Hey Fearne! I wanted to start the interview by thanking you! There is so much negativity in the world right now, and you have spent your time and energy on creating such a special Happy Place. Can you explain to our readers that might not already know, what the Happy Place festival is about?
Happy Place festival brings to life everything I talk about in the podcast and books. In 2019 we had our first summer of live events in Manchester and London with yoga, meditation, talks, arts and crafts, fitness and food. This year due to Covid we had to cancel the live events and came up with the virtual idea. Taking all of the content we had planned to have across the live weekend and putting it on to your screens. So the virtual festival has a plethora of classes from yoga, pilates, cocktail making master classes, talks with incredible speakers, fitness, food demos, arts and crafts and family fun.
Superb! The fact it’s free and of course supporting such brilliant charities and causes will resonate incredibly well with students. Can you tell us a bit about the charities you support and why you decided to select the ones you did?
We’ve chosen a selection of charities I either already work with or feel strongly about. Coppafeel is a charity I’ve been patron of for nearly 10 years. It’s a breast cancer awareness charity run by my dear mate Kris Hallenga. Mind is a charity I’m hugely passionate about as I know how much they help those suffering today. The work they do in the mental health sector is so important. NHS Charities Together is included as we’ve all witnessed the dedication and sacrifice front line workers have made this year. Black Lives Matter because we know how big change is needed globally to create equality. And The Princes Trust who again I’ve worked with for some years now to ensure young people in the UK get a good start, with career options, life skills and more.
Although the Happy Place festival is free, donations are encouraged – what’s the best way of donating?
You just click through to where the info is about our charity partners and that’ll take you through to a page where you can chose who you would like to donate to.
Can you tell us a bit about the acts – which are you most excited to have on the roster?
There are so many. We have two great music acts, Freya Ridings and Jones, and in the talks lounge so many incredible speakers. Bryony Gordon, Gary Barlow, Clara Amfo, Kimberley Wilson, Professor Green, Lawrence Okolie, Frankie Bridge, Crag David and more.
Which lesser known acts on the line-up, would you label as “ones to watch”?
Samantha Renke is a joy. A wonderful speaker to listen out for. Also Rebecca Dennis who is a breath coach. Her sessions are incredible. Also Goldie Rocks the DJ has a new project called IO, and she offers up a lovely gong bath that you must try.
What you have created is not only inspirational in terms of its cause, but also extremely clever and provides an alternative solution to the fact the world is pretty much closed! In your opinion, will live events ever return back to “normal”, or do you think the digital sphere has opened up a new direction for events even once the pandemic has passed?
I hope so but who knows. I think there will of course be a hangover of anxiety for all in big crowds and also financial implications which will mean less people out there will have the spare cash to go to live events. I’m glad we’ve found a free alternative for this year at least.
For those that don’t know, you’ve got a long list of entrepreneurial accolades to your name, including your clothing range and home wear products for very.co.uk, make-up and toiletry ranges for Boots, you work alongside Cath Kidston and Garnia Olia, and are also a brand ambassador for BaByliss (not forgetting you’re a mother)! Do you ever feel overwhelmed and what advice would you offer students that feel this way, juggling studies with trying to earn some money?
I’ve dropped most of the projects previously mentioned because I want to be more focussed on Happy Place. I’m now much less about designing and much more focussed on the work I can do with Happy Place. I would say I’m never one to offer advice necessarily, I prefer to use my platform to point you in the right direction to other people that can use their voices. As far as earning and studying goes I think there are far more opportunities these days to start up projects and businesses from home online. If you have an idea give it a go and don’t let fear get in the way.
You’ve been in the entertainment business for a long time now with a hugely successful career. Many students will know you from your appearances on Celebrity Juice. Of all your time on the show, what’s the funniest memory that springs to mind from being on it?
Gosh there were a lot. I think the dancing game used to be my favourite as it was kind of awkward but genius too.
Who’s the most awkward person or what was the most awkward situation you found yourself in whilst on the show?
One time I had to go on a mystery trail as part of a game around the studio and opened a door to a dressing room and unbeknown to me the crew had filled it with ball pit plastic balls which all came hurtling out at me. I was so shocked. After the shock had subsided I had a great time diving in to the dressing room full of balls.
Sounds fun! You announced that you left the show so you could “shake-up” your life a bit and take risks. What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken during your career?
SO many in my career. Leaving Juice and Radio 1 being the main two. I think it’s always healthy to take risks if you can. I had no work planned at all after Radio 1, but some of the coolest twists and turns have happened to allow me to start up Happy Place. No regrets at all this end.
You seem to always push yourself and on top of your success already mentioned, you’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief, and trekked the Inca Trail for Breast Cancer Care. Do you have anything else left on your bucket list?
I think learning to relax. I’m awful at it and need to be much kinder to myself for sure. Although, I would like to take my kids on a trek one day when they’re older.
If you were to think back, do you feel your success has stemmed from your determination and personality traits to push yourself, and what advice would you offer to students that are about to embark on new careers and opportunities?
Yes, I’ve been driven since I was a small kid. It’s in my nature to try lots of new things and push myself. Sometimes to my detriment as I forget to take a breath. I think the best advice is just to give things a go. Believe me when I say tons of the things I’ve tried have NOT worked out and that’s fine too. You have to try some things to learn hard lessons, to get resilient and to work out what you do really want.
Happy Place festival is a month long virtual festival promoting mental and physical wellbeing! Find inspiration from the amazing performances, tutorials, and guest speakers, running from 12th June-12th July. To find out more about Happy Place Festival visit: https://www.happyplacefestival.com
Interview by Ben Farrin