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“I got a second chance at life”: Davina McCall on overcoming addiction and why Taylor Swift is her idol

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Sarah Biddlecombe


Davina McCall has spoken about overcoming her past drug and drink addiction and dealing with the guilt of being a working mother.

Sharing her life lessons on the first day of Stylist Live, the 48-year-old started her presentation by sharing that she is 23 years clean and sober from drink and drugs, and described the power of breaking a cycle and weaning yourself off of an addictive substance, from cigarettes to sugar.

McCall said, "I loathed myself when I was a drug addict and when I was clean and sober, I was so excited. I feel like I got a second chance at life when I became clean."

From Taylor Swift to Cilla Black, McCall also revealed her eclectic list of female icons. The TV presenter described Taylor Swift as "a nice girl and a loyal friend" and named her as a fantastic role model for her kids.

She also went on to say Cilla Black was an "amazing" role model while Helen Mirren was someone she looked up to because "she's hot, she's naughty... She's got a tattoo and she used to hang out with bikers".

Well-loved as the presenter of shows such as Big Brother and The Million Pound Drop, McCall began presenting in 1992 when she got her first break working at MTV. 

Davina McCall

On the red carpet at The National Television Awards earlier this year

A married mother of three, the presenter has also overcome a number of huge physical challenges for charity, including undertaking a 500 mile journey from Edinburgh to London which raised £2.2million. McCall described the guilt of having to work on her child's birthday as "turning [my] soul a bit grey" but said she made sure her children understood why she had to work - and that there was also a pride to be had in being a career woman.

The BT Sport Relief Challenge: Davina Beyond Breaking Point, Tate Modern, London

After Davina Beyond Breaking Point, the challenge which raised £2.2million for charity

The presenter then described her life lessons, including the following:

1. Don't beat yourself up unnecessarily

The presenter spoke about how often women berate themselves and said, "we need to learn to love ourselves". Speaking about a woman who helped her recover from addiction, she described being given a mirror and told to look in it and say "I love you" - but the presented "loathed" herself so much she couldn't do it.

She said, "I physically couldn't bloody pick it up. I didn't think I was worthy of that." She then described having to romance herself, and how it took a further two years before she was truly able to say she was happy with herself.

2. Follow your passion

McCall is adamant that "if you want something, you should go for it".

3. Don't think, just do

The presenter said, "I've made some massive mistakes. I couldn't live with them if I didn't learn from them."

Davina McCall with her husband Matthew Robertson

Davina McCall with her husband Matthew Robertson

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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Features Editor at Stylist

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