This week we interviewed one of TV’s favourite faces and most sought-after presenters Carol Smillie. Glaswegian-born Carol is married to restauranteur Alex Knight, and together they have three children, Christie 19, Robbie 17 and Jodie 15. The family live in Glasgow with their two black labradors Jess & Ruby.
Was it always your dream to be involved in television?
No, not at all! I never thought a girl from Glasgow with no journalism experience could ever be considered for a job in TV! Everyone I have ever known in TV has stumbled upon it, rather than a traditional career path. But the industry has changed beyond recognition in the last ten years, and I’m not sure it’s for the better.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Oooh, tricky question. There have been several…
‘Changing Rooms’, undoubtedly. I spent 10 years on it, and loved every minute. It was so exciting to be at the start of something so ground breaking, as it was effectively the first ‘reality’ tv show.
‘This is Your Life’, my mum was so proud, she finally saw it as a ‘proper job’!
Hosting the Duke of Edinburgh’s 80th birthday in the Royal Albert Hall.
‘Strictly Come Dancing’ – undoubtedly the most fun, and I came fifth!
You became a bestselling author when you released ‘Carol Smillie’s Working Mum’s Handbook’ back in 2003, what made you want to write this and do you have any advice to mums busy juggling their family lives with busy careers?
Sadly it wasn’t my idea, the publishers approached me. It was still relatively unusual to see a pregnant presenter on screen, and viewers were fascinated by my progress through each pregnancy, and so they thought it was a perfect fit! I was very keen to make sure it wasn’t done in a preaching tone though. Motherhood is different for every woman and what works for one may not for another. We all get it wrong sometimes, but it’s not worth beating yourself up about it. I only talked about my own personal experiences.
Tell us a bit about your business DairyDoll.
It all began on holiday in Portugal, and a chat on the beach with my friend Annabel Croft. We have four teenage daughters between us, and we were discussing the whole topic of periods (as you do!). Annabel left home aged fifteen to travel the world on the tennis circuit and had always suffered with heavy periods. Her mother had given her hideous plastic pants to avoid leaks through the night, and although they were awful, they did work. Why, we wondered, has there never been a modern day equivalent? DiaryDolls are soft & pretty with a secret waterproof breathable panel, to protect clothing and bedding from any leaks.
Two years later, we are award winning and have sold into fourteen countries, and not just for periods, but pelvic floor weakness and post-maternity.
What’s your favourite family recipe?
A good roast is hard to beat, but we all love a Jamie Oliver stir-fry. I bought the Twenty Minute Meal App about three years ago, and it’s my culinary bible – it works every time, even if cooking isn’t your thing!
Will you be encouraging any of your children to follow your footsteps into either TV or modelling?
My kids are all completely different with varying skills and talents, and I’d encourage each of them to follow their dreams. Christie (aged 19) is the DiaryDoll model, and has done a bit of modelling, but only to supplement her student purse, she’s a gifted linguist.
Robbie (aged 17) has a really artistic eye, he’s creative and a great photographer. He’d love to spend his days BMXing! And Jodie (aged 15) is very musical, she’s been busking regularly since she was 12 or 13!
What’s the one baby product you couldn’t have lived without?
Apart from Calpol? A really great pram,that doubles as a car seat/ shopping trolley!
You’re such a busy mama, how do you stay looking so incredible?
Thank you! A younger husband? Seriously though, I think it’s important not to lose your identity. It’s hard when your baby is tiny, you’re completely consumed and exhausted, but as you get to grips with it, motherhood is probably your greatest achievement (it is still mine). Just remember to treat yourself once in a while for doing such a great job. Girlfriends are crucial and a great sounding board, and try to make time for your own interests and hobbies, you’ll be a far more interesting mum, and your kids will learn to respect that.
What’s in the pipeline for you next?
There are some really exciting ties ahead with DiaryDoll, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. My two eldest children have left home and so I’m clinging on to my youngest, as long as I can!
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
Determined and impatient, but fair, and always crying at soppy movies!