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Fearne Cotton interview: 'People know when you're bulls**tting'

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Cosmopolitan October 2011 - Fearne Cotton
Having turned 30 this year, Fearne Cotton is starting to enjoy herself. When not presenting her daily Radio 1 show or poking fun at herself on ITV2's Celebrity Juice, she can be found working on the latest additions to her clothing and cosmetics ranges.

Digital Spy caught up with Fearne to talk about her second make-up range for Boots, being called a style icon and working alongside the one and only Keith Lemon.

Your make-up range is back - what can you tell us about it?
"This is the second make-up range I've done now. The first year, it was really exciting - I'd never done it before, it was a new challenge, a new work genre for me to dip my toes into. I learned a lot doing it. This year, hopefully it's better - we've improved a lot of different things about it. Make-up-wise, Boots is always going to be spot-on - because it's Boots and that's what they do! But it was important for me to put my own mark on it and make it as me as possible. With my involvement, I'm there from the start. I'm really happy with how it's all turned out this year!"

How do you go about putting your mark on it?
"We start off with the packaging. I love art and design; my dad is a sign writer and graphic designer, so I've always had art in my life. I'm also a big painter. So I have lots of sketches, then sit with the design team who mock up some samples. We then get down to the nitty gritty of colours and textures - I sit there just covered in make-up! We put it all together and there we have it. It's a brilliant, fun process to be part of."

How did creating the range this time compare to working on it last year?
"I felt a lot more confident with it; because I knew what worked and what didn't. For instance, the nail varnishes sell really well. If I think about what I buy as a Boots customer, I'll be addicted to getting a new nail varnish every now and then, whereas eye shadows, I don't buy so many of because they last longer. Really boring practical things like that where the lessons are learned.

"Design-wise, going into a shop and actually seeing your make-up there makes you understand the need for eye-catching colours, prints; a bit like clothing really - things that are going to work in the fashion seasons and what's going on on the catwalk. I tried to bring a bit of my knowledge from my clothing range through to this as well. I do definitely think this year is way better. I'm really proud of it."

You're in Boots, someone comes up to you and asks you why they should buy it - how do you sell it?
"For Christmas, it's ideal. If you're looking for a present for your daughter, girl cousin... you're just a bloke and thinking, 'What the bloody hell do I buy a girl?' I would pretty much guarantee that they will like any of this. And if they don't, you can tweet abuse at me! I would go as far as to say that. I'm a make-up lover, a young woman, I love shopping at Boots and I know what I like - hopefully I've encompassed all of that for customers. I would say that if you're buying it as a Christmas present for girls, even mums; if you want to get her something really luxurious there is a bath set. I can talk about it pretty well, and with sincerity, because I love what we've created."

Is this the difference between yours and many other celebrity ranges?
"Everyone works on a different level with these things. With the clothing, I'm completely hands-on - I sketch everything out, I'm there from the start. I wanted to have the same authenticity with the make-up. I don't want to be the face of something. I want it to be part of my brand, part of what I do. I think this is it. It's very important to have longevity and integrity in everything you do. People know when you're not being genuine. It's quite exposing doing radio; you're telling everyone about yourself on a daily basis. People know when you're bulls**tting. For me, it's very important to have that level of commitment."

Who inspires you when it comes to your fashion range?
"I've got millions of really lovely reference books! I've got books of Debbie Harry, Katharine Hepburn, old fashion books and sketch books. Sometimes I'll just see someone in the street in a great outfit and take something from that. I do a lot of people watching on car journeys! If you go down to Camden, Notting Hill or Portobello Market, you just see so many people who look amazing. Gok Wan, who is a great friend of mine, bought me a beautiful book at the weekend which is all shoe designs."

