TV presenter Jenny Powell has spoken about how a makeover of her life and looks helped her get over her divorce 10 years ago.
Talking on podcast The Attitude, Jenny told host Kate Thornton what happened to her back then has made her the women she is today.
“It contributed hugely,” she said. “Because what's happened now – and that's 10 years on – is that I'm extremely independent. I feel far more secure in myself about what I can achieve and what I can do on my own. And that goes from what clothes I wear… I'm a completely different person. I dress differently. I've taken control.”
Jenny’s not alone. A survey by Aviva recently revealed divorced women spend an average of £5,000 reinventing themselves, whether that’s on new hair, a fitness regime or a wardrobe overhaul.
Jenny discovered her ex was cheating on her when she was seven months’ pregnant. Although they tried to patch things up, the pair divorced in 2009, leaving Jenny to bring up two children as a single mum. So, how has she succeeded in moving herself forward after such a negative time in her life?
1. Ask for help
While it’s fabulous that women are more independent than ever before, Jenny says it’s important not to alienate yourself in pursuit of that much sought-after independence. Her divorce taught her to always ask for help.
“Don’t [ever] be afraid to ask for help,” she said. “Don't ever be afraid to say, ‘Look, should I be unsure about this?’ or ‘I could really do with you helping me with this.’ And I think you have to take that onboard sometimes to just say, ‘You know what: I've got her, him, him, her… And I'm going to to draw on that today because I need it.”
2. Find your own cheerleader
Jenny was left alone with a newborn, so understandably struggled with the situation she found herself in. Thankfully, she had her very own cheerleader in the form of her agent who encouraged her to get up, put some nice clothes and get out in the working world again.
“I literally couldn't get out of bed,” she said talking about the time after her divorce. “My agent at the time, she said, ‘You know what? I'm going to get you a job’. I said, ‘I'm never going to work in TV again. I can't. I've got to look after the child’. “
“And she said, ‘No, I'm going to get you a job and you're going to get out there and I'm going to get you great hair and makeup. You're going to look amazing. I'm going to make you feel confident and you're going to go out there and you're going to be Jenny again.’”
“She had about three months and then I was back out there and it was the best thing that she could have done for me because it forced me to go back to my identity.”
3. Look after yourself
As well as reinventing her wardrobe, Jenny also spent the last 10 years looking after herself, particularly by regularly taking part in yoga.
“It's changed my life – honestly,” she said. “I've done it properly for the past year, I mean properly. It's accepting the fact that you can take one hour out of the day.”
As well as giving her a body most 20-year-olds would delight in, yoga has also helped with her state of mind and how she’s feeling on a daily basis.
“I think it's also an awareness of just how you feel in each day,” she explained to Kate about being her best self now. “I get that from yoga actually, because I'm made to think every day before we start class ‘How are you feeling?’ And you have to tap into yourself.”
4. Don’t worry about being ‘age appropriate’
Now nearly 52, Jenny no longer cares what people think she looks like – she wears what makes her happy.
“I don't think about my age now,” she told Kate. “And, the thing is I'm going to wear a bikini on my next hols – I'm going to keep wearing it.”
Jenny, who also shares her wardrobe with her 18-year-old daughter Connie, embraces living in a generation where you can wear what you want. She said: “Connie will have her eye on my clothes she'll be like, ‘Can I take that down to uni?’ And I thought, ‘Gosh, I would never imagine borrowing my mum's clothes’.”
5. Be open to opportunities
Jenny started her career aged just 16 on the TV show No Limit. Her broadcasting career has continued over the years, but she feels her current job is one of her biggest achievements. An Experience With… sees her interviewing celebrities, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, live on stage.
It’s a job that Jenny got off her own initiatiive, with no agent involved, and she loves it, saying it’s the most relaxed she’s been professionally. She recommends saying yes to every opportunity.
“There's no time to say, ‘Back in the day I would have and I'm not doing it’. There's no such thing,” she explained to Kate about this new job. “Your opportunities will come, and they will surprise you when they come. It might not necessarily be of a certain age or a certain time in your life where you think ‘I could do with this now.’
“I think there are some golden opportunities that arrive when there's an angel there somewhere and they just drop it on you when you least expect it. And that's what I love.”
She told Kate every woman has the fire in their belly to go out there and make changes – even after going through something life-changing like a divorce.
“I look at every woman: there's a bit of fire in everybody's belly, whether they [know] so or not,” she said. “I do believe deep down that you've got to dig deep and you just have to take a bit of that energy from that fire in your belly and you have to go for it. There's no such thing as ‘I'd love to’; just do it.”
Jenny Powell’s go-getting picks from Harpenne
Kate Thornton wears:
Jenny Powell wears:
All by Harpenne
You can hear Jenny Powell talk more about her life, her go-getting attitude and why it’s never too late to make a change in the latest episode of The Attitude. Listen now on iTunes and Spotify, or below: