Saturday, 15 February 2014

Gaby Roslin: 'Why I'm proud of my wrinkles' 49-year-old says the more you mess with your face, the more it catches up with you

When you’re a woman approaching 50 in showbiz, how do you avoid going down the Botoxed-to-the-hilt route? Gaby Roslin has a convincing – if chilling - answer.
‘Losing three friends to cancer in 18 months kind of helps you get a bit of perspective on these things,’ says the TV presenter. Especially, she adds, when one of those friends made her feelings about Botox known just before she died.
‘My big revelatory moment came just over three years ago when I was in Selfridges with Rachel, one of my dearest friends,’ she says.
‘We used to go shopping when she’d had a bout of chemo and on this day we were having a laugh trying on the wigs. This woman walked past – one of those ones, you know, face set as if she’d been caught in a wind-tunnel – and Rachel got really angry. 
Even without Botox, Gaby Roslin doesn't look remotely 49. She is something of a rarity in TV Land though

‘She said, “I’ve got poison in my head, killing me. I’m never going to get wrinkles because I’m not going to live long enough. Yet she’s injecting poison into her head just to keep herself looking young.” I’d never thought of it like that, but she ended her rant by saying, “Don’t ever do it, Gaby.” So I won’t. I’m not convinced it works anyway. After a certain point, you just look odd.’

It has to be said that even without Botox, Gaby doesn’t look remotely 49. She is something of a rarity in TV Land though, because she has lines around her face and on her forehead – they dance as she chats and gestures. She also has a figure that still looks great in skinny jeans, and terrific cheekbones, which help with that youthful impression.
‘Ah, well, if I look younger than I am, I say that’s because I haven’t meddled. I think the more you mess with your face, the more it catches up with you. But I’ve never been one to deny my age. What am I supposed to do? Lie? So yeah, I’ve got wrinkles, but do you know what? I should. I’ve laughed and cried a lot. My mum died and I’ve been through a divorce.’
A decade ago, Gaby was one of those presenters who was everywhere and then, suddenly, she wasn’t.
Her old sidekicks Chris Evans (from her Big Breakfast days) and Terry Wogan (whom she partnered for years on Children In Need) were still popping up on screen, but with notably younger female co-stars. She points out that, luckily, she’s never been out of work (she’s got her own radio show, and has always juggled TV and radio commitments), but she’s been off our primetime screens for a while.
Why? ‘It’s the nature of TV isn’t it?’ she shrugs. ‘I’m always amazed at how random it can seem. You say yes to a job because it allows you to do the school run or something – then people say, “Where did you go?” But I never went anywhere. I’m extremely lucky in that I’ve always worked, but yes, it’s nice to be back on the BBC in that primetime slot. It was always the dream – and still is.’
She points out that, luckily, she's never been out of work (she's got her own radio show, and has always juggled TV and radio commitments), but she's been off our primetime screens for a while 

Gaby’s actually back on several fronts. She’s currently presenting the National Lottery draws (she’s taken over from her old mucker Chris Evans), she’ll be fronting the Sport Relief show Top Dog next month, and she’s about to join existing presenters Matt Allwright and Chris Hollins on the trail of rogue restaurateurs on BBC1’s Food Inspectors. The last series saw them visit a Chinese takeaway where they found a rabbit in the kitchen. ‘It’s completely up my street,’ she says. ‘I’m obsessed with health and what we put into our bodies.’
Is her comeback evidence that BBC bosses are actively looking for female presenters over 22 now? Another shrug. ‘I’m not going to jump on that bandwagon. It’s just a fact in this business that you get older men paired with younger women. Will we ever see an 84-year-old woman presenting a Saturday night game show? Probably not.’
Gaby jokes about how some colleagues she works with now weren’t even born when she started out in the TV world, but is she bothered about the big 5-0 coming up later this year? ‘No,’ she says emphatically. ‘It’s just good being alive. I won’t have anybody tell me I can’t wear skinny jeans, or that I have to cut my hair because I’m the age I am. Why should I?’
It’s certainly good to see her back because at one point Gaby was the ultimate TV big sister – a role that almost prevented her getting a foot in the door in the first place. When she went for her first job, as a presenter of children’s TV show Motormouth, she was rejected first time round. ‘They thought I wasn’t edgy enough. I was too “big sis”.  Now, I guess I’m your aunt or your mum or something.’
One could say that TV’s in her blood. Her father Clive Roslin was a BBC radio presenter, and he used to take her along to watch his friend Valerie Singleton film Blue Peter. ‘And that was it. I knew I wanted to do her job. I used to fret about what they’d do with the animals though, because I was allergic to everything. I was going to be responsible for Blue Peter having to get rid of them.’
She’s on top form today, buzzing around for our pictures like a teenager. But she’s had more than her fair share to cry about in her life. The loss of those three friends to cancer is only the tip of quite a bleak-sounding iceberg.
When she was in her early 30s she lost her mother to cancer too (her mum was just 62). At the same time her father was battling cancer, although he’s now in remission. ‘Sometimes I feel like it’s stalking me,’ she admits. ‘It’s made me very health-conscious. I have regular checks and I’m careful about what I eat, always have been.’

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