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Caitlin Moran used drinking and smoking to combat ‘massive social anxiety’

Caitlin Moran (Ian West/PA)
Caitlin Moran (Ian West/PA)

Caitlin Moran has said she used drinking and smoking to manage her “massive social anxiety” as a young woman.

But the author and journalist, whose semi-autobiographical novel How To Build A Girl has been adapted into a film, said she was no longer a “problematic” drinker.

She recalled apologising to Jimmy Carr and Jonathan Ross by email after embarrassing herself at their parties while drunk.

Jimmy Carr
Jimmy Carr (Peter Byrne/PA)

Writing in The Big Issue’s Letter To My Younger Self section, she said: “I had massive social anxiety due to being raised at home and never talking to anybody.

“I wish I could go back to the earliest point where I started socialising and tell myself I didn’t need to drink and smoke in order to talk to other people.

“I’m a lightweight so I’ve been to amazing celebrity parties going around talking to all my heroes and I’ve just been the twat that fell over backwards into a hedge.

“And then sent an email to Jimmy Carr or Jonathan Ross the next day going, I’m so sorry.

“I haven’t been invited back since so I just want to tell them I’m not a problematic drinker anymore, I’ve cured my social anxiety.”

Glasgow Film Festival
Beanie Feldstein starring in How To Build A Girl (Lionsgate/PA)

Reflecting on her younger self, she said: “I don’t think my 16-year-old self would be very surprised by anything that’s happened to me.

“I absolutely have lived the life I presumed I would when I was 16.

“When I read the novels of Jilly Cooper, and she described to me what a middle-class life was like, I was like, ‘I want that’.

“I’ve always had really gigantic dreams so I absolutely imagined a future of film premieres and books being published.”

Moran, who has been in a relationship with her husband, rock critic Peter Paphides, since she was 19, said she didn’t need to drink or smoke to feel comfortable around him.

She said: “When I met Pete, because he wasn’t a dangerous f****ed-up dark boy I just presumed he was a mate.

“I knew I felt more comfortable around him than anyone else. I didn’t have to pretend to be anyone, I didn’t have to drink or smoke.”

Beanie Feldstein stars in How To Build A Girl as Johanna Morrigan, a 16-year-old extrovert from the outskirts of Wolverhampton who yearns to make a name for herself and answers an advert seeking “hip young gunslinger” journalists for a cool London music magazine.

Read the full story in The Big Issue in print after vendors returned to work following lockdown, or by subscribing online at bigissue.com or downloading the app.

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