The cosmetic dentist and Real Housewives of Cheshire star talks body confidence – and why putting down your phone and daydreaming is the way forward when it comes to success.
Being a regular on the Real Housewives of Cheshire means some viewers take you less seriously. One Instagram comment about you on the Real Housewives of Cheshire page says, “A lot of cleavage for a woman who claims to be all about brains”. What do you say to such negativity?
The Real Housewives of Cheshire has evolved hugely as a brand – when the show first started, it was focused on footballers’ wives and kept women, which isn’t a bad thing in any way, but what I am trying to say is how it has evolved with the times.
Now we have a lot of successful entrepreneurs and businesswomen on the show and every single one of us is a big character. I’ve been to university, I’ve got my degrees and that’s something no one can ever take away from me.
When you’re on a reality show, you sign up knowing you’re going to get negativity. You can’t get too down over it. I don’t tend to read the negative comments, to be honest, and even if I do I try to laugh at them!
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever read about yourself on social media?
I’ve read all sorts – people saying things about my voice, or that I’m really annoying. But as I said, honestly, it’s like water off a duck’s back, it doesn’t affect me! Initially, when I first joined the show and I read negative comments I suppose that got to me a bit more, but you learn to grow a thick skin. It’s part and parcel to being on TV.
How do you think of success?
“Success has various definitions and is different to everyone. There are multiple factors that make up success, and it’s not just about your bank balance. A successful person to me is someone that is all-rounded, has a bit of everything, and is happy – that’s key.
“You’ve got to be happy in life and in what you’re doing. If you’re not happy with your job, a situation, or a relationship, it’s really important to change that. Success is never easy – good things in life worth having are never easy. Sometimes when you scroll through social media and see someone with an amazing car or watch or handbag, you forget that it takes years of graft to get that.
“That’s why I think social media can sometimes be dangerous. Any successful entrepreneur or person in business will tell you that they spent half of their life working around the clock, 24/7, to get to where they are.”
What does female empowerment mean to you?
“I think it’s really important that us women stick together, and that we all support each other. Being a strong, powerful woman means that you’re confident within, and you should want the best for the people around you. You want your friend or colleague to do really well, and you don’t harbour any negative or jealous thoughts towards people. Empowerment definitely means that.”
Do Iranian women like what you do – or do some believe you should follow your heritage and with it its traditions?
“Iranian women nowadays are strong, powerful and feisty. I know that we have a large Iranian community in Manchester, and I know that a lot of Iranians follow me.
“All the feedback that I have ever had is all positive, and I think they think it’s nice to have someone that has gone to university and done all of the things that I have done, before joining a reality show and representing that portion of women. I actually think that the Iranian women community are quite proud of me.“
Are there any Iranian traditions you and your family stick to?
My mum cooks Iranian food, and we all speak Farsi to each other. At my wedding I had a Persian ceremony, and my mum still throws Iranian parties where there’s lots of amazing food and dancing. I am still very much part of my culture, and I love to embrace it.
We’ve read when growing up your parents weren’t keen on you following British culture, such as wearing make-up and fashionable clothes. How are they now they can clearly see your success?
It’s really difficult for first-generation parents moving from a different country – and especially countries where the culture is so different. It takes a lot of adapting. I wanted to go to house parties aged 15 while wearing short skirts and make-up and drinking – but that was completely alien to them.
It’s very difficult for second-generation kids, too, because you want to fit in. All you want as a child is to be the same as everyone else, and there were lots of times when I hated my last name and the way I looked. I wanted to be blonde with blue eyes and be called Hannah Smith, just to fit in with all the other kids.
But as you grow up you start to realise that it’s really good to be different, and it’s nice to be bi-cultural and bi-lingual. My mum and dad are super proud of me now. It’s taken a while to get there, but they now know I’ve turned out alright.
Let’s move on to the Real Housewives of Cheshire. What is filming the show actually like compared to what viewers see?
It’s very real. Obviously it’s staged reality, so we meet in a coffee shop and there are cameras there. However, all of the actual content, opinions and reactions are real and completely authentic. The producers aren’t pushing us to say or do anything in particular, so I do think we have to take responsibility for what we say and do. It’s good, it’s glam, and we get to do a lot of nice things.
You gave birth to your son back in February. How’s life filming while looking after him?
I have a very busy schedule; I run multiple businesses as well as filming for the show, so I need help. I’m very lucky to have my parents and Martin’s parents close by, and I do have a lot of help from my team as well. I have a lovely nanny named Rose, who dips in and out depending on schedules. I still make sure I spend a lot of quality time with Max, though.
Have long did you take a break from cosmetic dentistry while looking after Max?
I took six months of maternity, then returned one day a week in the clinic. I missed seeing my patients and being with the team at Kiln Lane, but dentistry is like riding a bike. You’ve got the skill, and as soon as you get back into it you’re off on your way. I actually found it quite straightforward and smooth sailing to get back to work.
Speaking of teeth, which famous faces have you worked on?
Obviously because of patient confidentiality, I can’t enclose too much, but if you go on our Kiln Lane Instagram page you’ll see some familiar faces. I think I’ve treated all of the housewives for one thing or another. Danielle Lloyd has had a lot of treatment with us as well as Georgie Porter, and I know they won’t mind me saying that because they’re on our social media.
Finally, tell us about your range, Icy Bear Dental Care.
Icy Bear Dental is my own luxury dental care range. As a cosmetic dentist I saw a lot of patients for whitening treatments, composite bonding and veneers, and naturally patients always asked what the best at-home aftercare was to use. It’s always been a dream to have my own brand, so this time last year I set up Icy Bear Dental. We started with diamond whitening toothpaste, containing diamond dust as its magic ingredient to help with stain removal.
We then brought out subsequent products – whitening strips and an electric toothbrush, so we now have three products. We are bringing out a new, exciting product at the end of January, and I’m hoping to release a kids’ range next spring or summer.
It’s something that I feel super-passionate about. Everything is made and manufactured in the UK, and it has been great that I’ve been able to put my own stamp on it, using ingredients that are professional and trusted and that meet high industry standards. It’s a great maintenance and whitening product range that people can use at home.