Skin from Skunkv Anansie

Skin just explained why we all need to scream like Judi Dench sometimes

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Skunk Anansie singer Skin just joined Fearne Cotton on the Happy Place podcast, and it was one of the most fascinating interviews yet. 

Skin is a global icon, best known as the lead singer of multi-million-selling rock band Skunk Anansie. During her 25-year career, she has been a vocal LGBTQ+ activist, became the first British black person to headline Glastonbury and ventured on a successful solo artist. 

Skin has now reflected on her incredible life so far in her new memoir, It Takes Blood and Guts. And, earlier this week, she joined Fearne Cotton on the Happy Place podcast to share some of her most memorable experiences.

Here are just a few of the fascinating conversation threads from the interview:

Skin on her life-changing moment with Judi Dench

Skin recalls the time Dame Judi Dench came into her school with the National Theatre to perform Macbeth in front of the students, and the impact this had on her: “There was this moment, she was one of the witches – ‘fair is foul, and foul is fair’ – and she’s devastated and she picks up this thing and lets out this scream. It lasted about 30 seconds or a minute, but it was a blood-curdling [screams]. It went on forever and it felt like she was emptying her soul…

“Something in me was like ‘I want to be able to let go of my soul.’”

She adds: “If I ever see Judi Dench I’m gonna be like: ‘You changed me, you changed my life’. It’s not that I wanted to be an actress, I just wanted to do what I wanted to do without fear And that moment kept coming back to me. I kept having dreams about being on stage with my microphone and screaming like Judi Dench.”

Skin on confronting her attacker and stalker

The singer also talked about confronting the man who horrifically attacked her in the street and stalked her: “He whispered in my ear ‘I know where you live, I know where you live’. And I turned away from him and ran down the street. As I was running, I kept going over in my head – and I remember this very distinctly – ‘this is going to keep happening, this is going to keep happening’.

She then explains how, as she kept repeating that last sentence, she became angrier and angrier with the situation: “By the end of the road I was absolutely furious. I turned around and ran back and I was in a rage. It was a temper that I haven’t seen in myself since I was a young child…

Skunk Anansie lead singer Skin chatted to Fearne Cotton on the Happy Place podcast.

She continues: “I saw this person, this gigantic guy, who had abused me… and watched him shrivel in front of my eyes. I was the giant and he was the little mouse. I realised I had given him all this power over me because I was afraid of the idea of being attacked by him and he was loving that. He was really enjoying this fear and control he had over me and the fact he’d done this. He was so empowered by that.

“Once I turned my head on that, he was just a little chicken shit. And he couldn’t handle it. He scuttled away. And that was it, that repetition in my head.”

Skin on not carrying other peoples “boulders”

And when Cotton asks about negative and abusive comments faced during her career, Skin says: “If you are confronted by anyone who is racist or sexist or transphobic or whatever they are, it’s that they are uncomfortable with you being around and they have all these issues and problems. And what they’re doing is – imagine those issues and problems… as a giant boulder or rock – and what they’re doing is handing you this giant boulder of negativity.

“And my view has always been ‘no, you can have that back’. And I throw it back at them because I’m not going to throw the weight on my shoulder, it’s not my burden, I’m fine with all those things, I’m happy, so [they] can have that straight back.”

You can listen to the full Skin interview on the Happy Place podcast. 

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…