Riddle me this… Ollie Phillips
Up close and personal with the former England Rugby 7s captain now turned adventurer and businessman
If you knew then what you know now… would you still do it..?
There certainly are things I would change but I tend to just go with the flow and try to make the most out of any situation whether it is a positive or a negative. However one of the things I would change would be making sure I rested more in the earlier stages of my career and take the time to sit back and appreciate things rather than go at it like a bullet. Life is all about taking chances, having a go and then learning from the experiences. If you don’t roll the dice then you’ll never know what your numbers are.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
That would be from a man called Steve Black who was my fitness coach and he is also the man behind Jonny Wilkinson. He told me to do one thing in terms of my playing and career: Maximize your strengths and manage your weaknesses. Ensure you champion and work on everything that you’re brilliant at and don’t focus too much on the small things that you might not necessarily be good at – just make sure they don’t become a negative influence on your overall performance. You’re here for one reason and that’s for the things you’re good at so don’t neglect them.
What’s the weirdest rumour you’ve ever heard about yourself?
That I had been thrown down the stairs by Zara Phillips and kicked out the house by her and Mike Tindall when I was living with them for a short while back in 2012. This was absolutely not true and I don’t know where anyone got this from – it was an interesting read though!
What was your biggest break?
When I was asked to be captain of the England Rugby 7’s in July 2008, it was everything I had ever dreamed of my whole career. But I think my overall life break was when I sailed in the Clipper Round the World Race. I met a lot of people and many of the opportunities that presented themselves upon my return were because of the sailing. It’s the reason why I am Head of Innovations at PwC now and why I led an expedition to the North Pole to host the ‘Most Northerly Game of Rugby in History’.
Do you consider yourself lucky?
Yes I do. I think I have been fortunate with a lot of things that have happened in my life. A lot of sports people are quite superstitious and we all believe in luck! But I do also think there’s an element of making your own luck; if people are positive and approach things with a positive attitude, then they expect good things in return and more often than not that tends to happen.
What’s most important in your life?
My Family. Unfortunately I don’t get to see them anywhere near as much as I’d like to. I have a brother and a half brother and sister who all have children, my wonderful nieces and nephews. Our family is starting to grow pretty quickly and I love the fact that they’re not a million miles away so I do get to see them whenever I want to, I just need to do it more often!
What brands do you admire?
I am actually quite a big fan of my watches. When I sailed around the world with Clipper Ventures, Rotary gave me a watch as a memorabilia from the experience. It was engraved with the date and ‘Clipper Round the World’ and I cherish it very much. On my 18th birthday I was given a Tag that I still have today but I also absolutely love an IWC watch! I have one that I was given for a talk I hosted in Dubai which I love.
Do you have a guilty pleasure – if so what is it?
I am a total sugar fiend; chocolate is my biggest guilty pleasure full stop. I lost 15 kgs last year when I trained to take part in the Boodles Boxing Ball, I banned myself from sugar for four months and I believe my weight loss was totally down to this.
Describe your own personal sense of style?
Old school vintage. I am definitely not a skinny jeans and tight tops man as it just doesn’t look right on someone who is 5ft 10′, short, stocky and has no neck! My nickname is ‘Benjamin Button’ though I tend to hope my dress sense does outstretch that a little bit, but I am a big fan over a smart trouser/shirt combination – it’s a classic look.
On 24th March 2016, Ollie will be leading a team of fellow celebrities as they attempt to row a marathon. This indoor challenge will be in aid of Cancer Research UK who have teamed up with the Oxford & Cambridge Boat races and are aiming to raise £3 million in 3 years. For more details, please visit here.