‘I actually suffer from vertigo,’ Millie Mackintosh whispers from the perilous edge of a disused swimming pool. She’s arranged her flawless limbs across freezing, scuffed tiles, and the drop is straight into the empty deep end. ‘I’m just trying not to think about it,’ she says. She may have been given the spoilt heiress tag on Made In Chelsea (her great-grandfather founded Quality Street) but she’s showing no signs of diva behaviour on the InStyle shoot. Instead, you see how hard-working the model, businesswoman and über-brand is.
Today, Millie woke at 5am for a workout before making the two-hour car journey to the shoot location. The day before, she was in Italy for work, the week before it was Dubai and tomorrow she leaves for LA. Her only demand is that the fashion assistant tries some of her gluten-free corn chips. Although nearly every Instagram photo she posts to her million-plus followers is turned into a story by certain news outlets (even more so since she and husband Professor Green announced their divorce), Millie is surprisingly open, acknowledging that while reading stories that aren’t true is the hardest part of her job, she also gets that posing for the paps is part of it.
What’s your earliest fashion memory?
‘When I was 13 my granny bought me a miniskirt that was literally a belt! I had acne and braces but she told me I had good legs so get them out. My mum was furious!’
We bet you’ve got an enviable wardrobe.
‘I have a spare room that I use. It’s not massive but it’s very organised. I have clear storage boxes that I divide by season.’
How has your style changed since your MIC days?
‘It used to be quite preppy and “Sloaney.” I’ve grown up a lot since then. Now, rather than just wearing a tight bandage dress on a night out I’ll wear trousers and a really amazing top. I care more about the whole look.’
What’s been your best paycheck splurge?
‘A Chanel “Boy” bag. It’s slightly western with beautiful etching. I’ve never seen another person with it.’
You sit front row at a lot of LFW shows. Who’s your fave?
‘The Giles show is just like theatre. The casting and music is insane. I love Julien Macdonald too. His dresses are so sexy. Gigi Hadid wore one recently. He’s just killing it.’
Have you had a favourite red-carpet look?
‘I wanted to have fun at the Zoolander 2 premiere so wore a 90s dress from William Vintage with a split up the leg.’
How do you handle the paparazzi?
‘I have to pretend to be someone else. That’s the only way I can do it. I just switch off and I go somewhere else.’
Do you have a go-to pose?
‘A good one is to put one foot in front of the other and pose straight on with both arms down. But sometimes when you get out there you forget everything. So you just have to hope your tits and ass aren’t showing!’
Your clothing brand is the second biggest selling brand on ASOS after its own collection. That’s pretty impressive!
‘I really think about where my customer is going to wear something. She might not be going to Ibiza or Coachella but she can get that feeling of being there from wearing one of my pieces.’
How involved are you?
‘I work on it from start to finish, from mood-boarding to look-book modelling. The greatest lesson I’ve learned is that you’ve got to retain as much control as possible. I’m definitely an annoying perfectionist.’
Your body is totally #goals. What are your secrets?
‘I used to have a flat bum but now I do lots of squats and lunges and have managed to change its shape. Planks are great for abs and arms too.’
Are you really strict when it comes to food?
‘On good days I’ll have quinoa porridge for breakfast, salad for lunch and salmon for dinner. But I have cheat days too. Mac and cheese is my fave.’
What’s the hardest part of your job?
‘Reading stuff about me that isn’t true. People’s biggest misconception is that all my work trips are holidays. I might be in LA but I’m going to meetings and when I’m sitting by the pool I’m answering work emails!’
To celebrate Millie's InStyle debut, we headed to the gorgeous Bourne & Hollingsworth buildings in East London to celebrate. In the beautiful candelit greenhouse private dining area filled with lush greenery and squashy sofa chairs, and the table scattered with wildflowers and beautiful lime, basil and mandarin scented candles from Jo Malone London, guests including Portia Freeman, Naomi Shimada and Doina Ciobanu raised a glass to Millie's July fashion shoot.
Over a seasonal fresh menu featuring grilled asparagus and baked sea trout, guests poured over Millie's shoot which sees her work this season's biggest knitwear and cutout trends captured by photographer duo Luke & Nik. 'Millie has become an iconic London girl - she's fun, beautiful and loves fashion,' explains InStyle editor-in-chief Charlotte Moore. 'We were keen to shoot her from a different perspective - that celebrated what a totally cool girl she really is.'
Read More: how Millie Mackintosh works out and her fitness rules