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The Stylist 16: Gemma Cairney

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Gemma Cairney, Radio 1 DJ and TV presenter, talks us through her bottomless pit handbags and why she’ll be carried in to her wedding by several men...

Picture credit: Rex Features

When was the last time you hid?

I’m not very good at hiding. I’m always too loud. I was in a photo booth last time and everyone could hear me laughing

What’s in your handbag?

I have various bags in my house, much to the detriment of my relationship. They are all bottomless pits of receipts, sweets, various shades of pink and red lipstick. I always have a notepad. I’m always jotting crap down. And my iPhone, when it’s not glued to my hand.

Do you have any tattoos?

I don’t. I went to LA for the first time last year, and my friend got a tattoo – it was pretty x-rated. I’ve never seen anything more rock and roll in my life. Because it was so amazing, I was like, ‘I’m definitely going to do it’. Then I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted. Then I started doing some soul searching and I couldn’t think of anything meaningful that I liked because I didn’t want to get it branded to my skin. At one point I was going to get a pineapple…

Sedan chair. Good idea or bad idea?

Oh my god, yes good idea. I’m down with that. There was a really good one on Don’t Tell the Bride. The bride got carried in with loads of men, and I was like, ‘I want that’.

I was pretty hysterical when I found out I got my Radio 1 job

What are you most ashamed of?

I’m quite ashamed of how messy I am. I’m pretty bad. It’s because my life is so fast paced, you see. That’s what I tell my boyfriend.

Is the world getting better or worse?

I’m going to try and be positive and say it’s always getting better. With my fingers crossed.

Cheese or chocolate?

Cheese because it sparks quite a good conversation. It’s really fun, there are so many different types. You can melt it, or eat it in big blocks like we do in our house. It’s rich in taste and history. It’s a mood creating food.

What’s been your finest hour so far?

That’s so hard. I was pretty hysterical when I found out I got my Radio 1 job. Hmmm… For my birthday two years ago, me and friends rented this amazing house in Bristol with a pool table like the one from Eyes Wide Shut in a room in a basement. Post midnight, listening to old school garage, we did a conga and then I got on the pool table to dance. And I thought life was pretty good. I’ll say that was my finest hour.

What does feminism mean to you?

It feels really exciting and really celebratory of being a female. It’s about inspirations and unity and fellowship. I love it.

What part of your home do you like the best?

I have quite a good fireplace, which [my boyfriend] Jordan calls the ‘Destiny’s Child shrine’. Because we rent so we can’t put anything on the walls, so I’ve got this old magazine cover of Destiny’s Child from 1994 in a frame. You can hardly even recognise Beyonce. And in there I’ve put loads of flowers and candles.

You can’t feel more alive than when you’re in freezing water

What’s guaranteed to make you cry?

Most things. I’m a cry baby. I went to the premiere of Chris O’Dowd’s new film, The Sapphires, and I cried a lot at that. I was quite shocked at myself.…

What do you dream about?

Some weird sh*t…

Complete the sentence, ‘Britain needs more...’

Outdoor swimming. You can’t feel more alive than when you’re in freezing water. I don’t do enough because I don’t want to go on my own and I can’t convince people to go with me.

Are you a lover or fighter?

Lover!

Have you left the gas on?

Yes. I wish I could say no.

What question would you like to ask Stylist readers?

I’m always interested in who are people’s role models. When I went to Africa [with Trekstock] we met these amazing women in Malawi. All their role models were people in their community, like Theresa down the road who had a really successful hairdressing shop. I like that idea of your role model being closer to you rather than someone on the Daily Mail website.

Gemma Cairney presents the documentary Dying for Clear Skin, BBC Three, Monday 26 November at 9pm

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