Lucy Mecklenburgh, Jess Wright, Sam and Billie Faiers, Lauren Pope and Gemma Collins may be portrayed as fake tan-obsessed party girls on hit ITV2 show The Only Way is Essex, but in an exclusive interview with HELLO! magazine, they reveal that they have brains as well as beauty.
Jess Wright, who owns the With Love Jessica boutique and online collection, told HELLO! what helps drive her success. "Intelligence," said Jess, whose brother is TV host Mark Wright. "I'm also quite a dignifed person and I don't ever lose control. I went to a private school, which helps shape your work ethic, the way you speak and your manners."
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Jess, who is also a singer-songwriter and designs dresses for lipstickboutique.co.uk, says that she is proud to be able to fund her own lifestyle. "There are lots of Essex girls whose daddies buy everything for them. Everything I’ve got, I’ve bought myself."
Lauren Pope, who runs her own hair-extension brand, adds that the girls all work very hard. "A lot of people assume we’re just the 'face' of the companies, but that’s not the case with any of the girls here today," she said. "I set up my hair company in 2008, long before TOWIE, but the exposure from the show has taken it to the next level."
The female TOWIE stars have been more successful about expanding their brands than their male counterparts. "We're naturally more mature," said Gemma.
Gemma, who is about to open her first plus-sized clothes shop in Essex, says that she is devoting every penny she has to her burgeoning business plan. "I haven't treated myself to a flash watch or car. Nothing. Every penny I've got goes into my business. If TOWIE ended tomorrow, I've set up a business that will take me on and on. I'm hoping to have ten shops by next year, all around the country."
To read more of the interview with the TOWIE girls, pick up HELLO! magazine, issue 1285, out now.