I’m secretly obsessed with Trinny Woodall’s Instagram


Say what you want about Trinny, but you’ve got to admire her chutzpah.

Most millennial women will (probably not so fondly) recall What Not to Wear, an infamous, entirely problematic BBC reality television show that aired in the early 2000s.

Hosted by authors and self-proclaimed fashion advisers Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, What Not to Wear was a brutal and utterly hilarious makeover show, full of strange poses, quippy one-liners and outfits that, I’m sure to Trinny and Susannah’s chagrin, look far from cutting-edge now.

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Look, let’s not beat around the bush here – the show obviously hasn’t aged well. They were savage, not only to their guests but to themselves, constantly declaring in a matter-of-fact way that their perfectly lovely looking arms were actually “saggy chicken wings” and their normal bottoms were hanging “down to the ground” and that they had “tits like fried eggs”.

While writing this I watched clips from the show and while it is very funny (both intentionally and non-intentionally), there’s only so much fat-shaming and body hating I can take. If you too decide to jog your What Not to Wear memory, be warned that it features some entirely toxic early 2000s rhetoric regarding body image. I knew I’d seen enough when during one episode Susannah pinched her upper arm and exclaimed: “Those are fat deposits, ugh can you believe it!”.

Watching two conventionally attractive women absolutely tear themselves and other women to shreds is a sad reminder of what it was like to come of age in the early 2000s, a time when expressing something even remotely kind about your own appearance to other women would have had you laughed out of whatever room you were in. If you weren’t relentlessly cataloguing your aesthetic faults, then you were self-obsessed or delusional, maybe both.

Until recently, I had relegated Trinny and Susannah to some dusty corner of my mind, but while scrolling through my explore page on Instagram one day I stumbled across a familiar face – none other than Trinny herself. Given my memory of What Not to Wear and the general approach to womanhood during this time, I was trepidatious.

Trinny’s Instagram is, in short, a bit insane. It’s an assault to your senses. Much like an extremely loud exercise class or sitting front row at a TED talk, it’s bloody intense – full of bold colours, statement palazzo pants and high tech LED light face masks. It’s packed with animal print and texture and block heels and midi skirts. It sort of looks like the contents of a swanky beauty salon and a British high-street department store all vomited into one Instagram profile.


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Today’s outfit is all about bringing a shimmery explosion of colour to my virtual meetings today. With an iridescent (and audibly unmissable) dress like this bright yellow one, I hope to bring pure sunshine to those I speak with throughout the day, and for the ultimate glossy accompaniment, @trinnylondon ’s new Lip Glow in Indi is the perfect fuchsia wash to ensure my outfit radiates vibrancy and joy. Never underestimate the sleek, fresh effect of a good lip gloss… – Makeup all @trinnylondon Lips and cheeks Lip Glow in Indi https://trinny.co/ootd-yellow-sequins-lip-glow-indi Cheeks Flush Blush in Katrin https://trinny.co/ootd-yellow-sequins-flush-blush-katrin – Dress and trousers: @zara Gilet: @31philliplim

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In the years following What Not to Wear, after a period out of the limelight where she reportedly faced massive financial and personal challenges, Trinny has reinvented herself as a beauty and fashion entrepreneur of sorts. She has her own wildly successful makeup brand, Trinny London, and uses her Instagram to educate women about skincare, beauty and, yes, fashion, darling.

Trinny still loves a makeover, only this time around she’s approaching it from a much more loving, empathetic angle. In fact, both Trinny and Susannah have since come out lambasting their so-called “rules” around dressing and now encourage a more body positive approach to living your life. But they were a product of their time, and I can see what they were trying to do with What Not to Wear.

They wanted to provide women who felt down on themselves with something positive – they wanted to help them find their style and show them how great a well-put-together outfit can make you feel.

And Trinny has successfully bottled this element of the What Not to Wear formula and transformed herself into a go-to advice giver for women around the world. She has a segment called Trinny TV, where she interviews dermatologists, personal trainers, hairstylists, nutritionists and a range of other experts, making their knowledge accessible and easy to understand.

I’ve genuinely learnt so much about skincare from her IGTV series Fabulous Four, where she breaks down four of her favourite products from low end to high end, tackling serums one week and retinol the next.


