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Michelle Mone reveals her lingerie business left her comparing herself to ‘perfect’ models

Entrepeneur Michelle Mone has revealed running her successful lingerie brand Ultimo had a severe impact on her mental health.

The businesswomen, 48, who sold the company in 2014, spoke about her career highs and lows on The High Performance Podcast with Jake Humphrey and Professor Damian Hughes this week.

Describing her 18 years at Ultimo, which she started from her home in Glasgow, Michelle admitted her mental health suffered when she constantly compared herself to the models employed for the brand’s campaigns.

Career journey: Entrepeneur Michelle Mone has revealed running her successful lingerie brand Ultimo had a severe impact on her mental health

At the height of her career at Ultimo, Michelle was eight stone heavier, and she told the podcast that putting work first impacted both her physical and mental health. 

‘I always used to put myself second, Ultimo came first. Of course, my kids and my family, but I was always second,’ she explained.

It was one of Ultimo’s poster girls – model Rachel Hunter- who inspired the businesswomen to change her thinking when it came to food.

‘I was abusing myself eating, because that was my way of dealing with stress. I put on the over eight stone and that’s when Rachel Hunter said to me, “Why don’t you treat your body like a business?” 

Candid chat: The businesswomen, 48, spoke about her career highs and lows on The High Performance Podcast with Jake Humphrey and Professor Damian Hughes

Candid chat: The businesswomen, 48, spoke about her career highs and lows on The High Performance Podcast with Jake Humphrey and Professor Damian Hughes

Health overhaul: Michelle described how working with models during her Ultimo years left her feeling 'terrible' about her own looks before she lost eight stone in weight (pictured in 2003)

At the heigh of her career at Ultimo, Michelle told the podcast that putting work first impacted both her physical and mental health

Health overhaul: Michelle described how working with models during her Ultimo years left her feeling ‘terrible’ about her own looks before she lost eight stone in weight (pictured left in 2003 and right in 2020)

‘That was just like a light switch for me thinking, “Well, I wouldn’t abuse my own business, so why am I abusing one body?”‘ 

Michelle went on to explain that working with Rachel and other celebs like the Spice Girls left her feeling ‘terrible’ about her own looks. ‘Every time I did a photo shoot with them and directed a shoot, I then felt terrible and depressed,’ she said.

‘I looked at these women and the perfect bodies and then I got undressed at night for bed and I looked at me and I thought, “You’re just disgusting.”‘ 

Advice: It was one of Ultimo's poster girls - model Rachel Hunter- who inspired the businesswomen to change her thinking when it came to food (pictured together in 2004)

Advice: It was one of Ultimo’s poster girls – model Rachel Hunter- who inspired the businesswomen to change her thinking when it came to food (pictured together in 2004)

‘Ultimo for me was bad for me mentally, but I managed to overcome it. I think that’s probably what drove me to lose the weight as well and get fit, because I was always getting compared, even though I was a businesswoman, but I was the same age as them.’

‘I’m exactly the same age as Rachel Hunter, and you put her together and me together, and I was like two tonne Tess and my face was pumped up too, it was almost going to burst, but seeing that you can be happy being size 18 or size 20. I think that that’s great now that people accept, that it’s all about how you feel about yourself.’

Michelle went on to lose eight stone in weight over seven years and now credits her love of exercise with her happiness as well as her continued success in business.  

Happy: Michelle went on to lose eight stone in weight over seven years and now credits her love of exercise with her happiness as well as her continued success in business

Happy: Michelle went on to lose eight stone in weight over seven years and now credits her love of exercise with her happiness as well as her continued success in business

‘I look at entrepreneurs like sports people, sports people are so disciplined with their training and everything else as well. I found that when I was overweight and unfit, I didn’t perform the way I’ve performed now,’ she explained.

‘When we’re not locked down, I train already seven days a week, because it helps my mental health, because I went through some really, really bad stuff.’

‘Like for example, when way back I couldn’t afford to lose that money, I almost thought about taking my own life and it was that bad. For me, I’ve got to train and be so disciplined, because I can’t go back to that old Michelle. That old Michelle is someone that makes me really scared.’

Her personal life is also thriving as she plans her wedding to Doug Barrowman, who she became engaged to in 2018 following her acrimonious divorce from first husband MIchael Mone in 2011, with whom she shares three children.   

The High Performance Podcast with Jake Humphrey and Professor Damian Hughes is available weekly on all podcast providers. 

Wedding bells: Her personal life is also thriving as she plans her wedding to Doug Barrowman, who she became engaged to in 2018 following her acrimonious divorce

Wedding bells: Her personal life is also thriving as she plans her wedding to Doug Barrowman, who she became engaged to in 2018 following her acrimonious divorce

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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