Ahead of her turn hosting the long-awaited return of Love Island (not long now folks) the ever-gorgeous – and brand new mummy – Ms Laura Whitmore speaks to GLAMOUR from her London pad (and very swanky home studio) for this week’s My Glamifesto For Life. The DJ, writer, actor and presenter reveals her hacks for managing her mental health and how to instantly feel glamorous (Abba’s Dancing Queen and running round with chopsticks feature); her passion for fighting for women’s rights and how, as the new ambassador for Laybuy, she believes it’s crucial that women start opening up about money and their finances.
“I think it’s really important that we are able to talk about money, to make sure that we’re valued and we get what we deserve.
She also reveals what she couldn’t live without (sorry Iain Stirling, husbands might come in second place) and what she’d like her legacy to be.
My daily mantra is…
My daily mantra is, and I’m robbing this because it’s a song lyric, it is: “no one can change your life except for you.” And it’s from that classic, brilliant song, Hold On, by ’90s girl group Wilson Phillips. And I love it so much so that I actually called my bookthat title. It’s something that I say over and over in my head. I’ve been doing it for years. If I ever feel powerless in a situation and I ever feel like I need to be empowered and get some control back: “no one can change your life except for you”
My instant mood booster is…
Just a song that takes you back to a certain time of your life. And it could be anything from ABBA that reminds me of a really lovely holiday, or my mum loves that song as well, Dancing Queen. Or Justin Timberlake, Can’t Stop the Feeling. Or Fleetwood Mac, Everywhere.
How do you manage your mental health?
It varies day to day, because of emotions and how you feel varies day to day. So you can just take each situation as it comes. I guess the most important thing you can do, when it comes to mental health, is just acknowledging it and accept that some days you feel bad and go, “Today, I feel sad. And that’s okay.” I think a lot of the times, when we bottle things up or we don’t deal with mental health, that’s bad management. So just the most important thing is just being aware, today’s a bad day, tomorrow will be better.
What are you most looking forward to, post the pandemic?
I am most looking forward to travel. I don’t do well staying in one place, and I’ve sat my arse here, in my house for way too long. And be that seeing family, because my family’s in another country. They’re in Ireland. I spend very little of the year, usually in one country. So I cannot wait just to get back on a plane, or on a boat, or a train, or even a long walk.
What is the best thing you’ve learned in the past year?
I’ve learned a lot, actually. And I’m trying to take as many positives out of a negative situation. But probably to be still. It’s okay to be in the present. When we first got told it was lockdown, it was three weeks, then it was another three weeks. And it was very hard to plan ahead. And I’m someone who’s always, ‘what’s the next thing I’m doing?’ So I thought it was really good for me actually, to be still, even if it was against my will.
What makes you feel passionate?
So many things, things I care about. It’s strange, because sometimes I feel more passionate about other people’s causes. I always find it easier to speak up about things for other people than for myself. I don’t know why that is. So when I feel like there’s injustices or things aren’t fair, and I’m very aware of the privileged life that I’ve had, a relatively privileged life compared to lots of people. So I get very passionate when I see injustices and things, which I just think just aren’t fair, because of where you’re born, because of how you look. And especially things to do with women. As a female who was raised by a single mother, I was very lucky and not all women in that situation can be as lucky.
How do you make smart financial decisions?
Easier said than done, but I think just talking about it. So Laybuy have done this survey recently, just looking at women and when it comes to speaking about finances and their finances. And according to this research amongst these women under 40, [they found] that most of us would rather talk about some embarrassing medical ailment, or we’ll talk about men or women or relationships, but we won’t talk about finances. And I don’t know, is that because there’s a shame around it? or we feel embarrassed? or it just doesn’t feel right to talk about money? It’s a bit of an icky subject.
But I think it’s really important that we are able to talk about it, to make sure that we’re valued and we get what we deserve. And also, it’s a part of life. We say money isn’t the number one priority, but it does give you privileges. And it’s very important that you have a little bit of backing…. Look what happened the last year. People lost jobs. And having those little bits of savings were really important, no matter what scale you’re on. And I think we need to be talking about money more.
Who or what could you not live without?
I’m going to say, obviously my family and my partner is brilliant. But do you know what? My phone is very handy as well! I’m going to be a really horrible person to say that I probably couldn’t do without my phone. Especially during lockdown, because that was my way of communicating with my family.
And I think technology has really come into its own. There’s a lot of negativity that comes with it, but finding the positives in it… So I’m sorry to my partner, but I probably couldn’t live without my phone.
What does glamour mean to you?
