Sarah Lynn reflects on winning The Apprentice and reveals how to be a successful female leader

Sarah Lynn reflects on winning The Apprentice and reveals how to be a successful female leader

In 2017 Sarah walked away as one of two winners in a historic £500,000 ‘double hiring’. In celebration of International Leadership Week, the businesswoman talks Lord Sugar, mum guilt and maternity leave stigma

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Two years ago Sarah Lynn’s life changed forever when Lord Sugar said the words ‘you’re hired’ in The Apprentice boardroom. In a first for the BBC One show, Lord Sugar hired both Sarah and James White to be his next business partners. Since then, 38-year-old Sarah’s business, Sweets in the City, has grown from strength to strength, supplying beautifully-packaged gifts to sweet lovers all over the UK…

What leadership skills have you learned from being a female boss?

You have to master tenacity to be a good leader. You can’t let things go, and must be really persistent. Patience and empathy is also important. The best leaders are those who understand that every one of their employees is different and don’t just have one way of working. Finally, practicing what you preach is really important. If you’re expecting someone to stack boxes for three hours you should be ready to do it yourself.

Is the world comfortable with female world leaders and CEOs?

My experience has been positive. Being female has never stopped me winning a contract, I wouldn’t allow it to. But obviously there is a long way to go. I have friends in the legal profession and if they take time out to have a baby, they say it’s tough for them to get back in and be seen as a leader again.

How do you balance being a mum and working full-time?

I strive for integration. I might work really long hours in some people’s eyes but I’ll make a gap between 5 and 7pm and put the boys to bed, and then after I might put the laptop back on. I’m still there and present. The key is to not see work as separate from life. That’s how I manage it and I think a lot of leaders do the same.

Is mum guilt real?

Sadly, yes. I’ve got two sons, a five-year-old called Edward and a five-month-old called Oliver. With my eldest the mum guilt was just awful, but with my second I’ve learned from the first experience and dropped the guilt quite early. I know I’m a good mum. Everything I do is for the boys. I want them to have a good life because I work hard.

How involved is your husband when it comes to childcare?

We are 50 50 partners in everything we do. He works in construction and sometimes he has a bit more flexibility than I do. But we do have help as well. We have a nanny for the boys now we have two. Plus my mum is a registered child-minder and helps out too. Sharing the boys out has made them confident, independent and adaptable – and I take pride in that.

Did you take maternity leave?

I gave birth at the end of May and we were launching a new product in the first week of July, so I didn’t take leave then. I was on emails the next day and breastfeeding at work in the coming weeks. But when we had some downtime I took the month of August off.

Is there stigma for working women wishing to take maternity leave?

For me, it was my business and my choice to be at work. It was a pressure I put on myself, but my friends have said to me they had to do ‘all or nothing’. Take a year off or take no time off at all. I don’t think this is the healthiest balance, it would be great in the future if flexitime could exist better.

Could improvements be made regarding office childcare and working mums?

Yes, I find it amazing that more isn’t done. Women are so integral to the work force and to lose somebody good because the hours don’t quite work is madness. You lose the best talent. Where businesses can be flexible they should be. They will more than get the return from that.

How did going on The Apprentice help your business, Sweets in the City, become a success? 

I feel lucky to have Lord Sugar as a mentor. He is incredibly fair, direct and helpful.

What did you learn about yourself from taking part in the show? 

So much! I found the business tasks quite straightforward and relatively simple, but the process was ruthless and, at times, overwhelming. I learnt to speak up more, toughen up and not to criticise a plan if I didn’t have a better alternative.

What is your advice for future female candidates?

Don’t get caught up in catty behaviour. It gives women a bad name because we fight stereotypes around this daily. It’s embarrassing.

What empowering female figures do you look up to?

My mum as a starting point. In terms of famous faces, Karen Brady and Michelle Obama.

What are your hopes for the future when it comes to the gender pay gap?

I find it incredibly strange that we are still talking about it. I wish equality was the norm, and not a subject needing to be discussed. Businesses need to just employ the best people for the job, and pay them equally. I’m desperate for us to get to that place.

