Andrea McLean shares her exciting new roles and the real reason she left Loose Women
The mum-of-two has a new job title
Television presenter and entrepreneur Andrea McClean surprised us all with the announcement that she was leaving Loose Women at the end of last year. And now the mum-of-two has exclusively revealed the real reason she stepped aside - she's just completed her training to become a Life Coach!
In addition to this exciting news, Andrea has also got a brand new presenting role - launching on HELLO!'s website today! Andrea, 51, is going to be heading up HELLO!'s new digital video series High Street Hits with her good friend Nick Ede, and it's all about shopping!
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WATCH: Andrea McLean reveals her bargain buys in HELLO!'s High Street Hits
The new online show launches on 1 June and sees Andrea and Nick choose their favourite outfits from the high street, recommending fabulous new trends for summer – just the help we need after months in lockdown loungewear.
In our exclusive interview below, Andrea tells us about the outfits she grabbed from the Loose Women wardrobe, why she doesn't watch the show anymore and how she and her husband Nick have survived starting a business in lockdown…
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Andrea McLean with husband Nick Feeney
Andrea, you and your husband Nick are training to be Life Coaches! Tell us more…
"Yes! There's this big thing of imposter syndrome, of 'Who am I to do this?' I'm from an age of, 'But you haven't been to school to learn this', so we've been training for the past few months over Zoom."
"I quit my job to do something I'm really passionate about, which is helping women change their mindsets so they can feel better about themselves, but I'm a really good girl and I want to make sure I'm doing it properly.
"We're just about finished [the training]. We'll officially be accredited Life Coaches. It's really great. I do live Zoom events for our community and it's given me so much more confidence to know that I'm really helping them to the best of my ability."
What's it like being your own boss now?
"I really love it. I really enjoy what I'm doing. I run masterclasses within our membership, so I'm interviewing behavioural scientists to talk about why our brain works the way it does.
"It's finding out new ways to help us think differently about lives and how we can break the habits that aren't working for us. I speak to coaches and psychologists and all these really fascinating people – and 90 per cent of them are women.
"For me, it's come from a personal interest because I've been through some really difficult things myself and I've had to do a lot of work on myself.
"I love paying it forward and I love introducing other people to things - and the feedback is so great. Every day I get messages from at least one or two women saying, 'You've made me feel so much braver'.
"We've had so many women quit their jobs since I quit my job and leap into the unknown. Just knowing that I'm giving women tools and encouragement and support… I feel like this is how my personality has always been, and now I'm doing it for a living and I love it. It's really fulfilling."
The mum-of-two left Loose Women to pursue her passion
Photo by Nick Wright
How has life been for you since leaving Loose Women - do you miss it?
"I don't actually, and I say that with love. Because I left to do something I was really passionate about, it felt like a really natural end.
"It had taken me a while to come to the decision, and decide, right am I going to try and do this alongside or am I going to go all-in? I decided to go all-in, so I made the leap.
"I look back on Loose Women really fondly, but I'm too busy thinking about what I'm doing now. A few people asked, 'Have I watched it?' No, because I'm working during the day, building the membership up. We've got so much on with what we're doing with the business and making it grow.
"I'm also writing my fourth book now. Today is a writing day and I'm tucked away upstairs. My deadline is in July and I'm so behind with it. I'm really, really busy."
LOOK: Best high street jeans for women 2021
Andrea with the Loose Women panellists before she left the show
How did it feel when you left Loose Women?
"The way I describe it is how I describe it to the kids… when you're nervous but excited at the same time – I was nervous-cited.
"I was scared - I won't lie. I was really scared because I was leaving a really great job and walking away from something I'd done for so long to literally leap into the unknown. You just have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
"Literally from the next day, bang, that was it. Then you hit the ground and you start running and I've been running ever since."
Are you still in touch with anyone from Loose Women?
"Yeah, I met up with Saira Khan a couple of days ago, which was really nice. It was her birthday and she got this bubble igloo thing brought in so we could sit in the garden. That was lovely because I hadn't seen her since I left.
