She famously quit The Big Breakfast as a 19-year-old newcomer. But 20 years later, Kelly Brook told HELLO! magazine in an exclusive interview in February that she has been 'thrown a lifeline' in the form of her job presenting the drivetime slot on Heart Radio. "It's been really lovely because I feel like I have been given another lifeline," she said. "You think, 'Oh, that's it, maybe I had my go and it’s someone else’s turn.' When an opportunity like this comes along, all of a sudden you've got another shot. I think it's given me a new lease of life. To be doing something I love, making people feel good, is just the best. It's the best job I could ever want. I never want it to end."
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The model and presenter also tells HELLO! how she lost 16lbs before starting the job, having recently grown unhappy with her weight, she explained: "I train three or four times a week, I eat vegan food… I am pretty happy with my weight now. I look at pictures and don’t think they need any editing, but I did for a bit. I think I put the pressure on myself; I looked a certain way for so long and I didn’t notice the pounds creeping on – and then all of a sudden, my jeans wouldn’t fit. I didn't like how I looked, so I just wanted to do something about it."
WATCH: Behind the scenes with Kelly Brook
It will be 20 years in July since Kelly left her high-profile job presenting Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast alongside Johnny Vaughan. There were claims she stumbled over her autocue and she became something of a public target. It would have been enough to sink the toughest of women, but Kelly was made of stronger stuff. The Heart job, she said, has made her feel like she’s been given a second chance in showbusiness – when she thought that part of her life was over. "It's been really lovely because I feel like I have been given another lifeline," she said. "You think: 'Oh, that's it, maybe I had my go and it's someone else's turn.' When an opportunity like this comes along, all of a sudden you’ve got another shot. "I am so overwhelmed by it. I have come full circle now and I'm approaching my job in a very different way. When you're young you are so resilient, but now I appreciate the work more, I appreciate just having a job I love."
Kelly quit The Big Breakfast at the age of 19
Kelly has hosted the drivetime show during the week since 6 January and the breakfast show at the weekend alongside TV presenter and former BBC Radio 1 DJ Jason "JK" King. The pair found they hit it off immediately. "It’s just one of those mad things where you're thrown together and it's either sink or swim," she said. "You can't force stuff, so I think you have to be yourself and he's very down to earth, very funny. "He's an incredible DJ and I felt like I was in safe hands with him. He really looked after me and he has really supported me and championed me to all the bosses. He is very generous."
Kelly presents the drivetime slot on Heart Radio
Support was hard to come by in some of her previous jobs, but she said: "JK is so confident in who he is as a DJ, and when you work with someone who's confident in themselves, you find they are the best nurturers – they are generous and happy to help you because they're not scared, they're not going anywhere. "The people at the top of their game are the nicest, and it’s the ones who are not that great who are not that nice."
When asked what she would now say to her younger self, Kelly doesn’t even hesitate – understanding only too well how rising stars can be viewed by their more established colleagues. "How would I feel if I had done all that work for 20 years and some 18-year-old girl came along and got that job with JK? Would I be bitter or angry? I understand why people [are sometimes unkind], because they feel like you haven't earnt your stripes and you don’t deserve it: you’ve got no experience. "Seeing how much I have done in the past 20 years and how hard I have worked, I walk into the office every day with my head held high, knowing I have earnt my place there; whereas back then, maybe not so much. I was a bit out of my depth." Some 20 years after her on-screen relationship with Johnny ended, they are again working in the same building at Heart owner Global Radio and relations between them are good. "We just had a big hug; he is so supportive of me and is always saying nice things about me to the boss."
Kelly will turn 40 in November
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Turning 40 in November holds no fear for Kelly. "This year has started off so well," she said. "I am so grateful for this job and I’m in a nice relationship. I’m happy and settled. I feel mature in myself and happy in my skin. I don't feel like I need to jump out of a plane or do something crazy. It's weird to turn 40 and be a DJ. If you had told me that 20 years ago, I wouldn't have believed you, because I was told by my agent that people's careers are finished at 35. But you're told that when you're 35 you have to get married and have kids because time is running out. You know: I'm not getting married and having kids, instead I've become a DJ. I think it shows women can be anything at any age. The whole point of me doing this is that it sends out such a nice message to other women, by saying: 'You don’t have to settle down; you don't have to give up; there are still other opportunities; you can still change careers and learn new skills. You can do anything.'"
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