It’s late morning and Perri Kiely is just about to head into rehearsals with his dance troupe, Diversity, when we chat over Zoom. You’d never guess he’s been up since 4:15am and has already done a day’s work.
“I won’t lie, I was far from a morning person for years. It’s a bit of a struggle,” admits Kiely, who has been hosting the weekday radio show KISS Breakfast with fellow Diversity dancer Jordan Banjo since 2019.
“Now I’m on breakfast radio, my alarms are ridiculously early, so I’ve had to adjust. And it’s taken me some time… [But] it’s still horrible!”
Not that he seems remotely tired. Does he sneak in a post-radio nap? “If I stop, I’m one of those people that will be out for hours,” says Essex-born Kiely, 26, who was 14 when Diversity shot to fame as Britain’s Got Talent winners 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 just be constantly on the go.”
Thankfully, he doesn’t struggle to drift off when he gets to bed. “I didn’t know I was [a good sleeper], but my girlfriend insists that the minute I touch a pillow, I’m gone,” adds the dancer, who met his girlfriend, Laura Smith, when he took part in Dancing On Ice in 2020 (Smith was a production assistant on the show).
Nailing his morning routine is crucial, so it’s a natural fit he’s teamed up with Naked Smoothies on 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…
Talk us through your typical morning routine
“On a normal day, my alarm goes off about quarter past four. Because I’ve GOT to be up, I’ve got to be ready for the day, so I do things like making sure my clothes are ready the night before, making sure I’m prepped, making sure I do get enough sleep.
“It’s hard to wake up that early and know I’ve got a very full day ahead, so things like grabbing a quick smoothie for breakfast is great. It’s about making sure that stuff happens. If I haven’t got some sort of schedule, I’m all over the place.”
Is looking after your health and wellbeing important to you?
“Definitely. Sometimes it’s hard to keep on top of it, if you’re not planning for it, but with how much I’ve got going on, it’s really important.
So just trying to stay on top of it, make sure I’m drinking plenty and eating [well], trying to stay away from too much bad food – because I will be in rehearsals just snacking away.
If I have a day where I don’t eat great, then I notice for the next week, I don’t feel great. But on the days where I actively try and eat well and drink plenty and be in the right mindset, those things do really help.”
What else do you like to do?
“I like to do some yoga. That’s something that really gets my head in the right space, really helps my mindset, and I feel 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 going on and it’s quite hard to steer away from that.
So doing that for myself, and even when I get up, reminding myself of all the things I’m grateful for. That’s super important, otherwise I feel like you could crash.”
How do you switch off?
“I’m quite lucky because my job is with all my best friends. If we’re not in the studio training, we’re just hanging out, so it’s nice. If I’m at home on the sofa, I’ll be watching a bit of Grand Designs, just chilling. I do like some Grand Designs.”
Do you have any role models you look up to?
“My mum is a very big one. From day one, she’s always been someone who’s 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 encouraging, and she’s the best teacher.
There are really obvious people in my life that I really look up to, amazing role models, but my mum is someone who just 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 did see a quote that stayed with me. It said: ‘The person that said they can, and the person that said they can’t, are both correct’. I really liked it because for me, that’s really true.
If you really believe you can do something, you can, and the second you say you can’t, you just kind of shut everything off, you know?
“Looking back to when I was young, I never thought I would have been dancing with the boys full-time and having the KISS Breakfast show, these are things I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams.
But I was always open to things – I’ve never tried this before, but I’m going to give it a go – and it’s all kind of working out. Some things do, some things don’t, but just go with the flow and attack it with the mentality that you can do it.”
Naked Smoothies has partnered with Perri Kiely to empower the nation to boost their mornings and get the best out of every day. See instagram.com/nakedjuiceuk