Davina McCall finally finds the confidence to wear mini skirts at 55: ‘I look fabulous’
You’d be hard pushed to find a better poster girl for party season than Davina McCall. The TV presenter, who fronts JD Williams Christmas campaign alongside her close friend Amanda Holden, is reclaiming her social life after the menopause and demonstrates some serious stamina – boasting regular 2am finishes and three nights out on the trot.
“My youngest is 16 and a lot more independent,” says Davina, Zooming in from her new Kent home, which she shares with hairdresser boyfriend Michael Douglas and her children Holly, 21, Tilly, 19, and Chester, 16. “He needs me less so I can go out and say I’ll be back at 2am and he’ll be fine. If I’m not back at all, even better – he’ll get some mates round. There’s a lot less weight on my shoulders.
“Sorry to bang on about menopause, but now I’ve got my hormones in check I’ve found a balance and I feel good again. Obviously, I don’t drink, which is the biggest blessing because it means I don’t get hangovers. It’s like I’ve been given a second chance at enjoying a nightlife. I put two or three nights in a row in.
"I never used to be able to do that as I always used to feel guilty as I wanted to be at home with the children. I often want to say to women my age, ‘Don’t worry too much – there will come a time when you feel freer again and you can reclaim a life.’”
In many ways, the menopause has been a sign of rebirth for Davina, who previously recalled how suffering with symptoms, including severe night sweats and poor vision, gave her flashbacks to her days of drug dependency in her 20s.
At 55, she has only just found the confidence to wear mini skirts. Despite every inch of her body being enviably toned, her legs had been a secret source of insecurity until her daughters enlightened her to the body positivity movement currently across social media. Now, she gets thrills from provoking those who dare look at her like she’s a middle-aged woman who should be dressing a certain age.
“I wear mini skirts and I’m 55 and I did not wear mini skirts in my 40s because I just thought my legs couldn’t carry it off,” she admits. “My legs look worse than they did in my 40s and my skin is crepey but I don’t care! I think I look fabulous.
“There’s been a wonderful surge of body positivity. My two daughters have got me following influencers on YouTube and TikTok who are showing off bodies of all shapes and sizes. It’s amazing. In terms of acceptance of absolutely f***ing everybody. This generation, they don’t judge anyone.”
The topic ignites a pang of regret, as Davina remembers how she would beat herself up for failing to snap back quickly after the birth of her children.
“I remember how awful I felt because it took me two years to shrink back,” she continues. “I regret stressing about it. Body positivity isn’t just for 20 and 30-year-olds – it’s also for 40, 50 and 60-year-olds.
“As I’ve gotten older I’ve grown in confidence. Sod what your body looks like! I wear what I want and if someone stares, that for me is like a turn on! I love it when someone looks horrified at what I’m wearing. I’m like, ‘Yeah, you struggle with that!’
While it’s not even December, Christmas is already well underway in Davina’s household. She put her lights up the day after Bonfire Night and casually has a Santa costume to hand as she lights up while talking about her festive rituals.
“The minute fireworks night is out the way, they’re up,” says Davina, “On Christmas Day, I wear this (Santa outfit) then there’s at least two more outfits after. It’s anything glittery for me – that silver dress I wore on this JD Williams shoot is my absolute No1 Christmas favourite.
“I have two trees – my Disney tree is epic. It’s just covered in Disney paraphernalia. Sometimes my kids go to their dad’s, but this year we have them here. We always do stockings in the morning in my bedroom, smoked salmon on bread and champagne – I’ve found a non-alcoholic champagne I like so I can join in. Then lunch about 3pm, games after and then picky bits and dancing for anybody who’s still conscious.”
However, in among all the festive cheer, Davina, who overcame her drink and drug addiction in her twenties, admits her celebrations haven’t always been idyllic. She recalls a year when she felt incredibly lonely she couldn’t wait for Christmas to be over.
“My hardest Christmas ever was my first Christmas when I thought, ‘I don’t want to be with my family,’” she says. “A girlfriend and I had lunch in a restaurant and got absolutely plastered in the afternoon then just watched telly. I have never been more depressed or lonely in my life. I just wanted Christmas day to disappear. It was horrible.
“After that, I vowed to myself if I couldn’t be with my family, because I was away travelling, I would find a family and make them adopt me for the day because it’s a lonely day if you’re not in a gang.”
Meanwhile, the past decade has delivered a series of difficult blows for Davina, from the break-up of her 17-year marriage to Matthew Robertson to the death of her beloved half-sister Caroline Baday, who died at age 50 from lung cancer, to the slow loss of her father Andrew to Alzheimer’s.
But she has bounced back stronger than ever with the support of her family and its newest addition, boyfriend Michael, 48. They’ve known each other for almost two decades and became close two years after her marriage ended. Proving love and work can mix, the former Big Brother star still has her hair styled by Michael and they collaborate on a podcast, Making The Cut.
“I’m very lucky,” she laughs. “He’s my hairdresser and a very good cook! We do everything together. Whenever we think of Christmas gifts we book something – an event, a play, something where we can enjoy each other’s times without phones.”
Christmas will be a welcome break for Davina, who has never been busier. After making her name presenting dating show Streetmate in the 1990s, she then became host of Big Brother and has since gone on to front a variety of shows. Then there’s her wellness empire boasting 14 DVDs and her digital health platform, Own Your Goals.
“With reality TV and social media, there’s a pressure to become really successful really quick,” she warns. “It’s OK to put one foot in front of the other. Just learn your skills, whatever you do. I learnt so much about dealing with difficult people from being a waitress. I prided myself on how I could make a disgruntled customer really happy at the end of the night.”
Amanda Holden and Davina McCall are the JD Williams brand ambassadors and have starred in the Autumn Winter 2022 campaign, featuring the Out Out and Happy Host collections, consisting of sparkly heels, power suits and statement dresses. See jdwilliams.co.uk
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