Kelly Brook: Retro-to-Go

By on April 4, 2013
Kelly Brook

Better known for her hourglass assets and chirpy personality, model, actress and entrepreneur Kelly Brooks has turned her creative talents to the art of homemaking.

Celebrity collaborations are a powerful marketing tool these days. Think Kate Moss for Zara, or Cheryl Cole with fashion website Stylist Pick. Drawing inspiration from her fascination for Marilyn Munroe and a “love” of all things 50s, actress and model Kelly Brook looks set to follow in their style-savvy footsteps with the launch of her very own homeware range in association with online chain Argos. Comprising two bespoke collections; Hawaiian and Wish You Wear Here, the range includes ultra-pretty floral duvet sets, throws and cushions in bright and breezy shades – just like her personality.

Critics have slammed the collection as just another money making venture, but Brook is quick to rebuff the naysayers, pointing to a business track record that has seen her buy, renovate and sell multiple properties for profit both at home and abroad: a clear indication that she’s much more than just a pretty face.

The proud owner of a Spanish finca-style mansion in LA and a stylish pied-a-terre in Wimbledon, her true home-from-home is a stunning 14th-century Tudor farmhouse set in five acres of prime Kent countryside, a property she has renovated from top-to-toe and recalls as “one of the most stressful things” she has ever done. “It was falling down, nothing worked, you’d turn on the tap and only a trickle of water would come out. It was freezing cold and for two years I landed up sleeping in jumpers.”

But it was a labour of love. When Kelly was small she recalls making a drawing of her dream house: a cottage with roses over the door, a pond and a cherry tree. “What I have now looks pretty much like that,” she adds.

Born and brought up in Rochester, Kent, Brook has made a career out of seizing opportunities that come her way. Her mother Sandra, a cook, took her for an audition at the Italia Conti stage school at the age of 12 where she secured a place. Leaving at 16, and, after being turned down by several acting agents in London, she decided to enter a local modelling competition and won, being taken on by a top name glamour agency. Soon she was doing regular swimwear and lingerie shoots.

It’s that self-starting character trait that has led to her steely determination to “keep striving”. In the past 15 years she’s been fired as a judge from Britain’s Got Talent, lost her father to cancer while she was on Strictly Come Dancing, and, more recently, had a miscarriage. In each case, she has picked herself up and carried on. “You have to take the knocks, you know,” she says. “It’s a tough business.”

Professionally, her decision not to put “all her eggs in one basket” has proved a savvy one. “My business projects will always be separate to my acting and modelling careers,” she stresses. “It’s better that way.” In addition to her home ware collection, her entrepreneurial flair is also coming to the fore designing lingerie and swimwear for New Look – pretty, push-up 1950s-style bras in lace and gingham with matching knickers. “Most girls have curves, something I can relate to – so that’s who I design for.”

While the death of her father in 2007 was a traumatic episode in her life – it has prompted a much needed period of reassessment and provided the necessary push to find a sustainable work-life balance. “After spending my 20s being overwhelmed by the opportunities thrown at me – I’m making a point now of only homing in on projects that I’m truly passionate about. At the end of the day however, I have to remember that it’s not the be all and end all, this business. There’s always something else one can do. The key is to knuckle down and give it your best whatever the challenge may be. That’s the way to truly live your life.”

Kelly’s Heroes

Top Home-Making Tips

For unique pieces of furniture go to Alfies Antique Market in Marylebone and Anthropologie for fantastic homeware accessories for the kitchen.

Favourite designers

Balenciaga have some stunning coats this season, and their clothes are beautifully structured. Moschino designs are so charming and feminine, and I adore Lanvin for the pure luxury. And for shoes, nothing beats Christian Louboutin stilettos. I also love Moschino’s whimsical 1950s designs and Diane von Furstenburg’s wrap dresses.

Hottest Look

Classic, feminine and sexy. I adore that whole 1950s glamour, a time when women made an effort with every element of their appearance.

Best skin care range

I always cleanse with Dr Alkatis Facial Cleanser and use the Organic Face Food from the same range. They are wonderful products, developed to literally feed your face. Your skin looks glowing afterwards.

Preferred holiday destination

St Tropez. “I try to go every year – the yachting there is such fun and the shopping is pretty amazing too.”