In Conversation With Angela Scanlon
THE OUTNET’S Head of Content, Claudia Mahoney got to catch up with broadcaster, podcaster and one of our personal style icons Angela Scanlon. In case you missed their live conversation about her broadcasting career, her gratitude journey and never saving your best clothes for special occasions — we made sure to save some of the best bits…
"I do think there’s a bit of you that’s like, ‘oh my god I literally haven’t gotten dressed for however many days,’ like actually dressed. I think it’s such a massive part of how we express ourselves.”
Claudia: And there is the lady herself! Angela Scanlon, thank you so much for joining us this evening. People will know you obviously from your broadcasting career and things like The One Show and also Your Home Made Perfect and your podcast Thanks a Million, and I guess also within the fashion world, you’re known for being a bit of a style icon, dare I say it.
Angela: Well, you’re pushing it a little bit, but thank you.
Claudia: So, I think I met you originally when you were doing things for the British Fashion Council… about 10 years ago maybe?!
Angela: Do you know what, I think it’s like maybe 6 years’ ago. Which, it feels like a lifetime ago but yes, maybe 6 years’ ago. So, I worked as a stylist in Ireland and did fashion writing and then I was coming over here, and I was covering fashion week and I was doing bits and bobs and then I had started kind of doing documentaries on bits and pieces in Ireland and was dipping my toe in, kind of seeing what landed first, really. I felt like I had to kind of step away from fashion because I was finding that I felt quite restricted by the idea of just doing fashion in television. And so, I kind of stopped it and literally, like very consciously, but I kind of feel like I felt an outward pressure and I don’t know where it came from but that I needed to pare all that down if I was to be taken seriously and if I was to be seen more as a blank slate, more range. I might be more serious, still that kind of idea of fashion as being quite frivolous and that maybe I can’t do serious broadcasting. Not that I have any real desire to do ‘serious broadcasting.’
Claudia: Has this been something that you’ve like mapped out and planned? Were you that ambitious girl thinking, ‘right, I’m gonna have this career on the TV,’ or was it something more organic than that?
Angela: I was doing my thing and then I sent an email and thought ‘oh, let’s see what happens.’ And then I was signed with an agency over here. No, I would definitely say it wasn’t mapped out, but I am ambitious.
Claudia: Do you have like a five-year plan or are you someone who thinks, ‘oh, this is going in a direction that I’m happy with and we’ll just see what opportunities come’?
Angela: I kind of laugh in that a government-imposed curfew was really the only thing to keep me in my house. So, I had a very unhealthy relationship with work. I loved it, and I’m so lucky to do work that I love but it was like relentless, you know? And my kind of appetite for it was relentless and there was no balance. Which meant that no matter what I did that was fabulous on paper and exactly what I wanted to do; I didn’t really get that much enjoyment out of it. That was at least where it was going and that was quite a scary place to be.
Claudia: Did you find a balance through being pulled back slightly?
Angela: Totally, totally and also what it has allowed, forced initially and now is quite exciting, just to slightly surrender a bit. And I know you hear that word thrown around and I think ‘what does that even mean?’ But actually, just going, ‘ok, I have an idea or more-so a feeling of what I want my life to be like, what I want for my career.’ And it might be just like I want freedom, I wanna go away for bursts of work and then I want periods where I’m able to be fully at-home and present. So, instead of going ‘I want that show, I want that show, I want that show,’ I kind of go, ‘oh, that’s kind of the idea I’d like.’
Claudia: You’re going more with your gut.
Angela: Much more with my gut and much more kind of like let’s see what lands! I used to get my knickers in a twist over everything. I was a bitch for comparison. I would just lash out at myself; it was such a miserable place. I would have a great day at work and then I would go on and see somebody I deemed to be a peer, or a competitor and they did something else and suddenly everything I had done I would rubbish. It was all in my own head.
Claudia: Yes, of course, but it’s very real when you’re going through that feeling of sort of imposter syndrome.
Angela: Totally and just a kind of inability to acknowledge like, I think it’s really unhealthy in so many ways because it doesn’t allow you to stop and just go ‘wow.’ Like, five years’ ago or six years’ ago I was doing the catwalk show, and the stuff that I’m doing now, I don’t think I ever would have dreamt I’d be doing. As soon as you get there it’s like ‘it’s not enough, I’m not enough, what am I doing wrong?’ So, I was slightly forced to go, ‘have a word with yourself now.’
Claudia: Well, I think that’s a really human response and I think also what’s interesting is I really associate you, and I’m sure other people do, with the being such a force of positivity. Your social media feels really authentic, you’re always basically having fun and you also seem to be someone who’s really game for trying things and having a really open mind. And, also your podcast, your Thanks a Million podcast which is all about having gratitude and thinking in a positive way. Do you feel a pressure to present yourself in this perky manor?
