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EastEnders' Charlie Brooks reinvents herself with sex toy venture

At 41, Charlie shared she can't remember the last time she felt comfortable — and why that's not a bad thing


charlie brooks© Photo: Rex
Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
Updated: March 20, 2023
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Charlie Brooks is best known for her time as Janine on EastEnders, a role she's played since 1999, but in an exclusive chat with HELLO! the 41-year-old actress revealed that she's long battled with insecurity — but a shocking, brand-new project has helped her find her self-confidence.

"I was working from a very young age in a very big TV job and always felt slightly out of my depth," she shared. "I didn't go to drama school or university, so I've had those feelings of not feeling very clever or capable enough of certain things, so I've always felt self-doubt."

charlie brooks headshot© Yellow Belly

Charlie Brooks has been in EastEnders since 1999

Following her departure from the show, Charlie has thrown herself into a project totally out of her comfort zone, and in doing so, has discovered a newfound self-confidence.

The actress teamed up with Ann Summers to create a sex toy, the U, and taking the leap out of her comfort zone has proved to be just what she needed.

"Creating this has been way out of my comfort zone. However, getting comfortable with all of those uncomfortable feelings and pushing through, facing fears and getting intimate with fears, that’s how we overcome self-doubt," she said.

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"Most things I do in my life are out of my comfort zone, I can't even remember the last time I was comfortable," she continued, before adding: "But I do believe that is where the good stuff is! If you're able to push through that slight discomfort, whether it's not feeling good enough or trying something new and you're terrified of failure, knowing that it's ok to fail and it's good to fail, but always fail forwards.

"Life is just about learning. When you've achieved something and gone through that discomfort, you can really reap the rewards because you've shown up for yourself and that's the most important thing. You make promises to yourself that you keep, and you show up, and that's an extraordinary thing."

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"The more you get to know yourself and are comfortable with who you are, I think the happier you'll be," she adds. "The most important relationship we have is the one with ourselves, and in order to have that, it takes time."

Charlie said that pushing herself out of her comfort zone and designing the U has been key to her finding self-confidence, explaining: "I've had so many ideas and never felt like I was good enough, clever enough or brave enough to act on them, I just sort of let them go.

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"By grabbing hold of this idea, pushing forward and making something happen by challenging myself and designing a product that I could bring to market, it's really helped me believe in myself and have the belief that I do have good ideas," she continues.

"If you follow your ideas, through, anything is possible. With that in mind, taking action on things and showing up for yourself, you can start to slowly change your thoughts around self-doubt and start to feel more capable."

Check out Charlie's confidence-boosting project with Ann Summers...

Ann Summers the U sex toy

The U Self Love Stimulator, £100, Ann Summers

SHOP NOW

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