Katie Piper talks new year’s resolutions and post-Christmas bloat (don’t worry, she’ll be back on the gin by next week like the rest of us…)

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There aren’t many celebs who are this fun on a photoshoot. Katie Piper positively squeals with delight when she arrives at the studio and sees the bed set up for bouncing. She’s promptly trying on all the silkiest, cosiest jim-jams she can get her hands on, and rolling around happily in the sheets.

“See, this is actually the perfect shoot for me,” she laughs. “No one can see how stumpy my little legs are when I’m lying down, I could be 5ft 10 in these shots!”

Despite being a diminutive 5ft 1, Katie’s absolutely brimming with confidence, and so she should be: she’s here to talk about her new book Confidence: The Secret, a self-help book/memoir, which lets us in on the secret of her self-assuredness. Those ‘stumpy’ legs are tanned and toned, she’s bright-eyed and big-haired, and, most noticeably, there’s something infectiously sunny about being around her.

“God, I feel a bit like I’m in a sanitary towel advert in these jumping shots – I’m freeeeeeee!” she yells mid-bounce, making everyone laugh.

Life hasn’t always been easy for Katie. Gravely injured in an acid attack orchestrated by her then-boyfriend, she stopped counting the number of operations she’d had back in 2011, when the tally was over 300. But Katie’s nevertheless carved out a successful career as an author, TV presenter and all-round darling of the nation – as well as finding time to be a mum to gorgeous Belle, two, with carpenter hubby Rich.

So, who better to bounce us into the new year than Katie?

Happy new year, Katie! Made any resolutions?

I’m that person who, by February, is drinking gin on a Monday instead of going to the gym! I’m not a massive believer in resolutions – if something’s making me miserable, I try to work on it throughout the year. But I’ve had big moments in my life where I’ve thought, ‘I’m sick of this sh*t, I’ve got to move on’, and those are defining moments. The new year is a time to reflect and remind myself I have my health, probably because I spend Christmas overeating and overdrinking.

Do you ever get the January blues?

I have a good separation of what really is crap and what isn’t. This makes me sound like an annoying person, but I generally don’t get depressed – I’m here, I’m healthy, I’m not in hospital. But of course I still get annoyed by normal things, like paying bills, or not fitting into my clothes. And I miss my family in January, because they live a couple of hours away.

Would you ever do a dry January?

I’m a person who loves a drink to unwind and relax… and to socialise… oh, and I love the taste! Dry January would be a huge challenge for me. But after the attack I didn’t drink anything at all for three years straight, because I was going through intensive medical treatment. Nowadays I tend to just do a week off the booze to get a flat tum for hols, then reward myself with a G&T.

Do you always overindulge at Christmas?

Yes, because I love continuously grazing on all the Christmas goodies. Maybe this is a psychological thing, but last night I knew I wanted to look good for these photos, and I ended up scoffing nine biscuits in a row!
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Will you be hitting the gym to make up for it?

I like exercising outdoors in the cold – it’s exhilarating. I spent so many years recovering, not being allowed to raise my heart rate and blood pressure, now exercising makes me feel in control and alive and happy.

What do you normally get up to for New Year’s Eve?

We love going away for New Year – somewhere like the Canary Islands because Belle doesn’t do very well on a plane past four hours. Recently I was booked as a motivational speaker in Abu Dhabi and they paid for us to fly Business Class, which we’d never done before.

We were so excited, but Belle decided she wanted to run around screaming and throw food at people’s heads. I would have felt less embarrassed in Economy, I think…I was like [speaks through gritted teeth] ‘Belle, why don’t you get under the blanket and play hide and seek?!’

Your new book is all about confidence. What made you decide to write it?

People always tell me I’m so confident, and it can feel a bit fraudulent to just pretend to be really happy all the time – that’s not real life. Terrible things happen to people, and you can’t be positive because that would be robotic and not natural. Like anybody, it’s been a roller-coaster of highs and lows for me.

Were you naturally confident before the attack?

In some ways, yes. But most people who are confident on the surface are insecure. I hate it when people say, ‘I bet you’re so glad what happened to you happened because it’s made you who you are.’ But that’s not the case at all. Everything in life is 90% what happens to you and 10% how you react. You can choose to take bad experiences and learn from them and evolve.

Do you feel a lot of pressure to be a role model?

Yes, it’s a horrible pedestal to be on. We bandy about words like strong and brave and inspirational, but it’s unfair – it suggests that if something bad happens to you and you’re not okay, then you’re not brave or inspirational. It’s okay not to cope, there’s nothing shameful in it.

I didn’t come out of hospital being happy and confident… I wanted to kill myself. Some people might see my persona as, ‘Oh, be happy being burned and be positive!’ but it’s about being a realist and making the best of what you have.

You’ve spent a lot of time in hospital over the years. Is it normal for Belle now?

My husband Rich is amazing at looking after her. Sometimes she looks at the scars on my hand, and asks if I’m hurt. But I explain that I got hurt when I was younger and now I’m better… she’ll kiss it and say she’s glad I’m okay. She’s noticed the medical tubes in my nose, and says they’re nice and asks where I get them from.

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Will you tell her the full story of what happened?

I don’t think I’ll ever sit her down and tell her the full story, but I’ll go with the flow and answer her questions as they come – I’ll never lie or soften it. Maybe she’ll read my book when she’s older.

You keep Belle out of the public eye. What made you make that decision?

Initially, the fear of what happened to me…those people are going to come out of prison one day, and I don’t have protection forever. People are so unkind online, and I don’t want her to get trolled or anything. I want her to be able to make the decision to be online herself.

Are you broody for another baby?

Belle’s started role-playing with toy dolls no and pestering me, and part of me really wants her to have a sibling – when anything bad happens, my brother and sister are the first people I call. But Belle was the first grandchild, so she’d probably be livid.

Katie’s Q&A

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The last time I cried… was yesterday. We found out that my mum’s cancer has come back. [Katie’s voice chokes up, and she begins to cry.] My mum’s my best friend, and she’s been there for me through all my operations. She spent so much time in hospital with me, why should she have to spend time in hospital now? It seems so unfair. Have I ruined all my make-up now [smiles sadly]?


When no one’s looking, I… spend time in the walk-in wardrobe Rich built me. I love cutting out pictures from magazines and making fashion mood-boards. I shut the door and go in with gin and crisps and sit there all night. I’m a bit of a weirdo, clearly!

This year I want to… do projects that have nothing to do with my scars or what happened to me. It can’t just be like Groundhog Day, talking about the attack over and over. I hate being introduced as ‘acid attack survivor’. I’ve just signed a two-year deal with Channel 4 and they’re great – I don’t have to hide my skin and I feel like I can just be me.