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What I see in the mirror: Ellie Simmonds

Being a swimmer, most of the time I smell of chlorine and my skin and hair can be very dry. I have to wash my hair once a day and my face all the time.

I like my eyes, which are greeny-blue, and my eyebrows, which I get waxed. I had my brace taken off just before the 2012 Olympics, and now I think my smile is my best feature. My hair is dark blond and I’ve never had any colours or highlights, although the chlorine does make it lighter. I usually have my hair up under a swimming hat but, when I go out, I wear it down. I have always had my hair long and I would be scared to have a drastic change.

Like most women, there are things I want to alter about myself some days but, if I had a magic wand, I wouldn’t change the way I look – you are born what you are. I am a sportswoman and I think of my body like a machine and use it as a tool. If I retired, I would carry on swimming – with the amount I eat, I have to exercise.

I love getting my hair and makeup done and having an occasion to look nice for; I loved the blue sparkly dress Stella McCartney gave me after 2012, which I wore for the Women of the Year Awards. I try to look as natural as possible, but I like wearing lipstick when I go out. I definitely look my best when I am dressed up, because swimming isn’t the most attractive of sports.

• This summer Simmonds is taking part in SwimBritain, a campaign to create a healthier nation. To find out more go to swimbritain.co.uk

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