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вторник, 25 апреля 2017 г.

'My husband will kill me for flaunting my figure!"

She’s the no-nonsense businesswoman facing her fears on ITV1’s 71 Degrees North. But Michelle Mone’s real battle started with her fight to lose 6st. Here she shows off her new body and reveals why stripping off is a risky business


There aren't many company bosses who'd be happy to pose for pictures in their underwear. But Michelle Mone, our new advice guru and star of the hit ITV1 reality show 71 Degrees North, has decided to do just that - and share the jaw-to-floor, unairbrushed results with Fabulous.
But her bold move isn't due to arctic temperatures doing something funny to her head; if you'd worked your butt off (literally) to lose 6st, you'd want to show off your new curves, too. But not everyone's happy with her decision.
"My management team and board of directors don't want me to do this. They think as a female CEO I won't be taken seriously," says Michelle.
But Michelle, 38, has never been one to play by the rules. She is, after all, the woman who risked everything - including her marriage - to build up her underwear business, Ultimo. And, here she is, incurring the wrath of her husband of 18 years again.
"Even though it's a one-off shoot, Michael is really against it. He doesn't want people to see his wife in her underwear and fears it could be bad for business. It's caused arguments between us. He just can't understand why I'm doing it."
We can though. Three years ago Michelle weighed 17st 2lb and was a size 22. While other women famous for their figures - including Kelly Brook and Girls Aloud's Sarah Harding - stripped off to flaunt their curves for Ultimo campaigns, Michelle could only watch from the sidelines, hiding herself in baggy tops.
Until, that is, she made the decision to lose weight. Now, three years later she's a size 10, and at 5ft 10in, weighs 11st 2lb. She looks amazing.
 How I look today is the result of THREE YEARS HARD WORK 
"Kelly Brook is seven years younger than me, but I've done my best to show that a woman like me with three kids can look just as good in lingerie," she says.
While Michelle loves her slender new body, her husband, a 43-year-old director in her business, is finding it hard to come to terms with his new-look wife.
"I believe he's proud of me because he knew I was unhappy," she admits. "But he's a typical Glaswegian man, not very forthcoming with his feelings, so he hasn't actually told me.
"I think he'd say he doesn't quite know how to handle this new confident, outgoing side of me. He keeps joking: 'You'd better not run off with a younger model!' but I know he trusts me."
It's not hard to sympathise with him. Earlier this year, Michelle was linked to married actor Shane Richie and rugby player Gavin Henson, after growing close to them during filming of 71 Degrees North.
The Ultimo founder is now body confident
She even had to issue a statement denying an affair with Shane, 46, after they were pictured arm in arm during a night out in London. She laughs at mention of a relationship with Gavin, 28.
"Gavin's a great guy and we get on well, but that's it. I've always had more guy friends than girlfriends, and my husband gets on brilliantly with Gavin too."
Nevertheless, with such headlines it's not hard to see why Mr Mone is less than keen for his wife to strip off. So why is she doing it?
"I want to show other women that if you're unhappy with your body, you can do something about it. I was 6st overweight and really unfit, but I turned my life around. If I can do it, you can too.
 I'm the happiest I've been in ages because this year has BEEN ABOUT ME 
"For years I tortured myself about my weight. I hated myself. How I look today is the result of three years hard work. I've put my insecurities behind me. It's the end of a chapter. And if it's the biggest mistake I've ever made in my business career, then so be it, but I'm too proud of what I've achieved to not show it off," she says.
During the seven years that Michelle was overweight, she was bitterly unhappy.
"I remember sitting on a beach in Miami after an Ultimo shoot with Rachel Hunter. She was in a bikini and I was in a pair of elasticated trousers and a huge kaftan. We're the same age but next to her I felt like an old woman," admits Michelle.
"My children, Rebecca, 18, Declan, 13, and Bethany, 11 never commented on my weight, they accepted their mum was fat. When I got upset, Michael would tell me I was the only person who could change it."
Michelle was a size 14 when she launched Ultimo in 1999, a month after the birth of her third child, without any qualifications or formal business training.
