Tuesday 16 July 2019

The loves of my life: Arlene Phillips


Arlene Phillips
Arlene Phillips
Chloe Brennan

Chloe Brennan

The 'Strictly Come Dancing' judge chats about her favourite people, places and things.

The person

My beautiful mother, Rita, who passed away when I was a young teenager. Every hug still lives inside of me, and I always try to emulate her kindness.

The memory

My first ballet class, when I wore bright-green ballet shoes and all the other girls wore pink. Mine were on sale - the pretty pink ones were too expensive. I learnt early on that being the odd one out makes you tough.

The moment of the day

When I wake up at 7am but realise it's a Sunday, and I can roll over and go back to sleep. Then, when I wake up again and read the papers in bed. Luxury.

The song

I'm Still Standing by Elton John. I got the opportunity to choreograph the video, and because of it, I got the opportunity to choreograph many more for him. The song became my motto for life - no matter what happens, I'm still standing.

The movie

It's got to be West Side Story. The music, the dancing, the electrifying story, the laughter, the tears... all in one film. I never tire of watching it.

The book

At the risk of sounding boring, it's Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I think this story still intrigues today as much as when it was first written. A story of family life told through the ups and downs of four very different daughters.

The outfit

I have a stunning red dress by Elizabeth and James. It's the only long evening dress I have ever bought that is the right length. I'm small, so I always have to have them shortened.

The gadget

A simple lemon squeezer. I love lemon water, and I get great satisfaction from squeezing the lemon myself.

The accessory

A good handbag dresses up any outfit in an instant. I love Aspinal of London, because of their jewel colours and unusual designs.

The hero

My dance teacher, Molly Molloy. We met when I was 22; I'd just arrived in London from Manchester. She gave me a place to live, a scholarship, and an opportunity to study to be a choreographer.

The friend

My best friend in NYC, Linda Mevorach. She taught me to be bold and courageous, and never to be afraid of asking for what you want. Fear must never hold you back.

The beauty product

Tom Ford springs to mind. It may be a slick of his divine lipstick, a delightful colour from his range of nail polish, or the foundation that will guarantee glorious skin. Yes, I'm in love with Tom Ford.

The part of my body

My cheeks. I grew up disliking my round, plump cheeks, but as I reached old age, I grew to be grateful, as they have held up pretty well.

The holiday

Venice during Carnival. It's hard to express the magic of this beautiful old city. Strange masked figures move in and out of the mist, there is music playing everywhere, and people dancing in the squares. It's like living in a fantasy.

The hotel

The Sanderson Hotel in London. I love the simple, minimalist style, as I find it very calming - and they do the best, most adventurous and indulgent afternoon tea.

The piece of advice

I was told in school to, 'listen more, speak less' but the best piece of advice I was given was to do the opposite. Speak out, or you may never get heard.

The celebrity

I adore Eric Idle. I first met him when I was choreographing the film Monty Python's The Meaning of Life in 1983. We became friends, and then worked together again for the Monty Python reunion show at the O2 in London in 2014. He is smart, funny and kind.

The smell

I remember saving up for my first bottle of Chanel No 5, and even though I had very little money at the time, I felt like a million dollars.

The taste

I like simple flavours, like lettuce and lemon. Tastes like that are so pure and simple, with the added bonus that I can eat my way through plenty of fresh, crunchy lettuce and not gain an ounce of weight.

* Arlene Phillips has teamed up with Specsavers Audiologists with the launch of the Signia Styletto - a stylish and discreet new hearing device, now available at Specsavers stores across Ireland


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