No new mum looks like this. It's all fake… admits Jodi Albert as she lashes celeb mothers who starve to lose their baby weight
00:08 GMT, 8 April 2012
Posing in sexy patterned stockings and the shortest of short tops, Jodi Albert looked as glamorous – and as svelte – as she ever had.
Amazingly, the glamorous shoot – for the portfolio of an up-and-coming fashion photographer friend – came less than three months after she gave birth to her first baby, son Koa.
The online reaction after she tweeted the pictures was phenomenal. Most responses were congratulatory but the undercurrent of envy and, occasionally, despair was impossible to miss. It is this undercurrent, perhaps, that has prompted the actress and singer into a guilty confession.
Family: Jodi Albert, with husband Kian Egan and baby son Koa
For today, Jodi reveals that the glamorous images were ‘not real’ – and insists ‘edited’ pictures set a false standard that ordinary women cannot possibly live up to.
Those celebrities who really do lose weight instantly are ‘barely eating’ while exercising ‘like lunatics’, Jodi says – and setting an unhealthy and disheartening example.
In an exclusive interview with the Irish Mail on Sunday, the former Hollyoaks star says she is determined to tell other mothers that celebrities struggle with losing baby weight too and confesses the pictures of her were ‘not reality’.
‘I did a fashion photoshoot for a friend and basically she put the pictures on Twitter and they got a bit of a reaction,’ she says. ‘One of the papers picked up on it, saying that I was winning the fight against the baby bulge.
‘But I don’t want women to get disheartened: the shoot was fun but it wasn’t reality. I don’t wake up every morning looking skinny. As someone who has always been honest, I felt like I really had to let them know that I am struggling. It is hard.’
Jodi, pictured shortly after giving birth, reveals that the glamorous images were 'not real' – and insists 'edited' pictures set a false standard that ordinary women cannot possibly live up to'
The 28-year-old wife of Westlife’s Kian Egan says another recent spread in OK! magazine also made her look unrealistically glamorous. Jodi is seen cuddling up to Kian and baby Koa – and the new mother looks flawless.
She refuses to say which images are airbrushed – and which are just cleverly lit or angled.
‘Let’s say the photographer is very clever; he can change things and he knows what he’s doing,’ she said.
‘I appreciate that photography flatters sometimes because I have lots of lumps and bumps – but at the same time, I want to be honest about it to women,’ she adds.
The actress admits that she has been heavily airbrushed throughout most of her career, saying that she didn’t even recognise herself when she graced the cover of men’s magazine Maxim.
‘Most of my pictures have been airbrushed. When I was in Hollyoaks, I didn’t even know what airbrushing was. I started doing these photo shoots for Maxim and I would look at myself and I would think, “Oh, I look very different. Why do I look so weird”
‘And it was because the photographer airbrushed the s*** out of me. I didn’t even recognise myself any more,’ she says.
The performer – who was also a member of now-defunct girl group Wonderland, co-managed by Voice mentor Kian – was quick to point out that she is not like many other celebrity mothers. She said influential women like Victoria Beckham were starving themselves to lose their baby weight.
‘Ninety-nine per cent of other people in the world are not like her,’ Jodi says. ‘Other women are sat at home looking at her, then looking at the mirror and they are hating themselves for the way that they look. And I think that that’s wrong.
Glam: Miranda Kerr (left) and Nicole Kidman both posed up soon after giving birth
‘I’m sitting at home as well thinking, “My backside has got big and my boobs have changed”, and I just don’t mind sharing that. I think that it’s bull to try and reach out to everyday mothers going, “Look how skinny I am. I did this by eating three meals a day, with snacks in between.”
‘That’s what all the dieticians tell you to do but that’s not what they are doing. That only happens through barely eating and exercising like a lunatic. It happens through this strange drive they have to look perfect and I don’t have that.
