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DJ Annie Mac: I’d tell my 18-year-old self, ‘You are going to like your body one day, don’t worry, stop freaking out about what you look like’

DJ, podcast host and author Annie Macmanus talks about the last time she cried, her all-time favourite vinyls and what superpower she would choose if given the choice...


DJ, author and broadcaster Annie Macmanus

DJ, author and broadcaster Annie Macmanus

DJ, author and broadcaster Annie Macmanus

Internationally renowned DJ and former BBC Radio 1 broadcaster Annie grew up in Dundrum, Dublin, went to school at Wesley College and studied English literature at Queen’s University in Belfast. She lives in north-west London with her husband, DJ Toddla T and their two children, aged seven and four.

What’s your earliest memory?
Running down the hall crying to my mam in the kitchen to say that my brother hit me.

What’s your best holiday memory?
I have beautiful memories of going to the coast of France as a kid, and doing a camping holiday with my family, going to the kids’ clubs and just being on these enormous white sandy beaches.

What are you most proud of?
I’d say my kids.

What’s the first thing you’d do if you were Taoiseach?
I would do away with the preposterous rents in Dublin and allow affordable housing for all.

What’s your least — and your most — attractive quality?
I’m fiercely impatient, so I would really like to learn how to be more patient, and I would hope that people would say that I’m kind. That’s the goal.

Who’d you most like to go for a pint with?
It can never happen because he has passed away, but Phil Lynott. I grew up with two big brothers and there was a lot of Thin Lizzy listened to in our house. A writer who had a big effect on me is Brendan Behan and I reckon he’d be a great laugh in the pub, judging by all accounts anyway.

What one piece of advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
It would probably be, ‘You are going to like your body one day, don’t worry. Stop freaking out about what you look like.’

When did you last cry?
I cried when I gave the news to Greg James on BBC Radio One that I was going to be leaving. I managed to do the whole link without crying and then I put the mic down and cried.

Do you believe in a God?
I believe in something, but not the traditional look of God. I’m not religious, but I believe in a higher power.

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How did you get through lockdown?
I had a unique situation compared to my friends because I still went to work everyday. I had a reason to leave the house, which after homeschooling, I was very grateful for. I’ve a new-found respect for teachers.

What’s the last TV show that you binge-watched?
Bloodlands with James Nesbitt and Lisa Dwan. I just really enjoyed seeing all the shots of Belfast and Strangford Lough.

What is your most treasured item?
Old photos of my mam and dad, and also probably my diaries because as I’m getting older, I am just forgetting everything and my diaries feel more and more important for knowing who I was and what my life was like.

If you could have a super power, what would it be?
To be able to fall asleep whenever I wanted.

What are you looking forward to doing when you get back to Ireland?
Just hanging out with my family. My brother lives in Glasthule, my sister lives in Ennis, so I’d love to go there as well and hang out with my mam and dad and maybe go to the Blue Light for pints, sit outside and look out over Dublin.

What does your dream weekend look like?
Lots of friends, sunshine, rosé, good music, laughter and swimming in the sea. Recently I’ve really enjoyed those situations where you have friends and family all mingling, and the kids becoming friends with my friends is a lovely thing.

What vinyls do you tend to play a lot?
Astral Weeks by Van Morrison, which is woven into my whole existence, and also Stevie Wonder. Songs in the Key of Life is one I would go back to and just have a moment with as much as possible. When I get home from work or I am on holidays, I tend to listen to classic music.

Annie Macmanus’s debut novel ‘Mother Mother (Headline)’ is out now.

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