What’s Up, Pussycat?
WHAT’S UP, PUSSYCAT?
Dancer & singer Kimberly Wyatt and model & film-maker Max Rogers talk to Angela Sara West about life in Surrey, bringing The Pussycat Dolls to Sandown, and their new venture…
Featured image: Karis Kennedy @kariskennedyphotography
As one-fifth of American supergroup The Pussycat Dolls, Missouri-born Kimberly Wyatt made her name belting out hits such as ‘Don’t’ Cha’ on stages worldwide, racking up no fewer than 11 no.1 singles and two multiplatinum albums. Meanwhile, Max Rogers has won wide acclaim modelling for the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, and Ralph Lauren.
The couple, who first met at ‘The Clothes Show Live’ in Birmingham in 2011, have put down roots in Surrey and are loving family life in Weybridge with daughters, Willow and Maple and son Senna. During lockdown, the creative duo expanded their home to include a fabulous new studio where Kim has been teaching online dance lessons and Max, who is also a fitness trainer, has been giving pilates classes.
“It’s our version of the home office!” says Max. “Kim and I dedicate most of our lives to fitness and, in her case, dance as well, so it seemed sensible to dedicate a space to that in our home. It’s where we spend three hours of our day working things out, whether that be photography, fitness or dance.” Dancing from the age of seven, at 14, Kimberly earned scholarships to the world-renowned Joffrey Ballet and Broadway Dance Center in New York. “Dance is a huge passion and gave me confidence as a child, through choreography, tricks, turns, leaps, jumps… I could really feel a sense of accomplishment and that made me feel good about myself and continues to,” she reveals.
Her unique talent as both a dancer and singer led to her being spotted by Robin Antin, who teamed Kim up with Nicole Scherzinger, Ashley Roberts, Jessica Sutta, Carmit Bachar and Melody Thornton to create an American burlesque dance troupe, before taking The Pussycat Dolls and their killer dance moves mainstream as a pop and dance ensemble.
She is passionate about the power of dance and has been working hard to bring it to a wide audience to help with wellbeing and empowerment. In her role as an ambassador for the Youth Sport Trust, she works relentlessly to make dance compulsory every day in primary schools with her Well-Fit campaign, using PE to empower school children through dance and fitness.
Kim also tours with her ‘Bring Your Heels’ message, which she now hopes will have a permanent place at her home studio. “Dance is a huge vehicle that allows me to connect with women who aren’t necessarily dancers, but love the ‘Bring Your Heels’ message, using dance as a tool to help them discover their most authentic selves, so that they can bring that to their everyday lives.
” As a mum, she says dance is what keeps her connected to her “sassier, sexier self”. “It gives me that lease of life to live in the moment, connect with the music, and just step away from the everyday routine of motherhood. I’ve met so many women who fall into that ‘trap’ of the constant caring for the needs of your children, and you do kind of leave yourself behind if you’re not careful,” she says.
“It gives me that lease of life to live in the moment, connect with the music, and just step away from the everyday routine of motherhood.” – Kimberley on Dance
Self-described “model-with-side-hustles” Max says the pair often collaborate on impromptu projects. “If we’re left with enough time to chat, the chances are something creative will turn up. At the moment, there’s less time with the kids being so young, but we’ve still managed a few ventures, including a project called ‘C-section To Pussycat Doll’, documenting Kim’s quick return to stage with The Dolls after having a caesarean.”
Max is also known for his innovation behind the lens, producing short films and music videos which have seen him recognised by the ‘Prestige Film Awards’. He says his highly-skilful other half is a huge inspiration to him. “Kimberly is my muse…” he reveals. “When I met her, she showed me just how much work and dedication it takes to truly excel at something.” They are also actors, with Max starring in movies such as Guy Ritchie’s ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ and Kimberly starring in ‘Starsky & Hutch’ alongside Hollywood heavyweights Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Juliette Lewis, and most recently alongside Luke Goss and Dean Cain in ‘R.I.A’.
As high-profile campaigners against ‘fast fashion’, the couple strive for a sustainable lifestyle. In their downtime, like many a Surrey family, they love local walks. “Painshill Park in Cobham is a favourite with the kids, and Virginia Water a favourite with the wife, but there’s also a lovely (almost secret) network of canals between Weybridge and Addlestone that are perfect for walking the dog, which is my relaxation,” Max says. “I walked the dog there every day during lockdowns, because amongst all of the mayhem, a walk round the Surrey canals, followed by the school run, is the best way to keep things normal!” The couple enjoy chilling at Foxhills, where Max plays golf, and seeing the cars at Brooklands. “My dad was a racing driver (Formula 4) and I grew up watching racing,” says Max. “So, Brooklands was one of our first stops when we moved here. Ayrton Senna’s car is there, and we named our son after him.”
Adds Kimberly: “We love Nikki’s Coffee House in Weybridge. You’ll likely find us in there after the school run if we have a free day. I love having coffee with friends… in the sunshine, ideally!” Shopping locally is high on their radar, and the family enjoys picking fruit and veg at nearby Crockford Bridge Farm. Says Max. “It has a great sense of community, and is brilliant for teaching the kids where their food comes from.”
Supermodel Abbey Clancy and footie pro hubby Peter Crouch are friends of the couple and live nearby. “Abbey and Pete throw great parties, and it’s fun turning up and finding out that you’re neighbours with people you’ve known in the industry for years… all these friendships that happen in London, and then we find out we’re neighbours in Surrey!”
Kimberly is a talented cook and won ‘Celebrity Masterchef’ in 2015, famously showcasing her secret family BBQ rub on TV. “Doing ‘Masterchef’ helped me connect to the things that I loved growing up in the Mid-West of America, which was all about barbeques, and having your chillies, your barbeque sauces and your briskets and all these lovely foods. Now, barbeques have become a real focus within our family.” Out of their love of cooking and the barbecue lifestyle, they have teamed up with a local friend who is a builder to develop Sky Dining, creating supercool themed outdoor kitchens. Says Max: “That was the seed of it all, showing people how that outside lifestyle that Kim loved as a kid can be achieved in this country. We can also put a roof on it, just in case! But there’s no reason why we can’t enjoy that same barbeque culture here.”
Pussycats on tour
So, what’s next for the couple? A Pussycat Dolls tour is on the cards for next year. The group reformed in 2019 with fellow Dolls Nicole, Ashley, Carmit and Jessica (but minus Melody). They gave their first performance in a decade on ITV’s ‘X Factor: Celebrity’, just seven weeks after Kimberly had Senna by caesarean. She says the comeback performance was “immense” with Max helping train Kim back to peak fitness safely.
“I knew I was signing up for the challenge of a lifetime… I love being a Pussycat Doll and I love being a mum, and surprise baby number 3 definitely threw a bit of a spanner in the works! But I was really excited to have that opportunity to celebrate being a new mum, a mum of three, and stepping up to the plate to see what our bodies really are capable of.”
The group will head out on a worldwide tour, which will include local shows at Sandown and Lingfield. Max will take the kids on tour to support Kimberly. He says: “Fortunately, my work involves a lot of travel, so we hope to be able to tour as a family and I’ll continue to work as normal in different markets along the way. It will also be a great experience for the kids to see a bit of the world.”