To shop Sarah’s sweets, see



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8 smart sex hacks to spice up your festive season

8 smart sex hacks to spice up your festive season

It’s time to try out the sex tips you didn’t even know you needed. From role play to technique perfectors, we asked the best experts for some inspiring advice on a between-the-sheets reboot

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Words by Rebecca Newman

1. Get on edge

One discovery from award-winning sexual education website OMGYes is the power of edging – or repeatedly nearing orgasm then pulling back just before it happens. For two thirds of women, edging builds longer, 
more intense orgasms. Explore it during solo or mutual masturbation, during love-making, whenever you like.

‘There are three variations of edging,’ says Emily Lindin of OMGYes. The first is ‘pausing’, in which you stop what you’re doing during sex, cool down and start again. The second is ‘distraction’, for instance you take time out to kiss, or to take up a different position before resuming. The third is ‘continuous’ edging, in which you shift your touch slightly as you approach climax until the feeling quietens a bit, then bring yourself closer, then back. Do this several times before finally letting go.’

2. Respin a favourite

While there are endless terms for sexual positions, many of them are just variations on the basic missionary, cowgirl, rear entry. So why not just explore the myriad twists you can add to your old favourites? ‘Notice when you get into patterns, and explore the opposite,’ says sexual therapist Mike Lousada. ‘If you like slow sex, then speed it up.’ So, whisper in your lover’s ear, or text them that tonight you want to try things super slow. Or that you’ve brought a toy to play with. ‘Try using lubrication – it changes the quality of touch,’ adds sex coach Sarah Rose Bright of ‘Massage his testicles and perineum (the area between the anus and the penis), pulling and squeezing,’ even tickling his skin while you are in your favourite position. You might try a vibrator you can wear during love-making, such as the We-Vibe 4 (£106 at Or use a butt plug while in doggy (check out the ceramic anal toy Livia, which should be nuzzled into place with a water-based lube such as Anal H20 – £140 and £12 at

3. Go solo, then share

‘We all have go-to masturbation techniques,’ says Lindin. After interviewing more than 2,000 women, OMGYes discovered that ‘breaking away from the routine to explore other styles of touch can improve pleasure for the rest of your life.’ If, say, you like to work directly on your clitoris, try stimulating it indirectly by moving your fingers on your labia. Explore coming on your own in a way you haven’t before, then share this new technique with your partner. While it may feel weird at first, realise it’s not all about you – think of how happy your partner will be to find a new way to bring you to climax.

sex hacks

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4. Talk out of bed

This can be daunting, but it can also be most rewarding: put a date in your diary just to talk. Pour a glass of wine, sit down and set aside an hour to discuss what you need more or less of; what things you love and what things he might be doing that don’t do it for you. Then, let him have his say. Be brave. Perhaps clarify the words you speak during love-making (‘When I say, “Stay there!” I mean, “Stay there!”’). It may be worth making an honest appraisal of your sex drive, and what affects it – from the time of day, work stress and tiredness to your time of the month. This might even stretch to how his failing to put his plates in the dishwasher kills your mood stone dead, but his fixing the brake on your bike is weirdly hot.

You may also consider talking about how the kind of stimulation you want changes. Lindin says, ‘A specific type of touch might feel awesome for you one day, and a different variation is better the next day.’ Discuss how best to communicate this next time you are in the heat of the moment.

5. Go multiple

Instead of finishing at your first (hard-won) orgasm, why not try working towards having more? ‘Many women think they have to stop after their first orgasm, because the kind of touch that led to it is uncomfortable after climax,’ says Lindin. ‘We found in our OMGYes research that many women realise, usually in later life, they should treat their body after the first orgasm like it’s new, with different likes and dislikes. And there are specific ways they like to touch after the first orgasm to rebuild to multiples, often going back to the stimulation they used in the initial warm-up.’

You might continue with a ‘palm hug’, cupping your genital area with a warm hand to exert gentle pressure. Other approaches include stroking in large circles over the labia, downward swipes from the top of your hood to the bottom or slow, clockwise ovals that glide over your hood skin.

sex hacks

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6. Recreate the first time

It may sound obvious but try replaying a sex scenario from your first weeks of dating. Or re-enact one of your first sexual experiences from before you met. Was it with that hot guy from the year above, him kissing you up against a wall; a moment of passion in a bathroom while there were people waiting outside? Recreate the scene: tell your partner you have a fantasy about them being your first kiss, and plan it. (You might meet in a bar and dance together a while, then he pushes you to the edge of the room, raises your hands over your head, runs his fingertips down your body to pinch your nipples hard etc.)

