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Queen of Everything: Dawn O'Porter


The writer and TV presenter, 34, would tweet incessantly while munching on salt and vinegar Kettle Chips...

If I was queen, daydreaming would be the law. I’d ban the phrase, “Stop gazing out of the window,” and once a week, teenagers would be encouraged to sit on beanbags and just think. At school, I had academia shoved in my face, but it was just stunting my creative development. I still resent them for it.

My palace would be in La-La Land. But I’d also have a cool east London warehouse apartment. My husband [Bridesmaids actor Chris O’Dowd] and I spend the lion’s share of our time in London, but we’re trying to split it 50-50 with Los Angeles. I love how easy and relaxed the lifestyle is there. I love the food and driving around in the sunshine. I write well in LA, because the pressure is off and I’m surrounded by ambitious people who are really encouraging. But then, I love the entertainment industry in the UK. I’ve been working in it for 10 years and I know everybody really well. I like how small it is and how involved I feel here.

I’d be a procrastinating queen. I hold Twitter completely responsible for why I always just make deadlines. But at the same time, as someone who spends most of my working time alone, I couldn’t live without it. It’s bittersweet; I don’t get lonely but if I spent even half the time I do a day writing rather than tweeting, I’d finish many more books.

I’d change attitudes. I’d change sex education in school s and make it more about educating young boys about when it’s appropriate to touch women. At the moment too much education is aimed at girls on how to protect themselves. It’s the responsibility of the government to teach boys at school how to behave towards women. But that’s why there should be more women in government. Women’s issues are never going to get ironed out when it’s men in suits talking about it.

If I could turn back the clock, there are things I’d change. Saying you don’t regret stuff in life is just stupid

Finding a cure for hangovers would be top priority. Fry-ups help. Tea helps. Coconut water helps. But I can’t believe humans have sent people to the moon, yet we still haven’t developed a pill to eradicate hangovers. I’d set up a charity — I’d make it my life’s work and hire the best scientists in the whole of the land and have them working in labs 24/7. I love going out and I’m one of those people whose glass always seems to be empty, then I wake up in the morning with a hangover that completely wipes me out. Even at the age of 34, I haven’t learnt my lesson, but I don’t want to stop having fun.

This queen loves cold weather, until it rains. I love winter fashion like woolly coats, hats and boots and being cosy by the fire. Autumn and early spring walks in the park are lovely, but rainy walks with our dog Potato every morning are just too much.

I’d live in the moment. Marriage made me think about the future for the first time, because someone else is so involved in my life. I’ve very much lived in the moment and never prepared for a rainy day, because it probably won’t come. It means I never save any money; what I have in my bank account gets spent. I’m not very responsible and I think that’s going to have to change. But I find it really boring.

This queen wants children… one day. I know now for the first time in my life if I get to 50 without having kids, I’ll regret it. I look at Chris and think, ‘He has to be the father of my children’. He makes me broody. Timing-wise, I feel a bit of pressure. My career is the best it’s ever been, but I need to stop thinking that having kids would be the end of it, as the women I admire with the best careers have all managed to do both. I don’t think I’ll ever wake up and go, “Right, kids, I’m ready”. I’m going to have to just let it happen. I’m always surprised when women in their 30s say, “I desperately want kids.” I don’t think that’s normal any more. It’s often the men who want the kids, as women know the sacrifice they’ll be making with their careers.

If I could turn back the clock, there are things I’d change. Saying you don’t regret stuff in life is just stupid. I’d go back to my teenage years and be better at saying no. There are definitely moments where I’d like to have been stronger, whether it was with a guy or being spoken to in a way I didn’t appreciate by a friend. If I have daughters I’ll make sure they understand saying no doesn’t make you a weak person.

It’s all about the simple things… I’m happiest eating salt and vinegar Kettle Chips on the sofa with my husband, watching The X Factor. Crisps are the most perfect food on the planet.

Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter is out 2 May (Hot Key Books, £7.99)

Image credit: John Wright



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