Towie star Jessica Wright: ‘I felt invaded, pictures of me in a bikini were taken for days without me knowing’
Former Towie star Jessica Wright tells Gabrielle Fagan how she’s slimmed down after being shocked at seeing herself in bikini pics.
Reality TV’s Jessica Wright transformed herself after ‘invasive’ photos of her in a bikini, taken 16 months ago, shocked her into shaking up her fitness regime. The 32-year-old from Essex, who is the sister of TV presenter Mark Wright, explains how she managed to completely transform her body over the past year, why fitness has helped her to discover a new confidence and why she’s not breaking a sweat about finding her ideal man.
How do you look after your health and wellbeing?
“I struggled with my weight for years and fitness was always like a chore, but now exercise is part of my daily routine. It’s done wonders for me — I’m much happier as a person.
“This has been the biggest transitional year of my life. I’ve never felt so good about myself; my mind, body and health. Over the last year I’ve lost a stone and am now a size eight. I feel amazing in my clothes for the first time ever.
“Fitness for me is not about crash dieting or weight. It’s about achieving the best version of myself, which is healthy, fit and strong — not skinny, just strong.”
What’s your daily fitness routine at the moment?
“I try to do a physical activity once a day — whether that’s cardio workouts and boxing or a yoga session. My exercise routine has worked so well for me that I share it with other people, using my home fitness programme, The Fi7ness. It’s a seven-week plan that’s so easy to do and suitable for everyone. I have a balanced diet and don’t deny myself treats.
“A typical breakfast for me includes fruit smoothies, an omelette or fruit salad and yoghurt. For lunch I’ll have chicken or tuna salad, or vegetable sushi, and dinner is usually salmon or steak with vegetables and sweet potato, or prawns in a stir fry. I snack on nuts, an apple slice dipped in peanut butter, rice cakes or a protein shake, and I’ll have occasional desserts or squares of dark chocolate.”
How did you feel about suffering abuse from online trolls in 2016 after photographs appeared of you in a bikini in Los Angeles?
“It hit me for six at the time and was a horrible experience. I wasn’t overweight — I just wasn’t toned and in shape. I felt invaded, as pictures were taken of me for five days without me knowing.
That’s when I thought, ‘You’re not happy in your skin, otherwise you wouldn’t have felt like that about the photos, so what are you going to do about it?’ It fired up my determination and I worked really hard to change.
“I received such a lot of love and support from people who told me they’d love to look like me, even though I didn’t think I looked great at the time. I realised the minority criticising me were inadequate people hiding behind computer screens.”
How do you feel about being in your 30s?
“I regard my 20s as my practice years and my 30s feel like the absolute pinnacle. My confidence was always so up and down, and I didn’t really know who I was, but when I turned 30, things seemed to slot into place.
“I used to be afraid to be the real me — bubbly and down-to-earth — and instead was timid, scared and holding back all the time. Now I’ve found myself.”
Was it tough growing up in the public spotlight on Towie?
“Yes, when I was in my 20s, I was so young and naive; I didn’t know who I was. I was trying to find my way in life, but I look back now and see I was so emotionally vulnerable. I had an amazing five years on Towie and I don’t regret any of it, but I had to develop a tough skin. I came out of a long-term relationship (she dated Ricky Rayment from 2012 to 2014) on the show and that was hard too.”
Are you and Strictly dancer Giovanni Pernice officially a couple now?
“There are guys in the picture but I’m taking it slow. When you’re well-known, it can be hard to date because it does inhibit me. I’ve always been a career girl and that’s why it’s probably taken me so long to find someone that I care about.
“When I was younger, I used to be fixated by finding the fairy-tale ending and thinking that was the be all and end all. Now I’m not scared or thinking ‘I should be married and having children’ because, for me, that isn’t what happiness is.
“For me, it’s doing what I love, enjoying every day, and if someone comes along that makes me feel special and loved — who I fall in love with too — then that would be the cherry on the cake. My ideal man is someone who’s really kind, makes me laugh and is easy-going. I want someone who I can be best friends with, as well as really fancy.”
You’ve suffered anxiety in the past. Is it still something that you struggle with?
“My anxiety was triggered by a car crash on the M25 when I was 20. One of my tyres burst and my car spun round and I ended up facing the oncoming traffic. I remember shouting out, ‘I don’t want to die’. Although I escaped with whiplash, I started suffering panic attacks.
“It’s one of those things you have to try to monitor and learn to manage. I know it can come back at any time, but it’s fine now and hopefully will stay that way.
“I suffered with it badly for eight years and it was quite crippling, but therapy, support from family and friends, and reading books on it really helped.”
What’s your view on cosmetic surgery?
“I had a boob job (in 2011 from a 32C to a 32DD) and I’ve since considered a reduction as they were a bit too big. Luckily, as I’ve lost weight, they’re now smaller.
“I’ve only ever had ‘baby Botox’ (a treatment that involves tiny doses of Botulinum Toxin injected into areas of the face) so I can still move my forehead and I’ve still got wrinkles, I’m sure! I’m not really one for doing loads of stuff on my face, because I would rather grow old gracefully-ish!”
The Fi7ness by Jessica Wright 4 Week Fat Burner DVD is available for £11.95 from fi7ness.com