Ayesha Muttucumaru meets face of Pantene and British golden girl Cat Deeley to talk lipsticks, LA, and learning to love what suits you

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From MTV to SMtv: LIVE to So You Think You Can Dance, Cat Deeley has been brightening up our TV screens on many a Saturday morning and Saturday night over the last 15 years. Now largely based in LA but constantly flying to and from the US and the UK for shoots, events and brand ambassador duties as one of Pantene’s most glamorous faces, how does she stay sane amidst such a hectic schedule, maintain a healthy body image and make time to stay fit and healthy too?

We sat down with the TV’s most glamorous (and likeable) golden girl to talk LA, London, lipstick, and to find out about Pantene’s Pro-V Youth Protect 7 range…

On her favourite products

What is your favourite product from the Pro-V Youth Protect range?

“The BB Crème , £6.99. I can’t carry the whole collection of products with me because I travel all the time and I don’t have space in my bag! I want to make my beauty maintenance regime as easy and as pared down as possible so for me it really works. In LA it’s brilliant because I can just put it in when it’s wet too, then separate my hair and twist both lengths of hair before tucking it behind my ears. I let it dry and then when I shake it out, it’s wavy. If I need to put some more on afterwards to just get rid of the frizzes, then it’s great for that too.”

How do you like to wear your make-up?

“Day to day, I tend to be very natural just because I’m not very good at being a girl! My bra and pants will never match, not unless I really think about it. I really wish I was that woman, gosh I wish I was and when I was 18 I always wished I would be, but I’m just not.

“I am a fan though of a statement lip because for me, it’s great for going from daytime to nighttime in as little time as possible. If I’ve got 15 minutes and I’ve been working all day, I can just put a hot pink lip on, maybe a coral or a bright red and normally a big pair of earrings to look like I’ve put in an effort and then transition from day to night. If I’m not working I don’t tend to wear that much. I’m sure I scare lots of children in the supermarket, but it feels better for me.”

What do you do when you’re travelling?

“I tweeze my brows now because they’ve kind of got their shape, but I absolutely cannot be left on my own in a hotel with a magnifying mirror with those lights around it! I’ll go down to have my make-up done the next day and my make-up artist will say to me, ‘You absolute loser. Now I have to cover it up!’ So I can’t be left with those or I’ll end up with those weird Elizabeth I eyebrows that are up by my forehead.

“I’ve also started using an eyelash product called GrandeLASH-MD , €69.95. It doesn’t hurt your eyes or make them go red. It just makes your eyelashes really great. It means I can use eyelash curlers and not put mascara on; just a bit of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream , £25, and I’m ok. I mean I wouldn’t want a photoshoot to happen but I’m ok to go to Wholefoods at least.”

On haircare

Who are your hair idols?

“I love Liv Tyler’s hair because she’s got that white alabaster skin with that really dark, thick luscious hair. I tend to be quite envious of women who can pull off beautiful pixie cuts like Mia Farrow and Kylie too when she lost her hair to cancer. I remember interviewing her and it grew back really curly like a little lamb and it was really beautiful and elfin. It would look terrible on me! I tend to like people whose hair I just can’t have.”

When do you think your hair looks its best?

"It works much better when it’s long and straight. If I had a bob, it would look like a giant mushroom on top of my head. My hair’s thick so as soon as you cut it off, it just grows sideways. There are times when I would love for it to be a bit more cutting edge and a bit more directional but it doesn’t work and I understand that now. I can go a bit blonder, I can go a bit more honey, but aside from that, no.”

What is your hair regime?

“If I have to work I wash it everyday, but quite often I do my own hair for events because I can’t be bothered to sit in a chair for two hours. If I’m in LA, I’d rather have a swim in the pool or read a great book or a magazine and sit and let it dry after putting on some Pantene Pro-V Fine Hair Instant Nourishing Spray , £4.99 or BB Crème in the ends. I like it like that.

“I have two great colourists, one here and one in LA who share clients because everyone travels backwards and forwards all the time. There’s a lady called Nicola Clarke at John Frieda  here and then there’s Megan in LA who is at a salon called Salon Benjamin. They talk to each other so it all kind of works out.”

Do you have a favourite hairstyle?

“It’s something I actually find quite difficult because my aesthetic tends to be very European and in fact, thoroughly London. I don’t like it when it’s too done. I love the fact that London women have their own style and they do their own thing, and when you walk through the streets you see all these different looks -  you don’t see that in LA. I’ve been in New York recently and I don’t think you even see it over there much either.

“I like the idea of embracing every person’s individuality and how creative they can be by the look that they have. It’s such a sign of who you are. For me it’s really hard to find hairdressers and also make-up artists in LA who don’t give you a full once over and you end up coming out looking like a cross between Alexis Carrington Colby and Dolly Parton. It’s really weird. It’s hard to find someone whose work I like and sometimes I’d rather do it myself and feel more comfortable.”

