There are a lot of similarities between Strictly Come Dancing and motherhood...
You have to learn to follow someone else’s lead, remain on your toes and accept that you will very rarely be scored a ‘ten!’ no matter how hard you’ve worked. So it’s little surprise that Louise Redknapp – mother to Charley, 12, and Beau, eight, and a woman who spends much of her time racing from football fixture to dance floor – is so good at it. “It’s just something you can’t take for granted, it’s been a real experience,” Louise (who shot to fame in the 90s girl group Eternal) says of the show. “It takes up a lot of time and effort, but when it pays off and you go out and do a dance and people love it, it’s just worth every minute that you’ve put in.” For her business partner and close friend of 13 years, Emma Thatcher, Louise’s wonderful waltzes are the perfect finale to a very successful year. Their lifestyle blog, A Style Album, with its accessible approach to all things fashionable, has reached 54,000 followers. “It’s a real passion for both of us,” explains Emma. “We launched it two-and-a-half years now, and it’s just essentially what we talk about. With me being a stylist and with Lou’s work, we’re always discussing fashion and outfits.” Inspired by their friendship, swapping pictures and advice on what they wear – they decided to let everyone join the conversation. “With Em, I would take advice on anything and trust her 100 per cent – that’s where the blog originates,” explains Louise, who is also co-founder of beauty brand Wild About Beauty. “It’s about having that girlfriend who you can trust, and that’s what we want to be to other people.” Emma – who has three children, Libby, 15, Alfie, 14 and Teddy, 11 – has worked in the fashion industry for the last seven years as a buyer and also a commercial and editorial stylist. The pair understand that when you become a mother you can lose your way when it comes to getting dressed, and are keen to make fashion less intimidating. We joined the friends for a quick chat about shopping, friendship – and the occasional cha-cha-cha. Photography: Ian Harrison Words: Claire Brayford Go to www.astylealbum.com
Founders of A Style Album Louise Redknapp and Emma Thatcher
Louise, what's the best thing about being on Strictly Come Dancing?
It’s having the opportunity to go out there and learn these incredible dances – the Argentine Tango, the Paso Doble and the American Smooth – that I’d never in a million years have the opportunity to do.
Do you have a lot of input in the costumes you wear?
You don’t massively, no, but the team at Strictly are very aware of what works – especially what works for the show, and they’ve made costumes for people who have been dancing on Strictly for years. Very early on I decided I just needed to put myself in their hands and go with what worked for them. They’re very good if you’ve got parts of your body that you’re not very confident about. I tend to just go with the flow, because otherwise you spend all of your time looking at the design, looking at the colours and fits and they have a-million-and-one-things to do. So I leave it to them and embrace the whole Strictly experience, which so far I’ve learnt is the best thing to do.
Emma, have you noticed any changes in Louise since she joined the show?
I think it’s been great for her confidence. To see her doing something she’s so passionate about. Dancing was such a big part of her life when she was younger. So for her to be able to go out there and do it again, it’s been incredible. I’m really proud of her. She’s doing amazing. I love it, I get so excited – I sit there clapping on my own!
How did you two first meet and what was it about each other that clicked?
Louise: We met at a social event – our husbands knew each other. And then, I know for me, we just instantly had lots in common and got on. I think our friendship just grew naturally. Emma: Definitely, yeah and we realised we had kids a similar age… Louise: The more you get to know somebody, the more you realise how much you have in common and we have the same sense of humour – it’s all of those things that are important when you’ve got a mate. Over the last 13 years, it’s grown organically and then we decided to work together, so it’s gone from strength-to-strength really.
What was the last thing you really laughed at?
Louise: We laugh all the time! We must have been laughing about something this morning? Emma: You being bossy?! [Laughs] Louise: [Laughs] Yeah me being bossy and having control issues, we always laugh at that! Today we were giggling about the ‘It Takes Two’ (Strictly Come Dancing spin-off) videos. We tend to laugh a lot at things that other people don’t find that funny!
Where did you both grow up? Can you tell us about your own mother and what she has taught you?
Louise: I grew up in Lewisham, in central London and then later we moved out to Surrey. My mum really taught me to always get out there and do what you want to do, and what you believe in. Never hold back. She’s always encouraged me to want more – in a good way! Emma: I think the same. My mum gives my sisters and I a lot of confidence to believe in whatever we want to do. She says, ‘You can do it’.