Or play with the scenario in your head and immerse yourself in that heightened first-time excitement. Lousada adds, ‘If you act like you are experiencing the electric feelings you remember from the early days, you will feel them all over again.’

7. The adoration ritual

The essence of this ritual is that you take complete control of a love-making session, guiding your partner every step of the way. ‘Design an experience that will make you feel divine,’ says tantric coach Elena Angel. ‘Is there a sensation you’d like to explore? A setting you’d love to find yourself in?’ It may be that you want your partner to kiss every inch of your body before sex. Or you might ask them to dress up as a soldier and give you cunnilingus all afternoon. Whatever it may be, this is your time. Discuss your fantasies with your partner beforehand. It’s a good idea to plan a whole afternoon or evening, so there’s no time pressure. And of course choose a day when they are worshipped in return.

8. Climax creatively

This one is about rekindling the experimentation of the early days by bringing each other to orgasm in creative ways that don’t involve penetrative sex.
‘Make a list by yourself of everything you think might turn you on. Be specific, using words like licking or sucking a specific body part in a certain way,’ say MJ Barker and Justin Hancock, authors of Enjoy Sex (How, When And If You Want To) (£7.99, Icon Books). ‘Take the pressure off if you don’t fancy writing it out by instead sharing fiction excerpts, images or video clips that involve a technique you would like to try.’

During your session, take the focus away from penetration by using one or two of these techniques on each other. It will bring you both back to that inventive state you enjoy when you first take one another’s clothes off. It’s about trying to climax in a different way instead of falling back on what you know.

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These Oprah Winfrey quotes are guaranteed to inspire and empower you

These Oprah Winfrey quotes are guaranteed to inspire and empower you

In celebration of International Leadership Week kicking off today, please enjoy 10 of legendary Oprah Winfrey’s best lines

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There’s no denying Oprah Winfrey’s status as one of the most influential women in the world. She is a leader of equality and feminism and her unbelievable story of rags to riches utterly inspires us to give life our best shot.

Oprah was born in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother. She has stated that she was molested during her childhood and she became pregnant at 14. Sadly, her son was born prematurely and died in infancy. She was then sent to live with her believed father, a barber in Tennessee, and landed a job in radio while still in high school.

By 19, she was a co-anchor for the local evening news, and eventually Oprah’s often emotional delivery of content led to her transfer to the daytime talk show arena. After boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place, she launched her own production company. In 1986 The Oprah Winfrey Show first aired. It concluded in 2011 and remains the highest-rated daytime talk show in American television history.

In 65 years Oprah has not only shaped educational conversations across the globe, she has also released five books and starred in important films regarding race issues in America.

Today, International Leadership Week starts, and what better way to acknowledge the voices of leaders and managers from around the world than to absorb a selection of Oprah’s totally inspiring and uplifting quotes. Life without this lady seems unthinkable.

  1. ‘Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment’

  2. ‘Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough’

  3. ‘Turn your wounds into wisdom’

  4. ‘Surround yourself only with people who are going to take you higher’

  5. ‘True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience”


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6. ‘The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be’

7. ‘Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down’

8. ‘You get in life what you have the courage to ask for

9. ‘Self-esteem comes from being able to define the world in your own terms and refusing to abide by the judgments of others’

10. ‘Over the years, I’ve interviewed thousands of people, most of them women, and I would say that the root of every dysfunction I’ve ever encountered, every problem, has been some sense of a lacking of self-value or of self-worth’


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Blake Lively’s recent Instagram activity is concerning the internet

Blake Lively’s recent Instagram activity is concerning the internet

Shock horror.

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Words: Nicole Cherruault

This morning – to the enormous shock of her 25.8 million followers – the actress Blake Lively deleted every single one of her Instagram posts, only to later replace them with the trailer of her upcoming film, The Rhythm Section.

Fans took to social media to express their immediate concern. With Lively’s Instagram once brimming with adorable couple pics of her and hubby Ryan Reynolds (we have no doubt in their involvement with the conception of #couplegoals), followers were quite rightly devastated with the sudden purge.

‘Why did you delete everything!!!???’ commented one user; exclamation and question mark combo palpably conveying their agonising grief. We feel you babes.

