Kimberley Walsh is reflecting on the pressures of being a pop star in the noughties and marvelling at how beauty standards have changed when we catch up with her.
“Differences are welcome now,” says the former Girls Aloud singer. “Not everyone is trying to fit in a box. It’s a nice thing if you’ve got your own vibe. That’s celebrated now.”
It’s with this in mind that Kimberley has developed her new autumn collection, Styled For You, with Dorothy Perkins – boasting designs aimed at dressing every frame.
Here, Kimberley, 40, talks us through her timeless capsule collection, how she loves her body more since becoming a mum to Bobby, eight, Cole, five, and Nate, 16 months, and coping with her grief since the loss of Sarah Harding a year on.…
Hi Kimberley! What did you have in mind when curating this collection?
Taking all women into account and making it a good mix for all occasions – whether it’s a date night or a night out with the girls.
What’s your favourite piece?
I love the dresses. They’re all flattering. I love the bright pink dress with the keyhole and there’s such a strong coat collection.
Why is representing all body shapes so important to you?
It’s important to me to be true to what my life is and be realistic. I look at people on social media and sometimes feel inadequate.
What makes you feel that way?
I’m a mum of three, juggling work and school, and I do find it hard. I don’t have a nanny or housekeepers, so I always feel I’m just a breath away from really messing up. So for me, it’s when I see those working mums who appear to have everything covered, and still leave the house looking immaculate, and have their children looking immaculate for 24 hours every day, or they’re getting up at 6am to work out before their kids are up. I don’t feel like I’m achieving that.
Did you feel pressured to look a certain way in Girls Aloud?
Nobody ever put that demand on us, but we all knew the reality of being in a band was to look a certain way. I was doing what any other 20-year-old would do, trying to keep on top of their weight and health and fitness, but it escalated more because I was in a band.
What impact do you think social media has had on our generation?
Women who aren’t famous now are on show more than before. Because of social media they want to look good on there and show their best self. Thankfully, in the band, we had no social media and it made a massive difference. I’m so grateful for that. You couldn’t look directly at comments people had written about you. That’s just horrendous for a woman in a band.
How has motherhood changed your body?
Your body physically changes so much in pregnancy, so trying to achieve the waistline you had before children is impossible.
Is there anything you’d change about your figure now?
I wouldn’t change anything. I feel like I’ve become one with my body by this age. To go under an actual physical change would freak me out. I remember when I was pregnant and had big boobs for a few months, it freaked me out!
Do you have any hang-ups now?
My sons joke about me having a big bum. It’s in a fun way and they know I’m fine with it. I do notice when I’m on holiday I panic because I’ve got to bare my body, but I look around me and nobody cares. We’re there to have fun and make memories, so I just get on with it.
Have you ever considered cosmetic surgery?
I’ve still not had anything done. I feel like I need a bit of help now, but I’m really scared. I’ve got such an expressional face, every time I think, “Oh, I do need a bit of Botox,” I never end up booking it because I don’t want it to change my facial expressions. I want my kids to know when I’m mad!
What is your fitness regime?
I went through a good stage of exercising with some of the school mums. Nate would nap at a certain time and they would come to the house and we’d do it together. I really find motivation from women who are in the same position. One of the mums is a personal trainer and she was not messing around. It was a lot of weights and spurts of cardio.
How is Nate getting on?
He’s great! Because he has two older brothers he seems to have grown up overnight. He’s trying to talk more now and he’s running around the place, bossing his older brothers around. He’s such a happy little thing.
How does motherhood feel now compared to the first time round?
I’m more relaxed and I think that shows with Nate. With my first, if anything went wrong, I blamed myself and there was a huge drama. With my third, it’s almost like, they’ve bumped their head and you go, “Oh well, there’s a lesson learnt.” I’ve got to be realistic, I can’t have eyes on all three of them.
Do you get much alone time with your husband Justin?
We haven’t had that much time on our own. I do like going out for dinner, but by the time they’re all ready for bed I’m exhausted and one of us has to foot the bill of the hangover with three kids the next morning.
Do you get to see your former bandmates much?
We hang out all the time. Nicola [Roberts] was here the other night. The boys love having her around – they run her ragged!
You did Race For Life together in July in memory of Sarah…
I had to do the race while I was away because I had already planned a trip before we knew we were doing it. Nadine [Coyle] and Nicola and Cheryl all did it together in London and I FaceTimed them on the run. They said it was the most amazing atmosphere in Hyde Park. I felt gutted to miss it.
You’ve been open about your grief. How are you coping?
It can take me at any moment. There can be triggers everywhere. It’s only been a year, so to us it still feels quite raw to be honest. The best thing for me is having the other three girls that I know feel the same. We’re just helping each other through it. Sarah had a wish to fund research that her doctor was working on, so we said we’d do everything in our power to make that happen. We’re throwing a fundraising event which is going to be an emotional night. That’s taking all our focus.
Has it made you more conscious of your own health?
It has. It makes you more worried but it’s never a bad thing if someone encourages you to keep on top of that. I’ve had lots of women message me on Instagram saying Sarah helped them catch [their cancer] early, which I know would have meant a lot to her. She has definitely saved lives.
You turn 41 next month – three days after what would have been Sarah’s birthday. Is that tough?
It’s always going to be a tough one for me. We were birthday twins. We’d talked about doing something for our 40ths when she was still with us and that’s what I was hoping would happen.
What makes you smile when you think about Sarah?
I watch videos of her on stage. There was nobody more alive than her when she was in her element.
Kimberley’s Styled For You range is available now at dorothyperkins.com
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