Glamorous, gorgeous and great fun, Amanda Holden is one of Britain’s shining stars, but the girl whose first taste of show business was as a Blind Date contestant is still as down to earth as they come. Her arrival at a West London studio to chat with Juiced! magazine is accompanied by a small styling team to rival that of any A-lister, but – as is her self-described approach to life – Amanda is ready to ‘get on with it’.
In reality she needs little prepping, already looking incredible in tailored trousers, a chic silk shirt and an impressive pair of red-soled heels which scream red-carpet. Obligingly she leaps into action, a perfectly mixed Juice Master blend in hand, as energetic and enthused as if this were her first shoot. Of course the stylish Ms Holden is a household name as a long-standing judge on Britain’s Got Talent, alongside regular presenting appearances on This Morning and Lorraine.
It’s easy to forget that Amanda is also a Laurence Olivier-nominated actress who started out on screen in Wild At Heart, Jonathan Creek and EastEnders, before appearing in sell-out West End productions of Thoroughly Modern Millie and, more recently, the highly acclaimed Stepping Out. January sees the start of filming for the twelfth series of Britain’s Got Talent which she has been with since the talent show first aired on our screens. Amanda is ready to dish up her trademark ‘firm but fair’ advice to contestants and will undoubtedly be wowing audiences with a new collection of jaw-dropping outfits.
Alongside stage and screen work, Amanda has launched her successful BundleBerry interiors range for QVC, but – first and foremost – is also a proud mum who refuses to let work take her far away from home. With so many hats to wear, which one does she enjoy most? “All of them,” she replies. “The connecting thread is that they are all live. I love it when you have to fly by the seat of your pants. There’s the adrenaline rush and it’s exciting to be a part of shows which have a frisson of the unexpected. It’s what I love doing most. “In this country you’re only allowed to do one thing at a time, in the public’s mind, but I would like to return to acting, and it’s definitely a case of watch this space. I’ve always said that once the girls are old enough, I would take on a role, but filming means 12-16 weeks away from the family and I won’t leave them that long while they still need me.” Having had their first daughter, Lexi, in 2006, before marrying record producer Chris Hughes in 2008, Amanda has spoken openly of the couple’s heartbreak when she miscarried in 2010 and their son was stillborn in 2011. Despite a life-threatening labour, the couple’s second daughter, Hollie, was born in 2012. The family unit is tight and, despite Amanda’s crazy schedule, time together is precious, spent between London during the week and their 600-year-old Cotswolds country home, which they have renovated.
While most celebrities would call in an interior designer and return once the job is complete, the project has been a joy for Amanda who rolled up her sleeves, on occasion jumping into a skip as her Instagram feed shows, and drew from her range to furnish the country retreat. “I have always been passionate about interior design,” says Amanda, “and when we sat down with QVC there were fashion and beauty projects on the table, but I wanted it to be interior design, as homes are my first love. I’m completely involved in the development of the range, which will see a third collection launch this month, and it’s going from strength-to-strength. “At our country home, I’ve used many of the more contemporary pieces which are a real juxtaposition to the traditional style of the property. At our London home, which is far more modern, I’ve created a luxe, cocooned feel which is a wonderful retreat at the end of a long day. I like to take risks and I’m a big believer in a pop of colour.”
“We love spending time in the country, with long walks with the dogs. It’s bliss and about as far removed from show business as it gets. Together we’re a real blend: Chris is extremely observant and a good sounding board; Hollie is very gregarious, chatty and loves to perform; while Lexi – though not as confident – is more thoughtful, most happy composing tunes and wants to be a vet. We have fun together and they are all involved in the decisions we make as a family. Whatever the girls want to do in life, I just want them to have great support around them, as I think that’s all that matters in the end.
“I do work hard to maintain a healthy work/ life balance, but I was chatting about this with Alesha (Dixon, fellow Britain’s Got Talent judge) and I said you can only be the mum you can be. Yes, you can put down that book and spend time with your child, but we’ve got to stop whipping ourselves about being working mums. Did your child go to bed happy? If the answer is yes, you’re doing OK.” Alongside her family, Amanda has a fantastic group of girlfriends, including fellow celebrities Angela Griffin and Tamzin Outhwaite, and their favourite place to hang out and unwind away from the pressures of celebrity life is at Juicy Oasis, in the company of Juice Master Jason Vale.
“I first ‘discovered’ Jason when Katie Price had her eldest son, Harvey,” says Amanda. “She was back in shape incredibly quickly and credited Jason’s 7lbs in 7 Days plan for the transformation, and I was all over it, intrigued to know more. “Having become great friends over the years, when Jason calls and suggests a detox week, everyone cancels everything in our diaries and it’s booked, nailed down and done. We love it so much. It’s quality time to step off the merry-go-round, cleanse, chill and relax, which is so, so valuable. “Being sober, alert, open and honest with yourself at Juicy Oasis is an empowering thing. Each time I come back with such mental clarity, ready to go again and it’s the ultimate recharge.”
“I’ve also learned so much about nutrition from Jason. Of course we are educated ladies and we all know broadly what we should do, but it’s just a reminder of how important what we put into our bodies is to our health. I juice once or twice a day, usually in the morning so I know I’m getting the nutrients covered. It’s an amazing clean way of life. I try to follow the 5:2 plan, but I do love my wine and butter – it’s about balance and that’s key to it all.” Having had a sneak preview of Jason’s new book, Super Blend Me!, and a taste of the plan, Amanda already has a favourite blend. “It’s the Turbo Charge Super Blend for me. I’m more of a savoury than sweet girl and, although the Choca Mocha Chino is gorgeous and would tempt my girls, I love my greens. It just smells so healthy and clean. It reminds me of California.”
Amanda also draws inspiration from the 10k mountain hikes at Juicy Oasis to maintain her fitness levels. “I love to run,” she says, “because, as any mum will tell you, it’s the only hour you get to yourself, to listen to music and to think uninterrupted. “I also love Kundalini Yoga which has a focus on mindfulness and breath work. I hate working on my abs, but there’s a practice which involves sharp exhaling which is a killer for the stomach muscles.”
January is often the start of new beginnings, but with Britain’s Got Talent kicking off and her schedule already mapped for the first half of the year, what does Amanda want from 2018? “I’m living a nice, peaceful, contented life, and I’m very happy,” she says. “I’d like to go back to acting, but I want to carry on with the projects I’m working on as I’m having a real blast.” As a woman who seems to have it all, is there one talent Amanda wishes she had? “I wish I could draw,” she says. “Chris and I play a game when we’re flying anywhere, where we draw celebrities and the only one I can sketch is Ozzy Osbourne which he always guesses.” Sketchpad aside, Amanda has the rest of life sorted.