As she prepares for the launch of this year's Britain's Next Top Model, head judge Abbey Clancy has opened up about juggling her successful career with motherhood. The 31-year-old, who is a proud mother to two beautiful girls - Sophia Ruby and Liberty Rose, whom she shares with husband Peter Crouch, previously competed in the second series of the popular reality show back in 2006, which catapulted her to fame within the fashion industry. Speaking exclusively to HELLO! Online, the model candidly confessed she is grateful for everything the show has given her and has admitted she has no qualms if her children decide to follow in her footsteps. "I wouldn't force them into doing it," she reasoned. "But if it's something they want to do then I'll support them all the way. I think it's important to be really happy and to have fun."
Abbey Clancy doesn't mind if her daughters go into modelling when they are older
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Since appearing in the competition as an aspiring model over a decade ago, the mother-of-two has gone on to win the eleventh series of Strictly Come Dancing and appeared in various documentaries such as Slave to Fashion and The Ultimate Bikini Guide as well as working on a fashion line with Matalan. When asked how she manages a healthy work-life balance, she explained: "I think it's a daunting thing having children and you have to go back to work [after they're born.] I think it's important to still be you when you have kids. I love going to work and I love being a mum. I think I've got an amazing support system around. My mum is fantastic, my sister will always mind the kids for me. And Pete when he's not working." She added: "I think you have to be dedicated and focused if you want to be a model. You have to be focused and have thick skin, you have to work hard. And you have to enjoy it – if it doesn't make you happy then don't do it."
"If it's something they want to do then I'll support them all the way," she said
The brand new series of BNTM will see Abbey make a gorgeous return to the judging panel alongside male supermodel Paul Sculfor, fashion guru Hilary Alexander OBE and celebrity photographer Nicky Johnston. Even though she can sympathise with the hopefuls, the TV star claims she is one of the stricter judges. "I'm surprisingly quite tough and firm with them," she said. "I want them to understand at how big an opportunity this is to them. It's a crash course into modelling and I want them to take it seriously."
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"I want to see how dedicated and focus they are," Abbey continued. "It's not all about, 'I can take a pretty picture of myself and put it on Instagram.' Some of the girls that come on, they don't know any of the photographers or designers. But if their lifelong dream is to become a model, then I want them to take this seriously, I want them to try hard to absorb as much information as possible as well as having a good time." Ever the professional, Abbey makes sure she doesn't favour any of the competitors. "You definitely do get attached to the girls," she added. "Like anything, some of them you are fonder of than the others. But you have to be professional and not let personal feelings get involved or in the way of our judgement - we judge them solely on their performance as models."
Britain's Next Top Model starts on 16th March at 9pm on Lifetime