Katie Hopkins and Me

by | 1 Feb 2015

Katie Hopkins wouldn’t like me: I’ve put on half a stone. But then she probably wouldn’t like many channel swimmers as it’s not a sport for someone who thinks we should all be thin. In case you didn’t know, you can’t wear a wetsuit and need to put on weight to keep out the cold. So despite the fact that Katie believes people should just eat less and move more, like many channel aspirants before me, I’ve started to eat to swim.

I, on the other hand, rather like Katie Hopkins. I’ve been watching her on Celebrity Big Brother and her razor tongue has been one of the highlights of this year. I’ve always found the show compelling and watched it from the first ever series until I finally weaned myself off after ten years when it moved to Channel 5. Now, I occasionally allow myself the new year indulgence of the celebrity version (although these days you hardly know any of them until they go in). I find people endlessly fascinating and over the years the love triangle with singer Lee Ryan; the racism row involving Bollywoood actress Shilpa Shetty; and MP George Galloway pretending to be a cat, have taught me a lot about people and the world.

In fact my fascination with people has inspired one of the central strands of my new book. That and my love of eating which, like I said, I currently have licence to do. Since the summer I’ve been meeting and eating with a range of remarkable women in order to help me put on weight for my swim and work out what to do next in my pursuit of motherhood. From one of the world’s most renowned scientists to a record-breaking polar explorer; from an award-winning film director to the Honorary Chaplain to the Queen. Some are mothers, some are not but all of them have done incredible things with their lives and, just like Big Brother, the conversations have revealed fascinating and compelling truths.

There are still six months until my swim and much more food to eat and women to meet. So I’d love to know who would be on your list of potential interviewees. And don’t worry this isn’t Celebrity Big Brother so they don’t need to be the distant relation of someone famous or have graced page 3. My criteria is simply that they’ve got to be a leader in their field and have an interesting perspective on what it means to be a woman with or without motherhood.

I looking forward to hearing your ideas…



  1. evamg26

    Jessica, what about Aarathi Prasad?? She is a scientist and the author of ‘Like a Virgin: How science is redesigning the rules of sex’. Her ideas on reproduction and motherhood are quite controversial and very interesting from my point of view. Eva xx

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      A brilliant suggestion – thank you! I have to say I didn’t know her but have just googled and she seems really really interesting. Exactly why I wrote this blog. Thank you!!! Jessica x

  2. Joanna Norland

    I had no idea you were doing this wetsuit free! You’re a tough woman, Jessica (but we always knew that…). Women with an interesting take on motherhood? Tough… Margaret Atwood (‘if a woman wants to write, she can have one child and no more. deal with it.’) Aung San Suu Kyi (who make the decision to leave her family in the UK to fight for change in Burma). And in a different vein entirely, the blogger/Mom of 7 Susie Johnson – http://not-your-average-mom.com/ – because i’m fascinated by her determination to build a business out of a social network she built from scratch. Those probably aren’t helpful for your list — I also think Helen Fielding would be great.

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Yes, Captain Matthew Webb didn’t wear a wetsuit when he first swam it in 1875 so neither can I. Aung San Suu Kyi would be totally amazing – but how???? – have you ever listened to her on Desert Island Discs? She was extraordinary. I googled ‘not your average mom’ after we spoke and she’s rather extraordinary too! Thank you for all your suggestions got my grey cells whirring. Jessica x

      • jnorland

        i haven’t — i’ll put it on my list!!

  3. kiftsgate

    You should definitely eat up to survive the cold and to get strong. It’s such a cool challenge!! I don’t have precise suggestions on women to interview. But maybe it’d be nice to interview an athlete/professional sport person, they always have a very different life. And it could go well with your swimming theme. xx

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Great minds – I’ve been thinking exactly the same thing myself! I’ve actually got someone in mind so hopefully she says yes! Jessica x