Vicky Pattison: 'You kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince'
Life is unrecognisable for former Geordie Shore star and jungle queen Vicky Pattison, but she's determined to put her party days in the past and find that special someone, she tells Hannah Stephenson
Vicky Pattison may have had a stream of red carpet invitations since being crowned queen of the jungle, but she's on a mission to curb the party-girl lifestyle.
"The reason I've decided to curb my drinking and nights out is because I want to achieve everything I want to achieve," says the 28-year-old Newcastle lass.
"I've finally got to a place where the things I've always wanted are actually a possibility rather than a far-off dream and I don't want to look back in years to come and think, 'You ruined it through going out too much and not being able to say No'."
To tackle this goal, Pattison - who has just brought out an updated version of her 2014 memoir Nothing But The Truth, charting her reality show career, bitter break-up with former beau Stephen Bear and how she's coped with her new higher profile - is working with therapists and life coaches Nik and Eva Speakman, who previously helped her prepare for jungle life ahead of last year's I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!
The Speakmans recently appeared on ITV's Loose Women - where Pattison is now a regular panellist - and in a quick half-hour managed to put her off her favourite tipple (gin and tonic) by creating a mindset whereby even the sight of the drink, or sniff of it, reminds her of vomit.
Her partying was never so bad that it caused her to miss work, but Pattison notes she's a "perfectionist".
"I don't like not being able to give 110% all the time. I don't like being tired. I like springing out of bed in the morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
"But when you've had a big night out on the drink, or a big meal with your mates, you don't feel like that the next day."
She admits her life is "unrecognisable" since winning the jungle challenge.
"I've gone from being able to walk down the street, or get in a taxi, or just do normal everyday things relatively unnoticed, to not being able to do anything without a photographer, or without people staring, or asking for a photograph," she says.
"I'm not going to lie. There are moments when I'm still really overwhelmed and days when I think, 'Oh my God, have you got it in your locker to deal with everything that comes along with the career you so desperately thought you wanted?'
"I know I have, because I'm made of strong stuff. My biggest fear is letting the opportunities and the way people treat me differently affect me and make me different.
"The last thing I ever want is to become one of these self-obsessed people who've forgotten where they've come from."
Thankfully, Pattison has a remedy for remaining "humble and grounded" - by "keeping a really good group of people around me".
"I've got my mam and sister, who will be the first to tell me if I even set a toe out of line. I've got loads of lovely friends who I've had for 15 to 20 years," she says.
As a reality TV star - she most famously appeared in Geordie Shore from 2011 until 2014 - Pattison's relationship ups and downs have played out on TV - she's the first to admit she's fallen for love-rats in the past.
"I always go for the bloke who looks like trouble. I don't know why, because I've met plenty of really lovely guys as well, but I always just end up being friends with them," she says.
"Maybe I like an exciting life and unpredictability, and unfortunately that life can end up breaking my heart a little bit.
"That's probably one of the issues I should work on, but I'm attracted to excitement and danger in a man.
"I've had my heart broken a few times."
Could there be a future for her with Made In Chelsea bad boy and jungle pal Spencer Matthews - who she recently revealed sent her 100 red roses on Valentine's Day?
"In the jungle, there was an instant chemistry," Pattison admits. "He's very positive and fun. He has a childlike quality.
"We've kept in touch, but he's been away, so we've not seen each other, but we've always messaged and spoken and he's back soon. We are going to see each other, but I don't know about romance. Well, I don't know him well enough, do I?
"I try not to judge anyone by anything they've done in the past, because if people judged me like that, I wouldn't get very far."
Professionally, she's never been so busy and says being a regular panellist on Loose Women is a dream job.
"It's the best job in the world. I absolutely love it. It's like coming home from work and your mam and her mates are all sitting round the kitchen table having a gossip.
"There's not one woman on the panel who I've thought, 'Oh, I'm not sure about you', they've all been great. Having said that, Coleen Nolan is a dream, such a nice woman. She has a cheeky sense of humour.
"When I was sitting with her on the panel, Janet Street Porter's saying, 'Do we have a statistic on this?', Ruth (Langsford) is highlighting her notes and me and Coleen are throwing popcorn at each other."
Pattison recently told Loose Women viewers that she didn't want children, as she doesn't want to compromise her lifestyle, but she hasn't given up on marriage.
"My mum and dad have been married for 53 years, so I know true love exists. I know the man for me is out there, and I know I'll find him when the time's right.
"You might think that having all these relationships which don't work out would make me less of a romantic, but they don't. You do have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.
"I'm still in pursuit of 'The One'. He'll just come along when I least expect it."
Nothing But The Truth by Vicky Pattison, from Sphere, £8.99