It is a strange, unsettling time for many at the moment. With theatres closed and new TV shows on hold, one amazing performer, Joanne Clifton is refusing to allow Lockdown to hold her back.
You may know Joanne from her time on the BBC TV series Strictly Come Dancing, which she won in 2016 with Ore Oduba. Now Joanne is a stage actress with leading roles in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Flashdance among others.
Tara from Ingenious spoke with Joanne about her transition into acting, what it was like winning Strictly Come Dancing and what led her to make Ingenious Beauty her collagen brand of choice.
Tara: Hi Joanne, thanks so much for talking to me today. So, you started dancing at the age of 4 and you have such an impressive CV, what is your earliest dancing memory?
Joanne: I guess my first competition. I wore an Alice in Wonderland dress, my big bro Kevin was in a shirt and bowtie. We won! … But we were the only ones in it. Still made it into the Grimsby Evening Telegraph though!
Tara: I love it – your first taste of fame. You’ve obviously done very well since, and no-one can get where you are without putting in a huge amount of hard work. Is there anyone who inspires you?
Joanne: My Mum and Dad are Champion dancers themselves, so I think right from an early age we learnt the importance of working hard, that talent only takes you so far and that you can never stop learning. They made it, so they inspire me to too.
Tara: We are living through strange times. You have been busy over lockdown doing danceathons to raise money for the NHS and St Andrews Hospice. But what has been the most difficult part of lockdown for you?
Joanne: Probably not seeing my family and my boyfriend AJ. I’m lucky enough to have my best mate living with me, but I cannot wait to give my Mum and Dad a cuddle!
Tara: I hope that happens soon. Can you tell me, when was the last time you cried?
Joanne: The 24hour Jive. I think I cried 5 times during it! Both because of the pain, and the generosity of everyone who donated and supported me. Also, Katya Jones, Sasha Latoya and myself have created something called the BEYOND LOCKDOWN EMPIRE, where we basically put on 7-day workshops to motivate and prepare people for the end of lockdown. We had an age range of 9-60 on the course, not just performers, and just seeing their progress was unbelievable! We got a Thankyou video from them all at the end of it which also made me cry!
Tara: That is so lovely. With everything going on in the world, is there one thing you are particularly grateful for?
Joanne: I’m so grateful for the (mostly) sunny weather! Sun just makes you happier doesn’t it?
Tara: Yes, absolutely. So I have to admit, I am a Strictly Come Dancing fan and I was glued to the series you won with Ore. What is it like taking someone with little dancing experience and moulding them into a winner?
Joanne: It was a different kind of victory for me! Week by week being on the journey and watching the progress of someone else is a whole other feeling! I was so lucky with Ore as we got on so well, we were completely on the same page, and we made the enjoyment part of it all a priority. We just had so much fun whilst working hard at the same time. And it paid off!
Tara: It certainly did, and I could see you and Ore got on well. Ore’s gratitude to you in his winner’s speech was obviously heartfelt and genuine. It must be hard however, performing night after night, with all the make-up and adrenalin. Do you have any particular beauty secrets you would like to share?
Joanne: I only have 1 beauty secret, as cleansing and creams-wise I swap around all the time. But I take Ingenious Beauty every night without fail. It is one of the secret weapons of many make-up artists who have recommended Ingenious Beauty. They explained that collagen is excellent not just for skin and hair, and also our body and joints, which as a dancer is just as important to me as my skin. They were right. My skin is soft, and my hair has never ever been as thick, long and healthy as it is now. I also feel like my body is stronger and more supple. I swear by the capsules.
Tara: So when did you start taking Ingenious Beauty?
Joanne: I started the capsules, gosh it must be a couple of years ago now. As I said, I swear by them. I just LOVE my hair! It’s so soft and shiny! And I’m 36 now, so should have a load of wrinkles. But with the capsules people can’t believe it when I say how old I am!
Tara: You do look wonderful for your age – but I think we need to balance this image of perfection. Do you have any guilty pleasures that you can’t live without?
Joanne: Hmmm. Sushi. Nutella. Creme Eggs. Cheesy Doritos!
Tara: I agree with you on those, especially Nutella. So – last question: what is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Joanne: Some would say the craziest thing I’ve ever done is leave Strictly! It was crazy! But I’m so happy performing on stage. Oh and I just wrote a book in 10 days which is coming out in July!
Tara: That is absolutely amazing news, Joanne congratulations. Thanks so much for talking to us.
So everyone, please look out for Joanne’s book, which is called THE BOOK, by Beyond Lockdown Empire and if you are interested in her inspiring new business you can find out more about it here