Another expressed her shock with a sullen  ‘no way u deleted everything omg’.

Omg indeed,  is there a ‘delete all’ button on Instagram? Did Lively personally erase each individual photograph? So. Many. Questions.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen this stunt being pulled by the actress. Back in 2018, when promoting her upcoming film A Simple Favor, we witnessed the actress unfollow every single person on her account, including her husband Ryan Reynolds. She instead started following accounts which bore the same name as her character, Emily Nelson.

Anyone else wondering this marketing mogul’s next move will be?

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Prince Philip and the Queen apparently have strong opinions about The Crown

Prince Philip and the Queen apparently have strong opinions about The Crown

And will they be tuning in for season three?

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We’ve been obsessed with The Crown since it came to our screens, and with the highly anticipated third season airing this week (yes, really!), we’re rewatching all the old episodes to make sure we’re up to date.

While the show boasts a band of loyal followers, there are just two people that everyone wants to be regular viewers – the Queen and Prince Philip – the focus of the TV series.

According to the cast of The Crown however, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

While it’s nice to imagine Queen Liz and Philip tucked up in their monogrammed HRH PJs watching the Netflix series, Matt Smith broke the news that Philip doesn’t seem to be a fan.

In a past interview with The Observer, ahead of The Crown season two’s release, Matt Smith sat down to talk about his character, Prince Philip, describing him as ‘a bit of a cool cat’ and explaining that he doesn’t think he watches the show.

the crown season two review


Smith revealed how a close friend who he described as prominent in the film industry was at a dinner with the royals when Prince Philip asked him, ‘What do you do? Are you involved in this Crown thing?’

At the end of the meal the friend in question supposedly asked, ‘Philip, I’m just wondering, because I have some friends who made The Crown, have you watched any?’ To which the Duke of Edinburgh is rumoured to have stopped, glowered and replied, ‘Don’t be ridiculous.’

This hasn’t fazed Matt Smith, with the actor explaining, ‘Whether it’s true or not, I don’t know, but I just think he’s a bit of a cool cat.’


The Queen on the other hand has reportedly watched The Crown on Netflix and ‘loves it’, giving it the royal stamp of approval.

‘Edward and Sophie love The Crown,’ a senior royal source has explained of the Earl and Countess of Wessex. ‘It has been a longstanding arrangement that they drive to Windsor at the weekend to join the Queen for an informal supper while watching TV or a film. They have a Netflix account and urged her to watch it with them.’

The source continued: ‘Happily, she really liked it, although obviously there were some depictions of events that she found too heavily dramatised.’

We wonder if they will be tuning in for season three!

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A new photograph of Kate Middleton and baby Louis is utterly adorable

A new photograph of Kate Middleton and baby Louis is utterly adorable

Royal babies strike again, how cute.

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Words: Nicole Cherruault

As the Prince of Wales celebrates his 71st birthday today in Mumbai – as part of his two day India tour – it’s safe to say the royal Instagram accounts have been especially active.

Following The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s recent internet-breaking Instagram post of baby Archie, Kate Middleton and Prince William have also managed to tug on the entire nation’s heart strings in one single upload.

Captioned ‘Wishing a very happy Birthday to the Prince of Wales!” the Instagram post is a collection of cockle warming photographs of the father and granddad looking particularly happy besides his nearest and dearest.

And with royal babies now more popular than Beyoncé and the Andrex puppy combined, it’s perhaps not surprising that a picture of Prince Charles and his utterly adorable grandson Prince Louis had the internet go wild.

The first picture depicts the royal swooning over his young grandson Prince Louis who is being held up by his mother, The Duchess of Cambridge. The second shows the royal looking particularly chirpy at a formal event with his son Prince William; and in the third, he is pictured suited and booted laughing alongside his two sons Prince William and Prince Harry.

Don’t some things just make you smile?

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Emilia Clarke: 'Fame, fortune and high achievement stakes just aren't the end of the rainbow'

Emilia Clarke: 'Fame, fortune and high achievement stakes just aren't the end of the rainbow'

Last Christmas. Credit: Universal Pictures

Emilia Clarke is one of the most talked-about women in the world, returning to our screens this week in the festive flick of 2019, Last Christmas.