"I've spoken to Brenda Edwards quite a few times on the phone. We FaceTime each other and keep in touch, and I've spoken to Linda Robson. A few of the ladies have texted just to keep in touch and see how I am and everything."
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How do you feel now lockdown has eased and we can hug again?
"It is [a big thing] because I am a hugger. It's really, really nice. Even just having people round to the house, so they can come in and have a coffee rather than, 'Come round the back and sit in the back garden', and you're sitting there bloomin' freezing as the weather has been so rubbish."
How have you and husband Nick handled being home and working together in lockdown?
"I think we've probably been the same as everyone else. There have been moments where you're literally, 'If I don't get out the house soon I'm literally going to explode'. So totally normal.
"What we've done is, we have a TV in the kitchen and a TV in the living room and we've said that in the evenings, 'You go in one room, I'm going in the other room. You watch your weird gangster car chases type stuff, I'm going to watch Schitt's Creek - and we're all good'.
"Even just having that little bit of space is really important – only because we're working literally side by side in an office all day.
"Our biggest saving grace was when the golf courses opened and he left the house to go and play golf! Rather than being a golfing widow, I was unpacking the golf clubs and waving him off! Hurray!
"I have to be careful what I say because everyone pounces on it and says, 'Oh, there's trouble in paradise' - and there's not. It's just exactly the same as everyone else. We're two human beings stuck in a box, and of course, there's going to be moments where you find each other really irritating but it's really good right now.
Andrea is presenting HELLO!'s High Street Hits show
Photo by Nick Wright
"I'm sure there are lots of other couples doing this… I feel like we're looking at each other again and going, 'Oh hello, I feel like I haven't properly looked at you because you've just been too close!' We need to step away a little bit and go, 'Oh, you're lovely'."
Working at home together, are you an early riser?
"I am, but not through choice [laughs]. When I was doing Loose Women the alarm was going off at 5.30am and when I did breakfast telly it was going off at 3.30am, so I take great joy at my alarm going off at seven.
"I like to lie there for at least 10/15minutes and come round. I am not a leap out of bed person. Nick is a leap out of bed person.
"By the time I've come to, he's already done press-ups, sit-ups, lunges, the whole bit by the side of the bed – and that's how he is. But that's why he has a figure like a Greek god and I don't!"
Andrea has a background in fashion
Photo by Nick Wright
Tell us about your new High Street Hits show for HELLO!
With This Girl Is On Fire, I support women in business and the marketplace we run supports female entrepreneurs.
Me, lovely Nick Ede and my husband Nick just thought, how are we going to get people excited about going shopping again and how can we support businesses? So it sort of grew from there. Nick's really good with trends and I love fashion, so it made sense.
Andrea and her good friend Nick Ede
Photo by Nick Wright
"When I did Loose Women I used to really enjoy putting fashion posts up and talking about 'This is what I'm wearing, this is where I got it from', so we thought, let's bring a bit of that but rather than just one outfit, let's theme it.
"So this is what you wear the first time you leave the house, this is what you can wear when you start going to weddings or Wimbledon, or Ascot or all these sorts of things that are opening up. It's brilliant. I'm really excited to be working on it with HELLO!"
What do you love about high street fashion?
"I'm like this with everything, not just fashion, but I like the idea of getting something that looks beautifully made and is really flattering that actually hasn't cost an arm and a leg. I like that I can relax while I'm wearing it.
"My favourite high street shop is actually Zara and I like it because things are well-made, you know what you're getting. I understand the sizing, I know that I can wear it to death for a good couple of years and then I can move on guilt-free because I haven't literally broken the bank to buy it.
"People are shopping a lot more ecologically minded now because there's this move away from fast fashion. I think sometimes the high street can be tarnished with that brush but it's not always the case. So we're encouraging people to get back out there again and enjoy dressing up!"
We've all loved our loungewear in lockdown…
"It's going to be really hard [getting out of loungewear]. I can't fit into anything that I bought or wore before lockdown.
