WHAT comes out of the mouths of babes can be brutally truthful and capable of getting to the heart of the matter in an instant. And so Rochelle Humes was stopped in her tracks when her four-year-ol…
WHAT comes out of the mouths of babes can be brutally truthful and capable of getting to the heart of the matter in an instant.
And so Rochelle Humes was stopped in her tracks when her four-year-old daughter Alaia-Mai said she couldn’t possibly be a princess because of the curly hair she disliked so much.
Mark Hayman Rochelle Humes opens up about the damage to her daughter’s self-esteem
“I said: ‘But Mummy’s hair used to be curly,’” recalls Rochelle. “She just laughed and said: ‘No it didn’t!’
“I tried to show her, but I’ve knackered my hair so much over the years from straightening, it was nowhere nearly as curly as it once was.”
Alaia had been saying for some weeks previously that she didn’t like her curls, but it was only then that Rochelle realised perhaps the answer lay closer to home. Quite apart from the shortage of Disney princesses with anything other than white skin and straight hair making her feel different and excluded, Alaia had never seen her mum with her natural curls.
“She wasn’t seeing herself anywhere and this was really affecting her,” says Rochelle.
Mark Hayman Rochelle is furious with herself for straightening her curly hair
“She wants to be like me in every way, you know how little girls do with their mums because it feels like a grown-up thing. And she’d seen that Elsa [from Frozen] doesn’t have curly hair, nor does Rapunzel, and so she felt she couldn’t be a princess because of it. I was heartbroken. Kids only state the obvious.”
From that day at the end of last year, Rochelle, 29, resolved to lead by example and stop straightening her hair, restoring it to its beautiful, bouncy, curly glory. It’s an ongoing process to undo the damage wreaked by hair tools, but those curls look utterly sublime today, enhanced even further by some clever clip-ins brought along by her stylist. She says she now has no idea why she bothered to straighten her locks in the first place.
Mark Hayman Daughter Alaia stopped her in her tracks when she said she disliked her own curls
“I’m mad with myself, to be honest. I wonder why I straightened my hair for so long. I’m trying to get it back to how it used to be – I just want what I used to have, but there’s so much dead hair.
“My mum said this would happen to me. She’s loving telling me that she told me so. When I was 13 or 14 she’d say: ‘Don’t start messing with your hair, people would pay money to have hair like that.’ And I’d be like: ‘Oh, Mum, shh while I get my straighteners out!’ But she was right.”
“She’s over the moon about it. I think it’s definitely worked and she feels more comfortable because she’s never said one negative thing about her curls since.”
Rochelle now posts pictures of fellow curly haired women on her Instagram every Wednesday using the hashtags #Curlcrushwednesday and #Curlslikeus.
“I look at pictures of me with straight hair and it feels weird. I know it looks better now. If only everyone knew that they look better natural. You’re supposed to look the way you’re supposed to look.”
Mark Hayman Alaia, 4, had never seen Rochelle, 29, with her natural bouncy curly hair
It all sounds impeccably played by Rochelle. She’s managed the whole situation with calm and good sense, and it’s clearly had a hugely positive effect on Alaia. But she insists that when it comes to all things parenting, she’s making it up as she goes along.
“Listen,” she says, “I’m still winging motherhood. I’m not gonna lie. I remember thinking my mum knew the answers to everything, and I know that Alaia looks at me like I’m god. She literally thinks everything I say is gospel – which I love – just like my sister and I thought my mum would save us from everything. Y’know: ‘It’s OK, my mum will sort it out.’ And I still think that now!”
Mark Hayman From that day, Rochelle stopped straightening it and restored it to its natural bauty
However, she does admit that since second daughter Valentina – known as Vally – was born 13 months ago, she’s a lot more confident in her abilities.
“I’ve enjoyed it so much more second time around,” she says. “I’m not listening to people’s opinions. I think: ‘Well, we’ve already raised one and she’s a lovely, kind, polite girl, and she’s here, and she’s OK.’ We’ve managed it so far.
“I’ve been so much more relaxed about all the milestones, like when Vally started to walk. With Alaia, we were broadcasting it everywhere when she managed one step. I was so emotional about Vally turning one, though. I loved the newborn stage so much this time.”
Mark Hayman Rochelle’s resolution to lead her daughters by example has brought her girl’s confidence back
She checks herself. “But I don’t know if I loved it enough to have another one! I’m always broody – you wouldn’t be able to put a baby in front of me and for it not to hurt my soul with how broody I am. The smell! And that baby bubble! I’d have 20 babies just to have those first few days. I’ll never not be broody. I’m besotted with them.
“I feel like if I’m going to have any more I don’t want a massive gap. My mum always says if you leave the gap too long you’ll be doing the school run forever.
Instagram/Rochelle Humes The TV star loves being a mum and is ever feeling broody
“I don’t know. And Marvin doesn’t know either. We both go through phases of wanting a third, but never at the same time.”
Rochelle and former JLS singer turned superstar DJ Marvin, 33, have been together for eight years, married for nearly six and are “closer than ever” since becoming parents for the second time.
“I feel like we’ve got this unit now, and don’t get me wrong, some days are testing, of course. We’re human. But as much as he can do my brain in, we’re strong, and I think that’s because of the way we feel about what we’ve got and what’s important to us. I’d give everything up tomorrow to make sure my family was OK.
