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Mariella Frostrup interview

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Mariella Frostrup interview

Post by Katiedot on Sun Mar 06 2011, 07:07

Mariella Frostrup, tv presenter, radio presenter, rumoured girlfriend (always denied by her) and now friend of George's:

From The Daily Fail

Mariella Frostrup: TV's brainiest blonde reveals why being taken seriously isn't all it’s cracked up to be

5th March 2011

Arts presenter Mariella Frostrup cultivates an air of intellectual gravitas, partly to confound being stereotyped as a ‘vacuous blonde’, but also to avoid the pitfalls of revealing too much about herself. As Judith Woods discovers, however, the real Mariella is irreverent, sexy and enjoying the best decade of her life

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'George Clooney is 50 this year! I can't imagine it. But then I'm 48 and that takes a lot of getting used to - I still feel 35,' says Mariella

When Mariella Frostrup was asked by ITV to be a sofa pundit for the forthcoming royal wedding she politely declined, while privately wondering whether the producers had any inkling of just what a loose cannon she might be. ‘I have no interest in the royal wedding at all. None. Zero. So I would be bored out of my mind and end up saying all kinds of aggressively anti-royal things,’ she says, with a beguiling chuckle that would probably distract ardent monarchists from any lese-majesty. ‘The idea of exposing the British public to the full breadth of my personality isn’t a good one.’

Norwegian-born, Irish-reared Mariella has always gone to great pains to keep her multifaceted character to herself. She has concentrated on projecting a persona that radiates gravitas – but her natural slinkiness is impossible to disguise. Blonde but bookish, the 48-year-old mother of two is the epitome of a sexy bluestocking. She admits that she consciously steered her career away from the glitz of light entertainment – not for her the game-show larkiness of fellow Scandinavian Ulrika Jonsson. ‘I used to routinely turn down things that might compound the impression that I was some kind of vacuous blonde. But now, when I look back, I think I should have done them because I would be very rich – being taken seriously isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.’

Her droll delivery implies she’s joking – sort of. Her curriculum vitae is impeccable: she organised the PR for Live Aid, presented The Little Picture Show (a weekly review of video releases) on ITV in the early 1990s, has interviewed heavyweights such as Gordon Brown, and is currently a newspaper agony aunt, the voice of BBC Radio 4’s Open Book and the face of The Book Show on Sky Arts. ‘I have a producer friend who despairs that I come across as rather frosty and never show the real me, and she might have a point,’ she observes. ‘I’ve been asked to appear on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and I did think about it because I’m always tempted by…’ By what? A unique opportunity to delve into the workings of the human spirit in extremis?

‘Money! I am always tempted by money.’ Her answer is so unexpected we both laugh. ‘Really. I grew up in quite impoverished circumstances and so I have a tremendous craving for financial security, but I decided that I didn’t want to invade my own privacy. Plus, I would be dreadful – bossing everybody about and losing my temper with people, because I have no tolerance levels. And there’s a high likelihood I might have a heart attack and die on air if they put me in a coffin full of rats.’

Mariella is a complex, much more irreverent personality than her ice-maiden image suggests. A doughty feminist, she is founder of the Great Initiative, a charity working towards gender equality in the developing world, yet when the cab driver parks in the wrong place she opines acerbically, ‘Do you think people are getting stupider? I do.’ She arrives at the YOU photo shoot looking like a Second World War land girl in jumper, combat trousers and army boots, with a scarf slung about her shoulders, but as soon as she sees the frocks she seizes upon the sexiest, most daring confections, which fit her enviably slim body like a sheath. ‘I don’t see the point of dressing up and not being alluring,’ she says. ‘Normally I’m the one doing the school run in PJs and Ugg boots, so it’s lovely to glam up.’

At face value, she’s that quintessential modern phenomenon: the middle-aged mother who appears, effortlessly, to have it all – the high-flying career, the perfect figure, the dashing human-rights-lawyer husband (Jason McCue), the two children (Molly, six, and Danny, five). Then there’s the fashionable pied à terre in town, the rambling farmhouse in Scotland – and that’s before we broach the subject of friends George Clooney, Mick Jagger, author Helen Fielding, actress Gina Bellman and presenter Penny Smith. I can fully imagine Mariella snorting with derision, and perhaps shouting a bit, as she reads this, so to appease her I shall emphasise that it may all look terribly effortless, but she has arrived at this happy pass by dint of bloody hard work and a fair share of heartbreak, and remains keenly aware that luck, too, has played a part.

