Portrait: A Nightingale sings

She was `born for blonde' but is not afraid to go through the odd aubergine phase. Annie Nightingale explains why her looks send her mood swinging

In Broadcasting House there's a picture of me, taken about 10 years ago, and I'd really like to pull it down. I look much better now than I did then.

I think getting older is easier for men, but maybe that's changing, and it's important to me to be part of that change. Girls say to me, `Oh, you've been such an icon,' and I think, `Well, I can't just stop now.'"

Mind you, even when I do radio, I get my make-up mirror out just before I go on air. I believe you should always give of your best to the listener.

When I lived in Brighton, that hour travelling to London on the train was very useful for doing my make-up. I'd go into the ladies' and come out a different person. Now that I just have a 10-minute cab ride, I have been known to ask the driver to go round the block because I haven't finished.

I go through phases with buying clothes. I do it in bursts, feel guilty, then think, `Well, I won't have time to go near the shops again for ages.' When you see something you like, you should buy two, because next year you might not find anything. Last year I went mad on slip dresses in Oasis, then cut the linings out.

I've got bad hair, very thin and straggly, so I spend a lot of time on it. I was born fair, then my hair kind of went mousy, and now I have it this whitish blonde. I did decide at one point to go aubergine. People didn't recognise me. A Russian friend said `Darlink, you are born for blonde,' and I realised she was right.

I believe in innovation - in make-up, clothes, everything. Like my new glittery nail varnish. I found it in a motorway service station, in a shop that catered to little girls' fantasies, selling tiaras and pink feather boas. It looked as if it had stars in it, so I thought, `I've got to give it a try.' It looks extremely doubtful.

I have a very unpleasant scar from when I was mugged in Cuba and had my leg broken, I am still embarrassed about it, but last summer I went to Sicily with people who took all their clothes off. I didn't take everything off, but I pretty much did and that was probably quite therapeutic.

After Cuba, because I was on so much medication, I stopped smoking and got thinner, I was thrilled, but everyone said `You look grey and haggard.' My skin's improved a lot, though, since I gave up the cigarettes.

I'm very mood-swingy about my looks. I've got very low self-esteem. As a child I thought I was hideous. Fourteen was the worst. I had a pretty friend, and one of her many boyfriends said, `Annie has a nice personality,' so I thought I'd better work on that and went around agreeing with everyone for the next three years.

I am very, very self-critical. You have to be careful, and not make a fool of yourself, not wear things that are too young for you, but develop a look that suits you.

Recently I did The Jo Whiley Show, and I kept my shades on, so The Sun said `You've been doing naughty things at a festival, that's why you've got to keep them on.' But it wasn't that at all, it was a fashion statement. They're rather posh shades. I bought them in Whiteley's shopping centre in west London, and they were very expensive. When I wore them to the literary festival at Hay on Wye, Tom Wolfe wanted them. He said `I like your shades.' I said `You're not having them.'

People will ask me, `What was your favourite decade?' and I say `Right now.' I've had a great time in the Nineties. You can't live in the past.

`Wicked Speed' by Annie Nightingale is published by Sidgwick & Jackson at pounds 15.99. She presents `Annie on One' for Radio 1 from 4am every Sunday morning.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine