Having clocked up 14 years on the ‘Loose Women’ panel, Sherrie Hewson is no stranger to telling everyone what she really thinks about a whole range of topics, so it seemed obvious that the Dame of Daytime would be the perfect person to pose our Wise Words questions to.
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As Sherrie and her fellow loose-lipped ladies gear up for next week’s National Television Awards, where they are nominated for Best Live Magazine show, HuffPost UK caught up with the ‘Benidorm’ star, as she opened up about challenges of learning to trust, why her late father is her guardian angel, and how her two grandchildren make her forget the showbiz world…
What do you do to switch off from the world?
That’s been the hardest thing in my life to learn and I’m not very good at it. My grandchildren help me switch off because they’re all-consuming, so they take over and my love for them is what I use for coming down. I have to switch down because I live at such a fast pace and I never stop working. I do write children’s books and that’s very therapeutic, but still, my head takes a very long time to switch off. When I’m filming ‘Benidorm’, we work very hard but you have the chance to wake up to sunshine, walk to work in sunshine – we live in a cold country and that is half our problem.
How do you deal with negativity?
A large gin and tonic works! The other night I felt very negative because I’ve been full of flu for two weeks and it’s been very debilitating and I’m not a person who can be ill. Because I live on my own, I had to talk to myself about it and say ‘come on, you’re being absolutely ridiculous’. I rang a friend of mine and said, ‘meet me for a glass of wine’. As it happens he felt the same, so we met and downed a bottle of red wine and put the whole world to rights, and I felt so much better. It’s not good advice to give to anybody though!
When and where are you at your happiest?
When I’m with my daughter and my two grandchildren. When you get older, you realise the only thing that matters is to be with the people that you love. When you accept that, you find peace.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
When I was in a play called ‘The Slipper And The Rose’ when I was about 21, there was a wonderful old actress. She called me over and said in this amazing voice, ‘come here and sit down child and listen to me. Your energy is to do with what you do in your work. Don’t waste it on chasing young men or having a good time.’ So I don’t chase young men or have a good time any more! That’s why I’ve been on my own for 12 years, but I’m not sure that’s what she meant!
What’s been the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
Trust. People that you trust are the people that are closest to you. I’ve had a lot of issues with trust in my life, so the hardest lesson is to know who and when to trust. That’s why you have to keep your own counsel as a person. Learn about who you are. I was very silly as a young girl and I suppose I’m still silly now, and I just believed everybody. You only get it through experience and wisdom, sadly.
What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
I wouldn’t have been able to talk to her because she was a pain in the arse! She wouldn’t have listened and would have told me where to go. I was a very stroppy 13-year-old and had a very strong, dominant mother and would fight against that. I had no skills of listening or learning. Because I was on stage from the age of four, school was never a thing for me, so by 13, I was a cocky little bugger who thought I knew everything. But then when I was 14, I discovered boys and that smacked me round the head! So I would say to listen to people.
Sherrie is the longest-serving current panellist on ‘Loose Women’
What three things are at the top of your wishlist?
I do want to learn Spanish, and being in ‘Benidorm’ for five years, you’d think I’d have bloody well done it by now, but I say it every year. I used to play the piano up until the age of eight, but I was a stroppy eight-year-old and wouldn’t carry on. All I can play now is ‘Little Donkey’, so I’d like to properly play the piano. The only other thing I’d want is to take my grandchildren to Disney World in Florida.
What do you think happens when we die?
I believe when you die your body dies, but your soul lives. I believe that if you want to, you will always feel that soul. I know when my father died, he left. When the priest came over to see me before the funeral, I said I couldn’t talk about it as I had to wait for my father to come back. My brother thought I was mad. Nobody understands this, but I knew my father would come back to me and he did – he’s always here now and he’s never left me.
When do you feel a sense that we live in the presence of something bigger than ourselves?
Whenever I’ve been to a medium or taro, they’ve all said your guardian angel is your father, he’s always there, you can always turn to him, and I totally believe that.
What do you try to bring to your relationships?
Exactly when I would tell myself as a 13-year-old – to listen. I’m a good listener, if anybody needs to talk, I will be there. If I can do anything that would help, I will do it, it doesn’t matter what it is, where it is or what time of night, I don’t care. I am never not far away. If I can be there to help in any way, I will be there.
What keeps you grounded?
Grandchildren, because they don’t expect, there is no agenda or wish for you to do anything, you just have to be there for them. That’s what real life is all about. We live in this mad world that we call showbiz, but the real world is sitting with my granddaughter playing schools or going on long walks with my grandson, frozen to death.
What was the last good deed or act of kindness you received?
I receive it so many times in a day. I have so many lovely, lovely friends, and while I may not always see them, I’ll always get a text, a Facebook or a tweet just checking that I’m ok. When my mother was older, she lived on her own and I always remember her saying how lonely it was that nobody said hello, so I am blessed that everyday I have something, funny, silly or bizarre sent to me some way or another.
‘Loose Women’ airs weekdays at 12.30pm on ITV. Vote for them to win the National Television Award for Best Live Magazine Show here.