TV presenter and writer Dawn Porter is speaking to HELLO! just days after her “perfect” wedding to Irish Bridesmaids star Chris O’Dowd, 32. The couple, who met in Los Angeles on Dawn’s 30th birthday, married in London in a three-day celebration they dubbed “WedFest” – but they’ve already returned to work. “We both have so much to do,” says Dawn, 33, who is writing her debut novel Paper Aeroplanes.
She first found fame with her uncompromising TV documentaries, which saw her dropping weight to a size zero for BBC’s Super Slim Me and experiencing life as a geisha girl for Channel 4. These days, she lives a quieter life in London with Chris, her cat Lilu and rescue dog Potato.
Your wedding sounded unique…
My main thing was that it should represent me and Chris and not get caught up in traditions. So we just threw our ultimate party; it was the perfect mix of love and debauchery. We spread our wedding over three days as we had people travelling from all over the place, and didn’t want that to be for just one day. So we had a three-day extravaganza, which was brilliant.
Chris tweeted a photo of you in your lingerie taken on the morning of the wedding…
The wedding photographer took it and I sent it to Chris saying: “This was what I looked like just before we got married,” and he tweeted it. Part of me was like: “Take that down,” and the other part of me was: “Do you know what, I look kind of amazing.”
Did you make an effort to get in shape before your wedding?
No, I genuinely didn’t. I just think that something happens to you in the month before you get married. You just subliminally watch what you eat and nerves do something to your body in the run-up to the day.
TV presenter Caroline Flack and BBC Radio 1 DJ Gemma Cairney organised your hen night…
I gave them two briefs; one was it had to be inconspicuous and the other was nothing too henny. They turned up at my house in an open- top bus, screaming through megaphones: “This is the Dawn tour.”SoIwaslike:“Right,that wasn’t inconspicuous was it?” But it was absolutely amazing. We went to the Dolphin in Hackney, which was my local pub in my twenties, and in the back garden there were seven transvestite Dawn Porters doing a routine to Beyoncé’s Single Ladies. It was quite something.
What or who makes you happiest?
Oh Chris. It sounds really cheesy but we just have a total ball. And my dog and my cat, who I love. Chris and I are not together all the time because he goes away filming – in fact he’s away now – but when we’re at home on the sofa watching The
X Factor, we are very happy.
What happened to your honeymoon?
Chris is back in Ireland filming his [Sky1 comedy] Moone Boy and I was starting to feel guilty about not working, so as soon as the wedding was over, I was ready to go back to work. We’ll go on honeymoon towards the end of the year and by then, we’ll both be burnt out.
You’ve said that signing a two-part book deal is your career highlight…
Yes, 100 per cent. I kind of fell into TV by accident and I loved it, but I never got that same buzz as when somebody says: “I’ve read something that you’ve written and I loved it.” Writing suits my lifestyle perfectly, because Chris is travelling all the time. I get to go with him without sacrificing anything. I’ve totally landed on my feet.
You’re promoting the Head & Shoulders Apple Fresh range – is your hair important to you?
Every woman has their thing and mine is my hair. I could be on TV without make-up and it wouldn’t bother me at all. But if my hair is dirty or limp or not done properly, I just don’t feel myself at all.
You’ve said in the past that you’re not sure you wanted children…
I knew the day I said yes to Chris, someone who was so family orientated, that I was moving in the direction of having children. I’m not even remotely ready for kids now, but I think they will be part of the future.
INTERVIEW: DAWN EMERY
Dawn Porter is the face of Head & Shoulders Apple Fresh Shampoo and Conditioner.