Vogue Williams: 'We're so hard on ourselves but there are enough people who will do that for you'
Model Vogue Williams talks to Sarah Caden about her reality show, son Theodore turning one, holidaying with the jet set and why she would like to have three children
The passing of time gets a bad press, but it has its upside. If we're lucky, the older we get, the more we learn to appreciate what we've got and let go of the notions of what we should be. If we're lucky - and, in that regard, Vogue Williams has been lucky.
"I've got to an age now where I'm quite comfortable with myself," says Vogue, now 33. "There are probably a thousand improvements I could make, but I'm happy.
"I look back now at pictures taken at times when I worried so much about how I looked, and I see myself and how I was, and I think I was mad. We're all so hard on ourselves, but, you know, there are enough people who will be hard on you and do that for you. I've just come to realise that there's no need for you to do it to yourself."
Vogue, who has launched her own Bare by Vogue self-tan, comes across like someone most women could imagine as their pal. Despite having blessings and privilege aplenty, there's a down-to-earth quality that is Vogue's charm and the key to her success.
How she remains thus is also quite an achievement. Latterly, in particular, the blessings and privileges seem to have multiplied, while her celebrity star has risen to match. Her marriage to Spencer Matthews seems to be thriving, even in front of the cameras on their reality-TV show; they have a gorgeous baby, Theodore, who is the star of her social media; and they enjoy, as is well publicised, buckets of sun-drenched holidays.
Vogue spent the New Year in St Barts, where the in-laws have a hotel, with Pippa Middleton, for god's sake, who is married to Spencer's brother, James. Not that Vogue brags about such things, however.
Talking about her modelling work she says: "I still get nervous about being photographed," she says. "I think with Instagram and whatever, people are much more used to posing and how their face and body look best, but in some ways, that has made it worse."
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It has made us worse in terms of being hard on ourselves, she explains.
We see so much apparent perfection online that we aspire to project that, too, and it's just not possible.
"But people use so many filters and photoshopping and stuff, so it's not real," says Vogue. "I never do. I never use anything. I try to be as honest as possible with my pictures, but I think so many people aren't, and it's hard not to be influenced by that."
There are people whom Vogue has decided not to follow, she explains, because the way they present themselves makes her feel bad. Not actively bad, or filled with self-loathing, they just don't make her feel good.
It's a completely human reaction, Vogue says, to compare, but it's important to be proactive and not put oneself in the way of that feeling of discontent with oneself.
"It's not just your body," says Vogue. "It's the parenting stuff, too. Even with that, you compare yourself. You look at some people and the photos of their kids and think, 'How did they get their child to do that, or look like that?'"
She went through a phase of hating social media, Vogue explains, but having Theodore, just over a year ago, opened up a whole new online world to her, and it's mostly good. People are mostly kind and nice and helpful, she says.
"Trolls are always there," she adds. "And I respond to the odd one and block the odd one, too."
For example, in August, when Vogue was holidaying in the South of France with Spencer and Theodore, someone suggested online that she should get herself a boob job.
"Thank you for all the lovely comments about my pancakes," she replied, in a post on her Instagram. "I'm all for the people who want (a boob job), but I don't - me and my pecs are delighted with ourselves."
It was a cheerful, good-natured reply that, again, was very relatable. Vogue's reaction to the comment also illustrated to her just how far she had come in terms of her relationship with her body and her self-confidence.
"Years ago," she says, "I would have thought I'd love a boob job. I never had a massive chest and I was self-conscious about it. Five or six years ago, I'd have been upset if someone said that, but now, I just think it's a ridiculous thing to say.
"And what kind of world do we live in that people think they can say something like that?" she asks.
Being pregnant and having a baby has played a part in that maturing, Vogue believes. She has always placed huge store in eating healthily and exercising a lot, but having Theodore really showed her what her body was capable of, and she valued that enormously. She felt proud of her body, you could say, in the best possible way.
The day we speak is the day after Theodore's first birthday. Vogue marvels at how quickly that year has passed, and says that it was a lovely birthday, for which the boy himself was mostly a little "grumpy".
He's standing up, Vogue says, and cruising around, holding on to the furniture. It won't be long until he's walking and then, Vogue says, sounding like an Irish mammy, "He'll be into everything".
Also the day we speak, she and Spencer are filming the second season of their reality-TV show, Spencer, Vogue and Baby Too. She's extremely happy with how the first season went, Vogue says, and really loves the whole process. It is, she concedes, everything she hoped it would be, and it also means, as a bonus, that she gets to spend even more time with her husband.
"We wouldn't do it if we didn't enjoy it," she says of the TV show. "We never spend too long apart. When you have a baby, we think it's important for one of us to be there as much as possible. We have someone 15 hours a week when we work. When she's not there, I like to do the whole thing myself.
"Then, a lot of the time, Spenny's mum will be here or my mum will come over. But they both live away from us so we don't have that family base around us. Lizzie, who works with us, is a granny herself, and she's like a part of our family at this stage, so that's amazing."
When she first had Theodore, admits Vogue, she wasn't sure about going back to work. She certainly felt a bit wobbly when the time came to plunge back in, full-time. "I didn't really want to leave him," she says.
"But I'm so lucky with my work, and I really wanted to keep that part of my life, too."
They would like to have three children, ultimately, but Vogue wonders how work would have to change in order to accommodate that.
London has become a second home, she says, not only because it's where most of the work is, for now. "I'd love to do something again with RTE in the future," Vogue says. "I'd love that, and I always try to keep my finger in at home."
Speaking of home, Vogue's campaign to convince Spencer to move to her native Howth remains ongoing. She's not sure it's going to be successful, however.
"We're looking for a bigger place there," says Vogue, who has an apartment in the north Dublin village. "And I'd love to spend more time there. It's my happy place."
"Spencer says if Jeremy Corbyn gets in, he'll consider moving," Vogue says, with a laugh. "I wouldn't be very happy if he got in, obviously, but at least it would mean we could move to Howth."
The local girl is always in there somewhere, not that Vogue ever pretends to be doing anything other than keeping it real.
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