Escape to the Chateau star Angel Strawbridge is the definition of a powerhouse. Equipped with a strong work ethic, the mum-of-two has spent the past eight years rolling up her sleeves and renovating her French abode with the help of her husband Dick Strawbridge and their two children, Arthur and Dorothy.
To mark International Women's Day, the TV star caught up with HELLO! about female empowerment. From her biggest successes and ambitions to lessons in love and marriage, the importance of women's rights, and her next chapter following Escape to the Chateau – it's all in our exclusive Q&A!
Plus, watch the video below to see what Angel and Dick had to say about the Channel 4 show coming to an end...
WATCH: Dick and Angel Strawbridge discuss 'emotional' final episode of Escape to the Chateau
What have been your biggest successes in your life and why?
"Without a doubt, it is our children, Arthur and Dorothy. My path was always driven by business and that defined a large part of me. But when I fell pregnant with Arthur, Dick and I knew that I would want to create a world where we worked from home so that we could be around the children every day. This has worked, and seeing Arthur and Dorothy happy, open, generous and kind makes our hearts sing (said the biased mummy!)"
Angel Strawbridge is a proud mother of two
MORE: Angel Strawbridge reveals mum's emotional reaction to Escape to the Chateau series finale
READ: Dick and Angel Strawbridge's return to Chateau revealed after leaving for new venture
Who is the woman who inspires you the most?
"It has to be my mum! I feel very lucky to have her in my life every day. From a young age, my mum encouraged us to be us and to be happy. She worked hard and often had more than one job, but was always there for us. She cooked, sewed, made things for us and nothing was ever too much trouble… My childhood was blessed with love, and it was not until I became a working mum that I understood the full extent of mum's selflessness."
Family comes first for the Escape to the Chateau star
How have your mum and other women in your family shaped your life?
"I'm surrounded by incredible, loving and strong women: my mum and her sisters, Dick's mum, sisters and eldest daughter, my friends who are mainly working mums, and our Chateau team, who make our everyday life fun and efficient! You would think that with so many big personalities we could all clash, but we have the same values and the utmost respect for each other."
How has being a mum defined who you are and played an important role in your life?
"Being a mum is everything to me and Dick and I always plan with Arthur and Dorothy in mind. Like most parents, we want them to have the best start in life with good values, a positive outlook and for them to see the world as a place full of adventure and opportunity. The best way for them to learn is on the job, so we try and include them in all sorts of projects from crafting, cooking, and gardening. They love it – kids are like sponges and absorb all the experiences you give them…"
'Being a mum is everything to me'
Why do you think we should celebrate mums on International Women's Day?
"Celebrating women is a reminder of the incredible people that make a difference in the world. For me, that's not just mums but all women... Everyone has their own journey and stories of the dedication of others, of women and mums making changes for the best, but many go without recognition, so for me, International Women's Day is a chance to say 'thank you'."
How important has it been to educate your children about women's rights and issues?
"We encourage both of our children to respect others, to be open minded, and teach them that we are all equal so that any dream they have can be achieved with hard work and application."
Angel and Dick Strawbridge are parents to Arthur and Dorothy
How has your husband Dick Strawbridge supported your own dreams and ambitions?
"Dick is very supportive. We share the same vision and are both doers which makes us a good team. This means it is often easier for us to achieve dreams because we are both equally driven to reach our common goal."
What lessons have you learnt in love and marriage as a woman?
"This is a hard question. I think probably the understanding that when you are on the same team and share the same values and the same dreams… arguments are fine!"
Dick has always been fiercely supportive of Angel
What would you like to achieve next with the Chateau?
"We would like to get to a stage where all our windows are replaced! It's a massive undertaking. We started at the end of last year and it's the final big job. Once it's done, it means the Chateau should never be a burden for Arthur and Dorothy."
What is the most emotional moment you experienced while renovating the Chateau?
"There have been many! Seeing the Chateau exterior finished with the new render and roof was a big deal for us. Not just because it looked so utterly stunning, but we also knew it was a job Arthur and Dorothy, and their children in turn, will never have to worry about."
The Escape to the Chateau couple have big plans for their French home
What are you personally most proud of with your Chateau renovations?
"I think the things that make me the happiest are seeing the joy our project has given others. The children's new games room in the attic last year was very special and Arthur and Dorothy are loving it. Dick working in his kitchens with James (his eldest son) and Arthur and going into his walled garden to collect ingredients makes my heart sing!
"Converting the Coach House into a home for my parents produced a wonderful feeling too, especially as it meant giving my mum and dad the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom they always wanted. For me, 'The Wallpaper Museum' will always have a special place in my heart as it was one of the first projects where we brought the history of the Chateau back to life. It also inspired the beginning of my soft furnishing collection."
Angel is incredibly proud of her Chateau renovations
How did it feel saying goodbye to the Escape to the Chateau series after a successful six years?
"We started filming in 2014 – so it's been nearly nine years! And nine seasons! The Chateau is our home, so nothing has changed for us as a family. We will continue to share our adventures but in a slightly different way. With the children growing up fast, it felt like the right thing to do and it's satisfying to leave a project on a high."
How excited are you to be embarking on your new spin-off series this year?
We are currently travelling all over Australia and New Zealand with our 'Dare To Do It' theatre and book tour. For us, our family adventures continue, alongside new TV projects. And we have a little bit more time to film our home movies, which can be seen on our website thechateau.tv. There is so much in the pipeline, including books and tours… We have a saying that you can do anything but not everything, so it's really refreshing to change our focus a little."
How important do you think it is to have female friendships?
"It really comes down to the individual. I made a lot of friends in my early years in London and we have shared so many great memories. As a group, many have families now and incredible careers but we have all grown and supported each other, and , personally for me, that support before meeting Dick was incredibly important. When we see each other now, our kids are playing and forming life-long friendships and we get to catch up over a cocktail!"
Angel is excited about the next chapter
What is the most important lesson you have learned as a woman that you would like to share with others?
"Be yourself and do not be scared to follow your dreams and to give things a go. What's the worst that can happen? As I say to the children, make sure when you are given a chance that you dance and never be afraid, or you could end up spectators in life's party."
MORE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY:
Michelle Obama's 10 most powerful quotes
Kate Moss reveals her life lessons and special way she uplifts women
Elizabeth Hurley reveals how motherhood transformed her life
For more information about Angel Strawbridge and The Chateau collection of personalised gifts and homewares visit thechateau.tv
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