Meet The Real Housewives of Jersey: Tessa Hartmann

"I’ve always been a big fish – it doesn’t matter how big the pond is" - Tessa Hartmann. Credit: ITV

The Real Housewives of Jersey will premiere on ITVBe on Monday 28 December.

In the run up to that, we're going to be introducing you to each of the leading ladies.

Today, it's Tessa Hartmann!

  • Tell us a bit about yourself.

Born in Glasgow, married to an Italian/German Sascha and mother to four wonderful kids - Tessie aged 23, Tallia aged 22, Johnnie aged 16 and Zac aged 13 years. My family are my world. I am a breast cancer survivor. I guess you could say I’m an entrepreneur, hustler and go-getter. I set up a branding and communications company in Glasgow some 25 years ago with my husband and I like to think I have crafted my trade working in the dynamic world of fashion, beauty and lifestyle. We don’t sleep much! My mantra has always been to support new talent and the next generation and that was the rationale for setting up the Scottish Fashion Awards in 2006. I was humbled to be honoured in HRH The Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list with a CBE for my contribution to fashion and textiles in 2016. I love politics, art and the creative industries. I have written columns for national newspapers, served as a Fashion Editor and regularly commentate on radio as an authority on branding and maternal subjects! I am a patriotic Scot and a proud Brit, and I love the Royal Family. When we moved to Jersey, we fell in love with this island, a jewel in the British crown dependencies. I then set up the Jersey Style Awards to showcase the best of what this wonderful island has to offer across the arts, business, retail, culture and tourism sectors.

  • How would your friends and family describe you?

Colleagues may say a trailblazer who is redefining power and re-shaping an antiquated role model, fighting for more woman to be in charge in empowering working environments. Friends may say loud, full of sarcastic banter, party queen who loves to dance with a glass of champers in hand and fiercely loyal. Family may say strong, very cuddly and tactile, loving, selfless when it comes to the kids/family and nurturing. I encourage my kids to never give up, to believe in themselves, because they can do anything if they put in the effort. Our family motto is about putting in the time, forgetting about missing out and making things happen. Talent will always shine through, but nothing in life is easy - if it was everyone would be doing it!

  • What brought you to the island?

My mother, who was my best friend passed away in 2013, then my father got oral cancer. It was an emotional few years and I found living in Scotland too challenging as everything reminded me of my mum. We came to Jersey for a random business meeting and we fell in love with it. Jersey is also so close to London which means my daughters Tessie and Tallia who work in London can commute easily.

  • What do you love about your life in Jersey?

I love that Jersey is just 19 miles off the coast of France but attached to the British crown. It has stunning coastlines, beaches, palm trees, turquoise waters, plus clean and pure sea air. From Instagram worthy sand dunes, pretty seaside villages, an abundance of fresh seafood, there is something for everyone here.

  • How did it feel to be asked to be in The Real Housewives of Jersey?

I understand the power of the franchise, so for me it was an honour to be asked on to such a global brand. I also likened this to a great social experiment - the idea of spending so much time with a bunch of ladies that I didn’t really know that well, was intriguing.

  • How did your family/friends react when they found out about the show?

My kids and husband laughed in the first instance - not thinking for a second I would do it or that it was right for me. But the reality is we are a strong family unit so as long as we are all on the same side, it doesn’t matter how it turns out. Ironically, I think this show will be quite different from the tested model, which is great.

  • What can we look forward to from you this season?

I have tried to be my authentic self, which requires vulnerability, transparency and integrity. I am a wife, mother and businesswoman - in that order! I put my family first and work very, very hard. I didn’t come into this show to make new friends - I have my family and an old circle of girlfriends. I like to keep things classy; I am a businesswoman after all, so I like to keep the tone high! I also say it like it is. If my strength intimidates you, then that is a weakness of yours.

  • What has been your favourite thing about being a Housewife?

