Jodie Kidd on how she conquered anxiety and panic attacks that stemmed from her modelling career: ‘It haunted my whole life’

Supermodel, TV personality, racing car driver and landlady are just some of the words you can use to describe Jodie Kidd. The career chameleon seemingly has all the confidence and drive in the world and is willing to give anything a go, and succeeding at it too.

This is evidenced from being a world renowned supermodel as a teenager to winning the Maserati Trofeo Pro-Am event in just her third ever professional race. However, the mother has opened up on how she has battled anxiety and suffered panic attacks throughout her life. “I suffered from anxiety through most of my modelling career which is the reason why I stopped modelling,” she revealed.

She admits that a lot of her jobs or activities feature high-adrenaline and pressure environments which could potentially be an antidote to having panic attacks at home. “When you’ve got anxiety it's your adrenal gland releasing that fight or flight which is very much what I do in most of my things, like racing cars, it’s pumping your body with adrenaline.

“Maybe that’s because I have too much and by releasing it by doing scary things I don’t suffer from anxiety back at home, I’m not sure. The racing car driver described the panic attacks which she suffered early in her career as “haunting” her entire life. “It doesn’t really make sense but a lot of my sports involve scaring myself, but with anxiety I got to a point where it haunted my whole life and then I got over it,” she continued.

“Maybe I’m just releasing it in other ways because I don’t want to be sitting at home and then flooded with anxiety.”

In the past the landlady has cited exercise as one of the remedies she uses for dealing with her anxiety and plays polo, golf and horse riding, being a keen show jumper as a child. Despite experiencing these traumas in her early career, mainly stemming from her modelling role, she has not fully retired from the industry.

After a 20-year sabbatical Kidd returned to the catwalk and has featured in a number of different fashion campaigns over the past two years. “I came back to modelling after a 20 year sabbatical last year, I walked my first catwalk for Vila Nomi and I just shot the new Alice Temperley campaign and I’m doing a lovely fashion shoot with you guys.

“I love it, it’s something I really have a lot of fun doing and it’s such a great group people and wonderful day out.” In fact, the 40-year-old cited opening Alexander McQueen’s show for Givenchy, the first time he ever did Givenchy, as one of her "career highlights."

Kidd turned forty in 2018 something which she “can’t believe” and despite admitting that not much has changed she does say she looks after herself a bit better. “I turned forty last year, I can’t even believe I’m forty,” she admitted. “Nothing has changed really I just am a lot more conscious of looking after myself, doing fitness, eating well.

“I used to be able to get away with things you can’t get away with when you get a bit older. I’m just being a bit kinder to myself, I think it's really important and loving this vessel we have been given and looking after it. I certainly gave it a rag around in my teenage years so now [places hands together in praying pose] my body is a temple [laughs]."

Jodie says she places a lot of importance on ‘living life to the max’ and challenging herself, which is part of the reason for her essentially having many different careers. “I’m kind of a jack of all trades, master of none. I love to live life to the max and if someone says to me why don’t you canoe your boat down a river for 500 miles I’ll be like why not? Why don’t you climb a mountain? Why not. Why don’t you become a land lady or race cars? Why not.

“We have one life and if you’re given an opportunity I think you should grab it by both hands and make the most of it. I really just love living and experiencing and testing myself and scaring myself and doing things that make you feel alive.”

Now, Jodie is mostly focused on being a landlady at The Half Moon pub in Kirford, West Sussex which she purchased a few years ago, after hearing it was to be knocked down. “We’re losing three pubs a day and over 1,000 a year and that means in out lifetime we could see the end of the beautiful British pub. I’m trying my bit there to try and keep these wonderful establishments open.

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“I became the landlady of the Half Moon because it was my local and it was closed down and I heard that developers were going to come around and turn it into houses. We’ve lost so many of our pubs around and it’s really important for the rural community to have a pub. It’s not only where you get to meet your friends or have a drink or a cup of coffee or come and work or celebrate your birthday or have a wedding.

“It’s so much more than somewhere where you just have a pint. It’s really intrinsic for a rural community to have this hub and I’ve seen too many of them being lost over the last five or ten years so I was really adamant that was going to happen to my local. So I made a few phone calls, got a couple of friends in and we ended up getting it. "

Read Jodie's full interview in this week's magazine, out nationwide on Tuesday.

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