Last week, I was asked, if I could go chat to my sixteen year old self, what advice would I give her? Looking at this picture of me with fresh-face TV presenter, Declan Donnelly, I should really start with 'g-friend, pluck your eyebrows and cut yourself some bangs, pronto', but it got me to thinking, what would I tell her? Would I want to change anything? Or just give her the heads up that 'do you know what? It's all going to be okay. There'll be tough times, there will be awesome times, there will be times when you will need to seriously pinch yo'self and ask, is this really happening to me?' Mostly, after a lot o' thought, I think I just wanted to let her know that she's awesome. So I wrote her a love letter.
Firstly, I know that right now you're crushing on Gary Barlow and working out ways to make him marry you, but sweet thing, he marries Dawn the dancer, they have really pretty children and are really happy. On the plus side, all that Ant and Dec
stalking following pays off, and you end up working with them for three years – result, non? Oh, on the Take That front, they split up next year, but don’t fret, they get back together in 10 years time and are just as amazing. If not better.
So, you need to chill out. A lot. Stop stressing about being thinner, being cooler, being popular or whether you’ll actually get a boyfriend – none of it actually matters because you rip up the cool-kid rule book and write your own. Literally.
FYI, you’re probably the thinnest you’ll ever be right now – stop beating yourself up about it, seriously, celebrate your curves and don’t get hung up on your wobbly bits, don’t keep putting off doing thing until you’ve lost 5lbs – you want to do something? Do it now! Oh, and those so-called cool kids at school? Turns out in the real world they’re not so cool, who knew, huh?
I know you don’t dig standing out right now, but it’s set to become your ‘thing’ – if people are going to stare, you really should give them something to stare at, gorgeous girl. And yes, you may come from a single parent family on a council estate, but don’t listen to those people who say ’stop daydreaming’ or ‘you need to get a real job’ because chica, you never have a ‘real’ job. Dream big sparkle-filled dreams, plan amazing adventures, write lists of all the the things you’re going to achieve and then tick each one off as you achieve them, because you will – you’re kick-ass.
Don’t waste time learning the guitar, Lee Cooper will fancy you anyway, don’t spend your pocket money on Rimmel’s Black Cherry lipstick, it doesn’t suit you, and read other books beside Point Romance novels – it’ll really help.
You will always be surrounded by beautiful boys – unfortunately for you, most of them will be gay, but they’re ever so pretty to look at and treat you like the princess that you absolutely are. Despite wanting to kiss one of your best mates throughout your entire time at college, don’t. He’s still your friend at 32 and you won’t want an awkward kiss ruining super-fun cinema and dinner dates. You’ll kiss other boys. A lot of boys. In fact kissing becomes quite the past time. Some boys aren’t that nice, but others are beautiful, funny and great company – you might not believe me, but you’ll actually spend smooch time with a pop star and a Dolce and Gabanna (that’s a swanky fashion label!) model. One boy in particular steals your heart and for eight years you have fun-filled adventures, own a pile of bricks and share endless thoughts and dreams. He does eventually break your heart, but please don’t let that stop you from doing it all over again, because that was just a practice run for the real deal. For a while, you'll think that those eight years were a waste, but then you meet someone who blows all your thoughts and expectations about what love is out of the water. He doesn't want to save you, he wants to hold your hand, kiss your face and support you while you rock out and shine. You won't know what love is until you've been loved with the fierce intensity of a 6ft 6 hot viking. Believe me, love, really is the only answer. Whatever your question. Love that delicious viking, love others, love yo' mumma, and most importantly, love you.
Throughout your early 20s, life might not be the fairy tale you expect it to be, but don’t be disheartened, because you can and will become author, stylist and star of the most awesome story ever…your life. It will be filled with the most amazing and exciting people and adventures and you’ll realise that it doesn’t matter where you come from, it’s where you’re going that counts.
All the love in the world...
What would you tell YOUR 16 year old self?