Vick Hope on finding light in dark times

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Helen Bownass
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Vick Hope smiling in a pink suit

5 Minute Philosopher is a weekly series in which Stylist gets profound with people we love. What will TV presenter and radio DJ Vick Hope make of our existential questions? 

What is the meaning of life?

I think it’s different for every person and it’s constantly in flux. Once you find out what the point of all of this is, it changes, so you have many different meanings to your life.

What is the difference between right and wrong?

It depends on who you are, your surroundings, how you’ve been brought up, your moral compass. In situations where I’ve been hurt in the past or I’ve hurt someone else, I found there was a lesson to be learnt, and so actually there was some right in that pain.

Where is your happy place?

In the moments that lead up to the good bit: the pre-drinks before the party, being on the train before I get off in Newcastle to see my family, the journey to going somewhere amazing on holiday. It’s the anticipation – the Friday before the weekend – that’s the best part.

Nature or nurture?

Nurture. One of the things that makes me saddest in life is how unfair a start so many people get. I sometimes work with kids from very difficult backgrounds, and I see how they can end up in situations they wouldn’t have experienced had they been in a better position from the outset.

Is it more important to be liked or respected?

In the immediate I want to be liked, but in the long-run I’d rather be respected. As a woman, if you stand for something and you’re respected for what you’ve given to the world, the chances are that in the process you were not well-liked.

If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be?

The way I’ve made people feel, and hopefully that’ll be positive. And also my slip-ups. We got the most complaints on radio once because I let slip that the Easter Bunny wasn’t real.

Who or what is your greatest love?

My family. At this strange time, I’m spending more time with them than I have since we lived together because we’ve got all these amazing apps. And with friends too, people I probably wouldn’t have spoken to in quite a while, all of a sudden we’re in each other’s lives a lot more. There’s something very positive to be drawn out of that, even when we’re in quite dark times.

When did you last lie?

Yesterday. I was on a conference call and someone said, “I’m sure you’ve all read the document”, and I was like, “Yep, course”, while furiously trying to find it in my inbox.

Vick Hope at the Brit Awards 2020
Vick Hope at the Brit Awards 2020

Does the supernatural exist?

It would be very presumptuous for us to assume that our tiny brains have gauged everything that there is out there. It makes no sense that this planet is the only one with life on it.

Are you fatalistic?

In my darkest moments, I always go to that place of, ‘You should’ve done this, you could’ve changed that’, so in that respect no, because I feel like I’m in complete control. But I should probably be less hard on myself.

What is your greatest fear?

Getting to the end of my life and feeling like I haven’t done things I should have or given love a chance and ended up alone. But I don’t think that I will get to that point because I’m teaching myself to enjoy what I have and not think about the ifs or buts. 

Animals or babies?

Babies! I am very jealous of people who have pets right now; I’m alone in my house and it would be lovely to have a Bernese mountain dog to play with. But I have a real soft spot for kids. A lot of my friends are having babies – my ovaries are constantly wailing.

What talent do you yearn for?

I’m in awe of people who speak other languages not just fluently but near-native. I speak French, Spanish and Portuguese and I’m pretty good, but I’d love to understand all the nuances. When I lived in Argentina I had to change my sense of humour to fit in – I became a slapstick character because that’s how I communicated humour when I wasn’t quite able to manipulate the language and make a joke.

Do you like to be complimented?

I used to do that thing a lot of women do where I’d respond with a negative to bring myself back down, but now I’ve gone the other way, and if someone compliments me I’ll do a full sashay and be really RuPaul. Drag queens embody self-love so I pretend to be one.

Do you have a high pain threshold?

Yes. I broke my leg playing football and cycled to the hospital. And when I was younger, I chopped my finger off when a heavy sculpture fell on it in Zimbabwe, and I didn’t even cry. Because we were in the middle of nowhere we had to travel three hours to the nearest hospital. They did the best they could but there was a huge queue of people who had walked for miles.

What book do you recommend most to others?

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. It’s the most emotional I’ve ever been reading a novel, I wailed out loud. It’s almost inexplicable what it does to you. I’ve also been recommending Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. She perfectly perceives the experiences of these 12 women of colour.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo.

Which lesson has been the hardest to learn?

That things will always be OK again, because in order to learn that lesson you have to go through some shit. 

What food sums up happiness?

Noodles. They traverse all boundaries: a fancy meal or hangover food, breakfast or dinner.

What have you never understood?

Why people get so riled up about something that doesn’t involve them. Basically, trolls.

What is the one thing you want to know before you die?

I want to hear the audio from that lift that Solange, Beyoncé and Jay-Z were in. What was said?

Are you scared of dying or what happens when you die?

I’m not, but I’m scared of people I love dying. And I’m scared of the pain my mum, dad and brothers would feel if I died.

Quinoa or quavers?

There is something wrong about cheese-flavoured crisps. I love the way Quavers melt on your tongue, they’ve got good structure, but I’m not into the flavour. So quinoa.

Vick Hope is working on behalf of Akwaaba and Amnesty International to help raise awareness of how you can get involved. For more information visit