Claudia Winkleman: Take It From Me

'Should I have a picture taken in a tank top, big pants and no make-up to prove that looks aren't everything?'
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"Hello, my name is Daniel and I'm calling from Heat magazine. Would you like to do something good for women?"

Well, that was how Monday started. Now, there are whole groups I would like to do "something" for: unloved armchairs, ageing magicians, tiny donkeys, you know – the poor, the lonely and the sick. But women?

How can I, some half-baked (I like to look fully-baked, obviously), part-time television presenter who occasionally talks about the foxtrot, help half the human race using the pages of a magazine?

Daniel went on...

"The women of today, our readers, often believe those super-glamorous photos of the stars are true to life and they don't realise that the celebrities have been in make-up for seven hours and have been airbrushed and that actually what they're seeing is a fake image. And it can make women feel small or ashamed of their bodies and Heat is changing and we want to celebrate women and their figures and make people see that everyone is the same. Let's let women be honest about what they look like... and be proud of it."

"Like Dove?"

"The birds? I didn't even know there were birds that wore make-up. How would they put it on with their beaks?"

"Like the commercial. A size-14 girl smiling and holding a deodorant."


"Do you need me to use deodorant?"

"That's not the way you can help."

"Does this involve me making a cake? Because I can't do that. Simply can't. Have tried and even concentrated, but it's not in my make-up."

"No, there will be no make-up. And, uh, no cakes."

"I see."

"You. Davina. Fearne. Myleene. A photo shoot. No make-up and no airbrushing. What do you think?"

"I'm going to have to ask around. I don't really like being photographed. And I never do press. And those girls are really cute and much prettier than me and..."

"We'll give you a hamper."

"If it's got lemon curd in it you might be on... I'll get back to you."


Agent: Yes?

Me: Heat want me to do a no-make-up shoot.

Agent: Jesus.

Me: Well, I can sort of look OK without make-up on.

Agent: Are you going to get a fake tan?

Me: I think the point is that I look sort of natural.

Agent: That's insane.

Me: Well, they say it's good for women...

Agent: I'm a woman and it's not good for me...


Old Friend: Hi.

Me: Some magazine wants me to take my make-up off.

Old Friend: Why?

Me: Because they think that it would be good for their readers to see what people who are sort of in the public eye look like with no frills.

Old Friend: Who else is doing it?

Me: Um, Davina McCall and Fearne Cotton and Myleene Klass.

Old Friend: But they're all more successful than you are.

Me: Uh.

Old Friend: If you do it, can you get Myleene's autograph for my boyfriend?


'Strictly Come Dancing' Producer: Is this true, this rumour?

Me: I'm not pregnant.

Producer: Not that one. But sometimes you do look it – you have to admit. You know, from the side.

Me: Well, I promise I'm not.

Producer: Not that rumour. No, the one about you, uh, having your photograph taken with no Photoshop at the end. Tell me it's not true.

Me: Well, I hadn't made up my mind.

Producer: I mean, I'm female and there's nothing I want more than to make girls eat normally and feel less awkward about themselves and yada yada yada, but maybe leave it to someone else?


Me: Mum. Do I look rubbish without make-up on? Didn't you bring me up to believe that looks are immaterial? Especially for women? And that we should feel good about ourselves because of our brains, wit and kindness and never because we weigh two pounds less or because we've got a new mascara?

Mum: Of course, Claudie.

Me: Be honest. Do you think I should have a picture taken in a black tank top and big pants with no make-up on for a magazine to prove a point that looks aren't everything and that airbrushing and make-up make a big difference?

Mum: Don't be ridiculous...


Husband: I'm in a meeting.

Me: A real meeting, or an "I don't really feel like chatting" meeting?

Husband: Well, there's no one else actually in the room with me.

Me: Are you having an imaginary meeting, then?

Husband: Sort of. What's up?

Me: Right. Davina and some girls are doing a shoot for Heat without make-up. They want me to do it.

Husband: You look brilliant without all that stuff on your face. And before you say it – you don't look pregnant. I love your body. Do it if you want – you'll look great.

Me: Wow.

So, a funny thing happened that day. In order to do something for "women", it turns out I really just needed to talk to a man.