Catching up with Davina McCall is always a pleasure. With her boundless enthusiasm about health and wellbeing, if anyone can inspire us all to take a New Year detox or start an exercise regime, it’s the 54-year-old star.
Despite fracturing her ankle last year, she says, “I’m really looking forward to getting back in the saddle again and getting my fitness back. As for everything else, if 2022 is a good as 2021, I’ll be very happy.”
Something else bringing a smile to Davina’s face is being back on our screens for the new series of ITV ’s The Masked Singer, which sees warbling celebs disguise themselves in outrageous outfits, leaving the public guessing their true identity. “It’s the best show ever to be a part of,” she gushes.
Not only that, but she’s overseeing her Own Your Goals fitness app – which recently expanded to include more nutritional and menopause advice – and creating podcast Making The Cut with boyfriend Michael Douglas. She’s one busy lady!
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Here, Davina, who is mum to Holly, 20, Tilly, 18, and 15-year-old Chester, discusses ageing, working closely with Michael, and the secrets behind the hilarious talent show…
Hi, Davina! Are you as excited as we are about the new series of Masked Singer?
Are you kidding? I am so excited. It’s so much fun. We never stop laughing. The celebs’ costumes are amazing this season, but my guessing is pretty rubbish this time around.
Are there any behind-the-scenes secrets you can share with us?
I’m not allowed behind the scenes! We’re not allowed to go anywhere because it’s all top secret. But I can tell you that my fellow judge Jonathan (Ross) is the coolest person when it comes to dressing rooms. He arrives on day one with a massive record player, speaker sound system and loads of vinyl. He does his whole dressing room up like it’s a home from home. I’m always so jealous and think, “God, I must do that next time”.
And you’re looking amazing. Do you think you’ve become more confident with age?
Getting older is brilliant because you feel happier in your own skin. When you get to a certain age, the chances are you will have been doing a job for a long time and you’ll be really good at it. I’ve interviewed so many people now that I know I’m a safe pair of hands. By this age, we’ve all learnt so much – although there’s still lots to learn too.
So would you say it’s important that you continue to keep learning?
Now our kids don’t want to talk to us anymore because they’re older, we’ve got all this lovely extra time in the evenings to learn what we want to do next. It’s a great time when you can move from the bottom of the list to the top and begin exercising again. Just make a start. It’s never too late to start exercising. Never.
What do you teach your children about fitness and body confidence?
I try not to even talk about their bodies at all. Even when I say to them, “Are you going to go out like that?” I’m talking in terms of getting cold rather than, “You’ve got to cover up your body.” We never talk about weight or weigh ourselves, it’s just not a thing. And in fact, because it’s not a thing, it has never been a thing.
How important is wellbeing to you?
Looking after yourself physically is one thing, but looking after yourself mentally is another, and there are many things we can do to help ourselves. I’m exercising my mind now, because that’s the bit I want to work on.
Do you get lows – and do you seek help for them?
Of course. It’s unrealistic to think we can be happy all the time. What I’m really keen on trying is, when people feel unhappy, getting them to ask themselves, what is the best way I can get out of it? I can’t stop you becoming unhappy, but I can help you get out of it and find a path.
You hosted a big event for World Menopause Day last autumn – what inspired you to do that?
Obviously, World Menopause Day is just one day in the year, but I can’t imagine it even having been a thing five years ago. And if it was a thing, I wasn’t aware it was a thing – probably because we were all too embarrassed and nobody wanted to talk about it. But now I feel like it’s something to celebrate, because it means liberty and freedom. It means the next stage, where you are more free of the burdens of self-obsession and lack of confidence and being unsure about yourself.
Who inspires you when it comes to ageing?
So many older women inspire me, like Joan MacDonald, aka @TrainWithJoan. She’s on Instagram and she started weight training when she was 66. She’s now 70-something and is the fittest woman in her seventies I’ve ever seen. People say you shouldn’t be weight training in your seventies – rubbish!
It’s great for osteoporosis. You know, you shouldn’t let anybody tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. Do whatever you like. I plan to age disgracefully!
Any good anti-ageing tips you can share with us?
Smile more. When you’re smiling, no one really cares about your lines and wrinkles. Smile as much as you can – and don’t groan when you lean over to take your shoes off! Walk faster, stop slowing down. Not only will it be good for your heart, it will also be good for your legs – and the exercise will make you look younger.
You’ve recently expanded your website and app. Congratulations!
I have! There’s a lot more on offer now. We’ve loads of new trainers, all offering very different things. The main thing is we’re covering different age ranges – it could appeal to somebody in their twenties or somebody in their sixties. We want to make sure that we don’t exclude anybody from being able to work out or find some kind of way of adapting one of our workouts to suit them.
Can we ask how things are going with Michael?
We’ve got an agreement that I don’t talk about our relationship, because our exes and kids don’t have a right to reply, so it’s not fair. But I love doing the podcast with him. It’s basically an extension of what we’ve always done as friends, which is recommend things to each other. Even if we didn’t make any money – which we haven’t really, yet – we would still do it just because we love it. People also seem to really love it. But I guess that is the most public thing we do together.
We won’t ever talk about us in an interview because somehow words linger, and we don’t want that. The podcast is pretty public, but
our relationship isn’t, and that will never change because we don’t need it to.