Abbey Clancy is riding high as fashion’s reality TV crossover star, but what’s it like being a footballer’s wife who baulks at the “WAG” tag?
Taken from the September Issue of Rollacoaster Magazine, on sale now:
“Don’t write that I was in my pyjamas looking minging,” laughs the perfectly formed Liverpudlian blonde in front of me. “Say I was looking really glam!” There’s no way in a million years that Abbey Clancy could ever look “minging”, even if she tried. We’ve seen her battle her way to first place on Strictly Come Dancing (“I was a maniac”), witnessed blood, sweat and tears on Hell’s Kitchen (“Oh god, I forgot about that”) and her pre-fame days on Britain’s Next Top Model before she was catapulted into the spotlight – and never once has she looked anything less than ideal. Even now, stood barefaced in her lounge clothes while cooking a stew, she looks quite the domesticated goddess in her Primrose Hill apartment. “As you can see [Hell’s Kitchen] taught me a few skills,” she laughs.
That’s the first thing I learn about Clancy – family means everything. She lives with her daughter Sophia, husband Peter Crouch and brother Sean, also a footballer, who’s just texted her a photo of a vintage brown fur coat she might like. Having just returned from Disneyland Paris (“It was great, but the queues were just insane and everyone is so rude there!”), the second thing I note about Clancy is how much she values manners. “The woman I idolise the most is my mum,” she says. “I think she’s a strong woman who raised four kids to be good-mannered, hard working, kind and happy. I just think she’s amazing.”
Family aside, her fashion idol is Brigitte Bardot. “I think she’s just insane. A sex Goddess, I love her.” For Clancy, it seems sex is always on the brain; whether it’s reflecting on her Rollacoaster shoot (“There was me and a young, half naked 19 year old boy. I was blushing like a child or a pervert, very unprofessional, but I was just so nervous and red.”) or her relationship with LOVE publisher and super-stylist Katie Grand (“I always end up naked with Katie!”).
It’s Grand who Clancy credits for helping her find her fashion feet. “She’s done so much for me that I could never pay her back for, she’s a gorgeous person who’s helped me so much,” she enthuses. “The first time I met her was when she asked me to do a shoot for LOVE. I turned up and she had a list of people there who were in the public eye, but not really seen in that fashion-y way. We just hit it off.” “Abbey is infectious – the epitome of a ‘bubbly blonde’,” says Grand. “She’s smart, hilarious, fun, has legs forever and one of the most rocking bodies I’ve ever seen. She loves clothes and has a perfect fugure for them (and bikinis). She really is a great girl, I love her.”
Abbey wears black cotton bra by La Perla and pearl drop earrings by Chanel Fine Jewellery.
Clancy’s first flirtation with fame came when she started a girl band called Genie Queen as a teen. “I loved singing when I was younger,” she recalls. “But it’s not something that I talk about. It’s highly embarrassing!” After a quick Google search, I can see why Clancy is keen to lock her inner pop star in the past, citing Britain’s Next Top Model as her big break. “Eight weeks away from home was quite scary and all the girls were fighting like cats and dogs,” she recalls. “I didn’t like all the bitchiness. I put a stone on in the house too, because I just couldn’t stop eating. They used to just feed us boxes of M&S flapjacks and I’d just eat them all day. I do love the show though.
Upon leaving the show, Clancy’s career snowballed, kicking of with her first “WAG” outing to Portugal with the England football team. “All my clothes were in my bag and they were all crappy and dirty from the [BNTP] house. The next thing I knew I was sitting in my crappy high street dress having dinner with Victoria Beckham who was done up to death!” But in truth, Clancy’s not interested in being a WAG. “I don’t really take offence to it, but it amuses me what people think is the reality. It’s not really real life – what you see in the magazines. They’re all normal girls going out with footballers.” No, she has bigger fish to fry: recently locking herself away for days on end, she designed a range of dresses for Liverpudlian retailer Matalan. “I work hard and I love to work, but I try and pick jobs on whether or not they will be fun,” she says, matter-of-factly.
Abbey wears black and green feather dress by Alberta Ferretti and hoop earrings by Dior Joaillerie
When it came to deciding whether to appear on Strictly Come Dancing, she admits she needed persuading. “They had asked me to do it for a few years, and I had never been interested in doing it,” Clancy explains. “I thought there was nothing worse than going on TV and humiliating yourself, doing something you can’t do! But after having the baby, I needed some ‘me’ time and something exciting to do. And there I was, six months later, winning it.” She makes it sound so simple, but if one thing is for sure, Clancy doesn’t do things by halves. “I became so obsessed with it and so caught up in the Strictly bubble, that all my friends thought I was a complete psycho. One [friend] bought me a Strictly swear box, because it’s all I could talk and think about. I think everyone should take up dancing. You have a new lease of life and just feel great.”
If dancing is one of Clancy’s musts, we’re hoping for a revolutionary recommendation when it comes to maintaining a perfectly proportioned figure. As expected, we’re out of luck. “I went to the gym today for the first time since May and it nearly killed me! I’m just non-stop. I’m always running around, but I eat like a horse. I think everyone in my family is tall and thin. My baby weighs about ten stone, and I’m always lifting her! That’s a workout on its own,” she LOLs.
One of Clancy’s most iconic fashion moments was walking for Giles Deacon’s AW11 show. Naturally she looked impeccable – and, ugh, was pregnant at the time, too. “I had boobs like Pamela Anderson!” she hollers. “It was so fun. I love doing the high-end stuff… Not a lot of people see me in that way, but Katie has put me in Russian Vogue and on various front covers. I enjoy it, because I can dress up and be someone else. Someone a bit sexier and a bit harder.” Isn’t she sexy enough already? No, she’s aiming higher. “I want to shoot for Versace – their campaigns are so glamorous and sexy.” Oh, and then there’s “Victoria’s Secret… That’s the only real goal I’ve ever had.
Abbey wears black satin bra by Agent Provocateur, jewelled headpiece by Victoria Grant and black gloves by Paul Seville. Matthew wears black leather snakeskin mask by Paul Seville.
Abbey wears black custom chiffon sheer dress by Joseph Turvey, black lace bra by Agent Provocateur, black cotton knickers by Myla, black leather corset by Coco De Mer, black gloves by Dsquared2 and pearl drop diamond earrings by Chanel Fine Jewellery.
Abbey wears black jersey zip dress by Fendi, black jewelled belt by Bebe and black leather cuff by Paul Seville.
Abbey wears black velvet cape by Saint Laurent from Rellik, black satin and gold bra and suspender belt by Agent Provocateur, black cotton hold ups by Flake, black fur collar by Fendi and pearl drop earrings by Chanel Fine Jewellery and Matthew wears black jeans by Tom Ford.
Photographer: Nick Haddow
Fashion: Andrew Davis
Words: Brooke McCord
Hair: Phillip Tholiment at Streeters using Oribe Hair Care
Make-up: Tania Grier using Mac Cosmetics
Digital Operator: Sofie Gynning
Photography Assistance: Sam Hearn & Liberto Fillo
Fashion Assistance: Sam Carder & Itunu Oke
Make-up Assistance: Elena Finch
Model: Matthew Holt @ Next Model Management.