‘I’ve worked since I was 16. I spent my 20s earning money, buying a house, achieving that sort of stability. In my 30s I was single on and off and gained a reputation of being a bit wild, which is as inaccurate as my alleged frostiness – yes, I hung out with party people, but I had a father who drank too much so I was acutely aware of the damage it could do. I’ve never been convinced you can have as much fun after midnight as before – and I was well known for slipping away.’

Mariella was born in Oslo, but moved to Ireland with her family when she was six – you can hear the soft Celtic burr in her voice if you listen hard. Her Norwegian father was a journalist on the Irish Times, her Scottish mother was an artist. When her parents split up, she stayed with her father, but he died aged 44 when she was just 15. Aged 16, she left school and moved to London, where she gravitated towards the music business, and within two years had landed a dream PR job at Parlophone Records, travelling the world on an expense account with 1980s bands such as Bananarama and Spandau Ballet.

She was briefly married to Richard Jobson, lead singer with the Skids, but divorced by 21. Then, when she was 25 she was given her first job on television, presenting a Channel 4 music show called Big World. She had long since transformed herself from mousey to minx. ‘After my father died, a clump of my hair turned white almost overnight. The only way to hide it was to dye my hair, so I chose blonde. I never cease to be astonished that people are still stereotyped according to their hair colour.’

Mariella can’t deny that the whole foxy-blonde/stern-intellectual combination has helped elevate her to the status of the bibliophile’s crumpet and darling of the Hay-on-Wye book festival. She will be taking The Book Show – on which she interviews authors ranging from political diarist Alastair Campbell to historical novelist Daisy Goodwin – to Hay in May, following on from last week’s broadcast from the Bath Literature Festival and next week’s from Words by the Water in Cumbria.

‘My 40s have been the best years of my life,’ she says. ‘For a start, because of my children. Nothing can prepare you for the all-consuming nature of motherhood, and I am very aware of my good fortune, as I spent years fretting about whether I’d ever meet anyone to have a baby with.’ She met her husband on a charity trek to Nepal. She was 39, he was seven years younger, they started arguing with each other and haven’t stopped since – their constant, comforting sparring a subconscious way of keeping each other on their proverbial toes.

‘I’m lucky to have a husband who makes me feel secure rather than insecure, which was the defining element of most of my previous relationships, and that makes a huge difference to your life, particularly as a woman. But we are a shouty household – getting the children ready in the mornings is a blood bath; my son and husband are always wrestling and making noise and taking up far more than their fair share of room. I used to believe that nurture was more powerful than nature – I was entirely wrong. My daughter is far more feminine than me; she keeps everything tidy and when she touches me, there’s a delicacy and a softness that I don’t have and never did have, even at her age.’

Mariella revels in the minutiae of her domestic life, including their dog, a yorkshire terrier-poodle cross, or yorkiepoo, incongruously called Katyusha, after a Second World War Russian missile. When they move to the country, her son has been promised a dog of his own, and he has already come up with an uncompromisingly macho name: Bomb. ‘We have a house in Ayrshire but we need to be somewhere within reach of London for work, so in the next few years I hope we’ll move out to somewhere like Oxfordshire. A 90-minute train journey would be perfect, as it would give me some solid reading time. I get through eight or nine books a month for pleasure, aside from all the hefty folders of research for work, but I have a hopeless memory and so when I’m asked to recommend my book of the year, I have to scan the shelves to remind myself what I’ve read.’ She reads ‘pretty much anything’ that’s well-written, and says she can’t abide literary snobbishness, most especially the ‘chick lit’ millstone hung round the necks of female authors.

‘I don’t surround myself with worthy tomes. I like storytelling; our lives are stories and there’s nothing more compelling than a tale well told. Marian Keyes is often dismissed as a chick-lit author, but her books are well-crafted. Bridget Jones’s Diary is another brilliantly written book. And, yes, Helen Fielding is a friend, but I have others who’ve written things that I don’t admire.’

Talk of friends brings us neatly to the subject of George Clooney, whom she met many years ago in Cannes. They hit it off, although she has always denied that they were an item. But it’s worth one more go. So, Mariella, I say, have you ever kissed George Clooney? She rolls her eyes and, shaking her head, cries, ‘Who cares?’ To which I respond, ‘That means yes! That so means yes!’ She sighs with good-natured exasperation. Whatever he used to be, George has grown to be a very close friend and she and her family holiday at his Italian villa every summer.

