Daily Mirror

Brenda: I’m not cutting Loose

Daytime star is happy to juggle theatre role with TV

- BY LYDIA VELJANOVSK­I lydia.veljanovsk­i@mirror.co.uk @LydiaVelja­novs2

Brenda Edwards is one of those people who seem to be good at everything. She is a fashion designer with her own line, an actress, a singer who competed on X Factor, was an accounts manager for 20 years, and is soon to be the director of a new theatre production.

She also runs a charity, has survived cancer, personal tragedy and domestic abuse, and entertains us with her warmth and insightful views as a Loose Women panellist.

While there are rumours swirling that she might be stepping down from her ITV daytime role to direct musical Hairspray, she says adamantly: “I’m not going anywhere.”

The 54-year-old, who has been on Loose Women since 2019, says she will be able to juggle both roles, and is excited to direct the glossy musical about a TV dance show in 1960s Baltimore which is rife with racism.

“The story, unfortunat­ely, is so poignant to today,” she says. “We all do our other occupation­s so Loose Women isn’t going anywhere. Shut that rumour mill down!”

Brenda also enjoys the company of her co-stars – who include Janet Street Porter, Judi Love and Coleen Nolan – despite some fans’ claims to the contrary.

“I love all the Loose Women. There’s this myth that goes on that we all hate each other and we’re all fighting a war and that’s not true,” says Brenda.

“We are friends outside of the show. There are several of the ladies that I go for lunch with on a regular basis. I couldn’t tell you who my favourites are, I love them all in different ways.”

Brenda shot to fame on the 2005 series of X Factor, but admits to falling into TV presenting, including hosting Songs of Praise, by accident.

“I didn’t think that I’d be presenting when I did X Factor,” she says. “The fact that it’s now come full circle and I’m directing goes to show that you shouldn’t limit yourself.” Brenda attributes her confidence in part to her late son Jamal Edwards MBE, a DJ and entreprene­ur who created SB.TV, a music media firm.

The Prince’s Trust Ambassador died in February last year aged 31 of a sudden heart attack following recreation­al drug use. “It was Jamal who instilled self belief into me. ” says Brenda, who also has a daughter called Tanisha.

“Jamal was a pioneer and he taught me so many different things. And as much as he might not be here in body, he is still here in spirit. I can still feel his energy saying ‘this is what to do’.”

A few months after Jamal died, Brenda launched the Jamal Edwards Self Belief Trust, building on the work her son had done to help others.

The charity focuses on combatting homelessne­ss, supporting people with mental health issues and

There’s this myth that we all hate each other and that’s not true


providing young people with essential life skills.

It is no coincidenc­e that she is supporting the National Lottery Awards, after presenting Osmond GordonVern­on, 24, with a Young Hero award for the board game he created called Life Is What U Make It. It is aimed at stopping young people getting involved in gang culture.

Brenda has dealt with tragedy since she was a child.

Born in Luton in 1969, she and her brother Rodney were raised by her grandmothe­r after both her parents died in a car crash when she was five.

“The trauma that’s happened to me has made me a stronger person,” she says.

It was through church that the Songs of Praise host first discovered her love of singing. “I was four years old, and I started singing in the Gospel Church, and I’ve sung ever since,” says Brenda.

While her musical talents have brought joy to many with her X Factor stint and theatre roles in Chicago, We Will Rock You and Hairspray, she has also helped others by using her platform to share her struggles.

She has been vocal about her threeyear breast cancer battle, which involved a mastectomy, as well as sharing her frightenin­g experience with an abusive ex-partner with Loose Women audiences.

■ The National Lottery Awards are the annual search for the UK’s favourite National Lottery-funded projects and celebrate the inspiratio­nal people and projects who do extraordin­ary things with the funding. More than £30million is raised for good causes every week.

 ?? ?? SUPPORT Brenda backs Lotto awards
SUPPORT Brenda backs Lotto awards
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 ?? ?? SCREEN QUEEN Loose Women star Brenda
SCREEN QUEEN Loose Women star Brenda
 ?? ?? BELIEF On Loose Women &, right, with late son Jamal
BELIEF On Loose Women &, right, with late son Jamal

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