Davina McCall says it took until her 40s to accept myself for who I am

Davina McCall, 54, is a champion for women. Following her groundbreaking documentary Sex, Myths And The Menopause, she has become a voice for us all and we admire her for it.

Her book, Menopausing, is due out in September and she tells us it’s become her “mission in life” to urge women to speak more openly about the menopause and highlight the vast misinformation surrounding it.

A trusted face on our TV screens for more than 20 years, she’s the perfect person to lead the conversation on this sensitive issue. In fact, ever since we first heard the words “this is Davina” in her Big Brother days, the public has tended to sit up and listen.

Davina is certainly relatable. She might be a celebrity, but she’s incredibly humble – on her website she calls herself simply “a mother and a friend”.

We chatted to Davina about how we all need a little more time away from social media, what “self-care” means to her and at what age she truly accepted herself. Plus, as ambassador for affordable fashion brand JD Williams, we also chatted fashion.

The mum-of-three has some top tips on putting summer outfits together and reveals a few favourite pieces from her latest
JD Williams collection…

Hi, Davina. What does being a woman today mean to you?

That’s an interesting question. I think, for me, it’s all about being a mother and part of a very welcoming and amazing sisterhood. Women have an ability to speak to each other in perhaps a way that men do not. For example, a woman can go very deep and meaningful with another woman, quite quickly, which makes me feel very privileged.

What advice would you give the next generation of women?

My advice is to be confident in your abilities and aim high.

How do you think you can make a difference?

I have a platform which I try to really make a difference with. My mission in life is to try to spread hope and information around the menopause – this has been my most recent and main ambition.

What does body confidence mean to you?

You can’t have body confidence without being confident all over. You just have to feel good about yourself. That’s not about what you look like, it’s about the feeling you get inside. It’s like magic! Sometimes you can have it and by midday it’s gone. Then, by three o’clock it comes back again.

For example, I have days where I wake up in the morning and I think, “I love this outfit, it’s all coming together nicely,” then I get on the Tube and someone shoots me a weird look and I think, “I’m revolting.” Then I get to the afternoon and have a great meeting and feel really good about myself again.

The one main thing that evens me out in terms of confidence and how I feel is my fitness. I’m talking about getting outside and doing a 20-minute brisk walk or doing a 10-minute workout when I get home. You don’t have to start massive, but doing any kind of exercise really helps.


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At what age did you feel you accepted yourself?

I honestly feel it was mid to late forties. I now do not care what anyone thinks of me.

How do you switch off and show yourself self-care?

Switching off is really hard when we have access to non-stop contact with people. Social media is the hardest thing for me to switch off from and in recent months, I have been making an effort to not always go out with my phone and check it first thing in the morning. That has helped me feel a little bit more balanced.

Self-care is giving my brain time to do nothing. It’s interesting that if I have five minutes of not doing anything, I’ll pick up my phone. But before mobile phones existed, I just used to sit and look into the distance at a tree and think. All my best ideas used to come when I wasn’t doing anything. We fill our brains with so much stuff, and we don’t just think. Ideas come from thinking and talking.

Do you think women set unrealistic goals for themselves?

I think men and women can set unrealistic goals, especially in terms of body image. You see all these men with big buff muscles and 0% body fat. However, you can’t go from being somebody who has a normal body shape to a bodybuilder overnight. It’s an unrealistic goal. You need to set yourself easy and achievable goals, otherwise it will not get you where you want to go.

If you knock your confidence and don’t achieve your first goal, it will make you feel bad. Set yourself really easy and achievable goals. Once achieved, set yourself a higher one. Nothing good ever happens quickly. It has to be lifetime changes. Fitness is for life and not just for summer.

How do you think social media can impact women and younger generations?

I love social media. I’m quite addicted to it. However, I do think people of today have a social media problem. It sets us up to believe we deserve a perfect life, and that it should be perfect. We compare ourselves to somebody else on social media who appears to have the perfect life, but in fact, they don’t.

We went through a phase of people being a bit more real but even that is a bit of an act. Social media is telling you that you are not living the best life, when in fact, you’re probably having a lovely life and are exactly where you should be. It’s time to enjoy where you’re at and stop wishing you were somewhere else in a better life.

What does summer mean to you and what’s your favourite season for fashion?

In terms of fashion, I love winter as I can layer with hats, scarves, jackets, coats. You can do so much. However, I do love the heat. Me and my eldest daughter call each other lizards as we can just sit and bake in the sun and feel the heat on our skin for hours, with factor 50 on of course.

What does the future of fashion look like for women?

Sustainability and making sensible choices when we’re buying clothes is really important. My favourite clothes are the ones I’ve had for six or seven years. It’s all about trying to find something that is affordable but good quality, something you can keep wearing forever. I try to buy things that are pretty and feminine but also don’t really go out of fashion.

However, I always have a pair of cowboy boots in my cupboard. I don’t care whether they’re in or out of fashion, they’re just my staple piece.

Talk us through the new collections at JD Williams – what can fashion fans expect and what are your favourite pieces?

I love the khaki green cheesecloth button-front playsuit from the JD Williams Staycation Collection as I’m a huge fan of jumpsuits and dungarees. It can be worn very casual with ankle wellies but also dressed up, if you want, with heels and jewellery. The one thing I was really blown away by this year at JD Williams was the swimwear. It’s all so flattering. I wore the vibrant islands tie-detail swimsuit in the recent photoshoot and absolutely loved the shape.

What are your top tips for putting an outfit together? Is there a piece you always start with?

I would always start with the underwear as it’s the most important part of any outfit. If you feel sassy, you will behave sassy, so get some nice sassy underwear and start there. I would then go for probably how I’m feeling – every day you might wake up feeling confident in one area but not confident in the other.

For example, if I don’t feel confident in my legs, I’ll perhaps wear a long skirt. It’s dependent on how I’m feeling about myself. I dress accordingly. Sometimes, I put an outfit together and love it, whereas another day I put on 17 different outfits and hate all of them! It’s about what you feel on the inside.

How do you organise your wardrobe?

I basically have staple pieces which I really like. As I’ve got older, I’m enjoying blazers a lot, right up until spring. I love a blazer and polo-neck combo, as it looks really chic and is very easy to wear – and is great with skinny jeans. I’ve also got a Long Lost Family wardrobe, which is very subtle and definitely does not say “look at me”.

Finally, I have a dress-up section, which is possibly more glamorous than your average dress-up area because I’ve got quite a few show dresses. For example, dresses worn on The Masked Singer – I’m lucky as I get to keep quite a lot of them or give them away to charity.

What’s your most memorable best-dressed moment when you felt totally incredible?

I’ve had the great joy of doing The Masked Singer and The Masked Dancer. I have to say, every single outfit I wear on that show makes me feel amazing.

Davina McCall is the JD Williams brand ambassador and has starred in the Spring Summer 2022 campaign alongside Amanda Holden. They feature different edits, and showcase carefully created capsule collections in "moments" that customers are looking forward to most- staycations, gardening, family time, holidays and all the other enjoyable things the season brings. JD Williams presents a wide range of clothing in sizes from 8-32 , accessories, homeware, electrics, beauty and more, available online at jdwilliams.co.uk

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