Apart from being one of our favourite Loose Women anchors, Andrea McLean is a woman of many talents: interior design guru, ex-weather presenter and fashion icon for viewers across the country.
We caught up with the wonder-woman herself to find out where she takes fashion inspiration from, what her dream home would look like and the most important quality she looks for in a friend.
Hi Andrea! Thanks so much for talking to us. First of all, what would you say is your most memorable moment on Loose Woman?
Interviewing the Queen of American television – Oprah Winfrey. I have long been an admirer of hers. She changed the face of daytime television and there wouldn’t even be a show like Loose Women if it wasn’t for her. She was as gracious and intelligent as you’d expect, and I was massively relieved that I didn’t mess up – I’d have been devastated to make a fool of myself while interviewing one of the best broadcasters in the world.
You have interviewed some pretty incredible people during your career: who is your dream interviewee?
Well if Oprah was nerve-wracking, Antonio Banderas was wonderful; cheeky and fun and even more handsome in real life – if that’s possible!
Loose Woman is full of strong opinions. Do you find it easier to get your opinions across when writing your columns, or on the show?
I think it’s a mixture, to be honest, depending on the topic. On the show, I like to let the women get their opinions across, as they are so varied and interesting and strong. When I am writing my articles I have the time to express myself as I want to without having to link to a commercial break. It’s just as enjoyable as working on live TV, but very different at the same time.
Who would be your dream guest to have on the show?
The one person I would love to join us on the show is Victoria Beckham. I’m a huge admirer of her patient and determined transformation from pop star, to footballer’s wife, to an internationally recognised designer, all while managing to fit in being a mum of four!
What’s the proudest moment in your career to date?
My proudest moment isn’t actually on screen, but still involves journalism. My autobiography Confessions of a Good Girl spent two weeks at number 1 on the Sunday Times Best-Seller list. I’m still thrilled that something I wrote achieved that; I even took a picture of the list I was so proud of it!
Most embarrassing on-screen moment?
There are so many! I think the most recent was accidentally calling the comedian John Bishop a ‘fanny man’ instead of a ‘funny man’. I was mortified.
Who’s your style inspiration?
It depends on whether it’s for work or for home time. I love Jennifer Aniston’s style – it’s so laid back and cool. At work I like to wear something classic and elegant, so shift dresses and shirts and skirts are my favourite. I saw Gillian Anderson in The Fall and loved her style in that, so I asked the stylist on Loose Women to get me some soft silk blouses and pencil skirts like hers!
Do you have a favourite high street store?
I like different shops for different things – Zara is my favourite for sharp styling, and I’ve fallen back in love with Oasis again with their V&A range. I like online shopping too, and ASOS is a favourite, when they get their deliveries right.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
I have never been to the Maldives… it’s a dream destination of mine, so there would be pretty good.
How did you originally get interested in interior styling?
I have always loved making the best of wherever I’m living, right from the first student house I lived in to the first flat I bought. In that flat I couldn’t afford to pay anyone to install a shower and tile the bathroom, so I got a book and learned how to do it myself. It took ages, and probably wasn’t the best job in the world, but I loved doing it. So I laid a carpet in the hall and, with the help of friends, laid slabs in the tiny back garden and turned it into a lovely outside space. After that I was hooked.
What would your ideal home look like?
That’s easy, because I daydream about it all the time… It would be a beach house, in a mixture of weathered wood, glass and brick, with huge glass sliding doors open to the amazing view of the sea. Inside there would be a lot of white walls, linen and cosy throws, and candles in lanterns to give a lovely warm glow. One day I’ll have this house by the sea.
What is your number one beauty essential when being in front of the camera?
Hairspray. I have the most ridiculously baby soft hair which flops after 10 seconds. If I didn’t have hairspray to hand I would look like a limp mess on TV.
What’s next for you in 2015? Is there anything you want to achieve before the year is up?
I’d love for Loose Women to win a TV award. It would be a wonderful way to finish a brilliant year, with the show doing so well in the ratings and people reigniting their love for the ladies!
What’s your favourite thing about being a Loose Woman?
I see us as the voice of women who wouldn’t normally get their opinions heard, and I love that. There may be four of us on the screen at one time, but as a show, we represent women from their thirties through to their sixties, and our opinions and stories are true and from the heart. There is no other show on TV that is like us, and I’m hugely proud of it.
We recently partnered with the show to run the first Britain’s Best Friend of the Year awards. Did you enjoy the winner’s luncheon? Was it nice to see so many pairs of good friends in one room?
It was a wonderful afternoon, and a great chance to meet some of our lovely viewers face-to-face!
If you had to give one of your fellow Loose Women the award of ‘Best Friend of the Year’, who would it be?
I think Nadia would deserve it as she is one of the nicest people in television, and no one makes me laugh out loud like she does.
What would be your number one tip for a long-lasting friendship? What do you think are the most important qualities to look for in a friend?
A shared sense of humour and values are what connect you in the first place, but I think patience and loyalty are what hold a friendship together. These are the things that get you through little bumps in the road and time apart when family and life get in the way.
A huge thanks to Andrea for chatting with us, and a very special thank you to Fiona Kay at Time2Gossip for putting forward some of the questions for Andrea’s interview.