‘I’m just waiting to be fired!’ Claudia Winkleman on why she has imposter syndrome about presenting Strictly

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  • Claudia Winkleman is the much-loved host of Strictly Come Dancing and Best Home Cook. But, surprisingly, she’s confessed to having imposter syndrome.

    The 48-year-old star hosted Strictly’s sister show It Takes Two from when 
it began in 2004, and was promoted to 
the main show when the late Sir Bruce Forsyth retired in 2014 – but, six years on, she jokes she’s ‘waiting to be fired’!

    Speaking to You magazine, she explained, ‘I’m waiting for somebody 
to tap me on the shoulder and go, 
“Sorry, we’ve got this all wrong, you 
are not allowed to go in again, we’ve 
got Rylan instead!” But I don’t think 
that’s a bad thing.’

    She continued, ‘Imposter syndrome is incredibly useful. We know people who are like, “I was born to do this. Get out of my way.” I don’t want to be that person. Feeling grateful 
and slightly surprised keeps you on your toes.’

    Relying on friends

    Claudia confesses that her Strictly co-host and close friend Tess Daly 
is the reason she’s able to go out on 
air every Saturday night, as she gets crippling nerves before each show.

    She said, ‘I love her. She is warm, funny, so beautiful, but such a strong creature. I get really, properly vomit-inducing nervous before each show. It’s the responsibility – the idea that 
I could mess it up – that scares me. Tess is the person who looks after me and helps me.’

    Claudia Winkleman with Strictly co-host Tess Daly

    Claudia with Strictly co-host Tess Daly | Getty

    Claudia has insisted she wouldn’t be able to present a show on her own, preferring to host alongside someone else – as she does on her podcast with Tanya Byron, How Did We Get Here? or on Best Home Cook with Mary Berry as a judge.

    ‘I don’t like doing things by myself. 
I like sharing,’ she said. ‘I love standing next to Tess, I love standing next to Mary Berry, I love the podcast 
with Tanya. I don’t want to do anything by myself, it makes 
me deeply uncomfortable.’

    The famous fringe

    Claudia has always had a signature look – a full, blunt, eyelash-sweeping fringe and thick, black eyeliner – and she modestly believes this has been the secret to her success, rather than her incredibly quick wit, humour and charisma.

    She said, ‘I genuinely think it’s my fringe that’s given me this career. 
In work meetings, people would go, “What’s her name? Weird, ditsy little d***head… Oh yeah, the one with the fringe,” and that would help me get the job.’

    The star, who is mum 
to three children – Jake, 17, Matilda, 14 and Arthur, nine 
– finished by saying how she’s more interested in being a good mum than a famous presenter.

    ‘I’ve been very lucky, 
and I don’t think of 
myself as “big league” 
at all,’ she said. ‘I don’t want to be the boss of anything other than my offspring. I’m not interested in that kind of winning.’

    When it comes to making us smile, we think you’re 
a boss, Claud!

    Claudia’s debut book Quite (£16.99, HQ) is available now