Carol Smillie interview
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Having smouldered her way through the sambas and cha-chas on Strictly Come Dancing, Carole Smillie is showing off her fabulous pins once again. The nation’s favourite girl-next-door talks to hellomagazine.com about venturing back into swimwear modelling at 46.
You started out as a model. So how did it feel getting back into a swimsuit for the cameras after all this time?
"Yeah (people are going to say): 'Oh the girl’s getting her legs out again!' I used to do it in my 20s and Edinburgh Woollen Mill has asked me to get involved. People associate the brand with kilts and things, but they do swimwear as well – not knitted ones I hasten to add!
“It was a bit scary, but they were very nice and promised I wouldn’t look terrible in the end. Still, they’re a little more covered up than the cossies I used to wear.”
What about your bread-and-butter work – presenting? Your current show is on Scottish TV isn’t it?
“Yes Postcode Challenge is a quiz show on STV. We have four teams from the same area who pit their wits against each for the £25,000 prize.
"There’s always a fantastic atmosphere. Even before you go on set you can hear all the chat and excitement bubbling up among the contestants in the dressing room."
Are you glad to be working so close to home in Glasgow ?
"Well, I actually started off on STV as a game show hostess; it was very exciting with lots of hype. I had this huge audition process, you know: “The girl in America who does this is a super star”, that kind of thing.
“And bizarrely I got the job. So, it’s nice to come full circle 20 years later. But this time I get to ask the questions rather than just stand there!”
It must mean you get to spend more time with your family…
"Yes. I have to say it’s very nice to be able to leave for work in the morning, having done the school run, pop to work and come back at the end of the night. It’s very unusual for me.”
Over the years you’ve been in so many different shows. How do you manage to juggle the workload with home life?
"Very good back-up! And my kids Christie, Robbie and Jodie are fantastic. I’m actually at home a lot. The modelling for the Edinburgh Woollen Mill, for example, I do twice a year. So I can be at home for a couple of weeks just shuffling round the supermarket like everybody else."
You’re also involved with Skills Street, a campaign encouraging adults to continue learning…
"Yes, there’s a massive skills gap in the job market, and because of it people aren’t getting a chance to climb the career ladder. So we’re encouraging people to improve their skills."
Where does the name come from?
"The organisers - the Learning And Skills Council - took a typical street and assessed the skill level of residents. I actually went to meet two different families in Yorkshire to see how they could develop new interests. Some members wanted to improve their IT skills or do a management course, others were into learning about horticulture or doing counselling courses."
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