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Holly Willoughby suffered ‘massive impostor syndrome’ in early TV days

TV star Holly Willoughby suffered ‘massive imposter syndrome’ in early career days (ITV/PA)
TV star Holly Willoughby suffered ‘massive imposter syndrome’ in early career days (ITV/PA)

Holly Willoughby has revealed she suffered “massive impostor syndrome” in the early days of her TV career.

The 41-year-old TV star, who presents ITV’s This Morning and Dancing On Ice with co-host Phillip Schofield, has said in her younger years she “underestimated” herself.

She told the Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine: “In my 20s and 30s, I felt incredibly grateful I was given presenting jobs in TV.

Holly Willoughby
Holly Willoughby (Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine/PA)

“I never really thought I was good enough, I felt lucky people liked me.

“I had massive impostor syndrome and yes, I was underestimated but, more importantly, I underestimated myself.”

The presenter revealed one of her worst television moments came in 2009 when she interviewed then prime minister Gordon Brown – just two months after she joined Schofield on This Morning.

She said: “I was dreadful. The worst thing was that so many people in the industry had said I couldn’t do that job. I wanted to prove myself.

“I sat with the producers, discussing it for ages.

National Television Awards 2021 – London
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby after winning the Daytime award for This Morning at the National Television Awards 2021 (Ian West/PA)

“Then when it came to the interview I was trying to read out questions from the script.

“I was saying words I didn’t even understand, mangling up sentences and completely floundering. I was awful.

“Various critics had said, ‘She’ll be okay with the fluffy fashion pieces but how will she do a serious political interview?’

“And they were right. Presenting that show is about being able to do everything from light to serious.

“I wasn’t up to the job.”

Royal visit to London Television Centre
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on the set of This Morning (Geoff Pugh/PA)

Willoughby revealed the biggest lesson she has learnt is that being herself works.

She added: “I am not and will never be perfect as a presenter.

“I don’t try to be perfect anymore because it really doesn’t matter.

“I listen to the production team but I’ll then ask the questions I want to ask, things I think are important.

“Even if I don’t say things exactly right or words still come out wrong, because I’m dyslexic, people understand where I’m coming from. They get me.

“That’s given me confidence, changed me and my life.

“I have to trust in myself.”

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