With an all-star cast (we’re talking Emma Thompson, Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh) and a George Michael soundtrack, this is set to be the Christmas film of the year, but there’s more to it than festive fluff – this film has a much deeper message.

Following a heart transplant, protagonist Kate is stuck in a downward spiral, lost and disillusioned with life. That is until she meets Tom, a (very) handsome stranger who encourages her to look up and realise how lucky she is to be alive.

Emilia Clarke talked us through the project this week, with the 33-year-old suffering two brain aneurysms at the same age as her character’s heart transplant.

Digital Features Editor Jenny Proudfoot sat down with Emilia to talk Last Christmas, the horrors of filming the ice skating scene and what we should all take away from the Christmas film of the year…

Last Christmas. Credit: Universal Pictures

Did your life-threatening aneurysms give you a deeper connection to your character Kate?

Yeah definitely, because we had it at the same time. It’s all well and good having a character you’re playing that’s had something wrong with them and so have you, but getting an illness when you’re four or when you’re 40 is very different from getting an illness when you’re 22. And it was that singular fact that made it even more relatable for me. You’re at such a crossroads in your life at that point, especially as a woman, and the world can seem unbearably confusing anyway. Throw your own mortality in the mix and it starts to get really sticky and confusing and so that was absolutely something I could relate to and feel on behalf of her.

Most millennials probably need a Kate transformation right now…

If you’re looking at a millennial audience which I think this film should speak to, what Kate does to transform her life for the better is so small. She does not want fame. She does not want fortune. She is not getting those things in this script. Nobody is going to Hollywood. Nobody has won the lottery. It’s really small things that require consideration and space and self-care and all that means is just taking a step back and taking a breath and it’s not even about [puts on American accent] ‘appreciating what you have and being super grateful’ – it’s just breathing. Look up means breathe – that’s all it means. You take a deep breath in and you put your phone down and you take a deep breath out and you keep doing that day after day and you keep making those moments in a day to breathe.

Last Christmas. Credit: Universal Pictures

What message do you hope people will take from the film?

The fame, fortune, high achievement stakes that everyone strives after – that’s not the end of the rainbow. That’s not it. That’s so not it, it’s unreal. I’ve lost my anonymity, but people who haven’t can chat to someone who’s homeless on the street, you can chat to someone who works in the pub, to your cabby, to your bus driver, whoever it is. You can have those human interactions every day and as soon as you do – by saying ‘you alright mate?’ and making eye contact with someone, you realise that there’s someone else in the world aside from you and your phone and whatever twittersphere is going on. I think for certain generations, that would be my takeaway message.

Talk me through filming…

We shot this at Christmas time so it was perfect. We couldn’t put the lights up in Regent Street in July so we had no choice – we literally shot Last Christmas, last Christmas. This is a love letter to London and a lot of it is about acceptance – acceptance of those around us in society. London is cosmopolitan and it’s rich and it’s multicultural and that’s what makes it beautiful. That’s what makes it magical. Accepting yourself and others within it – that is what’s really important.

Last Christmas. Credit: Universal Pictures

Can we talk about your insanely good singing?

I really like singing – I have always sung. When I was 13 there was a moment when I thought I should try and pursue singing over acting but then acting won. Now, as I’ve got older the fear of singing in public is blinding. You could stick me in front of a thousand people speaking Dothraki and it would be nothing but getting me to sing in front of that many people – I genuinely couldn’t handle how nervous I got.

Was singing in public the scariest part of filming?

No, the scariest part of filming was me doing ice skating. I’m not built to go on ice. It’s horrific. Why would anyone choose to do that? It’s 100% the worst thing about Christmas. Date on an ice rink? You’re already dumped.

Last Christmas. Credit: Universal Pictures

What made the Last Christmas project jump out at you?

Well, Emma Thompson wrote the script. As soon as I heard that Emma had written a script, I was like ‘I have to read that script because I love her beyond all reason’. So I did, and then I heard that Paul was attached to direct it and he is a genius comedian and pioneers female leads. The things that draw me to a project are creators and then the character itself and that’s it – anything else is just a cherry on top. So it was Emma and Paul, those two as a combination was pretty winning.

What was it like filming with Emma Thompson?

It was just amazing. We’re sort of pals for life now which is kind of the greatest Christmas gift I could have asked for. We all got on so well. That was Emma and Paul – they’re just really good people at bringing everyone together. They just cast well and we all just got on – there was no reason not to. There were no divas, there was no ego, it was just nice people working together.

