Denise Van Outen: ‘I never made the most of myself when I was younger’

March 9th, 2012

While the rest of the country made jokes about Essex girls, Denise Van Outen spent her childhood lusting after the glamour of Brentwood – made famous by award-winning reality series the only way is Essex. Now Denise's Estuary English twang is synonymous with the area, and though she lives in Kent with husband Lee Mead and baby Betsy, the actress and TV presenter reserves a level of admiration for the TOWIE way of life.We talk to Denise about motherhood in the spotlight and why she'd rather see her daughter get vajazzled than follow in her own grungey teen footsteps…

When you got involved with TOWIE did you anticipate the level of success it's enjoying?

Denise Van Outen: I had a feeling it’d do really well because the woman that created it, Ruth Wrigley, was involved in the creation of Big Brother and the Big Breakfast. Originally the setting was a toss-up between Liverpool and Essex, when she asked me what it’s like I said ‘just go and I guarantee you’ll love it’. And I kind of knew because she showed me a taster tape – Amy Childs and mark were on it – and I was hooked instantly.

The TOWIE cast have become celebrities in their own right, do you think this could impact on the show's longevity?

Denise Van Outen: Not really, look at Big Brother, it was around for ten years and it saturated the press, people still watched it and went back for more. look at X-Factor and any of those shows, it just gets bigger and bigger. It will run its course eventually but it’s still relatively new.

As an Essex girl, do you think TOWIE is an accurate representation of the area?

Denise Van Outen: For that pocket of Essex it is. where I’m from it's really chavvy, it’s not very glamorous – and there are people from Basildon that would agree with me – so it was a treat to go to Brentwood. I had school friends that lived in Chigwell and Loughten and if we went there it was dead posh because we were just chavs. It really is like that, they do get dressed up. I actually like it for that because I think it’s nice now that young girls are taking care of themselves.

Would you want Betsy to get dolled up like that constantly?

Denise Van Outen: No, but it’s nice for a bit of glamour. When I was a teenager the whole grunge thing had started to come into fashion, I remember my grandmother would say ‘why are you dressed like a tramp!?’ and now I kind of regret it because I think I never really made the most of myself when I was younger.

But you were able to express your teenage angst…

Denise Van Outen: You don’t need to be like that, you need to just vajazzle up and get a lash on! If Betsy turns out to be all grunge I’ll just chuck her in the shower, take her for a spray tan!

Denise Van Outen: ‘I never made the most of myself when I was younger’

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