The whole experience has been fantastic, but it has taken up a lot more of my time than I had anticipated. As I work full time there was a lot of juggling to do and working endless hours to make it all fit. For me I love the glamour and getting dressed up, an excuse to wear all my clothes and rummage my wardrobe. I collect vintage clothes and have always had a love affair with fashion. With so many scenes and filming I have certainly been through a lot of my wardrobe which has been fabulous! I almost felt like my 30-year-old self - fashion styling, except I was practicing on myself. Fashion should be fun and frivolous, and this show is certainly that.

  • What has been your funniest moment on the show this season?

There were actually so many - I loved the Jet Ski race in St Aubin’s Bay; my 21-year-old competitive self came out, which was hilarious. I loved the festival party at the staycation. Frankly I hadn’t behaved like that in years!

  • Have you learnt anything new or tried out anything new filming this season?

I organized falconry for the girls on the staycation. Despite having seen it many times in Scotland I had never done it before. However, I was petrified with the eagles and falcon’s whose wingspan were massive, I was convinced one would land on my head instead of my arm!

  • How do you think Jersey residents will react when they see the show?

There has been so much chatter about this locally, which is understandable. But frankly I think this will be the best thing that’s ever happened to Jersey in the public domain. It’s essentially a showcase of this beautiful island that so many of us are lucky enough to call home. So, when the residents see how beautiful the island is on TV and what that can mean to our economy, they too will grow to love it!

  • How do you think/hope the show will put Jersey on the map?

The lure of Jersey’s clean air, unspoilt beaches, great schools, impressive healthcare, great heritage and community spirit will put the island on the map as a top tourist destination.

  • What do you think you bring to the show that no one else does?

I think it’s fair to say that I am the only wife on the show with a big family. As a family we are dysfunctional sometimes, loyal, loving, funny, crazy and ambitious - we make no apology for that. But when you strip it all away, we are there for each other no matter what, so for that reason I will always put family above friendship. I am therefore real, raw and always honest. The moral compass!

  • Who would you say you’re closest to in the cast and why?

Each housewife brings their unique DNA to the show. It was interesting to get to know each of these personalities - some you naturally navigate towards and some against. There is nothing wrong with that - it’s human nature. I felt a draw to Hedi Green. I admired her fearlessness, her sense of adventure, her honesty and integrity. We shared a love of art, culture and sense of adventure. I admired Ashley too - she reminded me of my younger self, building her business and juggling young children; it’s not easy yet she seems to be doing it well.

  • Who have you enjoyed getting to know the most?

I enjoyed being in Hedi and Ashley’s company. I didn’t know them at all before the show although I did discover that I presented Ashley with her Masters degree at her graduation as I was the keynote speaker a year ago at the ceremony, and here we are doing a TV show together. What a small world we live in. Hedi is also an educated lady who has wealth of knowledge in her field. I am always drawn to confident, articulate and educated individuals - those who fight and earn their position through hard work and perseverance.

  • Which two other Jersey Housewives would you take to a desert island and why?

Hedi because she would definitely climb the rockface or swim with the sharks for food and Ashley as she’s a good cook and would keep us entertained and fed!

  • How would you describe your fashion style?

As a working mother, my style is quite defined. Sleek trouser suits, mostly in black, white cotton shirts and high kicks. Outside work I thrive on glamour and elegance, statement and quirky pieces from luxury designers that I have collected over the years to edgy looks from up and coming young designers. Accessories and footwear are key to my style and can perhaps be attributed to my tenacity and bold approach to life and style.

  • How do you like to arrive to a party?

On time, in all out glamour and with a banging pair of shades on!

  • Who do you think would play you in a movie any why?

Charlize Theron - she’s authentic, versatile, sexy, tall, endearing and at least three sizes smaller than me…

  • What do you think it means to be a Real Housewife and part of The Real Housewives brand?

As I have said previously, this is for me an opportunity to redefine the role. To use this platform to make change, to help support women and nurture them as working mothers. It’s perhaps time to use this space to talk more about our environment, sustainability, our precious planet and community spirit than it is to discuss mundane subjects like lip fillers, bake sales and bitching. We can but try and I’m determined to be ‘that’ kind of woman.