Gail Porter on Honey, hair and hitting 40

MFM chats to Gail Porter about being a famous mum, growing her hair back and disagreeing with Jamie Oliver about celebrity kids

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Gail Porter’s a busy bee. As well as combining her day job with being a mum, doing her charity work and keeping her 31,405 Twitter followers up to date on her hair growth with her “fluff report”, she’s got a rockstar boyfriend keeping her busy and has set out to promote the new Littlewoods.com category at the Pride of Britain awards. We pinned her down for a chat…

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MFM: The Pride of Britain awards celebrate bravery and give adults a chance to show how proud they are of their children. What has your daughter, Honey, done that you’re most proud of?

Gail: Everything! Everyone thinks that their kid’s amazing but she is! She gets involved with all the charity work I do and she’s very aware of Pride of Britain and the other charities that are important to me. 

This year I’m involved in the Pride of Britain Young Fundraiser of the Year category, which is a brand new category that Littlewoods.com are sponsoring. It celebrates the hard work of kids under 16 who have worked to raise money for charity. There are a lot of amazing kids out there who do so much hard work and don’t get any recognition for it. I haven’t met any of the finalists but I can’t wait. I couldn’t even imagine how the judges judge!

I love being involved and getting awareness for the new category but I’m so glad I’m not choosing. There won’t be a dry eye in the place. But in a really good way!

The good thing with Honey is that because she’s so aware of charity work, she’s grown up to be really selfless. When she gets given toys and clothes and things, she’s totally prepared to bundle them up for charity and is very aware of the value of things. And she’s been through a lot, what with me being bald and all that!

She was very young when you lost your hair. How did you explain it to her?

I think it was lucky that she was so young because she never questioned it. It was just what mummy looked like. The older she got I had to tell her it’s an illness and explain what was happening. But now if anyone asks me, she puts her hand up and is like, “I’ll answer this one!”

Did it make it difficult for her to fit in when she went to school and being “normal” starts to be so important to children?

I don’t think it did really actually. All the kids just knew me as the bald mum. And they were too young to know me from TV or anything. We really tried to make it fun for her and make it a positive thing. I’d get head painted with face paints and let her build sandcastles on it. I think it’s really helped her grow up to understand what’s really important.  She knows not to judge anybody by what they look like. She still asks lots of questions like any 8 year old does and she reckons it was a wish she made that made it grow back! But then Jonny [Gail’s boyfriend, Jonny Davies, the guitarist from New Vinyl] reckons it’s the Jonny D effect. I just say it’s a combination of the two!

Jamie Oliver recently said that celebrity kids are “little *****” and he’s sorry that his kids have him as a dad as they will always have to fight harder…

What?! Why??

I don’t think Honey has to fight harder than anyone else. Yes I’ve got a bit of an odd job and can be quite embarrassing but what mum can’t? A lot more people know who I am than would normally but I think she’s lucky that she has so much opportunity to do all sorts of things and she’s really down to earth with all the unusual stuff she gets to do.

Does she hang out with any children of your celebrity mum friends?

No! I don’t really have any celeb mum friends. Hmm I don’t have any friends Haha! No we don’t really hang out with anyone famous. It’s all very normal. We go to work, come home, go out to dinner, do homework… Play dates are few and far between…

Though, this weekend I had to go do some filming and then I took her along to a big gay party which was mad! Loads of glitter and diamonds and wigs! So that’s probably quite an unusual part of her childhood. I took her to the O2 last week to the unveiling of a new green car and there was an after party of course. Sometimes she’s like, “Do I have to go to another party?”

What’s the one piece of parenting advice you wish you’d known?

The only thing that I really panicked about was schools because when we had to choose one I just didn’t have a clue. All my friends had their children down on lists from when they were babies and it seemed like in London I should have put her name down while she was still in my tummy! Or before! Primary, secondary, local schools…. I didn’t know any of that. I’d be scared that another mum would look me in the eye and ask a question about schools and I’d have to admit that I didn’t know! But she’s done really well! We’ve got til she’s 11 now before secondary and her school now sends us emails every 20 minutes to let us know what’s going on so hopefully it won’t be too difficult!

Any plans to make Honey a big sister?

Oh not at the moment! I’ve just got to the point finally where I’m not totally knackered all the time and I’m quite enjoying that! And you know I’ve done the baby thing and now I’ve got an 8-year-old and soon she’ll be a teenager! I’ll never say never though. It’s just like me to say I won’t and then go and have one! I’ve got a 25-year-old boyfriend and that keeps me busy! I just want to hit 40, have a massive party and chill out for a bit. Maybe when I’m 44, I’ll just decide to have another one. Jonny might want one you see…

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Gail is representing Littlewoods.com, sponsors of the 2010 Pride of Britain Awards, which bring to life the extraordinary stories of bravery, kindness and endeavour that happen day–to-day in our local communities.  For more information visit Littlewoods.com.

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