when they both worked at MTV. That they rekindled their romance four years ago after being reintroduced by a mutual friend is, smiles Lisa, all down to fate.
“It was like the stars aligned. It’s come at the best time. In my 40s my body’s changing, what I want out of life is changing and we’ve got each other’s back. There are no games, no drama, no second guessing. We’re very open with each other.”
So much so that Lisa has since confessed to the 40-year-old entrepreneur that she’s not as hot on her engagement ring – a diamond set in platinum – as she first thought. ”I loved it when he proposed, but after about a year, I said: ‘I don’t really wear platinum, babe’. It was my fault because he did say to me: ‘If I was to propose, what ring would you want?’ And I said I don’t know. I should have said gold or yellow gold, but I’ve never thought about getting married before. Hence the very bad organisation with any sort of wedding anything.”
She’s not exaggerating. In just over two years since accepting George’s proposal, Lisa – who now wears a yellow gold diamond ring on her right hand ring finger, a birthday gift from her fiancé – has done “absolutely nothing” about getting hitched.
“I haven’t tried on one dress. I’m just not really bothered about it,” she confesses, adding she’s more happy about the commitment from being engaged than the idea of the end result. “I just know that we’re going to be together. I don’t feel like I need to do a whole big hoopla. I don’t want to change who I am. I think that’s what frightens me a bit. Apparently, when you get married you get in these definitive roles of husband and wife. I just want it to be the same. We’re both really considerate of each other, very loving and thoughtful. I’ll just continue to adore him and love him and cook amazing food for him.”
This desire to alter nothing about their relationship is why Lisa and George agreed early on that they wouldn’t have kids. “I value our relationship so much that I don’t want anything to change and I don’t want to put that added pressure on him or me, because it would,” she explains. “I could do it a different way, but I don’t want to. I’m very much a believer in fate and I think that George and I are very lucky to have each other. We’re just really happy with our lot, which is so hard for people to understand. It’s so hard because everyone’s always like: ‘You can adopt’. I’m like: ‘Really? I had no idea.’”
Lisa contemplated using a donor to get pregnant when she was single, but again, fate played its part in her decision to sit tight.
“I could have had a kid on my own years ago, but I wanted the father to be in its life,” she says. “I’m traditional in that kind of way.”
With her wealth of life experience, Lisa is the ideal host for Fabulous’ new podcast, which sees celebrity daughters and their mums opening up about their bonds in locations personal to them.
“It was nice to be with Kirsty Gallacher near a big lake where she walks her dogs. There was a lot of nostalgia surrounding that place. For Edith Bowman, we were in Hampstead and really close to where she got married, which was lovely. Then Kimberley Walsh is like the Pied Piper.
“Her family from Bradford has slowly followed her down to Hertfordshire and Essex, so it was nice to be in her home where they spend a lot of time. All the mums and daughters were very open and I really respect that honesty and candidness.”
Lisa Snowdown says the ‘stars aligned’ after rekindling her romance with George[/caption]
How is Lisa’s relationship with her own mum, Lydia?“Mum and I are more like sisters. She had me when she was quite young so there’s only 19 years between us, which I’ve always loved. The flip side is I’m quite bossy and always think I know best, which I’m sure annoys her,” she says.
“My mum and dad separated when I was 17 and that was quite hard for me and my sisters. At the time, I wanted someone to blame. I didn’t understand that relationships break down. Mum and I have got closer over the years. She stays with me with her two dogs. We love hanging out, going for walks and catching up. I admire her, she’s my hero. Even though she’s more timid and shy than me, she’s resilient.”
MOST READ IN FABULOUS
She wouldn’t rule out a return to radio (“If I could find a good partner in crime!”) and also has her eye on doing something that explores the psychology of rekindling past relationships. “Lots of women my age who are single right now have already met their Mr Right, but for whatever reason he wasn’t Mr Right back then.”
She smiles, knowingly. We’re back to George again.
“There’s something in revisiting and reconnecting and just… seeing.”
- Lisa Snowdon hosts the new Fabulous podcast Things I Told My Daughter, available to download now.
- Time you cried? On Saturday when I was having a meltdown about renovations.
- Box set you watched? Killing Eve. It’s brilliantly written. I love Jodie Comer and that she’s got this really strong Scouse accent, but you’d never know!
- Documentary you watched? Identical Strangers. It’s on Netflix but I watched it on the plane back from LA recently. It’ll literally give you goosebumps.
- Time you lost your temper? At the weekend when I was freaking out at George about the scaffolding.
- Time you had a kiss? Probably a week or so ago, when we were in LA. Kissing’s great.