Jacqueline Jossa was just 17 years old when she was thrust into the limelight as Lauren Branning in EastEnders – a young age to suddenly have your every move scrutinised.
Looking back, the 28-year-old says the focus on how she looked was hard to cope with. “I was like size eight and I felt fat, which is crazy,” she recalls. “I felt fat because it’s just the way the industry was.”
The mum-of-two can’t decide whether the industry has changed or not, but she definitely has. “Whether I just follow the right people on Instagram and I’m around amazing people in my life, I don’t see it like that anymore,” she muses. “All I know is I’m a good influence to my girls [Ella, six, and Mia, three, with husband Dan Osborne], I’m a size 12 to 14 and I feel amazing in clothes. I’m really confident, and I feel confident without make-up on.”
For Jac – who won I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2019 and is now a Superdrug (superdrug.com) ambassador – life is all about balance. When her daughters see her “glammed up” she tells them “it’s fun to express and it’s like art, it’s like a drawing, it’s like painting”.
She adds: “And then they see me without a scrap of make-up on and I go out and I get in all the pictures. I don’t mind, I get stuck in. I think it’s just really important to get that balance with them – I don’t want them to only see me with make-up on and think that to be pretty you need make-up. That’s not the case at all – I just enjoy make-up, I find it fun.”
The former soap star’s love of all things beauty-related comes from her childhood. “My mum is very into skincare, beauty, health,” she explains. “She’s got really good skin, so I’ve always, growing up, used her stuff.”
She learned some of her most important skincare lessons from her mum, including using separate day and night creams (“Who knew they were different things? I thought we just had a moisturiser,” she adds with a laugh) and “washing your face with warm water, then putting cold water on it to close the pores”.
Having a proper skincare routine is something the actor has carried with her over the years, knowing it can help with make-up. “I rarely have enough time [for make-up] so that’s why it’s all about skincare, it’s all about preparation,” she says. “As long as you’ve got a good skincare, good exfoliator, good preparation, you can sort of wing it.”
She fell in love with beauty from “getting my make-up done and realising the actual art and craft of it is actually so fun.
“It’s creative, you can do different looks, you can express yourself – I just love it,” she says with palpable excitement.
That’s not to say she spends hours on her make-up every day. Since becoming a mother, Jac admits she’s perfected getting it done in just 10 minutes. “You just don’t have enough hours of the day!” she exclaims.
Ultimately, the star sees skincare and make-up as a way to carve out some much-needed time for herself. “As a mum, as a human, as a woman I think it’s nice to have time to yourself,” she says thoughtfully. “For me, my time to myself is my bath time… It’s just preparing the skin, having a lovely bath, calming, thinking about my day, silence.
“I think it’s really important to give yourself some time. If it makes you feel better, it’s something you’re interested in and the way you feel afterwards satisfies you, I think it’s worth it.”
Sign up to the Superdrug Health & Beautycard online and in-store and download the app for a digital card to unlock a host of rewards and offers. Look out for daily deals from August 11 to September 7.