Last Christmas. Credit: Universal Pictures

What was your most memorable scene to film?

Emma and I did this scene where she is singing me to sleep – I think it’s called scene 47 – and I looked at the blooper reel and I think we did like 80 takes because we could not stop laughing. She asked to replace me with a pillow because we could not stop laughing. I mean, I was in pain, she was crying, we were like messes – we could not get it done. Corpsing is a massive thing! And there’s lots of people in the room watching you and then the crew get annoyed obviously because they’re like ‘fuck you guys we’ve got lunch – you’re eating into our time’. Basically any scene that Emma and I have together are my most memorable. We would just keep riffing and Paul would be like ‘OK I called cut 10 minutes ago’.

What have you got planned for this Christmas?

In the run up to Christmas you can run but you can’t hide, I’m going to find you and we’re going to have a fucking glass of mulled wine and a mince pie. Your friends and family are around you and everyone gets time off together so that’s why I like Christmas. I’m really looking forward to this Christmas because I won’t be working like I was last Christmas. This Christmas starts December 1st baby!

Last Christmas comes to UK cinemas 0n November 15.

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Russell Tovey talks about his secret passions, Donald Trump and why he's a terrible liar

Russell Tovey talks about his secret passions, Donald Trump and why he's a terrible liar

As his new film, The Good Liar hits cinemas, Russell chats to Sophie Goddard about working with the greats and why he’s suddenly found himself advising James Corden on fine art…

Russell Tovey
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Working alongside Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren might prove daunting for some, but if anyone has the acting chops to handle it, it’s Russell Tovey. The award-winning History Boys actor has played leading roles in everything from Being Human to Years and Years, as well as starring in some of our favourite shows, helllo Doctor Who and Gavin and Stacey (but he’s not in the Christmas special, he confirms, *sob*) and is soon set to make his big return to Broadway (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?). His latest project, The Good Liar, sees con artist Roy Courtnay (McKellen) meet widow Betty McLeish (Mirren) online. The only issue? Russell’s character (he plays Betty’s grandson Stephen) is about to become a serious spanner in the works…

So, are you a good liar? 

No, I’m a good fibber. I say I’m on my way when I haven’t got out the shower yet. I’ve left people waiting saying ‘I’m around the corner’ and I haven’t even left.

You’ve been working since 11, what kind of a kid were you?

Oh god, I was a geek. For my eighth birthday my parents took me to an annual rock and mineral society convention. I was obsessed with rocks and minerals. They said ‘What do you want to do for your birthday?’ expecting maybe Pizza Hut. And I said that. So I was in this room with my parents, as an eight-year-old, with men of about 65 all sat there in macs talking about alum crystals and agates. 

That’s amazing. Are you still into rocks?

Art is my passion – I’m a geek through and through, definitely. Subscribe to my podcast, TalkArt!

That’s interesting, because you might assume you were quite a jovial, jokey kid because of your comedy roles…

I think I was both. My biggest inspiration was Robin Williams. He had that ability to make you laugh and cry. He had so much depth and nuance to his performances. Some say he was sentimental and if I had an essence of that sentimentality, I’d be winning. His performances touched and inspired me and I’m sad I never got to meet him because he’s someone I’d go to pieces around and it’s such a shame he’s gone.

russell tovey

Warner Bros

You’ve worked on so many incredible projects, which are you most proud of?

Right now? The Good Liar [laughs] but I’m really proud of Years and Years. I think a lot of people remember me for the History Boys, which was a life-changing, career-changing moment.

Do you still talk to the other boys?

Yeah of course. I helped James [Corden] buy a painting the other day, I’m an art advisor to the stars!

What did you help him buy?

I’m not allowed to say, but it’s a nice thing to have that sort of vibe where other actors look to me for advice. A lot of actors get a bit of money and want to buy art, and say ‘What should I be buying?’ And they know I know what I’m talking about I guess. And they’re my mates, so I’m not going to fob them off.

So, tell us what appealed to you about The Good Liar?

