It’s 8.30am when we meet Charlotte Hawkins at the shiny new Good Morning Britain studios. Frankly, we’re still three cups of coffee away from feeling like normal human beings, but Charlotte’s been up since 2.45am, has already finished work for the day, and is by far the chirpiest person we’ve seen so far.
‘I’m used to the crack-of-dawn starts now,’ she says, ‘but I do sometimes sleep binge at the weekends – I’ve been known to sleep for 12 hours at a time. Occasionally I fall asleep in the back of the cab home from the studios –
I wake myself up snoring, or I can feel myself doing that twitching thing and the driver will be looking at me in the mirror and I think, “Oh no, did I just snore really loudly?!” I’ve even fallen asleep in the dentist’s chair during a root canal before.’
Charlotte’s been gracing breakfast TV for 11 years, spending seven of those at Sky before joining GMB in 2014. This morning we’re tucked away in her bijou dressing room, sitting between a shelf full of her healthy granolas and oat cereals and a dressing table dotted with fancy perfume bottles and hairsprays. Charlotte’s looking just as glam as she does on the box, but she’s slipped out of her trademark skyscraper heels and form-fitting dress, and is looking a bit more casual in jeans and a polka-dot blouse.
(Image: S Meddle/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)
‘My hubby Mark always says he prefers me without all the telly make-up,’ she says with a smile, ‘but he does laugh about the fact that I’m Charlotte Hawkins at work, with the dresses and the make-up – whereas at home, I’m Mrs Herbert [her married name] with my hair scraped back and my tracksuit bottoms on.’
Even their daughter, Ella Rose, three, finds the juxtaposition between the glam mum just back from the studio, and the one she knows at home confusing. ‘The other day I was wearing a slouchy top and tracksuit bottoms, and she said, “Mummy, can you go and put something prettier on please?” I’ve tried to bring her up to like boy’s things too and not to prioritise looks over everything else, but I think it’s the default setting for three-year-olds to love pink things and pretty dresses. Mind you, she’s always bossing her older cousins around when they play football, so I must be doing something right.’
As tough as the early mornings can be, Charlotte loves that her working day means she’s able to spend plenty of time with Ella Rose. ‘I feel pretty lucky that I can be with her during the day – some of my friends work long hours and don’t see much of their kids.’
Charlotte and daughter Ella Rose
(Image: Alan West/WENN.com)
Charlotte is now in Australia for two and a half weeks covering I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, and she’s even managed to turn that into family time, taking Ella Rose and Mark with her for an action-packed trip. ‘We’ll make sure we have a balance between Ella Rose seeing koalas and kangaroos but also visiting a vineyard so we can do a bit of wine tasting,’ she says. ‘Before I went on Strictly, I wondered why on earth celebs wanted to go on these shows. But now I appreciate how much you get out of challenging yourself, and how fun it can be. I’d definitely consider doing another reality show one day.’
It’s hard to watch GMB without the occasional bit of shouting at the box when Piers Morgan makes one of his outrageous comments, such as telling mental health sufferers to ‘man up’ or saying Daniel Craig is emasculating himself by carrying his newborn baby in a sling. How on earth does Charlotte keep her cool? ‘You have to pick your battles with Piers,’ she says. ‘People always ask me why I haven’t called him out on certain things, but you can’t be fighting him the whole time. It’s a challenge – we don’t resort to physical violence too often. I always say Susannah must have a voodoo doll in her dressing room – she stays really calm and then she goes and sticks a load of pins in it!’
Not only is Charlotte pretty good at staying calm around Piers, but she also admits that on her first date with her now husband Mark, she was less than impressed. ‘My friend set us up on a blind date, but the first time we met we didn’t get on very well at all,’ she laughs. ‘We didn’t see eye-to-eye, and I thought he was a bit arrogant. But I met him again at a wedding a few months later, and I just knew right then that he was the man I’d marry. It took a while to figure out what makes each other tick, but then you get to that lovely stage where you understand each other.’
And with that, she’s off to snooze in the back of a cab
on her way home…