Diversity’s Perri Kiely on the morning routine and her biggest role model

The Diversity dancer and breakfast radio host tells Abi Jackson why, despite early starts, he doesn’t nap during the day.

It’s late morning and Perri Kiely, from South Ockendon, is about to head to rehearsals with her dance troupe, Diversity, when we chat on Zoom.

You’d never guess he’s been up since 4:15 and already done a day’s work.

“I’m not going to lie, I’ve been far from a morning person for years. It’s a bit difficult,” admits Kiely, who has hosted weekday radio show KISS Breakfast with fellow diversity dancer Jordan Banjo since 2019.

“Now I’m on the breakfast radio, my alarms are ridiculously early, so I had to adapt. And it took me a while… [But] it’s still awful!

Not that he seems remotely tired.

Does he sneak in a post-radio nap?

“If I quit, I’m one of those people who will be away for hours,” says Kiely, 26, who was 14 when Diversity rose to fame as the winner of Britain’s Got Talent in 2009.

“Like in the back of a taxi, if my head goes to the side, I’ll be completely out. So no, I prefer to be constantly on the move.

Fortunately, he has no trouble falling asleep when he goes to bed.

“I didn’t know I was [a good sleeper]but my girlfriend insists the minute I hit a pillow, I’m off,” adds the dancer, who met his girlfriend, Laura Smith, while attending Dancing On Ice in 2020 (Smith was a production assistant on the show).

Getting your morning routine right is crucial, so it was only natural that he teamed up with Naked Smoothies for the launch of their new Strawberry Zing.

Anything that can help make life easier while getting ready for the day is a win.

Here, Kiely tells us more…

Tell us about your typical morning routine

“On a normal day, my alarm clock goes off at a quarter past four.

“Because I have to be up, I have to be ready for the day, so I do things like make sure my clothes are ready the night before, make sure I’m prepared, make sure I get enough sleep.

“It’s hard waking up so early and knowing I have a busy day ahead of me, so things like having a quick smoothie for breakfast is great.

“It’s about making sure things happen.

“If I don’t have a schedule, I’m everywhere.”

Is taking care of your health and well-being important to you?

“Absolutely. Sometimes it’s hard to stay in control, if you don’t plan for it, but with everything I have going on, it’s really important.

“So I’m just trying to stay on top, make sure I drink a lot and eat [well]trying to stay away from too much bad food – because I’ll be in rehearsal just to snack.

“If I have a day where I don’t eat well, then I notice that the next week I don’t feel well. But the days when I actively try to eat well and drink a lot and be in the good frame of mind, those things really help.

What else do you like to do?

“I like to do yoga. It’s something that really puts my head in the right space, really helps my mindset, and I think that’s really important.

“It’s very easy to get caught up in work and everything that’s going on in the world – I feel like in general there’s a lot of negativity out there and it’s quite hard to walk away from it.

“So doing that for me, and even when I wake up reminding myself of all the things I’m grateful for.

“It’s super important, otherwise I feel like you might crash.”

How to turn off?

“I’m very lucky because my job is with all my best friends. If we’re not practicing in the studio, we’re just hanging out together, so that’s fine.

“If I’m at home on the couch, I’ll watch a few Grand Designs, just to relax. I like some Grand Designs.”

Do you have role models you admire?

“My mother is very tall. From day one she has always been someone who is open to me becoming who I want to be.

“No matter what I want to try or do, she’s always there every step of the way, really supportive, and the best teacher.

“There are really obvious people in my life that I really look up to, amazing role models, but my mom is someone who really always believed in me. And that’s really important, especially when you’re young.”

Is there a piece of advice or a mantra that sticks with you?

“I saw a quote that stuck with me. It said, ‘The person who said they could, and the person who said they couldn’t, are both right.’

“I really liked it because to me, it’s really true.

“If you really believe you can do something, you can, and the second you say you can’t, you turn everything off, you know?

“Looking back when I was young I never thought I would have danced with the boys full time and had the KISS Breakfast show, these are things I never imagined in my wildest dreams.

“But I’ve always been open to things – I’ve never tried this before, but I’m going to try – and it kind of works. Some things work, some things don’t, but go with the flow and attack do it with the mindset that you can do it.

Naked Smoothies has partnered with Perri Kiely to empower the nation to boost their mornings and get the most out of every day. See instagram.com/nakedjuiceuk

Rebecca R. Santistevan