VICKY Pattison learned a lot from the painful, public breakdown of her last relationship two and a half years ago.
First came the discovery that she was a hell of a lot tougher than she’d thought, as she pieced herself back together and emerged stronger than ever before. Atta girl.
Vicky Pattison’s relationship split two and a half years ago made her realise she needed to protect herself much better financiallyCredit: Mark Hayman
But the biggest takeaway, once the dust had settled, was the realisation that she needed to protect herself much better financially.
The split from fiancé John Noble hit Vicky in the pocket after she was forced, at great expense, to buy him out of the Newcastle home they’d once shared, despite her claims that he’d long since stopped contributing to the mortgage.
The whole experience made her determined not to let the same thing happen again, which is why, although she’s living with new partner Ercan Ramadan, 27, in a beautiful new £1.5m house they’ve moved into together, the Essex property is Vicky’s and Vicky’s alone.
“This is my house,” she says firmly. “I bought it and Ercan lives with me.
The 33-year-old says she’s a hopeless romantic who rushes into thingsCredit: Mark Hayman
“I had a really hard time with my last relationship. The emotional stuff was hard enough, but what ended up dragging out was the financial side of things.
“It was such an arduous, upsetting task that I promised myself I would protect myself in the future and not let my heart make the decisions.
“I’m a hopeless romantic who rushes into things, but I’m more wary now and I need to protect myself, my money and everything I’ve worked for.
“I’m certainly not going to be the girl who makes the same mistakes over and over again.
Vicky is living with partner Ercan RamadanCredit: Instagram/Vicky Pattison
“So, yes, Ercan and I live here together – for all intents and purposes, it’s our home. But it’s my house.”
This, newly blonde Vicky, 33, is keen to emphasise, is no reflection on Ercan or how she feels about him. And he is completely comfortable with all of it.
“I’m sure he won’t mind me saying this, but Ercan is younger than me and he’s just starting his career as a personal trainer, so he’s a little bit further behind me in terms of getting on the property ladder.
“He’s proved himself time and time again to be incredibly trustworthy with no ulterior motives. But as I get older and slightly wiser, I’ve realised that I work far too flippin’ hard to make stupid mistakes based on how I feel.
“When it comes to your money and what you’ve sacrificed, you should think with your head all day long.
“I don’t ever want to be in the position I was in a couple of years ago, having to give up so much of what I’d worked for, just because I’d been thinking with my heart.”
In order to raise the hefty deposit for the new place, Vicky recently sold the house she eventually bought John out of.
She admits it was emotional having to let go of the home she’d fought so hard to make her own.
I’m highly strung and neurotic, whereas Ercan is one of these very measured people who just gets on with whatever is put in front of him
“Biting the bullet and selling it was actually the hardest part of the whole move. To me, it was the house where I put myself back together and I felt really proud of that.
“But I had to beg, steal and borrow to get the money for this [new] house and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
“Covid made the banks class everybody’s job as vulnerable – finding the 20% deposit was tough, as was convincing the banks I was good for it.
“So right up until the wire I was grafting to make sure I had everything I needed.”
Vicky and Ercan have moved into a new £1.5m house together, but the Essex property is Vicky’s and Vicky’s aloneCredit: Instagram/Vicky Pattison
Vicky and Ercan had only been together for a year when the first lockdown came into force last March – the fact they survived such an intense period so early on is testament to the strength of their relationship. Vicky says it just works.
“Our relationship was definitely in its infancy when we went into lockdown – I think it still is, in the grand scheme of things.
“I’m highly strung and neurotic, whereas Ercan is one of these very measured people who just gets on with whatever is put in front of him.
“He accepted we weren’t going to see family and friends for a while and I think how calm he was rubbed off on me.”
Just a couple of years ago, Vicky’s self-esteem was at an all-time lowCredit: Mark Hayman
She laughs. “I’m making him sound like my therapy dog, which is not the image I want to give for the love of my life! But he’s had a really positive effect on my general mentality, so it’s not the worst comparison.”
Just a couple of years ago, Vicky’s self-esteem was at an all-time low after her ex, John, was caught on camera in a compromising position with another woman in a Dubai nightclub in November 2018.
This betrayal was followed a couple of months later by an incident while Vicky was on holiday in Mexico when a pap took unsolicited photos which she felt were unflattering and which left her feeling violated.
Heartbreakingly, she says she thought people would look at those pictures and think “no wonder she got cheated on”.
