Strictly Come Dancing host Claudia Winkleman: ‘Imposter syndrome is super healthy’

Claudia Winkleman has co-created a new beauty and wellness collection with Cannaray (Ian West/PA)
Claudia Winkleman has co-created a new beauty and wellness collection with Cannaray (Ian West/PA)

Claudia Winkleman thinks a little bit of imposter syndrome is “super healthy” and she hopes to pass it onto her children, too.

The BBC One Strictly Come Dancing presenter says: “I’ve met people who don’t [have it] – they’re awful.

“I think it’s OK to think, ‘How have I got here?’, ‘When are they going to find out?’, ‘I’m not good’. I want to instil it in my kids. Entitlement is not fine.”

Today, the 51-year-old is a staple on our TV screens – with her famous eye-sweeping fringe, orange fake tan (her words) and quick humour – and says this is the decade where she’s really found her career “groove”.

“I definitely feel more grateful [in my 50s] – me and my family. I don’t know whether we even used that word when I was young,” says Winkleman, who has been confirmed to present season two of hit BBC reality show The Traitors.

“I don’t want [my career] to end tomorrow. But if it does, I think I’ve had a ridiculously long run. More than anything, I love the adrenaline.

“But I also can’t bear the arrogance of assuming that it’s just going to continue – I love a bit of imposter syndrome. I think it’s super healthy.”

Wellness has taken more of a priority in her 50s than ever before. “I think you have to, because when I think back – it was 100 years ago – but in my 20s, I would zip around, you were always just racing. You were like, ‘I’ve got to do this, then I’m going to do that’. You had a gazillion friends.

“Now I can do all of that in the day, if at 8pm I’m powering down – like an old laptop. That’s how I’d like you to think of me,” she says, with a laugh. “I think as you get older, you don’t say yes to stuff that you don’t want to do. And I basically don’t want to do anything.

“I am pure homebody.”

The presenter has co-created a new beauty and wellness collection with Cannaray, including two candles (“I don’t like flowery scents, I like citrus and ‘up’ or very woody and sexy” – there’s one of each), a hand cream and a lip balm, which contain CBD (cannabidiol, a chemical derived from the hemp plant that’s non-addictive and doesn’t induce a high). Touted for having mood-enhancing properties, the brand already has a line of CBD gummies and oils.

Winkleman, who has three children, Jake, 20, Matilda, 17, and Arthur, 12, with husband Kris Thykier, turned to CBD in lockdown when she was stressed and “very bad” at home-schooling.

“Without CBD oil I was incapable of helping [my youngest] learn at home. I would march, in my pyjamas and mismatched socks, from one room to another going, ‘Darwin!’, ‘Focus!’, ‘Lymph nodes!’. Then I found CBD oil and felt much calmer. I thought, ‘I’ll find out about Darwin at some point, it doesn’t matter’.

“It definitely transformed my sleep and the way I feel about the world.”

If there’s one form of self-care Winkleman has always adhered to, it’s the power of sleep – and she naps at least once or twice a day. “On the days I can’t nap, my husband will tell you there’s a marked difference,” she says. “I don’t know whether you’ve met a human sloth…

“Sleep is very, very important to me and CBD oil absolutely shifted that for the better because I’m also 51 so I must be up the kazoo regarding hormones.”

Fans will know Winkleman’s dynamic, high-energy demeanour – and in person she’s no different, as we chat in a London hotel room – but she says she seesaws between a state of active and calm. “My dad says I’m either at zero or I’m at 10 – I’m not very good at seven. I’m either on or off.”

The mum-of-three is a fan of lengthy baths with candles and hour-long chats with girlfriends in the evenings – but a bedtime routine is essential. “I have very old kids and I still have a 12-year-old, so I like him in bed at 8pm and when he gets into bed – be prepared – I sort of get into bed,” she says.

“I have a bath with a bath melt (from the new range) which has got coconut in it and leaves your skin smooth and lovely. Then I like to wrap myself up like a yeti in a towel, get into bed with a book and take two Cannaray capsules before I go to sleep. I love a two-hour wind-down.”

You might assume TV stars all have personal trainers, but Winkleman has never warmed to exercise.

“I just don’t think it’s for me,” she says. “Lots of my friends do it and once they’ve found [the activity] they love it, I’ve just never had that experience.

“I’m allergic to sweating and movement – and Lycra, I think. But I am on the [London Underground] all the time so I do march around.

“I like going for a walk with my family. If my family’s there I’ll do anything. If I can walk with a little hand in my hand then I’m off, but the idea that I’m going to put on a sports bra and go to a room to sweat – it’s a no.”

The Cannaray x Claudia Winkleman CBD-boosted beauty and wellbeing range is available to buy now from RRP £7, online at