Holly Willoughby reveals she struggled with ‘massive’ imposter syndrome as she recalls worst-ever TV interview
Posted by  badge Boss on Apr 14
Holly Willoughby struggled with ‘massive’ imposter syndrome early in her career but has since learned to have confidence in herself (Picture: Getty Images)

might be one of the most recognisable presenters on British television, but even she struggled to believe in herself at the beginning.

The ITV star is best-known for presenting alongside , for which the duo have won well over a dozen National Television Awards.

She’s also the face of Dancing On Ice and , and presented Celebrity Juice for 12 years up to 2020.

Holly is also a published author, having recently brought out a memoir, Reflections; basically, she’s done it all.

But in a recent interview, the mum-of-three admitted she suffered from ‘massive imposter syndrome’ in the early days of her career and repeatedly ‘underestimated’ herself.

She told the Daily Mail’s new look : ‘In my 20s and 30s, I felt incredibly grateful I was given presenting jobs in TV.

‘I never really thought I was good enough, I felt lucky people liked me.’

She explained: ‘I had massive impostor syndrome and yes, I was underestimated but, more importantly, I underestimated myself.’

Holly’s honest interview comes in the new edition of the Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine
Holly joined This Morning in 2009 but was suffering from ‘massive’ imposter syndrome (Picture: WireImage)

Impostor syndrome is in which people feel a mixture of inadequacy and incompetency, and feel strongly that they are a fraud and not worthy of the work they do – despite clear evidence of their success and achievements.

The presenter revealed one of her worst television moments came in 2009 when she interviewed then-prime minister Gordon Brown just two months after she joined Phillip on This Morning.

She said: ‘I was dreadful. The worst thing was that so many people in the industry had said I couldn’t do that job. I wanted to prove myself.’

Holly discussed and prepared the interview ‘for ages’ with This Morning producers, but when it came to reading the script live she was ‘saying words I didn’t even understand’.

‘Mangling up sentences and completely floundering. I was awful,’ Holly recalled.

To make things worse, when Holly had joined This Morning her critics had said she would be able for ‘fluffy fashion pieces’ but asked: ‘ How will she do a serious political interview?’

‘And they were right,’ she said. ‘Presenting that show is about being able to do everything from light to serious. I wasn’t up to the job.’

Holly and Phillip went on to be one of the most popular duos on TV, with the NTA awards to prove it (Picture: Getty Images)

However the massively popular presenter bounced back, and now says that the biggest lesson she has learned is that being herself works.

She added: ‘I am not and will never be perfect as a presenter. I don’t try to be perfect anymore because it really doesn’t matter.

I listen to the production team but I’ll then ask the questions I want to ask, things I think are important.’

Holly explained that because of her dyslexia, she might not always ‘say things exactly right or words still come out wrong,’ but ‘people understand where I’m coming from. They get me.’

This support has given her ‘confidence’ and ended up changing her life, with the star insisting: ‘I have to trust in myself.’

Holly has previously opened up about her dyslexia, both in interviews and in her memoir, and said she used to worry when she was in school as she struggled to read aloud.

She is currently hosting a brand new survival show, Freeze The Fear, alongside comedian Lee Mack for BBC.

Holly has now teamed up with comedian Lee Mack for a new BBC survivalist show (Picture: BBC/Hungry Bear Media)

The unique show follows a batch of celebrities immersing themselves in some spine-chilling challenges, with extreme athlete Wim Hof pushing the famous recruits to their limits.

Across the six-part series, the recruits live together in a snowy tented village and test themselves – both physically and mentally – with challenges like walking barefoot in the snow and taking freezing showers.

The first episode dropped on Tuesday night on BBC One and will air weekly for until May 17.

The Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine will hit newsagents on Saturday, April 16.