When you hear the name Katie Piper you’d be forgiven for thinking this legendary woman was anything other than iconic. Working as a best-selling international author, inspirational speaker, TV presenter and charity campaigner (establishing the Katie Piper Foundation in 2009), Katie’s achievements are unprecedented. After starring in a string of successful cutting-edge documentaries such as ‘Katie: My beautiful face’ and ‘Katie: The science of seeing again’ Ms Piper has certainly made a name for herself in one of the most cut-throat industries around.
However, Katie has also been at the brunt of the dark side of fame- something she discusses in her upcoming debut live tour ‘What’s in my head?’. She has spoken openly about her struggles with anxiety in a world dominated by Photoshop and the expectation to constantly be perfect. So, why a live tour? Why now? We spoke to Katie directly to learn about her exciting new project and experiences in the limelight.
Where did the idea for a tour come from?
Well, I get a lot of responses to the books that I’ve written. In my autobiography I started off writing very much about my personal experience, and then I expanded into self-help which drew on my own experiences, and those of psychologists and life coaches experts that I’d worked with and benefitted from.
I now feel that I’m on a position where I’ve got techniques and a mantra and things that have worked for me, and I want to help other people.
I am constantly inundated with letters and just people in the street and in restaurants coming up, asking me, ‘How can I get through this?’.
So I thought, if I can take it into the theatres and go onto the road with it, it would be great to help people.
It’s sharing parts of my journey, but it’s not about me re-telling my story word for word. Hopefully it will be uplifting and help people who are having their own battles with anxiety and depression and whatever they are going through.
Is it a day to day part of your life now, talking to people who want your advice?
Yes, it is, and it’s one I feel I can fulfil.
I can help burns survivors practically through my Katie Piper Foundation by giving them funding, we can help with treatment, we can mentor them, we can connect them.
But this is an extension of that: helping people with mental health issues.
What sort of people are you hoping will come to see the tour?
I think lots of different people will come because I think society is changing. With Prince Harry, for example, coming out and talking about mental health, and lots of other people have also come out and said, ‘I suffer from depression’ – people who look outwardly happy.
I think now we’re realising that so many of us are affected by mental health issues.
And now we know that having a counsellor or a therapist isn’t embarrassing, it doesn’t mean you’re crazy. So I think we’ll see very normal people in the audience. Everyone has a story, or something they’re going through.
The people who read my books are not just young women who’ve been burnt. There’s a real variety.
It’s interesting you mention Prince Harry: it’s becoming okay for men to talk about their feelings, do you agree?
Yeah, and I hope we’ll see some men there. I do get men coming to my book signings. Sometimes they’re my dad’s age, even. When trauma happens, it affects the whole family, not just the person.
So I think encouraging men to keep talking is great and I hope the show touches them as well.
Can you tell us about some of the subject matter you’ll be discussing?
I’m a mother, I’m pregnant now, and when the tour starts I’ll be the mother of two small children.
And because we live in this glossy, Instagram, dating app sort of world, I think there’s never been so much pressure on us or that it’s ever been so hard to stay in touch with reality.
So I think as well as being a mum, I have that insight of what it’s like to be in that ‘celebrity’ world. Sometimes I’ve stood on that red carpet and I don’t even recognise people in the flesh because they are so photoshopped in all other mediums.
Lots of young people are making unfair comparisons to those role models, and feeling in adequate.
So those comparisons are something I really want to talk about.
For me, I had to find confidence and self-worth against all the odds, so if I can do that, I would hope I could help other people do that, who are just trying to get on with their lives but finding it difficult.
I want to help them find perspective between what is real and what isn’t.
What is the format of the show?
I’m going to talk a little bit about my back story, just to put it into context.
But it’s going to be very much about the present tense and the ‘now’.
I’ve got some interesting images to show people that will illustrate what I’m saying. Some images that I’ve seen on Instagram; and I’ve mocked up some examples of myself to show the difference between real life and photoshop.
I might have some special guests at some of the venues, too.
Then I’ll be taking questions from the audience and interacting with them. What they’ll get is absolute honesty. It’s certainly not just going to be me talking at an audience from a lectern.
Is there anything out of bounds as far as what the audience can ask you?
Well I live by the mantra, ‘What happens to us, doesn’t define us’, so anybody expecting me to go over my story again is going to be disappointed. It’s not a story about a specific acid attack – I don’t think that would make a good theatre show.
But I believe that sharing is reciprocated so if I share something about my life, I find that people normally share something about their lives.
I feel like most people who come along will have some kind of issue – like we all do in day to day life – so I feel like it will be an environment that will be free and non judgemental. I hope people can say what they like and the audience will listen and empathise.
What else will you be working on before the tour starts?
I’ve been working quite hard on my maternity collection with www.wantthattrend.com, so selfishly now I have a wardrobe to wear!
The launch went really well and it was something I’d wanted to do for ages.
It’s been really good fun – and it’s been really nice doing a photoshoot where I didn’t have to breathe in!
It’s been so successful, we sold out some of the lines within a couple of weeks, so I will continue to work with the brand.
It’s founded by a woman who had her first child and she founded it from a laptop in her bedroom, so she’s one of my inspirational women. To keep working with her would be great.
13/03/18 ANDOVER, The Lights
(PREVIEW) 01264 368368/
12/04/18 NEWBURY, Corn Exchange 0845 5218 218/
14/04/18 SOUTHEND, Palace Theatre 01702 351135
19/04/18 KETTERING, The Lighthouse 01536 414141
20/04/18 HERTFORD Theatre 01992 531500
27/04/18 EXETER Corn Exchange
03/05/18 BRIDGEWATER, McMillan Theatre 01278 556677/
10/05/18 EPSOM, Playhouse 01372 742555/
17/05/18 LEAMINGTON SPA, Royal Spa Centre 01926 334418/
18/05/18 BIRMINGHAM, Old Rep 0121 359 9444/
21/05/18 LONDON, Duchess Theatre
(PRESS NIGHT) 0330 333 4815
25/05/18 LEEDS, City Varieties 0113 243 0808/
31/05/18 CAMBERLEY Theatre 01276 707600/