"Obviously I've put on a little bit of weight, which I think we all have just because we're not moving so much – but also it just feels so uncomfortable. How did we wear such uncomfortable clothes and shoes for so many years and nobody noticed?!
"I'm hoping that brands will have recognised this and moved on. In our High Street Hits show, we have some 'Balloon Jeans'. I'd never heard of these in my entire life and I don't know if they're called balloon jeans because of our ballooning figures, but it did work. They are a lot more comfortable.
Andrea and Nick on set together for HELLO!'s High Street Hits
Photo by Nick Wright
"I think softer fabrics are definitely going to be more normal now. There are now suits with softer fabrics and elasticated waists at the back, so from the front, it looks normal but from the back, you're actually breathing a big sigh of relief that you can actually fit in them.
"I'm excited about the idea of getting a bit more dressed up again – even if it's still comfortable.
"I'm sitting here now – in what I've lived in – my workout leggings because they're black, my slippers and a big jumper. Ok, I've washed my hair and I've put some makeup on but I've still basically got my leggings on. I've lived in leggings."
What types of outfits do you like for spring?
"I'm looking forward to adding a bit of colour.
"I love black and I think the fact that I moved away from daytime TV and after 26 years of having to wear pastels and daytime TV colours, I kind of threw myself all in into the black mode just because I could.
"But I'm ready now to introduce some colour. There's a lot of beautiful summer colours in the shops - really vibrant fuchsia pinks and lovely yellows."
We hear you took a suitcase of clothes home from LW. What did you take?
"Nothing that I can fit into anymore which is really annoying!
"What did I take? Some nice, long Zara-style dresses that I would wear on-air with heels and a belt, but actually, I've just been wearing them with trainers. Some really nice wide-legged pinstriped trousers I've been wearing with a soft jumper.
"Especially because I'm filming a lot of stuff at home for the website, I still have to look presentable. Even for Zoom meetings, I've still been using my LW clothes to look smart. It's too many years of telly!"
Andrea's fans love her following her latest looks
Are you quite organised with your wardrobe at home?
"Yeah, so I worked in retail for many years in my late teens and early 20s to earn extra money while being a student. I learnt all about keeping everything neat and tidy.
"I've carried that on. I'm a bit weird! I put things from a lighter colour moving into a darker colour in my wardrobe. All my hangers face the same way. I bought a shed load of wooden hangers so all my clothes are on the same hangers. But I've done that forever.
"And the funny thing is, my husband Nick is exactly the same. I laugh at him. I open his wardrobe to put things away and he hangs up all his T-shirts. They go from white to grey to pale blue to black."
Have your children inherited this organised trait?
"Not even a tiny bit! My daughter's bedroom looks like we've been burgled. It looks like a helicopter has landed in the room!
"My son is away at university and he's always been fairly tidy. But my daughter… I've just had to accept that it's her space and it's how she is and shut the door! [laughs]."
What do your kids think about your career change?
"Finley's away and doing his own thing so I don't think he thinks about it too much but Amy is 14 and still at school, and I think she's really enjoyed the fact that I'm at home now.
"I might be really busy, but the fact that I'm here and she can pop her head around the door, and we sit and have dinner every night, it's been really nice spending more time with her. We've got a lot closer - not that we weren't close before."
Has she reached the stage where she's pinching your clothes?!
"She's not pinching my clothes because they wouldn't fit her as I'm a bit bigger than her. She is definitely pinching my makeup and moisturiser and hair straighteners and that sort of thing. I don't mind, it's just normal."
Do they have any aspirations to work in TV or journalism like you?
"Finley is studying film and wants to be behind the scenes. He's very creative and loves writing. He's wanted to do that since he was three.
"Amy likes drama and dance. I was the same at her age – not the dance, I'm a terrible dancer – but with drama. I think it's really good for them so I encourage it. Anything that involves teamwork and pulling something together is a great learning experience for kids and teenagers."
Watch HELLO!'s High Street Hits at hellomagazine.com
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