I usually know within ten minutes of reading a script if I want to play that character, and I knew right away I wanted to play Stephen. He was a bit of an annoyance. He’s very forthright, opinionated and strong-willed, and I liked that about him. But as the movie continues, you discover who he is and what his agenda is. Obviously having Oscar-winner Bill Condon directing, and knowing Ian and Helen were doing it was the icing on the cake. Jim Carter who plays Vincent is also one of the funniest men I’ve met.

How was it playing Dame Helen’s grandson?

Joyful! To have that relationship on screen with someone like that was such an easy job. She’s the nicest person and one of our greatest assets in the acting world, we should all be incredibly proud of her. It was like going to work with your friends. It’s a very special movie, and we were all fully committed to it – hopefully that transfers to the audience.

Stephen and Betty are very sweet together…

That came easily – we all felt that for each other. It’s quite tough as I’m mean to Ian’s character though, and he said he started to take it quite personally at times which I guess is a compliment to my acting! So I had to give him a big cuddle.

russell tovey

Warner Bros

What did you learn from working with Helen and Ian?

Just being around them and seeing how they are on set with the crew, and how they interact with each other… they’re two greats, two titans battling it out on screen. By osmosis I picked up various qualities, but it didn’t feel like ‘me’ and ‘them’, it felt like we were all on the same page.

There’s a real appetite for projects hooked on people not being who they say they are. Why do you think this is so?

I think you’ve got to look at the current President of the United States. The world we’re in where men of power are allowed to openly fabricate things and be busted for it, but not get any repercussions. We’re in a world where that is kind of fascinating, and culture is allowing someone in a very high position to openly lie – and he’s a terrible liar, not a good liar. The fascination from that has spun off into art. As always, art and culture is holding up a mirror to what the world is allowing – we’re facilitating a lie, basically.

Finally, who would you love to work with?

Loads. Emma Stone. I think she’s phenomenal. I worked with Olivia Coleman by proxy in the Night Manager – we weren’t together, but we were in the same show. I’d love to work with Julie Walters – I worked with her on Effie Gray years ago but we had one scene together so I’d love to do a proper meaty stuff. Brenda Blethyn. I love working with actresses. It’s all about the women.

The Good Liar is released in cinemas now

The post Russell Tovey talks about his secret passions, Donald Trump and why he’s a terrible liar appeared first on Marie Claire.

Meet the iconic Emmy award winning costume designer behind 'Why Women Kill' and 'Mad Men'

Meet the iconic Emmy award winning costume designer behind 'Why Women Kill' and 'Mad Men'

Here Hayley Hasselhoff, who plays Patty in ‘Why Women Kill’ speaks to costume designer Janie Bryant, who tells us how she tackled a story that focuses on three decades simultaneously.

‘Why Women Kill’ on CBS details the lives of three powerful women each dealing with infidelity in their marriages. Beth Ann (Ginnifer Goodwin), a housewife in the ‘60’s, Simone (Lucy Liu), a socialite in the ‘80’s and Taylor (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), a lawyer in 2019. With incredible dark comedic performances from a star studded cast and created by Marc Cherry (Desperate Housewives, Devious Maids) it was only inevitable that it has become one of the most streamed original series’ today.


The first wardrobe fitting you have is a key aspect in building any role.  I had the privilege to become a part of this cast in a sweet southern role as ‘Patty Jenkins’. Walking back onto the CBS lot I felt exhilarated to begin this journey as endearing Patty.

I had walked through the old New York streets on the back lot to get to Janie Bryant’s office. Getting lost in awe of the scenery I see a tall beautiful woman with long wavy hair, gliding in a floral chiffon maxi, black booties and dripping in the finest jewels. A coffee in one hand and her beautiful white poodle following behind her. I knew this had to be Janie herself – she guided me into her office and went straight to work.

Janie has created costumes for AMC TV’s ‘Mad Men’ and HBO’s Deadwood, her precision to detail with her  expertise, intertwined with the understanding of who the character is before dialogue was a beauty to watch.

The studio was filled with vibrant mood boards and felt as if we had walked into the chicest vintage store even Melrose Ave hadn’t seen. You so often get touched by someone’s knowledge and effortless execution in their art. Which is why I wanted to get to know what happens behind the scenes on set with Janie. I took it upon myself to ask Janie if she would sit down with me for a few questions, she so graciously said yes, and it truly has been a beauty to see her insight into the designs she creates.


