At the start of 2020, TV legend, Anthea Turner, was sent our Dahlia 2-in-1 tote in duck egg by a mutual friend of hers and ours. When she received her bag, it was love at first sight, and since then it hasn't left her side. We were absolutely thrilled that an iconic British national sweetheart got such genuine joy from our handbags, so it seemed like the natural choice to ask Anthea to be our first official brand ambassador. Thankfully, she agreed, and we couldn't be more grateful to have her with us on our journey of helping women find the perfect handbag. So, we are delighted to present you with our first official interview with Anthea, where we discussed everything from her presenting gigs and her recent stint on SAS, to ageing with grace and female confidence. Enjoy...
You recently said that you value your health more than ever now and spend a lot less time worrying. This is something that will resonate with a lot of our women; how do you stop yourself from worrying so much about the future when we find ourselves with so much to worry about?
Worrying is a natural emotion, particularly as we get older, but maturing is about acceptance and being brave enough to let go.We learn to be more accepting and cherish the moment and not always worry about tomorrow’s whirling to do list or what may or may not happen…most of which we cannot change. I have an app on my phone called reminders and I’ve really made use of it and it helps stop my former continuous scribbling. Ant Middleton’s ‘The Fear Bubble’ is not just a boys book – it relates to all of us and is a mind set you can use in every day life to assess danger. I read it for SAS where I had to jump out of a helicopter backwards and it helped me break down which bits to be frightened of. If you listen and follow the rules, nothing can happen to you and it helps to calm you. In every day life problems can be solved if you deal with them and don’t bury them under the carpet. I’ve put my blinkers on in the past and it doesn’t help – in fact it makes the problem worse – facing up to problems means you can break them down to help resolve them piece by piece.
Women supporting women is one of our key messages. You’ve previously said you’re inspired by gutsy women who fully admit to being flawed individuals but are ‘have-a-go’ merchants. Are there any women in particular that really stand out as being a key influence for you?
Women supporting women is essential and I’ve always felt that we don’t have to be perfect, just able to admit our mistakes and get back up, that’s the sign of real strength.
Esther Rantzen is 80 this year, sharp as a tac, bright, challenging, and still campaigning for what she believes in and as a broadcaster she is definitely someone I admire. She has a life where she could go sit on a beach and do nothing but that’s not her. I admire her for Childline, Silverline and all the amazing work she has done despite losing her beloved husband 20 years ago now. She is still amazing broadcaster, vital and up to date with modern life and it gives her a glow of youth. I’ve always said anti-ageing doesn’t come in a pot of cream but in your attitude to life and Esther is proof of that.
You’re a real national treasure and we watched you present many family favourite shows such as GMTV, Blue Peter, Top of the Pops and the National Lottery back in the day. What was your favourite presenting gig and why? Any showbiz secrets you can let us in on...?
Two programmes I have adored more than anything: Blue Peter because I was a huge fan growing up and it was like entering the University of television, if you can do that job you can navigate most things in broadcasting.Then ‘Anthea Turner, Perfect Housewife’ was based on a passion of mine, everything I did on that show was based on things I do at home and it was always tongue in cheek and great fun to do and of course it went worldwide and we had great fun making it.
I’m so lucky to still be working in this business today – I don’t reveal showbiz secrets and perhaps that’s why I have survived so long in the industry. Tony Blackburn once told me that what you say in the BBC Corridors will be more important than anything you ever say over the air and I’ve respected that advice ever since!
We were glued to our screens watching you in ‘Celebrity SAS Who Dares Wins’ recently! First off, hats off to you for taking part! It looked tough! What did it really feel like to be there, experiencing the harsh realities of it all?
As we get older our lives become safer and I did SAS because I wanted to challenge myself. I was the oldest and definitely not the toughest physically but I knew my age would be an asset mentally and it turned out to be the toughest gig, tougher even than it looks, but one of the best things I’ve ever done.
We were in awe of the resilience you showed in light of the comments made to you by Ant Middleton. That’s true female confidence right there! What’s given you that tough shell you now wear so well?
The reason Ant called me so many names was not personal, you cannot give a soldier with a short fuse a loaded rifle. I knew they had to goad me to see how I reacted and I blatantly didn’t. It was all part and parcel of the show which we mustn’t forget is based on real SAS tactics. If they had started on the state of my hair mind you- I might have lost my rag – luckily they don’t know me that well!
Having been dubbed the latest ‘cleanfluencer’ on social media, Mrs Hinch and Stacey Solomon obsessed fans are now turning to you for cleaning and de-cluttering advice! We are organising obsessive’s – what is it about this that gives you such joy?
I’m not obsessive – my cupboards are not all lined up like some. If you are not careful you can put too much pressure on yourself. Organisation gives you freedom because it gives you more time in your life but if you overdo it you can become trapped in your own organisation, sorting labels and arranging spoons and that doesn’t help. I don’t understand where people have knickers rolled up in pockets – that’s not me. However, you can’t put a price on knowing where your stuff is and being able to access it quickly and I’m a great believer in that.
Anthea has the Dahlia 2-in-1 in duck egg
You’re a dog mum to a beautiful little Frenchie, Soho. Our ladies are dog obsessed! What’s the best part of having a fur-baby?
I love all animals – I’ve had a menagerie over the years: horses, cats, dogs. I’ve always had animals from when I was little and can’t imagine life without a 4 legged friend. You are never alone. Soho always makes me smile – he goes everywhere with me.
Anthea wears the Ivy bag in off white.
You’ve got great style and always look so wonderfully turned out. What does dressing for confidence mean to you?
50% of the job is looking the part as they say. There's nothing wrong with a smattering of vanity in its place and clothes have been part of my job for the last 30 years and dressing the part whether I’m about to jump out of a plane or interview a celebrity. I made some hideous mistakes in the early years but have learned from them and have learnt what suits me as I have been forced to look at myself from an external point of view which is unusual but has helped focus my style.
Of course a Sarah Haran bag always goes a long way to help any outfit!
We believe that the most beautiful thing a woman can wear (besides an amazing handbag, of course!) is confidence. So, it seems so counter-intuitive that as we age, confidence starts to slide for many women. You’re a pro-age warrior and we love it! What’s the best way to embrace the ageing process?
Funnily enough I’ve been asked to write a book about ageing and it should be out next year! Nobody looks forward to growing old yet I wouldn’t want to be any younger – I just want the skin I had back then!. When we are younger we don’t value what we have. It’s natural to lack confidence but its a learnt behaviour…but we can change it if we want to. Confidence is an attitude. Dolly Parton was asked why are you so happy? And she said ‘Because I choose to be’ and I think that’s true – it’s a choice. Maturity comes with so many positives like wisdom and I see this time in my life in the same way the Japanese view ageing - as my ‘second spring’!
Now that you’re a true Sarah Haran convert, what’s your favourite bag and why?
It's got be the Dahlia 2 in 1. Its everything a girl ever needs from a bag and I use it constantly. I love how versatile the bag is and how it can take me from work, to a night out and back again. If there is such thing as a perfect bag then the Dahlia is it!
Anthea wears the Poppy backpack in tan.
What would you say has been your stand our career highlight?
I’m just grateful to have had such a career – as far as I’m concerned its been one great big highlight and I’m still enjoying it every day.
A clichéd question, but if you could go back 20 years and give your younger-self some advice, what would it be?
Stop worrying! Savour, enjoy and wear your crown.
And finally, what can we expect to see from you next?
Well apart from my column in My Weekly, I am busy writing my book about How to Age well. It’s going to be a collection of tips and secrets from not just me, but from various friends, colleagues and celebrities that I have gleaned along the way. Watch this space….