I was a size 8 when I joined EastEnders but was trolled for my body at 17, now I'm a 10/10 naked says Jacqueline Jossa

AS A huge fan of EastEnders, Jacqueline Jossa was overjoyed when she was cast as Lauren Branning in 2010.

But reality soon set in for the 17-year-old child star, when she read vile comments about her weight online.

Growing up in the spotlight Jacqueline, understandably, took the body-shaming trolling to heart.

But with several sell-out In The Style clothing collections, an I'm A Celebrity crown and 3.2 million Instagram followers under her belt, the mum-of-two is more relaxed about things nowadays.

Speaking to Fabulous as Superdrug's new Health & Beautycard ambassador, Jacqueline, 28, says: "It’s funny, I just don’t care. I used to, back in the day.

"Ten years ago I would care about my appearance and it would get in my head. I’d think ‘they're right, I need to lose weight, I need to do this or that’. I don’t think like that anymore.

"I don’t know if it’s age, since having little girls who look up to me, or from being a bit more honest on social media, it’s like a weight lifted.

"You feel ‘I don’t need to be a size 8’. I can be happy with how I look. Ultimately when I’m naked and in sexy underwear, I feel a 10/10."

Jacqueline, who said she was a size 12 last September, went on a weight loss regime earlier this year and shed 8lb.

She starred on EastEnders for eight years, going on to be crowned Queen of the Jungle in 2019, after leaving the soap.

In 2017, she married former Towie star Dan Osborne, 30, with whom she has daughters Ella, six, and Mia, three. Dan also shares custody of his son Teddy, seven.

The family live in a £1.2 million six-bed pad in Essex – which they are renovating to turn into their dream home – but Jacqueline insists she's still just as down to Earth as the teen who joined the soap.

You feel ‘I don’t need to be a size 8’. I can be happy with how I look. Ultimately when I’m naked and in sexy underwear, I feel a 10/10

She says: "I get an amazing response on social media. Sometimes I get told off for saying things which aren’t 'celebrity like'. But I think people relate to me because I’m probably too normal.

"I’ve unfollowed people (on social media) who make me feel bad about myself. It’s not necessarily that they’re doing anything wrong, it’s just about how I feel.

"I follow really positive people – and that’s what I want to be for other people."

CHILD STAR FAME

Jacqueline joined the EastEnders in 2010, replacing Madeline Duggan. She says: "I don’t think I was made for the celebrity life. People forget that I never once asked to be a celebrity.

"I was 17 when I got the job of being in EastEnders, and that was because I wanted to be an actress more than anything in life.

"It wasn’t for the money. It didn’t even dawn on me I would ever get recognised.

"I didn’t think of fame, I just thought ‘I’m going to meet Kat Slater and June Brown’. I was just so excited, like ‘oh my God I’m going to be in EastEnders’.

"I was on it for eight years, so the following and everything else just came with it. I’ve always remained really grounded.

"Even when I was in the Jungle, I was starstruck of every f***ing person in there. I’d look to my left, Ian Wright, look to my right, Caitlin Jenner.

"I was very lucky to be there. I don’t see myself like that. And I know everyone says that, but I actually don’t."

She adds of her pre-EastEnders days: "I was so naive, it’s cute when I think back to that time, I’m like ‘bless me’, that little girl just starting out.

"It only dawned on me when a press release came out about me joining.

"I think I had a bit of a bad start as a re-casting, everyone’s got an opinion straight away and everyone’s negative because people in this country don’t like change, which I get.

"They released a picture of me saying I was a re-cast and I read these forums and the comment section of Mail Online and was like ‘oh wow’.

I was a size 8 and honestly thought I was so fat, because of the response of people on one picture, I hadn’t even made it onto telly yet

"I was a size 8 and honestly thought I was so fat, because of the response of people on one picture, I hadn’t even made it onto telly yet.

"It was probably the first time I’d faced criticism. No-one comes up to you and tells you negative things to your face, ever really. So it hit me all at once.

"At 17 as well, when you’re really vulnerable and learning things about yourself, your body, who you are.

"Then you have to grow up in front of paparazzi as well, this weird stuff that’s all new to you.

"It’s a very strange time but I’ll be honest, I dealt quite well with it. I loved to be on EastEnders more than I cared about any of that, it was just the best job ever."