‘I don’t want to be hungry when I’m trying to look after my child and I don’t want to always go training. I would rather be like that than be false to myself and starving. Don’t get me wrong, I think Victoria Beckham is a beautiful woman but I do feel that the other women who are struggling need a voice. I want to let them know that it is a struggle, I am still struggling,’ she confesses.
‘To lose weight fast, a lot of people will do it all the wrong ways. I personally find it extremely hard to be hungry when I take care of my baby so I would rather eat and think, “Right if someone takes a picture of me and I look slightly heavy then sod it, I don’t care”,’ she says.
While Victoria Secret’s model Miranda Kerr and actresses Catherine Zeta-Jones and Nicole Kidman were quick to pose in their bikinis just after giving birth, Jodi said she didn’t care if people saw her big tummy. Nobody is perfect, she insists.
‘The biggest thing I found about having a baby is how much your body changes and how hard it is to get your body back. I know Koa is only three months old but three months is a long time to get used to a body you’re not used to.
‘There is this perception out there that you have to be perfect. That you have to have big lips, big eyes, that you have to be skinny, and I think, “Who cares Who says that you have to be all of those things”
‘With the fashion pictures I did, I was helping out a friend and that’s why I said this isn’t reality and I want that to be known. I’m not perfect, I have wobbly bits, like every other mother out there. Of course, I do want to be able to look nice in my bikini in the summer but I don’t want to kill myself to get there.
‘When I’m out, I don’t want to just eat a lettuce leaf for lunch while everyone else is having their steak and chips and enjoying life. I want to join in. I’m not going to be on a really low-calorie, no-fat, no-carb, nothing diet,’ she says.
The singer frequently comments on body image issues on her new blog – love-life-waves.tumblr.com – hoping to reach out to women who recently had children and are feeling self-conscious.
‘The first thing I wrote on the blog was about the fashion pictures I had posted because of the reaction I got. I didn’t want people to get disheartened. I think the biggest thing that people don’t talk about when they have a baby is how a woman’s body copes after having a baby.
‘I wake up thinking, “Oh no, I guess I have to go bloody training today”. And I really don’t feel like it. During the moments he’s asleep, I like to reach out to other mums and let them in on my life a little bit and let them know what I’m going through and share it with them. I’ve just been doing it for fun. I’m not doing it to get anything out of it.
'I think the best thing that has happened to me since having a baby is the connection I actually feel with other mums who have been through the same thing. I am never stuck for conversation with other mums. I talk about stretch marks, that my boobs are dropping a little bit and I can chat and chat about it all day,’ she says.
The actress is also using the blog as a way to share pictures of Koa and Kian. She’s not shy about telling fans about her dream house, built from scratch in Sligo, her second home in London and her jet-setting lifestyle – but she insists the family are incredibly grateful for their blessings.
‘We moved into the house in Sligo at the end of last summer and it’s lovely. We wake up every day and look at the views around us and we feel blessed. We are very fortunate and we are so grateful for what we have. We live between London and Sligo – we always have.
'I’m from London and my family are in London. In the nine years we have been together, we have always split it between both. We have a house in London, too. We just go backwards and forwards – we travel a lot.’
The former actress is in no rush to get back to work and is happy to let Kian be the bread winner.
Although Westlife is winding up this year, Kian is enjoying his coaching role on RT talent show The Voice Of Ireland. He is portrayed as the Mr Nasty of the show but Jodi says he is just being honest.
‘He’s so made for what he’s doing at the moment. With The Voice and everything, he’s a really good mentor and I’m very proud of him. He does speak his mind but he’s not a nasty person. He gives people constructive criticism but he also doesn’t believe in giving false hope.
‘He’s seen a lot of people like me who have had lots of ups and downs in their career and it is so hard. He just wants to educate people about it so that they know it’s not all a bed of roses out there.
‘It’s nothing to do with him being nasty. I would never let him be nasty and it’s not in his nature to be a nasty person anyway. I think it’s very constructive and I’m very proud of him.’