Charlie Brooks has just turned 40. I worked with her on Britain’s much loved soap opera, EastEnders.
Back then I was a very cheeky 20 year old and assistant to the Executive Producer.
At the time, EastEnders had around 20 million viewers.
I was one of the few people privileged with knowing who shot Phil Mitchell and it was such a buzz. Top of the Pops filmed at the studios on a Thursday night. We’d all go backstage and get pissed in the bar after. One time I got really drunk on Arthur Fowler’s bench in the square and flashed my tits at the webcam. But I digress.
Charlie is best known for playing Janine Butcher, receiving numerous awards for her work as an actor. As well as starring on other roles, she’s released a fitness DVD and went on to be crowned queen of the jungle on the 12th series of I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here in 2012. More recently she portrayed the character of a mother to a severely autistic child in the stage play All in a Row.
These days she works alongside the industry’s greatest and hosts an open mic night at IamPro, a project she’s launched with her brother. It’s a platform to help all creatives access and afford workshops and coaching from people they might never have had the chance to work with due to location or finances.
Find out more about IamPro here
Charlie Brooks’ advice for turning 40: ‘Don’t stay in the box’
Charlie Brooks describes herself as an actress, an entrepreneur, a mother, a lover, a reader, and listener. She will be who she wants to be. Sometimes she will do it well. Sometimes she won’t. But she will always do it with kindness and joy.
Her advice is…. ‘Be curious ladies, don’t stay in the box.’
Charlie and I remained friends on Facebook and over the last year, from her posts, I got a real sense there had been a turning point in her life so I got in touch to find out why and interestingly… it turns out she’s turning 40 in May so I wanted to know if there was a connection between that and her new found contentment.
‘The juicy stuff lays in vulnerability’
I was inspired by Charlie who said the 3 words that sprang to mind when she thought about turning 40 were ‘Play, Curiosity and Adventure.’ On what advice she would give her 20 year old self, she said ‘enjoy partying but don’t let it take over but have a good time. Trust yourself, listen to your gut, be unafraid and ask for help.’
On her tribe, Charlie’s ethos is to ‘Surround yourself with people that know more than you do about everything. You don’t have to know everything because the juicy stuff lies in vulnerability.’
Charlie’s tips for turning 40 and self preservation were reading, hot baths and Bulletproof Coffee. Her morning routine includes meditation and journaling where she jots down any of her worries and fears. Having been a thrill seeker her whole life, with 40 on the horizon, these days finding balance and consistency ultimately brings her peace.
‘Having a bit of fear is quite healthy.’ says Charlie Brooks
As well as naturally worrying about health, Charlie’s greatest fear is not being good enough. But she is understanding that fear can be healthy to drive you to do something new, even when you don’t feel like you can. We are told we can do it, our dreams will all come true, if you believe it will happen. There’s so much on offer constantly and all this instant gratification that our brains are overloaded and we can feel like we are letting ourselves down.
So let’s be kind to ourselves. Let go of expectation and accept ourselves.
Just as we are, even if we’re turning 40.
Charlie Brooks is wearing Neo jumper from The Bias Cut.