Once upon a time, there was a girl who knew that she wanted to be famous, and when the producers of a new reality show discovered her, on a last warning at her call-centre job, it really was a modern-day fairytale come true. A rapid rise to stardom as one of the Newcastle gang that loved to party, fight, kiss and make up, Vicky Pattison’s ascent to Geordie Shore fame coincided with the advent of a new social media age, and soon a legion of young fans were following her every digital move. “Geordie Shore was based on America’s Jersey Shore show, where sassy, strong-willed personalities from old-school Italian families drank, partied, fought and fornicated,” says Vicky. “MTV set about creating a UK version and sent out envoys to Merseyside and Newcastle to scout out the best characters for its show.”
“In Newcastle, we party hard and occasionally it all ends in tears or tantrums, but there’s a genuine warmth to the people that you can’t fake or recreate and that’s essentially what the show centred on. There are four boys and four girls in a house together, learning, growing up, and it follows their relationships and friendships.” However, as many reality stars will confirm, once the cameras stop rolling, the descent to normality can be as rapid as a Turbo Express Smoothie on fast blend. Not so for Vicky who, six years later, has a burgeoning television career that continues to take her into new territories and keeps her social media stats peaking above 5.5 million followers. “I have two regrets about Geordie Shore,” says Vicky. “I’d never criticise the show as it was my platform and took me to some gorgeous places. I learned an awful lot about people, myself and the television business, but I regret disappointing my mum and having sex on screen. We were never a naked house growing up and I’m not that way inclined, but when you live in a situation surrounded by people who are, there’s a certain amount of pressure and you lose yourself.”
Since she left Geordie Shore in 2014, already a megawatt Loaded pin-up star and showbiz column regular, Vicky has jettisoned from one TV success to another, with spots on Big Brother’s Bit on the Side, This Morning, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and Celebrity Juice. Later she appeared as a panelist on Loose Women and alongside TV stalwart Eamonn Holmes on It’s Not Me, It’s You – she holds their friendship dear, as a mentor for her in a tough entertainment industry.
Fairytale aside, the truth is Vicky Pattison’s effervescent career (much like the Juice Master’s!) is the result of a lot of hard work, dogged determination and a willingness to try her hand at new challenges. Vicky’s 2015 MTV show, Judge Geordie, saw her act as chief negotiator on her home turf, sorting out feuds and fights between families and friends. It’s a role that suited her feisty yet fair personality, and set her in good stead for the infamous jungle on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, later that year. The jungle gave her an opportunity to show a more rounded side of her warm and considerate nature, a trait I’ve often seen for myself during her visits to Juicy Oasis. The public responded by making her the season’s winner, despite close competition from some strong personalities.
“The jungle was the best thing I’ve ever done and I always knew it was going to be – I’d been asking them for years!” jokes Vicky. “I always knew it was the show that would be the making of me because I’m not what everyone thought I was. It’s easy to have preconceived notions about someone when you watch a show like Geordie Shore – 100 hours of footage goes into 42 minutes of television. For 99 hours I could have been sitting around sipping green tea, talking about politics and giving someone a shoulder to cry on, but they don’t want to see that, they want to see me swearing and slamming doors.”
“In the jungle, you can’t be manipulated or hide and there’s no way things can be misconstrued. I knew even if I went in and got voted out first, I would have given it my best shot – I’m not fake and I just wanted a chance to make my mum proud, to show people who I really am and give it my best go.” As we’re sitting at Juicy Oasis, sipping juices while we chat, I’m curious to know how a week in the jungle compares with a seven-day detox retreat, and whether the show’s Bushtucker Trials were as effective in boosting her diet and fitness regime. “We actually ate quite a lot in the jungle,” she laughs. “In the Trials, everyone got their head down, was quite resilient and stoic. I was the only celebrity to come out of the jungle the same weight as I went in – I didn’t lose a pound. I kept physically active and did ‘men’s jobs’, such as carrying firewood, and I gained muscle. I definitely get less to eat at Juicy Oasis, but it’s no less an experience!”
Now in amazing shape, Vicky has spoken about her struggle with weight in the past, but is now committed to regular exercise and nutrition. “I’ve always been a size 10, but with the Geordie Shore lifestyle, I ended up around 12 stone and a size 14-16. I was severely unhappy and the turning point came when some nasty photographs were published of me. I realised that if I was going to get serious about my career I couldn’t be weak, so I hired a personal trainer and learnt about nutrition. As I got into shape, I almost got addicted to it! You’ve got to be careful and keep a balance, but I’m far happier than I ever was overweight and out of shape.” Balance is indeed an essential ingredient for health and happiness and, after a roller-coaster year in 2016, a week at Juicy Oasis offers Vicky a much-needed opportunity to rest, restore and reflect. “2016 was simultaneously the best and worst year of my life,” she says. “It was amazing in that I achieved a lot of my professional goals, but it almost broke me personally.”
“I wasn’t sleeping or eating right and I couldn’t relax – I was constantly worried about the next thing. It wasn’t that I was worried about projects coming along, it was just that they wouldn’t stop coming! I know how lucky I am, and I certainly don’t regret it, but at the same time it was a massive strain on my health. “Juicy Oasis is the only place in the world where I can truly relax, escape and unwind. It’s a bubble and the only place for me where reality ceases to exist. The Juicy Oasis team knows when I arrive that I’m tired and not looking after myself. Within a couple of days I come back to life and I’m myself again.”
With a new balance mantra, her mind and body restored, Vicky kicked off 2017 with the launch of her Mini V Nutrition supplements and plans for a fashion range, along with a new series of E4’s Virtually Famous. As she turns 30 this year, what else does the girl from Newcastle want to achieve? “My dream changes all the time,” she says. “I don’t want to look back and have been so busy I didn’t enjoy the amazing experiences I had. Last year, one week I was in Tokyo discovering Japanese attitudes towards love, the next week I was on the Amalfi Coast milking a buffalo, and the week after I was trekking in Iceland and raising money for Cancer Research before coming home to a 15-day book tour.”
“I look back at these things in isolation and I had the most incredible year, but at times I was so busy and stressed out I wasn’t grateful, and I don’t want to do that again. On the other side, I want to be doing Ant & Dec’s job when they finish, hosting everything, rubbing shoulders with Simon Cowell and living in a big house next door to my best friend!”
With a wide grin on her face, she’s half-joking, but there’s no doubt Vicky’s got the tenacity to plug away at her goals until she achieves each and every one. Looking at the polished presenter and astute businesswoman in front of me, Geordie Shore seems a lifetime away, but Vicky’s the first to remember and respect the show that started her career. Truly grounded, she’s also very much in love with her boyfriend, John Noble, a man she met before she became a household name. “We met when we were 22 and I knew him before I was famous,” she says. “I started doing Geordie Shore and he was focused on his family’s business and we went our own ways. Then, last year, we bumped into each other on a train, started talking and dating, and before I knew it we were boyfriend and girlfriend again. I believe he’s the right one!” As we’re good friends, I chance my arm and ask if she’d say ‘Yes’ if he popped a certain question? “On a scale of one to ten, with one being not a cat in hell’s chance,” I ask… “I would tell you to buy a hat, Jason,” Vicky replies.
I won’t go as far as to ask whether it’ll be a gorgeous Geordie wedding, but Vicky hasn’t forgotten her roots.“I must never forget who I am, where I came from and any of the things that make me, me,” she states. “That’s what made the public like me in the jungle, and it’s what makes me like me! My mantra is have courage, be kind and don’t be a knob!” I’ll raise a juice to that!