What Not To Wear’s Su­san­nah: ‘I don’t care what I look like any more’

Su­san­nah Con­stan­tine talks about her new novel, par­ent­hood and fu­ture plans

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Fash­ion jour­nal­ist and tele­vi­sion host Su­san­nah Con­stan­tine – one half of Trinny and Su­san­nah, whose show What Not

To Wear was a prime­time hit in the early 2000s – has fi­nally given in to a burn­ing de­sire and writ­ten her very first novel. Ti­tled

Af­ter The Snow, the book is set amongst the scan­dalous Bri­tish elite dur­ing the Swing­ing Six­ties. Straight-talk­ing mother-of-three Su­san­nah, 55, talks to

best about her new ca­reer path, age­ing, and what it is that she re­ally wor­ries about th­ese days… Hi, Su­san­nah! What in­spired you to write your de­but novel? Writ­ing was my first love – TV was a happy di­ver­sion! And I re­alised my child­hood was a good ba­sis for a novel. My mother was a manic de­pres­sive, and I started build­ing a story around my up­bring­ing which, de­spite that, was idyl­lic. It’s seen through the eyes of Esme, an 11-year-old girl, so I used my own chil­dren for re­search!

Does it lift the lid on Down­ton Abbey- style glam­our?

Ab­so­lutely. That was very much part of my life grow­ing up. But what I have tried to get across is that it doesn’t mat­ter what priv­i­leges you grow up with, peo­ple’s prob­lems are uni­ver­sal.

What’s your writ­ing rou­tine?

I write late at night when ev­ery­one’s fed and wa­tered. I drink lots of cof­fee to stay awake, then have a slug of Night Nurse to knock me out when I’ve fin­ished. Healthy, right?

Ear­lier this year, you said you’d be­come a ‘frump’. Do you still feel that way?

I wasn’t even in a style rut. I was just… stuck. My con­fi­dence had gone. But I’ve come out the other side. I’m 55, and what I look like isn’t that im­por­tant.

You haven’t given your­self a Trinny & Su­san­nah-style makeover, then?

I’ve al­ways dressed to make the most of my shape. I’ll grab any­thing that will hide what I hate [ her stom­ach]. Though my boobs have got so enor­mous they’re dif­fi­cult to hide… I have thought about hav­ing a breast re­duc­tion, but my hus­band loves my boobs so I’m not go­ing to go there. I’m not get­ting Bo­tox or any of that rub­bish, but I’ve started wear­ing a bit of primer, and tinted mois­turiser and blush so my face looks brighter.

Do you think women ne­glect them­selves?

Ev­ery woman does, un­less she’s a pro­found nar­cis­sist. Ev­ery woman puts their job, their hus­band, their kids, first. It’s part of a woman’s jour­ney. But I do like to be the one who makes sure my fam­ily is warm, happy and pro­vided for.

How would you de­scribe your par­ent­ing style? Pretty re­laxed. I en­cour­age my kids to push the bound­aries. If they break a leg, we’ll just go to hos­pi­tal and get it fixed.

Does any­thing keep you awake at night?

Wor­ry­ing about drugs. And my daugh­ters [Esme, 16, and CeCe, 13] get­ting wrapped up in so­cial me­dia and wor­ry­ing about how they look. As far as drugs go, I had an amaz­ing con­ver­sa­tion with my son [Joe, 18] last night. He told me he wouldn’t touch them, but talked about what other kids his age are do­ing. He’s so knowl­edge­able, he knows all the chem­i­cal com­pounds. I’m in awe of the younger gen­er­a­tion. They get such a hard rap, but I love be­ing around young peo­ple.

Was your re­la­tion­ship as open with your par­ents?

Oh, no! My fa­ther, God bless him, was an emo­tional desert, but I hero-wor­shipped him. De­spite her ill­ness, my mother was very lov­ing and kind.

What’s been your most mem­o­rable en­counter with a fan?

With an ac­tor called Eric Bana [ he played the Hulk]. I was at the first night of a play he’d writ­ten. He spot­ted me said, ‘Oh, I can­not be­lieve it’s you. I love your show so much!’ That was nice. He’s very hand­some.

Can we ex­pect you back on our TV screens soon?

There’s some­thing in the pipe­line, but I’m not sure I want it! I just don’t know if I’ve got it in me to make more telly – I don’t know if I could get my head around fash­ion any more. I would rather do a doc­u­men­tary about walk­ing to the South Pole!

Af­ter The Snow (HQ, £12.99) is out now.

With hus­band Sten Ber­telsen

Co-host Trinny Woodall is a close friend

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