Glamor means confidence. And I think there can be different interpretations of that word, and I think it’s reclaiming it. Like what GLAMOUR magazine does as well, because it speaks about so many different issues. And I think there’s a confidence behind glamour, because you think of someone glam, but I always think you look your best when you feel your best. And I think that comes hand-in-hand with confidence.
When do you feel most glam?
I feel most glam when I feel confident. And that can be anything. It’s strange though, because sometimes I could be working at a massive event, or it could be at the BAFTAs or the Brits, and dressed up to the nines, but I feel more glamorous down the pub, with my mates. It’s strange. But my one little thing, my one little beauty hack is just red lipstick. Red lipstick in the handbag can do wondrous things, even if you’re wearing active wear.
Who do you turn to for advice?
Just my mates. They’re the most expert people that I know who can help me. And I think sometimes we can take for granted what a good chat with your friend can do. Sometimes life can feel a little bit overwhelming, and sometimes all you’ve got to do is call up a mate, one of your best mates, and just have a rant. And then suddenly, you have sorted the world out.
What is your biggest achievement?
Squeezing a baby out of my vagina, and still being able to sit down afterwards!
How do you deal with failure?
I’ve really learned a lot about failure over the past few years, and talking about it with people. Because I have a radio show on BBC, and I interview so many massive stars, hugely successful people, and every single person that I interview has talked about failure, and how failure has been really important to get to success. Because it’s like, how can you be happy if you don’t know what sad is? How can you be successful if you don’t know what failure is? So I think every time I fail at something, which is a lot, I think in the grand scheme of things, it will help me with further success.
What’s the best way to clap back against misogyny?
Speak up about it! Like anything, it all comes down to communication. And I think there’s power in numbers. And in the last few years, the sisterhood is strong. Because in the past sometimes, and it still happens, women are put against each other. When I first started on television, it’s like, “Who wore it best?” or “Who do you want to be like?” And people should be against each other. While I think when women get together, they can do wonderful things.
And it’s hard because in a lot of industries, my industry can be very male-dominated. When I first started at MTV, my male co-hosts would be spoken about and written about very differently than how I would be. But I never really said anything, because I felt all women are spoken like that. And then I started speaking to other women and then we thought, “Oh, actually, none of us are happy about that.” So getting together and using that voice, because it’s a lot more powerful when women come together.
What is the quirkiest thing you do in the name of wellness?
I’ve done many things. I remember once, being on holiday and using chopsticks as musical instruments, and running around and dancing to ABBA. And that was very good for my mental health, because I just think it’s good to be silly. I think sometimes we’re told to be a bit too serious and that’s frowned upon. I live with a comedian, so I have no choice. But being silly is really good. And I think that’s a really important way to deal with mental health, because it is a very serious subject, but I think if we laugh and find the humor in life where possible. I’m always really jealous of kids, because I feel when kids play and they run so fast that they fall over, I think I miss that. And even my dog, sometimes I look at my dog running in the park and I’m like, “Oh, I want to be a little bit of Mick.”
What is the one book that changed your life?
There’s been a few for many different reasons, different stages of my life. And there’s some that I’ve read in my adult life. I think Matt Haig is an incredible author, Reasons to Stay Alive. My friend Brit, in LA, gave me Glennon Doyle’s Love Warrior years ago. Very honest book. And do you know what book really affected me? It was one of the first books I ever read as a kid, Matilda by Roald Dahl, that my mum read for me. And then I read, over and over again. And it was just this really strong kid who overcame adversity, and was born into this family that didn’t appreciate her, and had these powers. But I just remember reading that as a kid, and still to this day, I can look at that book and the characters, and still draw things from it. And can I pick one more? Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Oh, that is just, for a kid’s book.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I guess there’s something lovely in thinking that you can do something to make the world a little bit better. Not to sound naff, but even smiling at someone.
I remember, I think it’s Diane Von Furstenberg, the designer, saying that we all have magic wands. And depending on what we do, whatever job you have or wherever you are, and being able to use it. And that could be simply if someone contacts you and says, “I’d really like a job somewhere,” and maybe giving them an email address. Not giving them the job, but giving them an email address, or giving them a bit of advice. Or sometimes I’ll get friends to meet other friends, and it’s a little bit of a magic wand, a little bit of a platform you have to help somebody else. Or talk about a social issue, because you’ve got a bit of a platform.
And I think I’d love that legacy to be that I’ve used that magic wand somehow, to make things a little bit better.
Laura has teamed up with LayBuy to launch ‘Master Your Money’, a new campaign that aims to get women speaking more openly about their financial concerns, and take control of their finances for the future. To take Laybuy’s all new 5-minute Financial Health Check, access tips and advice, and for more information about the Laybuy ‘Master Your Money’ Campaign; visit www.laybuy.com/uk/master-your-money