Lisa Snowdon on lockdown, Loughton and life on the TV and radio
- Credit: Archant
She’s done everything it seems, but for TV presenter and model Lisa Snowdon there’s no place like Loughton
You might not have realised it, but lately, This Morning has been coming from Loughton. Okay, so the set might not have moved from Television Centre, but with the global coronavirus pandemic bringing life as most people know it to a halt, people from all different industries have been doing their jobs from home. That includes resident This Morning style guru Lisa Snowdon, who for weeks has been presenting her fabulous fashion segments from the West Essex home she’s owned for 23 years.
“It’s been a learning curve because I’ve obviously had to be a one-man band – I’ve had to be soundman, cameraman, do everything – which has been really challenging,” says the 48-year-old, who has also been filming competitions for This Morning from home. “But I think it’s better to have things to do.”
There are many ways you might know Lisa – as a familiar face on This Morning, as a successful model, as a Strictly Come Dancing or I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! contestant, or as the host of Britain’s Next Top Model (BNTM) or Capital Breakfast, to name but a few. From appearing on the covers of Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire to her TV and radio work, she’s had a career that most people could only dream of. But in spite of the multitude of places her life has taken her, it’s her Loughton property, where she lives with fiancé George Smart, that has her heart. “I’ve been here on and off – it’s been a halfway home for my family at different times, I’ve lived in America and then come back and I’ve lived in London when I was doing Capital Breakfast because it was easier for me to commute in – and it’s always just felt like home,” she says warmly.
Indeed, it was here where Lisa and George were holed up back in March, both self-isolating with symptoms of coronavirus themselves (though the pair were unable to be tested for the disease). “George started off, getting a really high fever, and he was poorly before me,” Lisa says. “I didn’t ever get a fever. I had really, really bad headaches – like, hideous headaches. It was like your head was being squashed in a vice – and then I got chills and things like that. So, between us, we sort of had a whole mix of the different coronavirus symptoms that [had been] mentioned.”
Fortunately, the pair both made a full recovery. “We were really lucky, because we’ve got great neighbours,” Lisa reflects, adding: “There was this really lovely sense of community straight off the bat.” While unwell, the couple also benefitted from deliveries from local retailers, including the popular KC Fisheries and The Chef’s Deli (based in Enfield Lock).
It was back in the 90s when Lisa started looking for a house in West Essex, purchasing her Loughton home after a property in Woodford fell through. “I was dating an Essex boy who lived in Woodford, and he had a flat, and he was like: ‘You should really get on the property ladder’ because he was really into investments,” she tells me. However, the model wasn’t a stranger to Essex when she began her property search. “All my family live in Hertfordshire, but actually, my nana and grandad used to live in Sawbridgeworth in Bishop’s Stortford, which isn’t far away at all, and I was born in Harlow hospital. So, I’m actually an Essex girl at heart, but I was born in Essex and raised in Hertfordshire – so I just kind of gravitated back to my Essex roots.”
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So where are Lisa’s favourite places in the Loughton area? “Tom, Dick & Harry’s is amazing. It’s a great place for Sunday lunch with all the family. KC Fisheries is wicked, Wood Stock Organic Food Store on the High Road is great, and 8 Rocks has got a great wine selection.” Lisa also mentions Space NK and Pilates studio Zero Gravity. “I train at Loughton Movement Clinic, which is opposite Tom, Dick & Harry’s, so everything’s really super close,” she says of the town.
As a model, Lisa has posed for brands including Levi’s, Mercedes-Benz, Triumph and Lynx. Such was her pedigree in the modelling world, she became host of BNTM in 2006, presenting the show for four cycles from 2006 to 2009. It’s funny to think that when she was scouted as a model at a party back in her teens, she initially thought the scout was “taking the mickey”. “A lot of the girls at Italia Conti [the London stage school she attended as a teenager] were very grown-up for their age, and some of them were models and they were just so beautiful – and I just didn’t ever think that [being a model] was an option for me,” she remembers.
However, it certainly was – and in fact, it was modelling work for Special K that resulted in Lisa’s first TV job, as a presenter for the music show MTV Select (where she first met George). A number of TV jobs followed, including BNTM. Then in 2008, Lisa got two jobs that for her were “massive”: hosting Capital Breakfast and competing in Strictly Come Dancing. “Strictly had always been on my list of dream things to do because I just love dancing [the career she originally wanted to pursue]… and I love that show,” she says. “And I’d listened to Johnny [Vaughan, then Capital Breakfast presenter] for years, so being on the radio was really good fun, and I learnt an awful lot from him.”
Lisa’s status as a firm fixture on TV and radio has continued into the 2010s and 2020s. Within this period, she has guest-hosted Lorraine, been a campmate on I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! and competed in the Christmas special of Strictly Come Dancing – while her Capital Breakfast gig lasted until 2015. In fact, it’s TV work that’s been part of the routine that’s helped her during lockdown, what with her This Morning filming. But the coronavirus pandemic has also seen Lisa working on her blog, You Glow Girl, and launch Self Care Sunday – a weekly online series featuring “at-home beauty hacks” – on her Instagram account, @lisa_snowdon. “I think it’s been quite good for me to go through things, get a bit more organised and have a bit of a routine,” she says of life in lockdown.
Don’t worry about that, Lisa – you’re clearly winning at life as it is!