One of the best things about founding Studio10 has been meeting like-minded souls – other women who, like me, grew up believing that we could and should have it all and refusing to give up just because we are growing older.
One such voice is that of the gorgeous Kate Thornton. We’ve spent many evenings putting the world to rights and discussing what it means to be 40 plus in the modern world (as well as plenty of less worthy subjects, of course!)
Kate started out as a journalist, editing Smash Hits magazine, before going on to launch a successful TV career and later joining Radio2 as a broadcaster.
Her podcast ‘White Wine Question Time’ is a huge hit, and she’s an outspoken advocate for women and their power to succeed, so it was a thrill to sit down with her and dig into her inspiring views to share with you.
Kate, one of my favourite events with you was a couple of years ago, where you spoke so passionately about how important it is for advertisers and the media to address society’s perception of the mid-life woman. Do you feel things have changed since then or are we still generation invisible?
I’d say the conversation has never been louder, which is something to be proud of. We’re not complaining, we’re a tribe who are making ourselves visible and sharing the positives of ageing, of which there are so many.
We’ve made a hugely positive leap, holding hands together, but I’d also say that there’s still a lot to do to make sure that the corporate world really recognises our value.
I believe that one of the key aspects of beating the ageism we face is visibility, so who are your favourite older women role models – who inspires you?
Funnily enough I’ve been working on a project identifying the top female game changers and it’s incredible to me how they can come from all walks of life – women who will leave the world a better place than when they arrived.
There are some amazing female scientists and women in tech, like Sheryl Sandberg. She’s shown her vulnerability and hasn’t publicly shied away from the realities of life while continuing to build her career.
I think Oprah Winfrey is incredible – she was the youngest black newsreader at just 19 and decades later she’s still at the top of her game having built an empire.
I love Ruth Bader Ginsburg – she refuses to give in and is still fighting the good fight in her 80s. Did you know that she keeps a desk beside her bed to write down any ideas she gets in the night? And she still has that desk because she still has those ideas!
I also admire Gloria Hunniford. She was the first woman to be given a show on Radio 2 and she's still on screen, still commanding audiences.
All you have to do is type 'women who change the world' into Google and there are so many out there. We just need to remember how important it is to keep passing down their legacies to our own children, so that the next generation has plenty of examples of ways to behave.
Slight change of pace now. You always look amazing – how do you do it?
Don’t be fooled by Instagram. I love a good filter! I don’t always exercise, I don’t always eat right, and I do forget to take my makeup off sometimes.
What I do believe in is ditching the guilt. Sometimes you need to be happy on the inside to be beautiful on the outside, and while I love makeup and skincare (your Glow-Plexion is my FAVOURITE), I don’t think the answer to looking great can always be found in a bottle.
Often, half an hour on the phone to a girlfriend with a glass of wine and just a bit of time to be you can do wonders.
You seem to love fashion – who are some of your favourites?
God, it changes constantly. Getting through a lot of clothes is an occupational hazard if you work in the public eye. Off duty, I’m a sloth. I love Mac & Miller, who sell the best joggers, with a Hush T-Shirt. I enjoy Urban Outfitters and love Zara, who do what they do really well.
One of my favourites is SilkFred, and I love a jumpsuit so Rock the Jumpsuit is my go-to. I also really like Nobody’s Child for their ethical, sustainable clothes that fit well at good prices.
For me comfort dictates. I do like fashion but if a season comes in and I know that the style won’t suit me, I will just sit the trend out. That said, while it isn’t feminist to have those ‘who wore it best’ articles in magazines, I have featured in a few and laughed ‘fair enough’ to myself. I’ve definitely made my mistakes.
Tell us about your brilliant podcast ‘White Wine Question Time’ – where did it come from?
It’s been on my mind for years now – it’s just a reflection of the chats we have with our girlfriends. They always seem to happen around a kitchen island, usually with wine, and they’re such fun to record. You can go from the sublime to the ridiculous and every emotion in between, usually laughing all the while within same conversation, and I wanted to capture that.
Who’s been your most memorable interviewee?
That’s so difficult to say. Different combinations of people end up having totally different chats and I love them all. I have loads of returning guests and they can be totally different depending on who they’re with. I’ve interviewed Tamzin Outhwaite with Myleene Klass and Julie Graham, which was a totally different vibe to interviewing her alongside her drama school friends Louis Spence and Lucy Alexander, for example.
I loved talking with Angela Griffin with Nicola Stephenson and Sarah Parish, who is in my opinion one of the most underrated comedy actress of our time – she’s amazing – but again, when Angela and Nic did the show with Amanda Holden the conversation went in a whole different direction.
It’s the thing that you’re a different ‘you’ with different groups of people, but they’re all still you. I love exploring that. I love capturing people’s stories and exploring what they think, so it’s just brilliant fun to do.
What are you planning next?
Well, I’m about to interview the boys from Bros for Radio 2, so that could be eventful. Other than that, I’m working hard on the podcast and bringing some new projects to life – I can’t say more than that right now, but I promise to come back and share more when I can.
Do you have a favourite ageing quote?
I could steal one from Maya Angelou, but do you know, I don’t. The simple fact is we get older by the second, it's an inevitability, and in the same way we don't have quotes about 'breathing' or celebrating the fact that we can blink, I hope that one day we don't have to keep having conversations about ageing and simply accept it for what it is - which should be a pleasure. If you're ageing you're alive, and surely that's a good thing!