Katie Piper is a force to be reckoned with. At the age of just 24, she was subjected to a horrifying acid attack by her ex-boyfriend that changed her life forever and left her with catastrophic injuries. However, the aspiring model overcame a staggering 300 operations (and she’ll continue to need more throughtout her life) to establish the Katie Piper Foundation, which aims to raise awareness for burns victims. Since recovering, she’s presented documentaries, such as Katie: My Beautiful Face, written various books and competed in the 16th series of Strictly Come Dancing. We caught up with her to discuss her time on Strictly and why she’s proud to not conform to unrealistic beauty standards.
On Strictly Come Dancing “I had the best time on Strictly and will always look back on it fondly – I’ve made friends for life. The experience was totally out of my comfort zone, but it was great to try something different and learn a new skill. I loved showing off my fun side and wearing the fabulous outfits every week! Dancing in front of an audience felt very daunting at the beginning but, the longer I was in the competition, the more comfortable I felt.”
On losing two stone after the birth of her second baby “The weight loss was challenging in the initial stages but I’ve found I can now maintain it as I’ve made a lifestyle change – and I’ve never felt better than I do now. However, I did take it easy because it can be very difficult as a new mum. I wouldn’t say that I was unhappy with my body before at all but there have definitely been areas I felt a bit self-conscious about, such as my arms and legs. My goal was never to be skinny, I just wanted to feel strong and healthy, whatever size and weight that may be. Your body definitely goes through some big changes when you have children and I do think women are too hard on themselves and feel certain pressures to ‘bounce back’. Of course, there were times where I didn’t feel my best but I look back now and think ‘who cares about the wobbly bits?’ – I’ve got my two beautiful girls!”
On social media “I’m not afraid to show the real me. I pride myself in not conforming to unrealistic beauty standards – it can be so damaging to young girls’ and women’s’ self-esteem. Social media is a highlights feed and we should all remember that. I like to be someone my followers feel they can relate to. Social media is a powerful thing that can have a negative effect on users. However, on the flip side, it can be a great hub for online discussion and spreading positivity. I do promote health and fitness on my social media but the message is always ‘strong not skinny’ and advocates a healthy lifestyle.”
To read the full interview, pick up the April issue of Health & Wellbeing with Katie Piper, on sale on the 7th March.