‘George is going to be 50 this year!’ says Mariella mischievously. ‘I can’t imagine it. But then I’m 48 and that takes a lot of getting used to – I still feel 35. I didn’t have a crisis at 40 – I was busy getting married and having a baby – but why fight a battle you can’t win?’


She is cock-a-hoop at the current uprising against BBC ageism, and salutes Countryfile presenter Miriam O’Reilly for winning her tribunal against the corporation. ‘It’s appalling that a woman can be cast aside when she gets a few wrinkles,’ says Mariella. ‘This is the first time sexism has been on the news agenda in 20 years, and about time too. I’ve got a daughter and I want her to grow up in a different environment to the one I’ve slogged my way through; equal opportunity is a human right.

‘I know a lot of women my age who are keeping their heads down, hoping no one will notice they are getting older. Me? I’ll be raging and screaming when they try to give me the chop. Actually, I’m already shouting about it.’ And with that she gives a throaty chuckle that’s reason enough to keep her on our airwaves for ever


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Re: Mariella Frostrup interview

Post by melbert on Sun Mar 06 2011, 07:56

Sounds as if Mariella is excited about George's 50th!

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Re: Mariella Frostrup interview

Post by Merlin on Sun Mar 06 2011, 09:38

She will never admit to anything happening between her and George now that her husband is a big friend of George LOL...

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Re: Mariella Frostrup interview

Post by Dexterdidit on Sun Mar 06 2011, 10:59

No she isn't stupid. she loves those Lake Como holiday!

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Re: Mariella Frostrup interview

Post by lucy on Sun Mar 06 2011, 13:24

Your right about those Como perks, just ask those Italian bros. that (for some reason) lost their perks!

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Re: Mariella Frostrup interview

Post by blubelle on Sun Mar 06 2011, 17:53

I thought I read somewhere that she and her husband broke up and she was living in LA.

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Re: Mariella Frostrup interview

Post by lucy on Sun Mar 06 2011, 18:03

That would be another blond friend of Mr. Clooney, Diane Jenkins.

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Re: Mariella Frostrup interview

Post by blubelle on Sun Mar 06 2011, 18:07

Lucy - thanks for setting me straight.

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Re: Mariella Frostrup interview

Post by Merlin on Wed Mar 09 2011, 07:25

Wink

I wish Mariella would kiss and tell
Mariella Frostrup says she’s always struggled to be taken seriously and, as a result, has made less money than she could have because she’s turned down lucrative jobs that would have made her rich.
I suggest she makes a study of Anne Robinson, who has always demanded a huge salary ‘because I can’ and who managed to be taken seriously even while presenting a rather silly game show.
I think the problem with Mariella is that she used to go out with George Clooney.
I’m sure she’s very knowledgeable about books, but the fact remains that what we’d all rather know is not her views on the latest Booker Prize winner, but whether George is a good kisser.


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Re: Mariella Frostrup interview

Post by lucy on Wed Mar 09 2011, 12:03

There was an article of hers written about being invited to Canada, while George was filming CODM, in it she wrote about interviewing him late at night in his hotel rm. She gave me the impression from what she wrote, that although she was lusting for GC that it was strictly friendship and business on his part. Bet that happens a lot to his gal-pals.

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Re: Mariella Frostrup interview

Post by watching on Sun Jun 03 2012, 11:11

She has mentioned George in another interview.

"I had to get in drinking practice so I could hang out with George Clooney.

For a while when the children were little, I’d be so tired I’d be crashing out all the time. But then my husband Jason started doing a lot of work with George and they would stay up working and drinking. I’ve put the hours in and trained myself up, so now I can get in a couple of hours talking and drinking before going to bed."

Whole Article

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Re: Mariella Frostrup interview

Post by melbert on Sun Jun 03 2012, 15:32

Thanks Watching. Interesting Q&A. She's led quite a life so far!

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Re: Mariella Frostrup interview

Post by Katiedot on Wed Jul 11 2012, 14:21

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Unlikely Celeb Pals

Mariella Frostrup and George Clooney

Unlikeliness: Well you'd never have guessed if we hadn't told you (or you didn't already know).

How did it happen? Husky-voiced telly film critic-turned-agony aunt Mariella struck up a friendship with gorgeous George at the Cannes Film Festival years ago and regularly visit one another. She has always denied that they've ever been more than friends though.

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