The nature of media work obviously means attending events in the evening, well after office hours. How does Luisa manage to fit that in with her most important role, as mum to Dixie.
“I wake her up, first thing, and then take her to the nursery. She goes there from Monday to Friday and she loves it; she just runs in and shouts, ‘Bye!’. She doesn’t even look back half of the time. It’s good that she enjoys it, as she has to go to nursery for me to be able to work. I collect her after I’ve done my work at the office, and I usually put her to bed myself. I have a live-in nanny, but that’s more for evenings, so I can go out and do media stuff if I need to after Dixie’s gone to bed.
“Sometimes during the day I’ll do interviews and stuff. My split tends to be three days of office work and two days media; then I normally have two days off a week to do photo shoots and stuff. I also write a column which has to be submitted on a Wednesday. So, I do tend to work a lot, but I love it. I don’t mind doing 18 hour days.”
With such a varied and busy career it is easy to forget that Luisa is only 26 years old.
“I’ve always been quite mature, I think. Mature but immature [laughs]! I’m quite grounded: I know what I want from life. However shallow it sounds, I like fast cars and big houses and, hopefully, I’ll be moving this year to a big house with a pool and stuff. That is what drives me: to be able to send my child to a private school; I like wearing Jimmy Choo and Burberry clothes. It is a bit shallow, but that is the kind of thing I like in life. I’m going to take Dixie to Disneyland this year. I’ll be able to do that because I’ve worked for it. I believe that if you work hard you’ll never struggle. For me it’s always been about that focus. I’m just really driven.”
Luisa is fortunate that her long working days are filled with things that interest her. During her youth, growing up in Buckinghamshire and going to school in Northampton, she didn’t always enjoy how she had to spend her time.
“I was good at school – I was quite naughty but always academically quite good – but I didn’t like school. I didn’t really like being told what to do. So, I think from an early age I knew that I would have to work for myself because, obviously, if you can’t really take orders then you’re not going to get on with an employer.
“I started my first business when I was 20, and then it just kind of grew from there, as I got new ideas. I’ve always had a passion for baking so I opened my cake shop three years ago and then, from that, started my first online baking business. Then, of course, I got the idea for my own Bakers Toolkit brand and website.
Although Luisa’s own focus is clearly on her serious business ventures, it is her media appearances that have made her a celebrity. Luisa clearly perceives the media side of things as a significant opportunity, and not to be wasted.
“I’m really happy that I did Celebrity Big Brother. It was such a good experience. I would go back into the house in a heartbeat. I loved it.
“I’m not a particularly paranoid person but other people seemed to worry about what people were saying about them on the outside. Being in that closed environment for so long, and only having those other people to talk to, you know nothing of what’s going on. Naturally you become a bit stir crazy, but it’s good. It was fun.”
Luisa has maintained friendships she made during her time on The Apprentice, and in the Big Brother house where she was confined with, amongst others, comedian Jim Davidson, models Casey Batchelor, Jasmine Waltz and Sam Faiers, singers Lee Ryan and Dappy and Journalist Liz Jones.
“From The Apprentice, I still speak to Leah, Natalie and Zee every so often, and from Big Brother I talk to Jasmine and Lee and Dappy. I spoke to Casey and Sam yesterday, and I was with Dappy yesterday. I spoke to Jim last week, and Liz I’m having dinner with tonight. So, we pretty much all speak still, which is nice.”
Luisa even takes a tolerant and philosophical view of the relentless scrutiny that so many other celebs baulk at.
“If I don’t want to be seen then I won’t be seen, is probably the easiest way to put it. And I think that’s pretty much the same for every person who is in the public eye. If I go on a date then I’ll go to a restaurant where I know there will be no paparazzi, and I know that the restaurant won’t tip the paparazzi off, so I can remain quite private. On the whole I find it quite controllable, and you do have to take the good with the bad. You can’t just have things all your own way. I enjoy it all really. I don’t even care when people write bad stuff; I just think, That’s fine, knock yourselves out!
“As long as people are interested in me, I want to keep doing what I’m doing. As long as they want to watch me on TV, read my columns and see pictures of me then I’ll carry on doing it all. As soon as everyone loses interest I’ll quietly go and not outstay my welcome.”
That being the case, it looks as if Luisa will be around for some time.
Story: Rick Cadger
Interview: Angela Banh
Photography: Stan Thompson
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