I still get excited about going to an Italian restaurant. I didn’t have Italian food until I was 15. I didn’t go abroad until I was 16. Mum and Dad worked, but they were always there for us. I had a humble childhood, but it was full of love.
I wasn’t popular with the boys until I was 15 – I’d had a terrible mousy bowl cut. I later grew it out, got highlights, had a perm, and was spotted by a Manchester salon who said, “Do you want to be a hair model?” Then they cut it all off again.
I was in two Duran Duran videos. My kids are thoroughly unimpressed. I’m like, “Excuse me. These guys were the One Direction of my day. I had their posters on my bedroom wall and look, I’m dancing with them.” They’re like, “What’s for dinner?”
I’ve been a Tess for longer than I’ve been a Helen. When I started modelling at 17, my agent said: “We’ve got a Helen Daly. You’re gonna have to change your name.” My mum still calls me Hel, but mostly she calls me Love.
I find it challenging to sit still and just watch TV or a movie. I’d like to say I’m going to make conscious efforts to slow down, but I like to spin all the plates at any given moment, and I don’t know how to do otherwise. I must be quite annoying to live with. On the plus side, I’ve got a fast metabolism, so I can eat as much chocolate as I like and… I was going to say I get away with it, but frankly that’s a lie. I’m breathing in most of the time in those tight dresses on Strictly.
In my dreams, I’d start with an Argentine tango and nail it. But in reality, I’d probably be rubbish. I once danced with Anton du Beke against the late, great Terry Wogan on the Children in Need version of Strictly. At least I know why the contestants are always licking their lips. Your mouth goes dry with fear.
Vernon’s [Kaye, Daly’s husband’s] worst habit is that he always gets into the shower five minutes before we go out. It drives me bonkers. I bite my split ends off in the car, which is gross. It’s disgusting. I’ve probably got a fur ball in my stomach the size of a tennis ball.
For women of a certain age, it’s less about shoes and more about cushions.
I hate flying. When there’s turbulence, I have to get one of those blankets and stick it over my head and scream silently to myself so that my kids don’t see my nails dug into the hand rest.
I tell my kids that you mustn’t lie and that kindness is a superpower. Northern people don’t know how to not be genuine. If you give me something I don’t like, I’d find it hard to pull off a fake happy face.
Tess Daly is working with the NSPCC and O2 on Net Aware (net-aware.org.uk)