Shaughna Phillips: ‘I’ve learnt to stop caring what other people think’

Shaughna opens up on being a new mum and her ambitions to run the country one day

shaughna phillips

by Lucie Cave |
Published on

Love Island's Shaughna Phillips is sitting on the floor of her bedroom at her mum’s house in Kent, where she’s been living since she had her baby girl Lucia in April this year, and she’s telling us about her recent trip to Majorca.

“It was lovely until I got f**king papped on the beach,” she sighs. We ask if she knew they were there, “No! That’s the worst thing. They always make it look like you know the photo is being taken, but I hadn’t a clue,” then she laughs, “If I knew, I’d have been submerged and you wouldn’t see me again until I was in mainland Spain.”

The 29 year old might not have been on our screens for a while, but as soon as we chat to Shaughna, we’re instantly reminded why we and the nation fell in love with her on Love Island in 2020. She’s brimming with natural warmth and witty one-liners. (Who can forget the iconic “Congrats, hun”?)

shaughna phillips
she's got a lot of bottle, that one ©marco vittur

It’s this charm that has led to the launch of brand-new podcast Oh Baby!, which Shaughna co-hosts with her good mate, make-up artist Holly Connolly.

“We met the year before Love Island at a Halloween party, and we just clicked,” Shaughna explains.

“Then we both got pregnant at the same time, which brought us even closer.” But while Shaughna and Holly may have started their parenting journeys in a similar way, Holly married her baby daddy, business owner Jody Connolly, while Shaughna – who was dating film - set driver Billie Webb – had a significant change of circumstances after he was arrested for drug offences. Shaughna is now raising Lucia as a single mum with the help of her baby’s grandparents, and tells heat, “I’m off men, thanks!” But first things first, those pictures…

How do you feel when you see photos of yourself?

If I’m honest, although I could have done without them being plastered all over the internet, I had a meltdown for about 15 seconds and then I thought, “Look, there are bigger things going on in the world.” So, I got over myself.

Have you always been able to do that?

I think since becoming a mum, my “I don’t give a f**k” attitude has increased, but it’s really since my dad died when I was 22 that I’ve had to toughen up. He had cancer for 15 months, so I realised quickly that the problems I had in my early twenties were a lot different to those of my mates. Like, the way you look and what money you have in your bank, those are irrelevant. Stop caring so much about what other people think.

You’ve had a lot of positive comments, saying what a great role model you are, and you have said you refuse to edit or filter your photos…

 I went through a phase for about a month of editing all my pictures, but I did it so badly, I looked like a freak, so I stopped. The reason I don’t do it is because, if the unedited pictures ended up online, people would look at the difference and say, “What the f**k? Who even is that?”

At least it didn’t take anybody by surprise when they saw me in those beach photos! I don’t filter my face any more, either, because I just think it’s such a bad thing to do now I have a daughter – she’s always watching me put my make-up on and I make a conscious effort to look in the mirror and be happy with myself. Otherwise, what lesson is that teaching her? The only problem is that Instagram is not a level playing field – I’m in the timeline against loads of people who do edit their pictures, and I look like a thumb.

Do the trolls ever get to you?

I tend not to look at the bad comments, because if I don’t, then I can think everyone f**king loves me, which is the best place to be. But my comments have shifted from body shaming to mum shaming now.

You do clapback sometimes, though…

If I come up with a good sarcastic response, I will reply. Not because I care, but because I can make them look stupid. [Laughs.]

shaughna phillips baby podcast
peas in a pod: with her co-host holly ©marco vittur

What are some of the things that have made you respond?

There was one comment about having Lucia in the car seat in the front. Now, I’m always on my own with her and I had a little bit of postnatal anxiety, so there’s no way I could have driven with her in the back. It would have been more dangerous than her being in the front. I found out that you can take a baby in the front if you turn the airbag off. So, that’s what I do. And some woman said, “That is so bad, just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s OK.” And I replied, “Well, how is she going to be able to turn the radio over if she doesn’t sit in the front?”

What was the worst comment you would have about your body?

I used to get “tree trunk legs”, or, “Oh, my God, you have put on so much weight since Love Island!” And I’d be like, “Yeah, that’s because I was severely depressed back then with an eating disorder.”

Does the term “single mum” bother you?

I don’t know whether it’s the broader term of “single mum” or my own insecurities, but I really do notice it. Like, when I’m going on holiday, on the plane or through the airport, I worry people will look at me sitting with my mum and think, “Poor her”. What annoys me is that it’s always the mum who gets labelled – never the dad. I do worry about how it will be for Lucia when she’s older, as she didn’t ask for this. I worry she’ll read stuff in the press or people will say something to her in the playground. But I think I’m enough for her.

Do you think you’ll be open to meeting another guy?

No. I never want to meet another man. No relationships for me. Partly because I wouldn’t want anyone else around her, ever. She doesn’t need a stranger to have the perfect family. I’m her family.

How about relaxing the rule for a hot male celeb?

 OK, well, Channing Tatum looks like he’d be a great stepdaddy. Channing, you know where I’m at!

shaughna phillips
shaughna's only gone and dropped a podcast ©marco vittur

What made you want to do a parenting podcast?

I want to be real and show people it’s not all pumpkin patches and Winter Wonderland visits. All my mates dressed their kids up for Halloween and I couldn’t be bothered. I’m not going to put Lucia in an itchy costume just for a photo on Instagram, thanks.

What have you learnt about being a mum?

It’s hard and it does feel like Groundhog Day at times. You’re never really on top of things – my house used to be pristine and looked like a show home, but now if the police walked in, they’d think there’d been a burglary. But you realise none of that stuff matters. Even just getting out of the house can be a challenge, but don’t write off the small wins, because they all count.

Do you ever have any down days?

love island shaughna phillips
shaughna in the beach hut on love island in 2020 ©ITV

Yeah, of course. I can remember the first couple of weeks after having Lucia, I was thinking, “What have I done?” Because I didn’t know where to put all the emotion. She’s so precious, and I couldn’t cope with the amount of love and worry I had, I was just like, “I will never be able to think about anything ever again apart from trying to keep this little baby alive.”

Have you seen any of your Love Island mates since you had the baby?

Demi [Jones] and Paige [Turley] are still brilliant mates. I’ve seen Demi, as she lives near me, but I haven’t seen Paige yet – and I need to. I feel like such a different person now, though.

Have you spoken to Molly Smith since she split with Calum Jones?

No, but Molly [Smith] and Callum [Jones] are such lovely people and I was genuinely shocked when they split. I thought they were going to go the distance.

Do you still look back on that time and think about how iconic it was?

I can’t imagine any of it happening any other way, to be honest

Has anyone bought you a “Congrats hun” babygro for Lucia?

No, but the Love Island team bought me a baby cup with “Congrats hun” on it, which was funny.

What are you getting Lucia for Christmas?

Nothing! Are you joking? I’m telling everyone she needs B&Q vouchers, because I’m doing my house up at the minute. [She recently bought her own place near her mum’s.] Also, if you break it down, it would be me buying the presents, me wrapping them, and me unwrapping them to give to her.

heat magazine

Any other ambitions?

I used to work in politics, didn’t I, and I’ve been invited to a few of Keir Starmer’s events. That’s the first time I’ve been properly starstruck.

What happened?

They wanted to see if I would run as a councillor or an MP, but I have mad impostor syndrome. I think they wanted to engage with a younger audience. It’s something I’d like to do, but then I got pregnant. So, who knows, when Lucia gets a bit older, you might see me running the country.

Oh Baby! With Shaughna Phillips And Holly Connolly launches 8 November. Follow @ohbaby_pod on socials.

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