SHE has the statuesque good looks of a fashion model but Vick Hope insists she’s secretly “geeky” and got picked on at school for her hairy legs.
The Radio 1 presenter reveals she was left devastated by playground taunts about her pins, which her tormentors said resembled a “gorilla”.
Vick, who dazzled during Strictly in 2018, said: “I used to get a bit bullied at school. The boys would make fun of me for having hairy legs.
“I used to get called ‘gorilla’. I was so upset and angry.”
But things could not be more different now.
Geordie Vick has been the picture of happiness since her engagement to Scottish singer and superstar DJ Calvin Harris was revealed in May.
But the 32-year-old admits that finding love was not always easy.
She said: “I have been accused on dates of interviewing them. You get used to driving conversations.
“I love knowing about people and I am inquisitive. That is why I enjoy my job.
“In relationships you often wish that things will go a certain way but you can’t control someone else’s thoughts, feelings and actions.
“In this industry you are constantly seeking validation from people you don’t even know. No matter what you do or who you are or how you present yourself you are not going to please everyone.”
The showbiz world was rocked by Vick and Calvin’s shock engagement this year, with sources close to the pair revealing the 38-year-old had popped the question on his farm in Ibiza.
‘I was always quite geeky’
An insider said: “Vick said yes immediately, she is madly in love with Calvin and could not be any happier.”
But Vick has said she first turned down the hitmaker — before his image makeover from geek to sleek — “because she was shallow”.
She confessed: “I can’t believe he looked how he used to look, I was shallow.
“I was 19 and I said no and I went off with either Scouting For Girls or The Wombats. I don’t know which. I thought they were going to be bigger but no, it turns out Calvin Harris was going to turn into an Adonis.”
Before Calvin, she was linked to boxer Anthony Joshua in September 2020 and had a four-year relationship with Friday Night Dinner actor Tom Rosenthal.
But Vick has also been working on the relationship she has with herself.
She said: “I have learned to be myself a bit more, so much easier said than done. Realise the things that make you different and special and unique are interesting and beautiful.
“I was always quite geeky. I thought when I was coming into this industry I would change the way I look.
“I straightened my hair, I wore a lot of make-up. All these things were not me.
“I learned that I can’t control how people view me or what they think of me. What I can do is be comfortable with myself and, as a result, a lot more happy and then probably better at my job.
“I leant back into me and learned to love myself a lot more. Actually, geekiness and sensitivity is going to make you a warm broadcaster. It is a great thing.”
The brainy presenter — who currently fronts Vick Hope’s Breakfast Show on ITV on Sunday mornings — can speak French, Spanish and Portuguese and even took night classes while at school to pick up extra A levels.
She studied modern languages at Cambridge University but felt as if she did not “belong”.
Vick admitted: “It’s not hugely diverse, not just being black but being from the North you are few and far between.”
As part of her course she spent a year in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where at 19 she became the youngest ever journalist employed by independent English-language expat newspaper The Argentina Independent.
Vick is still immensely fond of the South American country — as it instilled a sense of fun in her.
She said: “I did a lot of tango when I was out there. They had these social dances and you’re having a drink and having some wine, meeting other people and you just sort of dance together.
“I love countries that have a really strong and potent dance culture, where it is part of society and part of culture. I think we would be different if we had that. We don’t have that unless we go to clubs.”
Vick was eliminated fourth in the 2018 series of Strictly. But she learned a lot from her experience of dancing into the small hours in Argentina.
She added: “We are so encouraged to be constantly on the grind, constantly working on this and working on this . . . you know what, you are allowed to have fun.
“We have really attached quite a negative association to working and doing, that we should always feel a little bit uncomfortable. But actually you are allowed to just have a nice time.
“I am trying to do that a bit more now and find a nice balance.”
Vick’s biggest inspiration is her Nigerian mother Adeline, who came to Britain as a Biafran War refugee, aged 11, not speaking a word of English.
She now works as a pharmaceutical rep, while Vick’s dad Nigel is a software engineer.
Her mother’s backstory inspired Vick to volunteer for a refugee charity in Hackney, East London.
She told the Grazia Life Advice podcast: “I work with the kids. When I started that it was because I was in a really bad place in my career and feeling so overwhelmed and so worthless and so on edge and I forgot why I was doing it.
“I forgot what I cared about in life. It was my boyfriend at the time who suggested it.
“It has always been a cause that has been close to my heart because of my mum and the story she told me of coming across to the UK when she was 11.
“I looked for a refugee project and that became such an important part of my life.
“It took my mind off everything else that was going on and I got better at my job because of it, because I had this release and a sense of purpose. A sense of purpose in the way I carried myself day to day.”
She continued: “That sounds very selfish to volunteer because it makes you feel better, but it is better than doing nothing.
“I also then met some really great kids who I am so happy to have hopefully helped in some way in their lives.
“We all need a bit more perspective. The hustle means so little when you realise what a lot of people are going through.”
While Vick is now hugely inspired by her mum, she revealed the pair used to have “shouting matches” when she was younger.
Adeline refused to let Vick shave her legs as a teen and also told her to “embrace your curls”. Teenage Vick would not listen.
She admitted: “I was like, ‘Shut up Mum! You don’t know what you are talking about. You don’t know what I am going through’.
“The truth is, she knew fully. I hated my curls because they were different. I didn’t know anyone else who looked like this growing up. I really wanted straight hair, I hated how I looked so much.
“The first opportunity I got to change that I was so on it.”
Vick claims the “worst advice” she ever received was to get blonde highlights aged 18, in an attempt to look like Beyonce.
She added: “I saw Beyonce with blonde hair and we have got a similar complexion. I didn’t want to go full blonde at the time but thought maybe I could carry it off.
“They were basically like these stripes in my hair. At the time I was straightening my hair constantly and it was really damaged. And I didn’t look good.”
No one could accuse Vick of that now.
She said: “It is crazy looking back, I learned to love how I look.”