By Anna Lewis Acting Associate Editor on Monday, 15 September 2014 at 17:51
It was 2012’s worst kept showbiz secret. When Lauren Goodger bowed out of TOWIE last August, we all guessed she would follow in the footsteps of Amy Childs and Mark Wright by signing up for a big reality show. The only question was, which one? Well, as Amy had already snaffled Celebrity Big Brother – and no way would Lauren follow her ex Mark into the jungle – that left Strictly or Dancing On Ice. Cue some amusing snaps of Lauren falling over at her local rink. “Mystery” solved.
So, despite Lauren falling at the first DOI hurdle and being voted off on week one, we thought this was a good time for a catch up with the 26-year-old. It’s been ten months since we last interviewed Lauren and, back then, her body issues dominated our conversation, with her telling us, “I see a girl who should be skinnier.” Since then, she’s successfully lost weight on the Cambridge liquid diet, but not a week goes by without the newspapers running stories about her losing/gaining weight.
She’s also now a successful businesswoman, thanks to her Lauren’s Way fake tan range. Stocked in Debenhams, and salons nationwide, it’s on course to make her a millionaire. And, of course, there’s her romance with fellow TOWIE star Mark Wright. With the relationship officially over, we’ve been warned Lauren doesn’t want to discuss her famous ex. However, with the news that she’s releasing her autobiography next month, discussing the topic seems inevitable.
Still, no offence to Mark, but we’re actually more interested in hearing about the new man in her life – Essex lad Jake McLean, who it’s since emerged has been in prison for aggravated burglary. Aside from a few affectionate tweets, the new lovebirds have so far flown under the radar. Until now…
Is it true you’d never really skated before?
I did basic stuff when I was younger, like going round and holding the barrier, but nothing like this. The last time I skated I must’ve been about 14, or younger.
What made you sign up for the show, then?
I just think it’s a great thing to show a different side to me and learn something. It’s also a family show; it’s not about trying to make you look a certain way for entertainment.
You mean they couldn't edit your routines, TOWIE-style, for the “purposes of entertainment”.
Exactly. It was s a very big challenge and very different to doing I’m A Celeb… or Big Brother, where you just sit there and you’re done in a couple of weeks.
How was it going on the ice for the first time?
The costumes are quite skimpy. Were you nervous, given the focus on your weight?
I knew people would be saying, “Oh, what’s her body like?” so I was a bit self-conscious, but I feel great in myself at the moment. I absolutely loved the costumes! They’re all covered in diamanté.
You do seem more confident. You also look a lot smaller in the flesh than you do in pictures...
That’s why I sometimes tweet unedited pictures of myself from my mobile to say, “This is my body and I’m proud of it”. I’m not tiny, but I’m normal.
So you didn’t do DOI to slim down?
I definitely didn’t do it to lose weight, no.
But the fact it got you fit must have been a bonus?
[Nods.] I do feel fitter. My legs are hard, and I can feel muscles in my arms. I was training for two hours a day and the skates were so heavy!
Do you miss TOWIE?
The only thing I miss is the girls and having a laugh. Getting ready and doing a scene, you get quite close.
Did you see the live episode?
No, I read about it, and saw tweets saying it wasn’t the same.
It was car crash TV, frankly…
I talk a lot so I reckon I would’ve been all right with it. It probably would’ve been better [for me], because then people would’ve got to see the real me with the girls, having a laugh. I don’t want people to think I’m the same girl that was in all those situations in TOWIE. I’m quite a chilled person.
So, tell us about this book you’ve written. What’s in it?
It’s basically an autobiography, but I’ve got a chapter on style and how to dress curves.
Is there going to be a chapter on Mark? Does he know about it?
Yes, and no, he doesn’t. But he can’t be nervous because it’s the truth, and at the end of the day I’m not a horrible person.
Is there anything about you two that we don’t already know?
You do and you don’t. [PR interrupts and says no more Mark questions.]
He’s old news anyway, isn’t he? A little birdie tells us you’ve got a new boyfriend. Someone called Jake McLean…
[Coyly] Well, yeah. There is someone and I’m very happy. It’s early days.
He’s an Essex boy, too, isn’t he?
[Smiling] He’s from my area.
Does he treat you like a princess?
[Blushing now] Yeah. He’s a nice guy.
Tell us one little romantic thing that he does…
[PR interrupts to steer us off the topic, saying, “It’s early days.”]
But the relationship has potential?
Yeah, it has potential. He makes me smile.
Are you wary about getting into another relationship, post-Mark, because of the inevitable scrutiny?
I’ll do what I like. If it feels right, I won’t worry about it. So it’s early, but I’m gonna go ahead and do what I want to do.
Has all the abuse and criticism you’ve experienced over the past couple of years toughened you up?
Yeah. At first I didn’t understand it, I was like, “Why are they saying all this stuff about me?” I’ve had it for years now and I can see it just helps you get stronger. It makes me laugh now.
There’s been a lot of stuff written about your so-called “trout pout”, but your lips do look normal today…
I had the liner done by Tracie Giles [a permanent make-up specialist], but that’s all [I’ve had done]. I don’t like the trout pout look, either.
Would you have any other work done?
I don’t think I need it, but each to their own.
What would it take for you to go out without any fake tan or false lashes?
I don’t really wear lashes any more – I wore them on TOWIE, but I’ve gone off them. When I was training, it was nice putting on a tracksuit with my hair up and not wearing heels. Then again, I like getting dressed up – that’s just the way I am.