Vogue Williams: Getting a job at 16 gave me my work ethic and ambition

Most people would shudder at the thought of a 24-hour flight. But not Vogue Williams.

“It kind of freaks me out, but I’m also really excited about it, because I’ve been very busy and I can’t wait to just sit and read and watch mindless TV and eat for hours.

“I honestly don’t remember the last time I did that,” says the Irish model-turned-media personality, podcast host and influencer, who is also mum to three young children.

“I used to when I was younger, obviously,” she adds of the prospect of having a whole day sat down by herself. “But now I have kids, it’s not the same – I’m still up at 7am even if I decide to have a few drinks the night before. So now this is going to feel like a [pre-children] hangover day – without the hangover. I feel like I’m 22 again, having nobody else to worry about, which is great!”

Putting a humorous spin on things is what’s made her podcast, My Therapist Ghosted Me – which Williams, 38, co-hosts with her friend, comedian Joanne McNally – such a hit. She’s about to fly to Australia for a live tour of the show when we speak, hence the 24-hour flight conversation.

But while she’s looking forward to indulging in some high-altitude ‘me time’, what she’s much less thrilled about is the impact it’ll have on her sleep. Williams is fiercely devoted to her bedtime routine.

“I have a ritual before bed,” she asserts. “I need to read a book for a little while before I go to sleep. I like to have a pillow scent, I light a candle, I have a face mask, earplugs, white noise – there’s a whole routine for me to sit down and chill.”

On a normal day, she could be in bed “by half eight, half nine”, she says. “And I’m up at six every day. But I’m such a morning person, my kids are always up early, and I just like being up with the start of day.”

Has she always been an early riser, or is this just since having children? (Williams shares Theodore, five, Gigi, three, and one-year-old Otto with her husband, former reality TV star-turned-entrepreneur Spencer Matthews – they met in 2017 when they both signed up as contestants on Channel 4’s winter sports show, The Jump).

“I blame my stepdad,” reflects Williams, who grew up in Portmarnock and Howth outside Dublin (her parents split when Williams was seven, and her dad Freddie later died from a stroke in 2010).

“Because he worked from a very young age, and he was really focused on us getting up and getting stuff done – so we would be up at seven o’clock even on the weekend, we’d be doing chores in the kitchen, and then we’d be off hanging out with our friends. Then by the time I was 16 I had a job, so I’ve always got up early. And I just prefer to relax in the morning.”

Her first job was working in a local shop. “I actually got it because I’d asked my mum to buy me a pair of Miss Sixty jeans. She was like, ‘Yeah, of course you can have those jeans’ – and then a little bit after, she was like, ‘You know those jeans you want? I got you a job in the shop up the road so you can pay for them yourself’.

“But I loved it,” Williams reflects. “I love that I worked around the area that I grew up in – I used to work in the restaurant there, in a pub, I still know most of the girls who worked in the restaurant. It was a really nice place to work, and I think it’s nice to start working when you’re 16, because for me, I really appreciate that for myself. It definitely gave me my work ethic and ambition.”

As well as My Therapist Ghosted Me, Williams also has a podcast with her husband (Spencer & Vogue). Social media is a big part of her work too these days, often collaborating with brands – including her ongoing ambassadorship with Yankee Candle, which is basically an extension of her a lifelong obsession with candles.

“My house is filled with candles and I’ve always loved them – I love the cosiness. I always think whenever you’re just sitting down, it’s nice to dim the lights and have a candle on. I’ve done that ever since having my first house on my own,” she says. “And I love my candles when I get in the bath – I’m very romantic with myself like that.”

It comes back to bringing ritualistic elements into her daily routine, too. Relaxing doesn’t come naturally for Williams – but she’s learned how to craft it into day-to-day life in ways that work for her.

“I can’t just sit down and chill. I have to set myself up, and fragrance is a really important one for me with this,” she says.

Also important is staying active: workouts are a non-negotiable.

“I’m consistent with my training, and I feel like it really is good for the mind,” says Williams, who recently launched a fitness platform – FlexiFit – with an app due in the new year. “For me, it’s literally just part of my day – like getting up and having a shower. I work out when I’m going to train during the week, because I see my diary for the week ahead and just slot it in where I can. Being consistent and knowing that those are the days where I’ll be [working out] is really helpful to me.”

She says she’s “always been really active” but now considers it essential self-care too – especially as being someone who doesn’t “really sit still very much” does mean she needs to be mindful of not spinning too many plates sometimes.

“To be honest, I’m super-conscious of that anyway, because I do tend to get anxious sometimes, so I really try to keep on top of that.”

And if she does sense the stress spiking…

“I just take a chill day,” says Williams. “And Spenny is really good, if I’m like, ‘I can’t do this, can you do that?’ – we are a team like that at home. And I think that that’s really important.”

Vogue Williams is an ambassador for Yankee Candle (