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Authors: Michelle Mone

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BOOK: My Fight to the Top
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‘Hi,’ I said, shyly. Stallone held out his hand and told me I had an incredible story. He was really smiley, but I was a bit surprised that I was taller than him!

Since the start of the year I’d been waking up every morning, thinking, I’d saved Ultimo, but is this the life I want now?

What next? I’m always thinking what’s next. I just felt like I was missing something. I didn’t want to be designing lingerie and swimwear for the rest of my life, I needed a new challenge.

‘You know what Michelle, you only live on this earth once, it isn’t a dress rehearsal. Do what makes you happy,’ Mum said.

‘If you feel like you need to do something to change your life then do it. You don’t want to be sitting here in ten years time thinking you wish you’d done this or you’d done that,’ she advised.

Mum was right. The kids were settled in our new place, the company had stabilised since my very public separation from Michael, I was starting to feel happier about being alone, and so I rang up my US business coach, Ted Anders.

‘Ted, I’m lost,’ I said. ‘There is something still missing. Why could there be something wrong when I’ve won my company, my baby back?’

Ted came to my house in Glasgow and we locked ourselves in for two days, brainstorming. He helped me map out charts asking questions like: ‘Who are you? Where do you want to go to next? What are you here for?’

‘You’re right, Ted, I’m here to try and make a difference.’ I stood back and looked at the bigger picture. I decided I was going to put my heart into more speaking events, into mentoring those who need help.

I sold 80 per cent of Ultimo because I realised I didn’t want to sit behind my desk for another five years designing lingerie and swimwear. I really care about Ultimo, and I still play a central role in the business for five days a month to guide the brand. But in terms of the day-to-day operations, I’ve hung up my bra. I’ve been offered many opportunities but I’m taking some time out to think about my next chapter. It’s taken my fight to the top to realise that my real passion lies in inspiring people. My trials and tribulations have taught me how I can help others.

We all go through that dark place at some point in our lives – where we struggle to cope with things like: ‘how am I going to pay for this? How am I going to get out of this?’ We all go through it, but it’s how we deal with it and stay strong that matters. I’m no expert, but through my life experiences I want to teach people how they can become the best they can be – whether that’s in their career or in their lifestyle. I wouldn’t have been sharing a stage with Al Pacino and Sylvester Stallone if I hadn’t fought so hard for what I wanted.

As for Michael – he had his reasons for behaving the way he did, and I know that I’m not perfect. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if none of it had happened. I’m at a stage of my life where all the bitterness has gone and all the fighting is over. He is now getting married to Sam, and I wish them all of the best, because I’m getting on with my life, and I’m about to start a new chapter.

I know I’ll meet the perfect guy one day but I tell you what, I’m not going to wait around for it to happen. I’m too busy thinking, What next? Things don’t come to you, you have to go out there and get them.

I’m back in the zone – I recently bought back 100 per cent of UTAN, a self-tanning range, and Ultimo Beauty from MAS Holdings and we’re launching the brand into Boots and QVC. I’ve got a whole bunch of things I still want to achieve. I want to start new projects, tour around the world doing more speaking events and inspire people in fitness, diet, business and careers. I want to spend more time with my kids, spend more time with my family and spend more time working on ‘me’. I want to get myself a life and, hopefully, one day fall in love.

Above all, I want my story to be inspirational. I want to show you that you can be a success, no matter where you came from.

I grew up in a culture where everyone said, ‘You can’t do this’ or ‘You can’t do that’ and I questioned it. Why does it matter where you are from? Why does it matter what education you managed to have? It doesn’t mean your life is over if you don’t have the best start. I’m living proof that there are no limits.

If I would have one bit of advice, it would be this: if you fail to plan, then plan to fail. I’ve always been a planner and I’ve always carried a book in my handbag listing what I have to achieve personally. I stay focused on that list. I try and tick every goal off. If I don’t, that’s okay. I’m not Superwoman, I have three children to look after and I take the list over to the next day.

So get yourself a notebook like mine, keep it in your bag and set yourself goals every day. Business goals and personal goals – and keep focused on those goals. Before you know it, it will be bedtime and you’ll think – where did the day go?

If you’re not successful, don’t blame those around you. Don’t blame him or her or
situation – blame yourself. You are in control of your life: if you have passion, an ambition or even the wildest of dreams, you can do it: just take control and never, ever give up. I hope this book will show it doesn’t matter where you’re from – whether you come from wealth or struggle to make ends meet – if you have the determination and a ‘can-do’ attitude you can achieve anything you want even if you’ve got to fight to get it. So do it – take control.

Here I am posing for a few early photographs with a cheeky grin!

I was born in the Gallowgate area of Glasgow. It was quite a poor area of the city but I have some great memories of growing up there.

I grew up quick and took an early interest in fashion and business.

Family is the most important thing in life. My parents were so supportive when I was growing up and trying to set up my career. I’m hoping to be just as supportive to my own family. Here are a few photos of my mum and dad sitting alongside my son Declan (
top left
), my mum and I sitting with my daughter Bethany (
top right
) and my mum and I having dinner together (

[© Sven Arnstein]

My weight was always an issue, particularly during the years when I was married. I was very camera shy in the early years of my career (
) and it was an amazing feeling to become the face of my own business years later (

[© Stephen Hughes]

I had a poster of Richard Branson above my bed when I was a wee girl. I always knew that one day I’d get to meet him (
). I’ve had the opportunity to meet a few other amazing people during my career, including Boris Becker (
middle, first from left
) and Eva Longoria (
middle, fourth from left
), and my fellow entrepreneur Peter Jones (

I received an Honorary Doctor of Arts from the University of Hertfordshire in 2010. It was a very proud moment for me and my family.

BOOK: My Fight to the Top
10.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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