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Fearne Cotton on music, fashion and Bieber

Interview by Chris King and Hannah Britt.

Fearne Cotton 

You’re on the radio. Do you feel pressured to look good in public even though all the public get of you is your voice?

Well I love dressing up anyway so whether I was going to the supermarket or to the studio, where there are a lot of paps outside, I absolutely love putting outfits together.

Obviously I have my down days where I just whack on a pair of yoga pants and flip flops like I did this morning, but I don’t really feel pressure about what people think of me or what they see of me. I just like getting ready and putting outfits together.

If you see a bad picture of yourself does it upset you?

Oh God no. I mean, it happens a lot! You just get on with it. Everyone has bad days, when you’ve got greasy hair and toothpaste down your top. Unfortunalty, if I do get photographed in that way quite a lot of people will see it.

You can’t untag it when it’s in a magazine can you?

Yeah, exactly.

Have you ever had a nip slip?

No, I’m not one of those girls who’ll wear a top with no bra underneath. Absolutely not.

Do you think it’s a good music scene right now or are we in a bit of slump?

There seems to be a lot of electro pop out at the moment, whether it be Katy Perry, Rihanna, Cher Lloyd, One Direction, people with the same sort of sound.  But I actually think that there’s also a lot of people with really great diverse music out there too that is new and up and coming. People like Ed Sheeran, Noah and the Whale, Bombay Bicycle Club, Kasabian … there are a lot of people out there making really diverse, different music. So, I think there is a good mix on the whole.

The younger end of the market ends up getting swept along with what’s really popular, but people can make up their own mind whether they listen to that  or whether they reach out and look to other genres. Radio 1 is really good at representing a good mix of what’s going on.

There was a phase a while back, when I was doing kids TV, when there were a lot of boy bands, and now there’s a more indie movement. There are always these waves, nothing ever sticks around for too long. But, on the whole, I think that the music industry and the diversity of it is looking pretty healthy at the moment.

Do you find it hard interviewing a band, or someone you really don’t like?

No, because I don’t think there’s anyone in the music industry that doesn’t deserve their place there. I think that whatever their journey is, whether it be through being in a band for years with your best mates, or through a reality TV show, they all have a talent or a skill that’s got them to where they are. I’m not the sort of person who’s going to sit and judge them.

There are some people I’m naturally really intrigued to find out about, bands that I love. And, of course there are others that I don’t care about as much but that might mean it’s a surprising interview that something quite interesting will come out of.

On the subject of bands and acts that you don’t like … is there anything you’d like to tell us about your relationship with Justin Bieber?

Oh yeah, we’ve got a complex relationship [laughter]. It didn’t start off that great to be honest. At Radio 1’s Big Weekend, a couple of years ago now, he kind of walked out of an interview because I’d annoyed him by asking him about a tattoo. I wasn’t meant to know about it, even though it had been published in several national magazines.

But anyway, I decided that it would be a great idea for him to come on the show and chat this out with me. So, he came on my radio show and we had a discussion. He didn’t apologise so to speak, he just said “let’s be friends”. And now I think we’re mates. He tweeted “Hello” after the interview and told all his followers to follow me. I think there’s a genuine friendship blossoming there.

What a beautiful story. Have you got his phone number?

No, we didn’t go as far as to swap the digits. But, then again, that could be slightly wrong considering I’m 30 and he is about 17 …

But he is hot property right now though … it could be a good one to bring out at parties?

What, prank call Bieber when I’m drunk?

Yes. That’s what Concrete would do. On the subject of age, do you think that you’re still going to be in this business when you’re 40? Is there an ageism on the radio as there seems to be on TV?

Well, I’m 30 … so 40 is actually only 10 years away! I’ve been working in this industry for 15 years so it doesn’t feel like it’s a massively distant time away. I think you go through your own phases during your career, making you want to move on from things.

But I don’t think there’s an ageism. If you feel that you’re relevant to the type of music which is being played, and the audience that are listening, then there’s a job for you. I think you expect to move on from projects in TV and radio, that’s just natural. After a certain amount of time, the next person takes over. I wouldn’t want to be stuck doing the same thing for too long anyway, it would get stagnant.

Is that why you branched out into your clothing range for Very and, more recently, your make up range for Boots?

Yeah it’s definitely important to do other things and if the opportunity is there, why not branch out, experiment and see if it works? With the clothing line, it has worked and I’ve been very fortunate. I absolutely love doing it; it’s exciting getting to try my hand at other things.

How much creative input in the design do you actually have?

Complete input. I sketch everything out, draw and make moodboards for quite a long while, a couple of months at least. Then I meet up with the creative team at Very to work out what prints we might use, to see if they’ve found some vintage prints from somewhere, for example.

We work through ideas, then technical sketches are drawn out. We get samples made up, then we change things again. I’m right there throughout the process until it hits the website. I am very involved, it’s really fun.

Do you still get star struck?

The only time I’ve been properly star struck, to the point where i didn’t know what I was doing, is when I went to this exhibition and Jimmy Page was there. He’s my absolute hero. I got introduced to him and I just froze, I had absolutely nothing to say. I was a blithering wreck. We had a photo taken where I looked like an overexcited little gibbon. That was probably my un-coolest moment. Ever.

Have you spoken to him since?

I haven’t actually no. I sort of want to in a way because, obviously, he’s my hero. But, on the other hand, I’d like to eradicate that moment from my memory forever.

Has Leigh Francis given you a complex with all the banter from Celebrity Juice?

No, in real life we’re excellent friends. So it’s all said in utter jest, perhaps even with an injection of love. He’s very lovely and it’s all just for the TV show, he’s not like that in real life. We’re very good friends.

26/10/2011

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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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