Finally being in a relationship where she feels safe has turned everything around for VickyCredit: Mark Hayman
Finally being in a relationship where she feels safe, with a partner she trusts, has turned everything around.
“I’ve always been painfully insecure – like, cripplingly so. Behind this confident, quite brash facade was just a lost little girl who wanted to be loved. Ercan has really helped me to be accepting of who I am.
“I’d love to be one of those women who’s like: ‘I don’t need a man to feel great and strong’ and all that independent sassiness…and I am to an extent.
“But ultimately, there’s just something lovely about being loved for exactly who you are, warts and all. And I suppose he’s made me realise what I’ve been missing over the years.”
Lockdown quickly removed any of the mystique that new relationships often thrive on, which further helped Vicky to see herself differently.
“Before Covid, Ercan would see me go out to work and come back with a head full of hair extensions, a face full of make-up and a spring in my step because I’d been out all day meeting people and doing what I love.
“But during lockdown he just saw this sweaty little mess of a woman sitting on the sofa, gravy stains on her tracksuit pants, barely washing her hair, never wearing a bra and trying to fight with our Wi-Fi to record a podcast.
“So the fact that he saw me through all of that and still kissed me every morning and went to bed with me every night, made me realise that all that other stuff didn’t matter.
If he can love me with no make-up and baked beans on my pants, why can’t I love myself?
“I started to see myself as more than a girl who needs hair extensions all the time, who was only attractive because of all the pomp and ceremony.
“If he can love me with no make-up and baked beans on my pants, why can’t I love myself?”
Vicky has always been outspoken – expressive, intelligent and engaging, even in the infamous Geordie Shore days that launched her career a decade ago.
It was her sense of fun, charm and authenticity that saw her crowned Queen of the Jungle on I’m A Celebrity! in 2015, and over the last couple of years she’s become one of the leading voices on social media calling for more honesty on platforms like Instagram.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Vicky posted a make-up-free and unfiltered picture taken the morning after a night out in NewcastleCredit: Instagram/Vicky Pattison
She is always quick to show her 4.7 million followers the reality behind the filter or how a mere pose can entirely alter body shape in an instant.
It’s why we are delighted that she’s hosting an exclusive beauty event for Fabulous this summer, where we’ll be showcasing the winners of our Beauty Awards.
She says: “It’s so important to show both sides of the coin. It’s lovely to get dressed up and feel a billion dollars, but it’s not realistic to expect women to look like that every day.
“It’s not realistic to expect women to feel like that every day. I have days where I feel great and gorgeous, I can articulate myself well and I’m a powerhouse.
Vicky has become one of the leading voices on social media calling for more honesty on platforms like InstagramCredit: Instagram
“And then I have days where I’ve got my period, I feel super-squishy and I don’t want to face the world.
“You can’t have light without shade in life and I think once you take control of that and accept you’re human, it’s a really liberating feeling.
“Because you stop trying to feed into this really toxic pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect all the time. We’re not meant to be; we’re meant to be human.
“The more we encourage that dialogue on social media, the more other women find the inspiration to do the same.”
Vicky and Ercan spending lockdown together quickly removed any of the mystique that new relationships often thrive onCredit: Instagram
Just a couple of weeks ago, Vicky posted a make-up-free and unfiltered picture taken the morning after a night out in Newcastle, declaring she needed “an egg McMuffin and a pep talk”.
It attracted nearly 50,000 likes and an overwhelmingly positive response in the comments, but Vicky admits she feels nervous whenever she posts anything quite so raw.
“There’s a moment, right before I hit ‘Post’ when I’m filled with trepidation.
“I mean, there’s always going to be one bastard who doesn’t care what you’re trying to do and who’s intent on dragging you down to their level.
“There’s always one prick, right? I’m still at the mercy of these people sometimes – I can still be reduced to tears and I’m well over 10 years in the industry now.
“But with social media, I honestly believe you get back what you put out there. And the more you do it, the more desensitised to their bulls**t you become.”
After a boob job in 2014 following the rapid 4st weight loss she now says left her miserable and too thin, Vicky has resisted the temptation for further cosmetic procedures, even if scrolling through her phone makes her feel like she’s in the minority these days.
“I’ve got to practise what I preach. I talk about loving the skin you’re in, so what would it be like if I went off and had surgery whenever I felt a bit insecure?
This little journey of self-discovery and acceptance isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight
“So I’ve remained firm on this stance of not doing anything to my face – some days that decision is easier than others.
“I’m proud that I still look like me and because I’m starting to look a bit more like my mam [Caroll, 62], which I f**king love, because she’s gorgeous.
