Trinny Woodall Is Feeling the Fear, and Telling Everyone About It

LONDON — Trinny Woodall has become a grande dame of Instagram, doling out all sorts of advice as she scrubs her face, shows off her latest styling tricks, or bounces up and down in her jazzy silk dressing gown to get the endorphins flowing.

For the first time, the founder of cosmetics and skin care brand Trinny London has now put those Instagram suggestions down on paper with “Fear Less” (HarperCollins), her first solo book which was released Thursday in the U.K., and is set for distribution in the U.S. next year.

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In it, she covers the wisdom of a lifetime — and she’s not even 60 years old.

Then again, Woodall, a household name in the U.K., has had multiple lives — entrepreneur, TV personality, YouTuber, author, newspaper columnist, fashion makeover expert, and now CEO of the multimillion-pound beauty business she launched in 2017.

As a young woman, she was in rehab, which is where she first read the self-help bible “Feel the Fear, and Do It Anway” by Susan Jeffers. Since then, she’s been in and out of therapy, dealt with serious family trauma and has been juggling single motherhood — her daughter Lyla is now 19 — with running a start-up.

She certainly has a lot to say about coping with the slings and arrows of life.

Unusually for a self-help book, “Fear Less” is a kitchen-sink affair. Woodall writes that she wanted to take a holistic approach, and so offers a wide variety of advice ranging from makeup, styling and skin care to wellness and mental, physical and emotional well-being.

It is a 350-page pep talk by someone who’s been there, and in keeping with that can-do, self care message, Woodall said she dictated most of it, as she is “very dyslexic” and a better talker than she is a writer.

Woodall said she wrote the book “for every woman who feels they just want another little bit of inspiration to move forward. I think we can all get stuck for a day, or a week, or stuck in a relationship, or a job, or a style rut. We can just get a little stuck,” said Woodall in an interview.

“Maybe that’s a fear of change, or not knowing where to start. Maybe it’s a woman who’s turning 50 and thinking ‘I don’t want to wear frilly dresses anymore, but I don’t know where to go, or who to be.’ Or maybe it’s somebody who never developed a skin care routine, or knew what makeup to use, and now she’s afraid to ask,” Woodall added.

“Fear Less” by Trinny Woodall is a holistic guide to life.
“Fear Less” by Trinny Woodall is a holistic guide to life.

She also wrote the book for her community, the Trinny tribe, which sprang up spontaneously not long after she launched the brand.

Woodall said her London-based team gets around 11,000 comments each week from the tribe and others, interrogating the advice she offers on Instagram, and wanting more detail.

“For me, the book is about instant gratification — I love to give people information straight away, and so I put it all in one place,” said Woodall.

She also wanted to explore fear as motivator and examine the power that it has had in her own life.

She asked herself: “How do I work through fear and keep going? In life, we’re either stuck in the headlights or feeling fearless — and there is a whole gamut in between. I wanted to look at those things that I do in my life to help me navigate the fear.”

Jeffers’ book, she said, was an inspiration. “I read it in rehab in the ’80s, and it really helped me. At the time, I was this raw onion. Every layer of my life had sort of been peeled back, and I needed to fill myself up. The book shifted me because it says that we can still acknowledge we’re fearful, but that we can move forward at the same time,” she said.

This is Woodall’s first solo book. She had already written a few with her former collaborator Susannah Constantine based on their comical, sharp-edged TV makeover show “What Not to Wear.”

This time around, the approach is gentler and more serious.

“I see it as a manual, a way to get somebody thinking about things. You can dip in and out. The tone is different, too. These are suggestions, not rules,” she said.

Woodall has also launched a podcast to coincide with the book. In it, she talks to entrepreneurs, TV personalities and founders including Jo Malone, Emma Grede, Tan France, and Jonathan Van Ness on how they wrestle down their own fears.

Woodall said her ideal guest, though, doesn’t fit into any of those categories but would still have a lot to say. “If I could bring her back from the dead it would be Amelia Earhart. She was from the 1920s, dressed like man, didn’t give a damn, and flew around the world by herself. How fearless is that?”

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