Do you find it strange when your fashion choices are picked apart?
"Yea, I guess so. It's that whole thing of being in the public eye; it's not something you can ever get used to. I think people who say they do are lying. It's totally alien. I've been doing this since when I was 15, and I still don't feel comfortable with it. It's odd, because you wake up and dress in something that makes you feel good. You don't really care what anyone else thinks. Some people do dress to impress, or for boys, or to go on the pull, but the majority dress because that's what makes them feel like them - it's their identity.

"It's a contradiction when people then go, 'You shouldn't have done this, you shouldn't have done that'. It's no-one's business. I'd never want to pass judgement in a derogatory way to someone who wore something that I didn't like. That makes them who they are! Clothes work on a deep level; not just an aesthetic thing to observe and comment on. It's a real expression and outward reflection of how you're feeling, which is really important."

Fearne Cotton

© PA Images

Fearne Cotton's make-up range














What do you think about being described as a style icon?
"You never really take it seriously or think that that is true. I just love clothes. I spend far too much of my day thinking about them! I love the whole process of getting dressed up. But I don't really dress for other people, so it's weird when you get attached to that sort of thing. People that I class as style icons are Debbie Harry, Katharine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn - those classics. They are the people who have historically changed fashion. I have not done that, and I probably won't. But looking back over the decades of fashion, there are people like Marilyn Monroe, who have been really definitive in their era. I don't warrant that tag!"

Fearne Cotton is becoming more of a brand now - is this something you're working on creating intentionally?
"It's something that I've started to work really hard on, probably over the last five years, starting off with the clothes and now this. I think everything gets dragged into it. You know what it is? It's a very handy defence mechanism in life. I can have this bubble, which is; clothes, make-up, radio, TV - all my projects, and then I can go home and be the real me. The girl who is very boring and puts her pyjamas on at 7pm, plays music, walks around the house baking cakes.

"The rest is just a fun, mad game that I jump in and out of. It actually helps to have this distinction between real life and work. I think people who merge it too much... well, you'd go a bit mad, a bit mental - this helps me kind of get it in a big group. You run it as a business. It has to be like that; you want things to be slick, to work well, to be authentic and to keep ticking - even when you're not on each project."

Are you still enjoying your daily show on Radio 1?
"Loving it! Every day I go in, laugh, play music and go home. It's a great gig to have. Live Lounge is something I was very happy to take the keys off. It was an honour, privilege - it still is! Doing that sort of thing is very special. I don't take that for granted. I'm very well aware of the 40-year history of Radio 1 and everything that everyone has done there. They've set radio and musical trends. I can only but do similar and keep the legacy of the Live Lounge living on."

And I have to mention the phenomenal success of Celebrity Juice!
"It's a monster! It started off being such a small show and now it's just huge. None of us can believe it. We were just having fun laughing every week! Now it's this mad, national obsession. We're so proud. We're doing another series next spring, and our Christmas and New Year's specials."

Can you believe Keith is going to be hitting the big screen?
"It's unreal. Leigh is in character the whole time. If you're working with him, by the second you get to work, he is in character. He is an amazing method actor. He's so believable with every character that he does. He's astonishing to work with - it's an honour!"

Will you be making a cameo appearance?
"Hopefully Holly and I are going to do something in it. We're just trying to work out timewise if we can do it right now. I'd love to - and Holly would too! So, hopefully!"

Having so much to your name already, what's next for you?
"So much! I never feel like I've done enough. I'm a bit of a perfectionist; I'm a Virgo, so I'm always wanting to do more! I never think what I've done is good enough, I'm always beating myself up quite a lot about things. It's not a great way to be. I'd like to be more content as the years go on. That's probably what I want to do more than anything; learn to have that contentment in what I am doing, instead of going, 'What's the next thing, what's the next thing?'

"It's very important for me to do what I do well. I don't want to branch out too much now on too many things. My new thing now in my 30s is to go, 'Actually, I should learn to chill out and relax more!' I want to have more time with my family and all that gorgeous life stuff."

Fearne Cotton's make-up range is available exclusively at Boots.

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