Laura Whitmore: "You can’t control what other people do, but you can control what you put into the world"
"People are just people. They have the same insecurities."
2020 has stolen a lot from us: our freedom, our ability to travel, and the summer edition of Love Island.
It's been a tough year, one where it can sometimes be difficult to see the positives. But for Laura Whitmore, it's the little wins that have been keeping her going.
“I’m living each day as it comes, I’m trying not to think too far ahead," she tells Her. "I’m very lucky that I live in a safe home and that I can still work. I’m just focusing on what I’m doing today and what I’m doing tomorrow and that’s it.
"I’ve been on a rollercoaster for 12 years. It has been nice to be able to take a minute."
Presenter, radio DJ, and most recently author, Laura has always had her work cut out for her. Earlier this year, the Bray native took over hosting duties of the wildly successful Love Island - a gig that is undoubtedly one of the biggest of her career, and one that she is hopeful she will get to return to next year when Covid restrictions lift.
"We are planning to go ahead next year in the summer, but it does really depend," she says. "People’s health comes first. There could be restrictions in other countries, or people might not be able to travel.
"We’re aiming for next summer, but it really is all out of our control."
Despite the obvious gap in her work schedule, Laura says that she didn't so much miss the show this summer as a presenter, but as a fan.
"We were lucky to have the winter version back in January even though it feels like so long ago," she says. "But I never planned to work on the show. I’m a Love Island fan first, so this summer I literally went back and rewatched old episodes.
"I watched the US version too, and the Australian one. I was doing whatever I could to get my fix."
This week, Laura joined Just Eat to announce 2020's National Takeaway Awards. The awards, like everything else this year, are a little different - a virtual ceremony will be held, new categories have been announced, and most importantly, the winner of 'Takeaway of the Year' will walk away with a media budget of €20,000.
Given how much takeaway she has eaten in lockdown, Laura says that supporting the awards is the least she could do.
"A prize like that would be massive for small businesses," she says. "I don’t know what it’s like at home but over here [in London] you see a lot of independent places closing down and it is really sad."
Laura was lucky to be able to continue working during the first lockdown - a privilege she is more than aware of. Radio shows, presenting gigs, and personal projects; the majority of them could go on without issue.
She also found the time to finish her book. An anecdotal non-fiction self-help book that's not exactly a self-help book, No One Can Change Your Life Except For You is due for release next March.
Laura was approached to write the book about four years ago. She started it, life got in the way, and she didn't finish it. Then Covid hit, and the lack of routine and schedule gave her the kick she needed.
"I’ve always loved writing, my background is in journalism, but I was so used to writing features and articles, I’d never really written anything longer.
"I really got to use lockdown as a time to reflect. I’m not sure if I would’ve gotten that kick or that drive if it hadn’t have been for that."
The book, she says, isn't so much a memoir as it is an open reminder to take back control of your own life. Funny, sensitive, and influential, Laura draws on her own experiences growing up, her vulnerabilities and her strengths, to give advice to others.
"You can only write about what you know," she says. "I’m almost afraid of calling it self-help but you do have to help yourself because who else is going to help you? It’s about being vulnerable but also being strong, about being sensitive but having authority.
"There’s a lot of anger in the world. You can’t control what other people do, but you can control what you put out into the world. You can take back control of little things in life, and there is a lot of strength in that."
There's also strength in recognising your struggles. Laura, like many women, is no stranger to imposter syndrome. Feelings of inadequacy and internalised panic that you're simply not good enough can strike anyone, at any point in their career.
“I think it’s something we all suffer from," she says, "and I find that enlightening. I’ve interviewed everyone, from politicians to J-Lo to P Diddy to Britney Spears, and yet I still get [imposter syndrome].
"It’s crazy to think that people who seem really confident would feel like this, but people are just people. They have the same insecurities. Everyone gets it, no one knows what they’re doing. We’re all just faking it until we make it."
You can nominate your favourite takeaway at the Just Eat Awards here. Entries open until November 15.