Pippa Middleton has joked that there's an upside, a downside and a backside to becoming suddenly famous—and given how her life has changed in the last three years, that sense of humor is important.
In her first-ever TV interview, the 30-year-old party spoke to Today's Matt Lauer about what life has been like since her sister married into royalty on Apr. 29, 2011. "It sounds funny to say, but we saw it as just a family wedding. And actually, I didn't realize, perhaps, the scale of it until afterwards," she said of Kate Middleton and Prince William's televised nuptials. "We all took on the roles as any family would."
"Even sort of walking through the Abbey, there were a lot of people," she recalled. "I didn't see any TV cameras, so to me, it was just performing in front of a few people, not necessarily the whole world."
Seeing the streets filled with royal admirers was "surreal," she said. "You don't know if you're living it through yourself at that moment." It was then that she realized the magnitude of the event. "When we saw crowds rushing around to the balcony, I sort of thought, 'Wow, this is really special,'" Pippa said.
That same day, Pippa's posterior became a topic of discussion. "It was completely unexpected," she said of the attention her butt received, thanks to her curve-hugging Alexander McQueen gown. "You know, I think the plan was not really for it to be a significant dress, really just to sort of blend in with the train."
"I suppose it's flattering," she said. Still, she added, it was "embarrassing" because "it wasn't planned." The author and Vanity Fair columnist reiterated that the "dress was almost meant to be insignificant."
Where is the iconic dress today? "It's actually still in my wardrobe at home," Pippa revealed. "I haven't worn it since. But I think I'll just keep it there. I think it's the sort of thing that I'm sure I'll bring out if someone wanted to see it or my children one day want to see it. Then I'll show them. It's tucked away."
Kate knew what she was signing up for, but Pippa was clueless. "It has been difficult, I suppose, going from a very normal life to sort of managing everything that happened after the wedding," she admitted.
Of course, there are perks to being in the public eye. "I've had amazing opportunities," Pippa said. "I feel very fortunate to have opportunities and sort of access to things that maybe I wouldn't necessarily."
While press attention has benefitted her charitable endeavors, it's made other aspects of her life more difficult. "There is a lot of pressure I get in London, just my day-to-day routine. Occasionally, I might get followed by paparazzi. It's been a bit difficult. It's getting used to not being entirely private and sort of feeling wherever I go maybe someone will spot me," Pippa said. "For good or bad, it means that I don't entirely relax, particularly when I'm in cities." Social media in particular has made anonymity impossible.
Lauer asked Pippa how long it would take for paparazzi to find her if she were to leave the secluded interview location. "I don't think it's that bad," she said, "but I think the nature of Twitter and Facebook, people, even if they've spotted me, they'll say they've just seen me somewhere. Particularly in a restaurant, that sort of could be the worst, because if someone tweets you're in a restaurant, a photographer could turn up at the restaurant and suddenly my private dinner is not so private."
Over time, the public's fascination with Pippa waned—and that's when the backlash began.
"It's hard sometimes, but I have felt publicly bullied a little bit just by, you know, when I read things that clearly aren't true or that, whichever way someone looks at it, it's a negative side. It is quite difficult," she explained. "Because eventually I'm just paving my way and trying to live a life like any 30-year-old."
"I think people feel they can say something about you online or on a webpage, when they would never say it to your face. They think that's okay. It's been difficult," Pippa continued, noting that she tries not to "read too much" and does her best to prevent the anonymous comments from affecting her attitude.
What's next for the Celebrate author? "I want to carry on writing. I've always loved writing. So that's the plan. And a few other things in the pipeline," Pippa told Lauer, declining to elaborate. "There's so much I'd love to achieve. And I still want to keep up the sport and health side of things because that's really important to me. So trying to blend that in with my love of writing and food and entertaining."
The second part of Pippa's interview airs on Today Tuesday.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)