MILLION POUND FASHION EMPIRE

It's her newfound body confidence, and her desire to give the same to other women, which drives Jacqueline with her In The Style fashion ranges.

When she launched her first line in February last year, the actress broke records as In The Style's fastest-selling range – with items disappearing in six minutes and fans spending £250,000 in an HOUR.

She says: "I absolutely love In The Style but I was so nervous at the beginning. I said to Adam ‘are you sure?’

"Before the Jungle, I’d never really done a clothes ad. I said ‘I don’t know if people will buy what I wear’. I felt like it was a risk, it could have flopped and I didn’t have anything to compare it to.

"So it was scary, I felt vulnerable and didn’t know whether I would feel uncomfortable. But it went really, really well.

"When we had our first meeting, I was a bit unsure. Then I was like ‘actually yeah, that’s what we need to do, make things for normal women like me who struggle a bit’.

"Bodycon isn’t my thing anymore, neither is too much boob.

"So I said 'can we make clothes that I can actually f***ing wear? Can we make clothes that I can wear a bra with? That’d be cute. Can we make clothes that I feel comfortable in and can sit down in?’

"That’s why I think it’s done really well because I think there was a gap for that. It’s been a year now and it’s still going strong, it’s really good."

At first, Jacqueline avoided temptation to follow in the footsteps of Billie Faiers and Charlotte Crosby, with an In The Style swimwear collection.

But she faced her nerves head on and launched her own bikini line this summer – to equal sell-out success.

She tells us: "I’m comfortable in a bikini if it’s how I want to wear it. I like a high-waisted cut and it has to be flattering.

"I was nervous because we always do videos as well. I feel super comfortable in all the dresses, so the line sells itself.

"I was worried if I didn’t feel comfortable in (my swimwear), my audience were going to know. If I’m not feeling myself, I get messages (on social media) saying ‘are you OK?’

"They know me really well and they trust what I’m saying so I was thinking ‘oh I hope I do feel like a 10/10’.

"Then I had the hair and make-up on and it was a beautiful sunny day (for the shoot). I looked in the mirror and was like ‘yeah I look good!’ I was so excited, I felt so confident, I just loved it.

"I said to Adam (Frisby, In The Style's founder) ‘we should do more’. He said ‘you only wanted to do three’ and I said ‘we should do more’."

Although Jacqueline's down-to-earth attitude is a hit with her fans, she still falls victim to the trolling she endured as a teenager, with the keyboard warriors now turning to her kids.

Jacqueline previously revealed the extent of the abuse on her stories, admitting some called her "brain dead", "a silly cow" or claimed her kids are "clearly disabled".

She says: "If I read a comment that’s about my kids, it definitely affects me more than it would if it’s about me. But it’s not like there’s loads of comments.

"I get so much more positive, lovely feedback, but when it’s about my kids it doesn’t sit well with me.

"My kids are amazing, they know that, I know that. I wouldn’t allow what other people think about me to affect me mentally.

"I’ve got a really amazing unit of people around me. I’ve got an amazing bunch of friends and family, so I’m really lucky, I don’t have much to moan about."


Jac’s Superdrug heroes

Solait Anti-ageing Face Sun Cream SPF50+Very High 50ml, £3.99 – buy here

BPerfect X Jac Jossa Hydro Glo Tanning Facial Mist 150ml, £12.95 – buy here

B. Multi Acid Retexturising Facial Pads x60, £5.99 or 60p per pad – buy here

Jacqueline is the new ambassador for Superdrug's Health & Beautycard, which celebrates its 10th birthday this year.

She says: "Superdrug is my go-to shop, you’ve got everything there. My BPerfect Jac Jossa Tan and Face Mist is stocked there. That’s really cool, I still pinch myself. 

"I would say I'm a good bargain hunter. My main tip is to bulk buy, you get a lot more for your money. I like to always make sure I have enough, so I'll go in for one thing and leave with four bags.

"I love Primark too, I like a one-stop shop. I rarely have time and it’s hard to shop with kids, so you do just want to go in and out because it can all end in tears."

Jacqueline's tips for keeping the kids entertained during the summer holidays? Drawing, Play'Doh, Slime and… baths.

She says: "Sometimes I bath (the kids) more than once a day, just because I’m like ‘what else can I do?’

"They love it because we use foam and blue colouring, they like playing in there. It just passes the time before bed."

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