Angela: Yeah, I mean, it’s a balance, it’s a balance. I consider myself very lucky and very privileged. Do I wanna go on my Instagram, does anyone really wanna see me moaning about my hard life? So, there’s that on the one hand and then on the other side I actually think a lot of people look at me as a very positive person. I have to work really hard to be a positive person, less so now, but it’s like a muscle that I’ve had to really build. And part of the podcast and my motivation for doing it was actually to kick myself up the arse into actually practicing what I preach because there were periods where I would do it, I would do all of things, I’d feel all the positivity, all of the benefits of that, and that’s not to say you’re bullet proof and you never have lows. And then somebody said to me, ‘you’re the best teacher of the thing you need the most.’
Claudia: I wanted to ask you about Your Home Made Perfect because Rightmove is my catnip. So, are you someone who’s always been interested in interior design and has it made you really focus on your own home and how it’s all laid out…?
Angela: Do you know what, I am exactly the same. Rightmove is my porn. But I love houses and I love the stuff in people’s houses. So, obviously design is lovely, and architecture is amazing and that’s what the show’s about but for me and my role within the show is to be able to get in there and root around in people’s houses, it is the absolute dream. And also, I think, what I found lovely and what surprised me was I thought it’s aesthetics, it’s lovely, it’s design, we can get lost in that, it’s all aspirational. There’s loads of really amazing things about it, but I was really surprised by how transformative it would be for people, suddenly everything feels different, feels possible, it’s a really warm and hopeful show.
Claudia: So, I wanted to ask you quickly about the psychology of clothes and making yourself feel well through what you wear. For some people that is, and all power to them, a tracksuit and some leggings. And other people are like, ‘you know what, I’m gonna have to put some tailored trousers on now and feel a bit more professional and see if I can still fit in them.’ And, put on some massive sparkly earrings or something or an amazing print to feel uplifted. Which camp do you sit in? Are you someone who goes for it or are you…?
Angela: Like, I’ve been living in a trackie, like a zhuzh one. I love a house coat Claudia, don’t knock ‘em. So, yeah like chic, understated hoodie and trackies in a marl grey. But then I do think there’s a bit of you that’s like, ‘oh my god I literally haven’t gotten dressed for however many days,’ like actually dressed. And the difference when you put on something that feels nice, or even today! I think it’s such a massive part of how we express ourselves and then that’s gone and you’re in a Zoom call in a hoodie for 8 months. And you kind of forget who you are, and I found myself getting dressed and going ‘I don’t really know how proportions work anymore, does that work? Do I tuck it in or leave it out?’ You must have an amazing wardrobe!
Claudia: Well, I do have some nice clothes, but this is the thing, I feel that I’m not wearing them or making the most of them, so just putting on a color and washing my hair and putting on a lipstick, you do feel better in yourself.
Angela: Exactly! But no, I do think, yeah, we have all of these things, although it probably has made us think about what we love and what we buy and buying good quality. Like before sometimes I would just throw-away buy something just to scratch an itch. Now, I really want it to feel like a special thing and the whole cost-pre-wear thing is sexy chat. I’m like ‘oh yeah, I’ll definitely get wear out of that.’
Claudia: Well, at THE OUTNET, your cost-per-wear is better because it is discounted already!
Angela: Of course! Oh, I love THE OUTNET, you’re preaching to the converted. So, my daughter turns 3 in February, and there’s this beautiful little dress that she got from her auntie for her birthday, basically this time last year and I keep looking at it and I’m like, ‘oh, we must wear that, we must wear that.’ And then the other day, I went into her bedroom in the morning and she had it on and was like, ‘It’s a party dress!’ And I said, ‘Oh, no honey take that off, you’ll get your porridge on it,’ or whatever. And I thought ‘what am I doing?’ it’s not gonna fit her in 3 months’ time. And I’m telling her no, like basically put on your tracksuit. So, I went back up to her, and I said, ‘put on that bloody dress and we’re going out to the playground.’ And so, obviously it was crumpled to shit by the time she got back, but that was beside the point. She was so happy, and I think there’s something about putting that on and feeling you know feminine or like sexy or fun or even if you’re not going to cocktails, like, you look like you should be.
Claudia: Yeah. I think that is great advice to end on. Don’t save the best, put that dress on.
Angela: Don’t save. As my dad very often mystically says, ‘we could all be dead tomorrow, wear the bloody dress.’
Claudia: Sage advice.
Angela: From an Irishman, yeah.