Janie, it was so great to watch you build my character Patty’s look from the beginning. The costume design behind each character allows the actor to really embody their role. What is your process in building a character in the pilot ?

The script is always my first point of inspiration. I can really get a great sense of what a character will look like by the dialogue and the setting and mood of a scene. Research, especially, if I’m designing a period piece is also very important and then of course the real fun happens in the fitting room. I love the transformation that happens when an actor transforms into the character by their costume!

With the knowledge of each character’s personal growth throughout the series how do you prepare for this ahead of time?

A lot of times I can’t prepare ahead of time because scripts aren’t written in advance. So designing a series always keeps you on your toes for whatever may
happen during the season to the characters.

You’ve achieved so much within your costume design career. It’s only imaginable that you would take on three era’s in ‘Why Women Kill’. Why did you want to be a part of this project?

I loved the idea of designing three periods at once. I also love the entire concept of Why Women Kill that the brilliant Marc Cherry created. Of course I’m partial to designing the 1960’s because of working on Mad Men and I personally love the styles, colours and shoulder pads of the 1980’s.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome when focusing on the 60’s, 80’s and today all in one episode?

It was challenging switching back and forth creatively to three different periods. It’s like designing three shows at once and I loved it!


With you extensive career in costume design, what did you learn from your experience on Mad Men that related into the ‘60s era in WWK ?

The 1960’s are truly a beautiful and delicious time period. Mid-century modern design is a period in which I’m truly passionate. Designing the 1960’s for WWK made me appreciate the 60’s all over again. It made me realize how much I had been missing that era. To work with Ginnifer Goodwin, Alicia Coppola, Sadie Calvano and Sam Jaeger in the 60’s was and absolute dream.


Lucy Lu’s character Simone’s wardrobe is filled with sophistication, colourful designs and beautiful silhouettes. Has there been a favourite look you’ve dressed Simone in?

There have been many looks that I have loved over the season! Lucy Lui is an amazing actress and she is incredibly open to “go for it” in terms of immersing herself in all of the 1980’s opulence. One of my favourite costumes of the season is a peplum suit with huge puff sleeves that I designed for her using vintage 1980’s Yves Saint Laurent floral printed silk.


Every cast member in this production are dressed to pristine perfection. Who out of the cast did you have the most fun pulling for and building their looks?

Beth Ann (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a character that the costume design was incredible to develop throughout the season. Her pallet in the beginning of the show starts off with shades of celery, beige and sad greys. As Beth Ann comes to life again her costumes become more vibrant, more colourful with solids and bold floral prints.

With the focus on women owning their power in individual ways. Was there a theme you wanted to tie in throughout each female lead ?

WWK, indeed, is all about female empowerment and with the costume design each leading lady really has their own individual style.

What made you get into costume design ?

Designing clothes and playing dress up were two of my favourite things to do when I was a little girl. I feel so blessed to do what I love.

Tell us what is next for you and if we can expect to see you designing a collection of your own someday.

I’m starting a new show for F/X called The Old Man starring Jeff Bridges. To design my own collection would be a dream come true.

The first ten episodes of the darkly comedic drama created by Marc Cherry are currently available to stream exclusively on CBS All Access . Stay tuned as the series returns for season two.

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Kate Middleton is following after Princess Diana with her parenting priorities

Kate Middleton is following after Princess Diana with her parenting priorities

This is lovely.

Getty Images

The Cambridges are undoubtedly the most talked about family in the world, but while Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis often steal the limelight with their signature sass and royal waves, it’s their parents, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex that spend the most time in front of the cameras.

This week it was Kate Middleton who got the world talking – first for the revelation that she and brother-in-law Prince Harry have their own secret entrance to their favourite pub, and then today for the reports that she is following after her late mother-in-law in terms of parenting priorities.

Princess Diana was known to push for William and Harry to have a normal childhood, something that The Sun has reported Kate is keen to do for George, Charlotte and Louis.

‘Kate has always wanted the children to live in the real world,’ a source reportedly told the publication. ‘She and William don’t want them to live in a gilded bubble. They want them to grow up having the same experiences as other kids.’

The source continued: ‘Kate is mindful of how much William loved his mother. She was very unstuffy and wanted William and Harry to fit in with their school friends and experience normality. That’s the baton she handed to Kate.’

Well, this is lovely.

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