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THE WAIT IS OVER….TRINNY TAKEOVER SHOW IS BACK! 📺💃🏼✨ In EPISODE 4, join Trinny & Georgie, a 50-year-old grandmother of four, on a mission to find outfits that don’t make her feel old or frumpy! An air hostess who enjoys life and fashion but doesn’t want to look like she’s trying to look too young…Will Trinny help Georgie’s style take flight? ️✈️ ✨ CLICK to watch Georgie’s transformation NOW! 👌🏼💃🏼 For all the makeup used in this video visit trinnylondon.com Want to take part in future shows? Just send us an email with a 1 minute video to watch@trinnylondon.com to apply…(ATTENTION! If you live in New York you can take part too! ️) 🗽🛫✈️ ✨ 🍋 Products mentioned: BFF Eye in Reda https://trinnylondon.com/products/bff-eye?variant=reda (£26) BFF Cream SPF 30 in Light-Medium https://trinnylondon.com/products/bff-cream?variant=light-medium (£35) Just A Touch in Trintron https://trinnylondon.com/products/just-a-touch?variant=trintron (£28) Cheekbones in Kate https://trinnylondon.com/products/cheekbones?variant=kate (£25) Eye2Eye in Empress https://trinnylondon.com/products/eye-contact?variant=empress (£18) Lip Love in Sacha https://trinnylondon.com/products/lip-love?variant=sacha (£24) Lip Luxe in Tashi https://trinnylondon.com/products/lip-luxe?variant=tashi (£22) Lip Light in Glinda https://trinnylondon.com/products/lip-light?variant=glinda (£24) Face Finish https://trinnylondon.com/products/face-finish?variant=face%20finish (£25) 🍋 TRINNY TAKEOVER SHOW CREDITS 🍋 PRODUCTION Chloe Dall’Olio @chloedallolio, Ross Warren @rossmnw FILMING Chloe Dall’Olio @chloedallolio EDITING Silvia Tonelli @silviatonellist Chloe Dall’Olio GRAPHICS Martin Sears @marty_sears Silvia Tonelli @silviatonelli Thank you Georgie @georginadexter 💛 ChaCha @lottsalove 💛 Adam Embleton @adam.embleton #trinnytakeovershow #makeup #takeovershow #makeovershow #makeover #trinnywoodall #trinnylondon

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Yes, the content is kind of cringe sometimes – especially the Friday Twinning segment she does with Chloe, her personal videographer and someone I find intensely irritating – but you can’t deny that she knows her stuff, especially when it comes to beauty and skincare. And for some reason, it’s absolutely enthralling watching her explain for 16 minutes why summer sequins are her “ultimate passion project” and why silk shirts have “endless stylistic possibilities”.

The thing is, I’m absolutely not Trinny’s demographic, so I was taken aback to find myself lurking around her page on a weekly basis. A lot of the comments on her posts are from older women, asking her how to dress in your sixties, what to wear following a mastectomy, querying what the best serum is for a crepey neck, how to prevent eyeshadow from creasing on wrinkly eyelids – you get the picture.

But there’s something about Trinny that keeps me and her 638,000 followers coming back. Her kind of chaotic, but undeniably feel-good energy is infectious and I love her raspy voice – a writer for The Times said it sounds like she smokes “ten-Silk-Cut-a-day” which I think is a truly sublime description – and it’s a joy to witness the easy affection she has with women from all walks of life.

Whether you find her utterly annoying or diabolically fabulous, you can’t deny that the woman has chutzpah. Browsing her Instagram is like spending the day shopping with that zany, flamboyant aunt who always gets you the headiest designer perfumes for Christmas. It’s a lot, but it’s also pretty great.

Whether she’s bursting out of her Notting Hill mansion in a head to toe glitter get up or maniacally careering through a Zara with a feeble makeover client in tow, Trinny is someone who knows what they want and how to get it and watching her makes you feel like you too can be that person.

Plus, at the end of the day, Trinny’s Instagram is a reminder of how far the art of makeovers has come. And come on, who doesn’t love a makeover – as long as it’s not a What Not to Wear style takedown, I’m here for it.


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