The online plus size fashion e-tailer, Fashion World, has appointed Claire Richards as its new brand ambassador and on Tuesday, I got to travel down to London to meet her and get the scoop on the collection and fashion in the Celebrity Big Brother House.
Held in BB Bakery in Covent Garden, the press conference was a quiet affair after the rabble of paparazzi had attended their photo call, with many journalists from the Daily Mail, Fabulous Magazine and alike waiting patiently to get their story for their publication. From what I could see, Claire was more than willing to chat to everyone and could be seen laughing and talking openly about her collection, her time in Steps and of course, her time in the Big Brother House. It struck me that she actually looks smaller in real life than she does on TV and in photographs, maybe it's true that the camera really does add some extra pounds? She looked incredibly beautiful, naturally pretty and her smile, adorned with MAC's Impassioned lippy, literally lit up the room. Perhaps it is a little forward of me to start with something so subjective as my opinion on Claire but it was my initial perception of her that put me at ease, having grown up listening to Steps, gave me the confidence to talk to her and ultimately, helped to set the mood for our chat; open and honest and that's what I believe Claire was. Now, let me tell you what she had to say...
For this spring and summer, Claire Richards has selected her favourite formal and casual pieces from the new Fashion World collection. There's a great selection from the gorgeous floral print prom dress that Claire is wearing in these snaps to a bandeau jumpsuit that's great for dressing up or down to suit the occasion. Claire explained the selection process to me, which sounded like every girls dream as she was invited to the Fashion World offices, got to see the full collection and pick what she wanted from racks upon racks of clothes. There was no fashion concious, designer inspired decision making involved, she did what most of us do when we're out shopping- picked what she liked the look of and wanted to try on. The hard part was narrowing down her selection into what was to become 'Claire's Picks' and if the Fashion World website is anything to go by, she chose very well.
The real testament to Claire's style will be shown later this year when her own autumn winter collection is released full of pieces she has designed herself. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know that I'm actually working on my own dress design at the moment and I was really interested to know what advice Claire would have for me. She said that it's really important to know what your best bits are and which areas you're not so confident about and looking to disguise. Not only is that great advice to consider when I'm creating my own dress but it is great advice for every woman who is choosing clothes for herself as it's so much easier to look great when wearing clothes that emphasis your great parts and conceal your not so loved areas.
Claire is an advocate of wearing 'support undies and a good fitting bra' regardless of your size as she believes that they give you much more 'scope' to wear different items of clothing by creating a smooth silhouette. She believes that shape underwear can transform your shape, allowing you to wear clothes that you never thought you'd be able to as they boost your figure and give you a smooth line.
Fresh out of the Celebrity Big Brother house, Claire was happy to hear that so many of you loved the clothes she wore when she was on the show. She said that she thought LOADS about what she was going to wear before going into the house. If she was in her own home for that amount of time, she would be more than happy in her comfy PJs or her onesie the whole time but at home she's not on TV in front of thousands of people. Claire said that when choosing the clothes to take into the house, she wanted pieces that would give her some 'scope', enough variety if you will. Each house mate was allowed to take two suitcases into the house with them and she joked that she thought she should be allowed an extra suitcase to Rylan as her clothes are much bigger than his! She kept with the 'comfy' theme of clothes to take into the house with her but looked for items that she would feel and look good in, choosing pieces that were good for her shape, colourful and of course, she wasn't without her Spanx and some great fitting bras. Claire wore many a pretty dress in the Big Brother House, she chose them because they were pieces that looked good but allowed her to feel comfortable too which in turn, made her feel confident. When asking her what three items she would miss the most if she'd had her suitcase taken off her, it was no surprise that she answered with, 'Spanx, a good bra and a comfortable dress'.
Claire spoke quite a lot about a feeling of being comfortable in her own skin and feeling confident. Reflecting back to her days in Steps, Claire spoke about a time the group were at a photo call to launch their line of dolls. At a usually slim size 10, Claire looked a little more tubby around her stomach area on this particular day and sure enough, the next day the press had concocted a pregnancy storyline. Claire talked openly about battling her weight issues whilst she was in Steps and especially after leaving the group and described how brutal the press can be. It took the filming of Slave to Food for Claire's opinions on food to really change and for her to look at her thought process around food and comfort eating.
|Claire Richards cup cakes given out at the press launch|
I asked her what advice she would give her younger self, what has she learnt over the years and what has really helped her. Claire responded with something that many of us could take notice of, me more so that anyone; 'don't worry about others'. Those who think, write or say bad things about others 'project negativity', they don't care about how you feel and they [the press] have nothing else better to write about. 'Being bigger doesn't mean you can't be attractive, if we were all the same, then life would be boring.' Claire wouldn't want her daughter to grow up to feel the way she has done, self concious.
Claire has reached a turning point in her life where she isn't constantly thinking about food. She's a healthy size 16, comfortable in her own skin and is able to consistently maintain her weight.
When asked if she would describe this as being happy, she responded simply; 'yes' and that's all I think any of us need to know.
Claire's Picks are live on the Fashion World website now in sizes 12 to 32. Go check them out and let me know what your favourite pieces are.
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