On ageing in the spotlight

As you’ve got older, how have you adapted your approach towards beauty? Is there more of an emphasis on health or fitness?

“I think there definitely is. When we’re younger we can get away with more. But what I love about getting older is the confidence that comes with it and how you know who you are. If you can team that with looking after yourself a little bit more by doing a little bit of exercise every day, that’s great. And then I think just moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! Everything you can do to cling onto every last bit of moisture in your skin before you turn into a shrivelled old prune! Whether that’s drinking tonnes of water or using facial oils or great moisturisers, vitamins, fish oils, whatever it is whack it in.

“You start to realise what works and what doesn’t; I’m much more discerning as a beauty buyer now. I like products that do more than one thing like the BB crème because I don’t have time, and also space wise because I’m constantly travelling.

“I love Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm by Clinique , £21 - it does it all in one, and then I’ll wash my face with Lancer Skincare Cleanser , £48. His range just opened in Harrods. I went to his dermatology clinic in LA and he was so lovely and charming. He’s got this amazing face scrub, Lancer Skincare The Method: Polish , £60 that’s incredible.

“You have to pay attention to how your body changes as you get older and in different climates. LA is very desert like and very dry. Your skin doesn’t renew itself as quickly, because it forms a dead layer on top. My skin completely changed and so he told me to exfoliate everyday and I also occasionally do a glycolic peel. It works brilliantly.”

On fitness and exercise

What motivates you to get up in the morning?

“The biggest thing is that you never feel worse once you’ve been [for a workout]. You never turn around and say, ‘Oh I wish I hadn’t done that.’ It’s the one thing that always delivers. Your endorphins are buzzing and you feel great. When I’m here in London I find it so difficult to exercise. However in LA, I’ve got it absolutely nailed. I stick my trainers on, walk to the bottom of my canyon and I take my dog and I walk back up. It takes me 40 minutes and then I start my day. Then four times a week I do yoga as well.

“I tried spin and I didn’t like it. It felt like it was really working but it made me really tight in my hips, though I loved the class. I went to Soulcycle in LA which was so beautiful, it smelt great, candles were burning, there was a great soundtrack, and it was amazing. Bradley Cooper was next to me. I thought, ‘This isn’t Soulcycle, this is heaven!’ The next day I was in so much pain, I could barely walk down the stairs which doesn’t work for me.

“Find something that’s easy and that you have no excuse not to do. I don’t really like it, I will never be a gym bunny but I like the results it delivers body-wise and I also like the way it makes me feel. But the actual act of doing exercise is not my favourite thing."

On her beauty philosophy

What would you say is the best piece of beauty advice that you’ve ever received?

“I think it’s to know who you are. My mum was always really cool, even when I was a little girl I would be able to choose what I wanted to wear. She wouldn’t put me in clothes, but I would need to have to have an opinion about it. She’d say, ‘Why do you want to wear that top and sticky out skirt’, and I’d go, ‘Well, because I think it looks really pretty and I like how the skirt spins out a long way."

“I was always encouraged to have an opinion and I think that’s really important because we’re great at embracing individuality in Britain. I love the fact that there’s a collection of women here today who all look completely different, from all different walks of life and we can all get together and have a glass of champagne and discuss the same types of things, but we’re all completely unique. Know who you are, know what suits you and work it out. Don’t necessarily follow fashion, be interested in it and take some influence from it and discover the trends that suit you, but don’t follow and try and emulate anyone else.”

How will you be adapting your beauty routine for the winter months?

“Moisturising! Everything is about moisturising as far as I’m concerned! As this autumn and winter I’ll probably be in LA quite a lot, it’s not really necessarily autumn or winter, but we’re going over to Ireland for Christmas so there’ll be plenty of no make-up, lots of moisturiser, walking on the beach wrapped up really warm until our cheeks are pink and a pint of Guinness. That will definitely be part of the regime!”

If you could go back in time and give your 20 year old self one piece of advice about the way that you look, what would it be?

“I think it would be to embrace who you are. You know really, but you’re so desperate to try other things, being this way or that, and the outside influences you so much. Don’t try and be uber fashionable or uber directional or very cutting edge, do what suits you.

“I was at an awards ceremony recently and Lauren Hutton came in. She was in a white suit and she just came in, ruffled her hair in the mirror and then patted her lips with her lipstick and that was her done. And she was stunning. I don’t think I said a word! I think I just watched her in awe. I bet she’s been asked to fix the gap in her teeth lots of times, but it’s the gap that makes her.

“I like the fact that there are lots of women out there that are incredibly individual and incredibly beautiful. If you think of people like Barbra Streisand or Bette Midler or Diane Keaton, they’re not typical models, but there’s something so attractive and beautiful about all of them and I think we should celebrate that, I don’t think it should be about everyone looking the same. I think it’s about making the most of what you’ve got and feeling confident in yourself.”