Like many of us, Jess Wright has suffered her fair share of disappointments during the pandemic.
The former Towie cast member got engaged to fiance William Lee-Kemp last February and doesn’t yet know when her big day will be, plus she’s had to postpone several work projects.
“My theatre tour Girls Just Want to Have Fun, that was supposed to take place last May, and is now taking place this autumn,” she tells me on the phone. “At least we can still go ahead – I can’t wait to get back on stage.”
In the meantime, the 35-year-old has been on the hunt for other talented performers as part of a competition with PlayOJO, to find the UK’s best amateur singer.
“We did a livestream and I basically was like a Simon Cowell for the night,” Wright says. “We found a beautiful singer. She was amazing. She’s also a frontline worker, so that was really nice.”
Sister to fellow Towie star-turned-TV presenter and now footballer Mark Wright Jess has seen first-hand the devastating effects of coronavirus after both their parents and grandparents contracted the illness over Christmas. All four have now made a full recovery.
“I’m just grateful that we’re all healthy,” Wright said. Sadly, shortly after our chat Wright posted a moving tribute on Instagram to her uncle Eddie, who died after battling Covid for eight weeks.
Here, she tells us about lockdown life, why the pandemic has made her more confident about going without make-up, and the beauty products she’s loving at the moment.
How are you coping during the latest lockdown?
“At the beginning, I was really struggling, I think this has been the hardest one for everyone, but there’s definitely a light at the end of the tunnel now. The sun’s coming out and we’ve got some dates in line for restrictions being eased.”
You got engaged a year ago, do you feel like spending more time together during lockdown has brought you and your fiance closer together?
“It’s definitely done that. I mean, what a crazy year. I was looking through images of 2019 the other day and then I got to photos from 2020 and there was such a difference in our relationship, in terms of the things we could actually do together. However, we survived it and we’re even stronger now, so if anything, it was just a good test.”
Have you set a date for the wedding?
“To be perfectly honest with you, at this point it’s all up in the air, but we’re hoping for it to happen this year. When it does happen, it’s going to be the most amazing day, [when we can] finally hug and be together again. I feel bad for all the brides going through this at the minute – being a Covid bride has not been fun.”
Have you been missing getting glammed up for red carpet events?
“Oh God so much! I can’t wait for the next big event with a red carpet. I put up a video on my Instagram a while ago, it was a day in the life getting ready for the NTAs [National Television Awards]. I was watching it over and over, wishing that time to come again soon.”
Have you been wearing less make-up during lockdown?
“For weeks and weeks, I don’t wear make-up, and then when I have my make-up done, I’m like, ‘Wow, it looks so good!’ I think it’s definitely made me feel like I’ll wear less in the future. I just go anywhere now without any make-up on and don’t even think twice.
“Obviously, I’ve got my mask on, but whereas before I’d have been really conscious, now I really have no qualms going anywhere. But obviously not a red carpet!”
How has your skin been during lockdown?
“My skin has been good, I do put a lot of time and effort into my skin, but I do suffer with psoriasis, and I’ve noticed it’s got considerably worse. I think that’s just a delayed response to all the stress with Covid, the pandemic and the wedding and all that.”
Have you picked up any good beauty tips from make-up artists?
“One of the biggest things I would say is skin prep, making sure that you prep your skin in the few days leading up to [an event], especially as you get older.
“I’d [recommend] a good exfoliation one or two days before, then really hydrate the skin with some good products, because ultimately, that will give you the kind of glow you need.”
Product picks: Jess Wright’s beauty favourites
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, £82 for 50ml
“Something that I love putting on in the evening is Advanced Night Repair from Estee Lauder, and then I’ll always follow that up with a really nice night cream.”
Dr PawPaw Tinted Peach Pink Balm, £6.95
“A good lip balm is essential. I’m always putting lip balm on and Dr PawPaw do some lovely ones.”
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Perfector SPF 30, £35, Boots
“I love a good tinted moisturiser like Laura Mercier’s gorgeous one. That’s my go-to if I ever put on a bit of make-up in the daytime.”
Bondi Boost Hair Growth Shampoo, £22.50, Boots
“Bondi Boost do a really good shampoo and conditioner for hair growth, which I’m loving at the minute. They leave a peppermint cool feeling on your scalp, which is really nice.”