Jodie Kidd reveals her recovery journey back to the catwalk

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Jodie at London Fashion Week (Image: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for BFC)

Jodie, 41, made her breathtaking return to the fashion world at London Fashion Week alongside Naomi Campbell and Erin O’Connor.

But she did it while battling through the pain barrier after an accident that left her needing knee surgery.

As we speak, a few days after her operation, she’s supposed to be resting.

But it’s clear that the adventure-loving model-turned-pub landlady is desperate to be up and about, digging the garden and chopping wood at her home in West Sussex.

“I tore my cartilage in two so I’ve had some of it removed and the rest of it stitched,” she says with a wince. “I’ve had to keep my leg up and haven’t been able to do much.”

“Too much gallivanting, riding, climbing mountains, cycling and high-heel dancing,” as she says on Instagram.

Jodie was able to delay her operation until after London Fashion Week, where she appeared in US designer Tommy Hilfiger’s show.

“I’m lucky to have an amazing doctor. When I said I needed to do Tommy’s show, he said, ‘We’ll get you to the catwalk and as soon as LFW is finished we’ll get you into surgery’. I was really lucky and it was brilliant working with Naomi and Erin again.

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Jodie and her brother Jack (Image: Getty Images)

“It was such a great flashback to my previous life and I enjoyed catching up with everyone. I’d love to do it again.”

Jodie’s got more projects in the pipeline, and says: “It’s nice to see someone in their 40s still out and about and being photographed and getting on catwalks.” But the former model, who was a mainstay at fashion shows in the early 1990s, has been open about the fact that she struggled with the industry and the press scrutiny.

Now, she says, there are “support systems” in place for people suffering from panic attacks, and everyone is more “educated” about anxiety than they were 25 years ago.

“I had to stop that path, living in London under that huge scrutiny and in the public eye,” she says.

“Everything was too much, so I had to take a step back from modelling and understand what was going on in my body, which was anxiety and panic attacks.”

To recover, Jodie says, “I had to get back to sport and exercise and eating healthily and all those things I’ve been doing since then.

“It’s lovely to come back and do it in the right way. I understand what’s good for you and what’s not good for you.” Now, the Amazonian blonde has found the perfect balance in rural Sussex where she’s landlady of a pub, the Half Moon in Kirdford, just outside the South Downs National Park, near Chichester.

But although she says she loves the “fresh air and the quality of life”, she’s quick to dismiss her country life as calm.

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Jodie Kidd and Andrea Vianini launch MINT Polo in the Park (Image: WireImage)

In fact, it’s just the opposite.

“It’s an action-packed life. You can’t sit back and let things happen.

“We’re always fixing fences or digging in the garden. It’s a working environment, which is what I love.

“In the industry I’m in, to come home and chase the chickens back in the coop and chop wood, it really is a leveller. It brings you back down to earth.”

Jodie posted a picture on Twitter of her partner, former Special Forces operative Joseph Bates, taking her son Indy, eight, to school, through the knee-high flood water that was pouring down their road.

“It’s been terrible, the worst January and February I’ve had since I got the pub. You can see how the country is so water-logged and the water table is so high that any bit of rain causes major flooding.

“It doesn’t get into our house but it does affect access. There was one point when we could wade through it but the last two times it’s been very high and very fast-moving so it’s been really dangerous.

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Jodie poses with Indy and partner Joseph (Image: JODIE KIDD INSTAGRAM)

“We’ve been stranded a few times which has been a real worry.”

Luckily Jodie’s pub is on higher ground so the landlady has still been able to pull pints while watching the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship with fans.

Her friend Vogue Williams, the Irish model who was once married to Westlife singer Brian McFadden, came down before the England-Ireland match and the pair entertained Irish rugby fans in the pub, treating them to a Guinness-themed dinner and a full English breakfast before they travelled to watch the match at Twickenham.

“There was a lot of banter,” she says. “It’s great, every time we put the rugby on a crowd turns up. I’m from a big rugby family and it’s such a great tournament to watch.”

Of course, Jodie is no stranger to sporting life herself. Along with brother Jack and sister Gemma, the Kidd family are all well-known horse- lovers, and until she had Indy with her ex, Argentinian polo player Andrea Vianini, she was an active player herself.

“You need a lot of horses to play polo to the level I used to and it’s very costly. I stopped playing when I had Indy.

“It isn’t really part of our lives any more because my brother has retired as well. We’ve moved on.”

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Vogue Williams and Jodie Kidd enjoying the rugby down the pub (Image: PA)

Jodie has also given up racing fast cars – she became a driver for Maserati, winning a Pro-Am race in 2004, and once famously topped the leaderboard of the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car on Top Gear.

“I only do classic car races now. I’m not doing the series like I used to,” she says. “When I had Indy the self-preservation kicked in and the days of doing the high-adrenaline, high-octane sports came to an end.

“Now I do charity challenges because I can still get that adrenaline but I’m also doing good.”

Together with Joseph and a group of local parents, Jodie recently walked Peru’s Inca Trail up to the ancient mountain city of Machu Picchu, raising £100,000 for a children’s hospice, Chestnut Tree House.

“We took supporters and a few parents who had sadly been affected by losing their children and spent four nights sleeping on the trail. It was very tough.

“There were some cheeky elevations, as we reached just over 4,200m. You felt the effects of altitude and it was quite gruelling as we had to do 20 or 30K a day. It gets freezing cold in the evening and wet in the daytime.

“It was much harder than I thought – you hear people saying, ‘I’ve done the Inca Trail’ but you can do just a half day or go up on the train.

Melania Trump snub: FLOTUS missed out on magazine cover which featured Meghan Markle

Jodie recovers from her operation in hospital (Image: JODIE KIDD INSTAGRAM)

“I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it was – but that’s great because we need to be pushing ourselves to an uncomfortable position to raise money. It can’t all be joyful!”

Has Indy inherited the Kidd spirit of adventure? “I’m sure it’s inevitable,” she says. “He sees Mummy go off and he’s come on training walks with me.”

It will surely only be a matter of time before he’s climbing mountains with his daredevil mother.

Once Jodie has recovered from her injury – she has up to another four weeks’ rest and physio before she’s fully back on her feet – it seems certain that she’ll have another madcap challenge up her sleeve.

“Hopefully, I’ll be back doing all my exercising and the mad charity stuff I love to do very soon,” she says.

“It’s about making Indy proud by pushing myself to climb mountains, and changing lives and helping people along the way.”

● For information on the Guinness Six Nations Championship, see guinness.com/en-gb/rugby-guinness-six-nations/


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