“But then some days I have a scroll through social media and I think: ‘How am I the only one getting older?’ And I start to feel like everybody’s mam!
“But you know, I’m 33, I look every one of those years and I’m fine with that.”
It was Vicky’s sense of fun, charm and authenticity that saw her crowned Queen of the Jungle on I’m A Celebrity! in 2015Credit: Rex Features
She sighs: “It’s such a long game, isn’t it? I think the industry I’m in exacerbated insecurities I already had, and this little journey of self-discovery and acceptance isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight.
“It’s always a battle I’m going to face internally, because my insecurities are from quite a young age. I think that’s the same for a lot of women and girls.”
Vicky says for the sake of her mental health she had an Instagram “cull” during lockdown, unfollowing accounts she realised were making her feel worse about herself.
Vicky has resisted the temptation for further cosmetic proceduresCredit: Instagram
“Dealing with a global pandemic was hard enough, but throw into the mix comparing yourself with a woman who looks like she has no cellulite, whose relationship is perfect, her kids are beyond beautiful and, oh, she’s also managed to learn the cello in lockdown,” jokes Vicky.
“Don’t take this as me being scathing to those women who seem like they’ve got it all together. But it’s just how honest do you want to be on social media?
“And if you’re looking at a woman and thinking: ‘God, everything seems so great in her life’, it’s just because she’s hiding the bits that aren’t. Me, I’m never going to hide the messy bits.”
Vicky makes no secret of her big ambitions beyond the reality TV merry-go-round, either.
Vicky says for the sake of her mental health she had an Instagram ‘cull’ during lockdownCredit: INSTAGRAM/VICKYSVACAYS
Her podcast, Vicky Pattison: The Secret To…, is now into its fourth season and is providing a foundation for what she hopes will be a move into TV presenting.
She’s open about the fact she’s at a career crossroads and is therefore being more discerning about the jobs she takes.
“TV presenting is my end goal, so in the last 12 months I’ve been moving away from reality, and I think this podcast is helping me position myself into a space where people can see me as someone who could host.
“For so many years I’ve done everything that came my way – within reason. And I’ve loved it.
“I love being busy, I love trying new stuff, I love being on the telly and being seen as successful.
“My career is such a huge part of how I define myself.
“But over the last couple of years, I’ve really become aware that I wanted to advance myself.”
She spoke to her trusted life coach Bill Murtha about how to move forward and although she feels a little at sea right now, she’s keeping the faith she’ll get to shore.
I’m always going to be ambitious. I don’t think I’m ever going to stop wanting more
“I told my life coach I was feeling really uncomfortable and stagnant. Doing ‘Strictly Come Dancing on Ice with Monkeys’ isn’t going to further me any more.
“He described it as having one desert island and swimming to the next one, which is bigger, with better fruit on it and people you’d really get on with.
“And just because the waters are starting to get choppy doesn’t mean you turn around.
“You must keep pushing forward if you have any hope of being the person you want to be and having the job you want.
Vicky says she loves that she’s starting to look more like her mum CarollCredit: PA
“So, yeah, I’m in the middle of these choppy waters and I feel lost and I’m not quite where I want to be yet.
“But I know that if I go back, I’m going to have to start again. I’m doing the right thing.”
“Other than that, there’s nothing else I can do apart from work hard and be the best version of myself.
Vicky makes no secret of her big ambitions beyond the reality TV merry-go-roundCredit: instagram
“I just keep hoping. I’d love in the next couple of years to have moved into the world of presenting documentaries, investigative stuff like that.”
But, she adds: “I’m not in a rush, by any means – lockdown has taught me that.
“I’m always going to be ambitious. I don’t think I’m ever going to stop wanting more.”
- Listen to Vicky Pattison: The Secret To… on all major podcast platforms
In the make-up chair with Vicky
Do you have a skincare regime?
I use Dermatica, which helps with oily skin, fine lines and breakouts. I also love Nip + Fab products, as they’re affordable.
What are your make-up bag essentials?
Plenty of L’Oréal and Maybelline. Occasionally I’ll treat myself to something from Iconic, Charlotte Tilbury or Mac.
What’s the best beauty bargain?
Barry M nail varnishes don’t chip! And their lip mask is brilliant.
Do you have any beauty hacks?
Once a week, I sleep in conditioner under a shower cap. It makes my hair feel amazing.
Describe your beauty evolution.
Now I’m in my 30s, less is more. A nice BB cream, mascara, lip oil and a bit of brow gel and I’m good to go.