Jo Malone likens lockdown to being in isolation for four months while battling breast cancer – and admits sticking to a strict routine is ‘vital’ to control her anxiety
- British perfumer, 56, from Bexleyheath, Kent, is known for her scented candles
- Currently living in her two-bed Victorian flat in Chelsea with husband and son
- She sold Jo Malone London to Estée Lauder for ‘undisclosed millions’ in 1999
- In 2003 the mum-of-one was diagnosed with aggressive form of breast cancer
- Admitted she suffers from anxiety that is ‘heightened by a lack of control’
British perfumer Jo Malone has likened lockdown to her four-month stint in isolation while battling cancer – and admitted she strives to maintain a strict routine to control her anxiety.
The mother-of-one, 56, originally from Bexleyheath in Kent, is currently residing at her two-bedroom Victorian flat in Chelsea, where she has lived for 20 years, with her husband Gary and 20-year-old son Josh, who is home from university.
Jo sold her eponymous brand to Estée Lauder for ‘undisclosed millions’ in 1999, and was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2003.
Despite her grim prognosis, Jo came through after undergoing pioneering treatment, which meant she was one of the first women to take chemotherapy every five days.
British perfumer Jo Malone has likened lockdown to her four-month stint in isolation while battling cancer – and admitted she strives to maintain a routine to control her anxiety. Pictured on Loose Women in March 2019
Speaking to The Times’ Home, the entrepreneur said lockdown has helped bring her family closer together.
‘I was in isolation for four months many years ago when I had cancer, so I’ve done this once already,’ she told the publication, urging people to treasure moments where you laugh and ‘forget the real world’.
‘When are you going to get that time again? We laugh, eat and sing a lot in this house. I could hear Josh singing along to Vera Lynn the other day and I had a little cry.’
She added that she has made sure she sticks to a routine because she suffers from anxiety that is ‘heightened by a lack of control’.
Jo is currently residing at her two-bedroom Victorian flat in Chelsea, where she has lived for 20 years, with her husband Gary and 20-year-old son Josh (pictured together in November 2017)
‘Having a routine is vital,’ Jo said. ‘I make lists that include things such as bleaching the sink, and I tick them off.’
She told how she works until lunch, when she walks her border terrier, and does Pilates for at least 45 minutes every day. Jo added that she also finds cooking and serving a meal to the people she loves ‘really cathartic’.
Jo’s distinctive fragrances are loved by the likes of Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, with the Duchess of Cambridge famously burning her Orange Blossom candles in Westminster Abbey as she married Prince William in 2011.
After selling the company, Jo stayed on as founder and creative director before letting go of the reins in 2006 – a move she has admitted was ‘the biggest mistake of her life’.
Jo sold her eponymous brand to Estée Lauder for ‘undisclosed millions’ in 1999, and was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2003
‘I lost my best friend,’ the 56-year-old told The Telegraph last year. ‘I know it sounds odd, but that’s how I felt – I didn’t talk to my best friend.’
She said she became ‘very anxious’ in the period that ensued and felt isolated from the industry she’d spent years carving out her name in since becoming a beautician as a teenager after leaving full-time education.
She wasn’t even allowed to say she liked a product in print due to a ‘lock-out clause’ in her contract, and admitted it ‘hurt’ to walk past stores on the high street emblazoned with her name.
Speaking on Loose Women, she revealed how losing her sense of smell during her treatment for breast cancer was instrumental in her giving up her role at Estée Lauder.
‘It took my sense of smell. I thought it had gone forever. After I quit Jo Malone and walked away, it came back eight weeks later. How cruel is that?’ she said.
Mum-of-one Jo, pictured after being made a CBE at Buckingham Palace in November 2018, previously said letting go of the reins of her company left her feeling anxious and isolated from the industry
Determined to fill the gap, Jo started a new fragrance company, Jo Loves, in 2011.
‘I just missed it, I missed creating fragrance,’ she explained. ‘It’s like if someone took away your voice, you’d be lost.’
While she admitted the first two years of building up the new business were ‘excruciatingly difficult and hard’, she said she’s now ‘flying’ and ‘life couldn’t be better’.
She calls Jo Loves her ‘new best friend’ – and it’s certainly proving to be a profitable companion, with a flagship store in Belgravia, and a platform on Net-a-Porter and SpaceNK.
Walking past Jo Malone stores these days she admitted she doesn’t feel ‘jealous’ and manages to look at the brand ‘with love’.
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