The launch of her comfortable boob-boosting bras was a massive success, with the range selling out in Selfridges and Debenhams. When Julia Roberts wore an Ultimo bra in the Oscar-winning movie Erin Brockovich, sales in America went through the roof.
But a year later, disaster struck when Michelle says a Canadian distributor absconded with over £2million of Ultimo money and six months' worth of stock.
"Up until then I'd been on a high. I was the third richest person under 30 on the Sunday Times Rich List, my company was a massive success. Then suddenly I was 15 minutes from bankruptcy," remembers Michelle.
Only by remortgaging the family home and using money left to her husband after his mother's death, did Michelle stave off bankruptcy. But the stress made her turn to food for solace.
She'd gorge on McDonald's for breakfast. Lunch was a burger, she'd snack on chocolate bars during the afternoon and after dinner she'd leave the house to eat more junk food.
"I thought I was comfort eating, but a psychologist recently explained I was punishing myself. I grew up in a one-bedroom tenement flat in working-class Glasgow. My mum and dad worked hard, as a carer and a labourer, but we weren't well off. I left school at 15 and everyone assumed I'd fall pregnant or get a dead-end job," she says. "When I became successful, I felt I didn't deserve it, and punished myself with food."
As the pounds piled on, Michelle avoided mirrors and hid her body under shapeless black suits. Photo-calls with celebrity Ultimo models, only made her more disgusted with her own body.
"I was paranoid, accusing Michael of fancying the models," she admits. "I had no confidence, and even though from the outside my life looked perfect, inside I was in pieces."
Then three years ago, Michelle decided that she'd had enough.
"I'd been pouring all my energy into the business and my family, and completely neglecting myself. So I decided to start treating my body like a business, setting goals and targets."
She began taking Trim Secrets herbal slimming pills (which she later invested in) that aid weight-loss when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
And now Michelle loves wearing super-slinky dresses and skinny jeans.
"This is the first time I've felt confident about my body. People have said I look 10 years younger!"
To get toned before her shoot, she signed up for ITV1's 71 Degrees North and then started training seven days a week and doing 20-mile runs. The show, in which a team of celebrities compete in extreme arctic challenges, has seen Michelle battling hypothermia and taking on activities like ice waterfall abseiling. "It was terrifying," she laughs. "But it changed me as a person. As a businesswoman you're expected to always put a brave face on things and not let anything get to you. But stripped of my BlackBerry and taken out of the boardroom, I discovered an emotional side I never knew I had.
With husband Michael
"I'm the happiest I've been in years."
On her return, Michelle launched Ultimo's 'real women' search for 24 women to star in a campaign. "If I expect 24 women off the street to get their kit off, it's only fair that I do it too," she says.
So she did. And her husband Michael even liked the pictures.
"He said: 'These are nice.' That's the biggest compliment he's ever paid me," Michelle says. "But he still didn't want me to make them public."
Will she be hanging them up at home? "Michael would throw darts at them!" she laughs. "These are just for me."
The new Ultimo Icon Boob Lift Bra is available from Debenhams & Ultimo.co.uk.
Michelle's rise to super bra-dom


1986 Michelle leaves school aged 15 with no qualifications, to work to support her family, after her father is confined to a wheelchair.
1992 After lying about gaining O levels, Michelle is employed as an admin girl by Labbatt Brewers in Glasgow. By 21 she is a senior manager and in charge of sales and marketing.
1996 After wearing an uncomfortable bra to a dinner dance, Michelle vows to invent a more comfortable one. MJM International Ltd is founded with her husband Michael Mone.
1999 The Ultimo brand is launched. Selfridges sells out within 24 hours.
April 2000 Julia Roberts famously wears Ultimo's Miracle Solutions plunging bra in Erin Brockovich, which kick-starts the brand's popularity in the US.
October 2000 Michelle wins the World Young Business Achiever award in Florida, and Business Woman Of The Year in London.
January 2008 She teams up with Coleen Rooney and her ITV2 reality show Real Women, to search for a new Ultimo model.
September 2008 Ultimo makes history as the first UK lingerie brand to hold its own catwalk show at New York Fashion Week.
2009 Michelle is awarded an OBE for services to business.

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