Rochelle Humes hits back over backlash to her sucking snot out of baby’s nose
“When there’s a baby, you need to remember how it all worked before and make it fit into this new life.
“We put so much pressure on ourselves, and I think sometimes you just have to let it breathe. It’s not always going to all be amazing at the same time. As long as the mum thing is good, everything else will work itself out.”
PA So is husband Marvin, she says, but they’re never broody at the same time
She and Marvin are fiercely protective over the girls’ privacy, and any pictures of Alaia or Valentina on social media are taken from the back or with their faces obscured.
“I’m so protective of my girls, sometimes to a fault,” says Rochelle. “People always comment on that: ‘Why do you not show them on social media?’ But you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If you do it then people say you’re a sell-out, and if you don’t then they say I think I’m Beyoncé.
“Alaia will probably ask me to put her face on my Instagram at some point because she’s very outgoing and she loves it. But with Vally, she’s so shy and hates anyone looking at her. So until they’re at an age where they can say to me: ‘Mum, this is what I want to do,’ then I’m not going to put them out there.
Rochelle Humes jokes hubby Marvin Humes might not be the dad to her unborn baby
“This is my job, it’s not theirs. This is what I’ve chosen to do with my life, and they might prefer to work in a bank and not have anyone knowing who they are. But I don’t look down on anyone else for making different choices to me. You know your baby.”
She adds, jokingly: “I’m actually hoping that by the time my girls are old enough everything will go retro again and it’ll be really uncool to have Instagram. Everyone will have basic phones and Polaroid cameras!”
When The Saturdays split in 2014, Rochelle was single-minded in what she wanted to do next: get out of the music industry and start a career in presenting. And that’s exactly what she’s done. Last night saw her return as host for the fourth series of ITV fun fest Ninja Warrior UK alongside Ben Shephard and Chris Kamara, and she couldn’t be happier.
Getty Images Rochelle couldn’t be happier with Ninja Warrior UK – it’s what she hoped for after The Saturdays – pictured – split
“It’s honestly the best job and the best show in the world – I feel so lucky and I can’t believe it’s work,” she says. “It is the most fun, and I love that it’s Saturday-night family entertainment and exactly what I’d be watching with my kids.
“TV is where I’m most comfortable,” she says. “So when me and [The Saturdays] were saying let’s call it a day, I knew immediately that’s what I wanted to do. It was a natural move because it was something I always loved. I’ve always known my lane and where I want to be. I’m very decisive – I know what I want. I’ve been like that ever since I was a little girl, much to my mum’s frustration. Alaia’s got that streak as well – uh-oh!”
Chris and Ben, she says, have become like brothers to her (“from the get-go I knew it was going to be something special because the three of us gelled so well”), and she’s particularly impressed with Kammy’s cult following, built up from his memorably haphazard appearances on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday.
“Everyone is obsessed with him! We go out to dinner and people come up to him and it’s chaos. It’s like we’re out with Justin Bieber. And he is my biggest supporter. Whatever I’m doing he’ll send me a picture of him watching me. He’s so cute – one of the nicest men ever.”
Rochelle Humes takes part in the Wibbly Wobbly Word Game on Celebrity Juice
Besides training for next week’s London Marathon (she looks insanely good, BTW) Rochelle has also recently started hosting her own show on Heart FM live on a Saturday afternoon, and is discovering a whole new passion for radio. There’s also a collaboration with New Look, so life is very busy.
“I think women can have it all now,” she says. “And why not? It’s a struggle to multitask, but it can be done. I’d never give up on my dreams just because I’m married and have children, and my kids would hate if I did. I’m teaching them that you can do what you want, but you have to work your arse off for it.
“I want to support and encourage other women and raise my children to show them we can do this.”
Rochelle Humes shares video of husband ‘checking for blackheads’
Having spent 17 years in the music industry, first with S Club Juniors and later with The Saturdays, she says she thinks things are changing for female artists and the way they’re allowed to express themselves.
“We’re a long way away from someone at a record label demanding what people wear. We’re seeing more independent women who are like: ‘Don’t talk to me about my clothes, let’s talk about the music.’ And I think that’s really positive.
“Look at Rita Ora. Some days she’s on stage in a tracksuit or a puffa jacket. Women are a bit like: ‘I don’t give a f**k – I’m going to wear what I want.’”
She defends the right of Little Mix, for example, to wear the barely there stage outfits they’ve been criticised for, given their young fan base.
“Everyone’s allowed to rock a look and try something different. Jesus, if you don’t do it when you’re in your prime then you probably never will! Little Mix do a good job of it, they rock the risqué outfits and pull off those looks, but they’re so normal on their social media and have spoken openly about the pressures. They’re pop stars – they’re not going to wear what they do on stage to go and get a pint of milk, obviously!”
Instagram – it’s the best way to connect.
Funniest person on Twitter?
Best Insta feed?
I follow so many curly hair bloggers – too many to name just one.
My PT commenting on my lunch. He wasn’t best pleased…
Do you have a Facebook account?
I have never had one – it’s never really appealed to me.
How do you take the perfect selfie?
I don’t believe there is such a thing. It always takes me 15,000 attempts to get one I like!