Who is Trinny Woodall?
Trinny Woodall is a well-known British television celebrity and a fashion entrepreneur. Born as Sarah-Jane Duncanson Woodall in London, she started her career at the age of eighteen as a personal assistant to a commodity trader. But fashion and makeover have always been her first love and she started practicing the art while in school, continuing to do so while working in the commodity market. However, she started taking it up as her profession only after meeting columnist Susannah Constantine at the age of thirty. At thirty-two, she started co-writing a column entitled ‘Ready to Wear’ with Constantine, shortly debuting with her on television with a daytime shopping show. However, it was not until they started their makeover reality television show, What Not to Wear, on BBC Two that they became household names. Also known as successful fashion writers, they got several awards and have successfully launched many business ventures.
Childhood & Early Life
Trinny Woodall was born as Sarah-Jane Duncanson Woodall on 8 February 1964, in Marylebone, a district located in the West End of London, England. Little is known about her father except that he was a banker and her mother, Ann Woodall, was his second wife.
She was born youngest of her parents’ three children. Her brother, Mark Woodal,l later cofounded a company called Climate Change Capital, which promotes wind farms. Her sister was bold, cool and popular, as a result of which she lived under her shadow during her school years.
From his father’s first marriage, she also has three half siblings. But because they lived mostly in Canada she had little communication with them. Neither did she have much interaction with her own siblings, being much younger to them.
At the age of six, Trinny was sent off to a boarding school, which she later termed as cruel. Eventually, she was moved to a more “bearable” boarding school, where her elder sister was also a student and she found that she was expected to live up to her reputation.
By sixteen, she was moved to a day school in London. At this time, her parents began to spend a lot of time abroad, which allowed her to carve out a niche. It was sometime now that she started make-over her friends.
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Initially the Woodalls were quite affluent, allowing Trinny to lead a glamorous lifestyle. But as she was around eighteen, her father suffered a financial crisis and faced with such a situation, she started working as a secretary to a commodity trader.
The sudden loss of money and usual lifestyle greatly affected Trinny. She began to seek the glamorous lifestyle she was used to through partying, boys, alcohol and drugs. Finally at twenty-one, she went to a rehab centre; but it did not really help.
Her fight with addiction continued till she was twenty-seven. Meanwhile she continued to makeover people in her flat, concurrently working first as a PA and then as a financial PR. In between, she also obtained a Series Seven license and worked in the commodity market itself.
Career in Fashion
Trinny Woodall’s career took a positive turn when in 1994 she met Daily Telegraph columnist Susannah Constantine. At the suggestion of a friend, they soon decided to collaborate, jointly launching ‘Ready to Wear’, a weekly style guide for The Daily Telegraph that highlighted affordable fashion, in 1996.
’Ready to Wear’ soon became popular with the readers and ran for seven years. Meanwhile, they debuted on television, hosting a daytime shopping show, also called Ready to Wear, on Granada Sky. But it was their recurring makeover slot on Richard & Judy, which gave them the much needed exposure.
In November 1999, they launched an online venture called ‘Ready2wear.com’. But it had to be dissolved by July 2001, mainly because online shopping had not yet caught up, resulting in a loss of £10 million. Meanwhile in 2000, they released their first fashion book, Ready 2 Dress, which too failed.
Disheartened from her failures, she was on the verge of losing her confidence when she got a call from BBC Two. Their show on Richard & Judy had attracted the attention of the channel’s controller, who offered them a slot.
On 29, November 2001, Woodall and Constantine debuted on BBC Two with their makeover reality television show, What Not to Wear. It ran until 2005, bringing them back to national prominence. Meanwhile in 2004, the show was transferred from BBC Two to BBC One.
In 2006, they left BBC to start a new program, Trinny & Susannah Undress’, on ITV. Opening on 3 October 2006, it ran till 19 June 2007. Later from 7 November, 2007, they began to host another reality fashion-themed television documentary series called ‘Trinny & Susannah Undress the Nation’ on ITV.
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Meanwhile, their fame had traveled across the Atlantics and What Not to Wear had become equally popular on BBC America, leading to an invitation to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Later, they also appeared on NBC's The Today Show in 2006 and on Good Morning America in 2007.
Concurrently with hosting fashion realty shows, Woodall and Constantine also guest appeared in many television programs. They included Parkinson (2003), Children in Need (2004) and Comic Relief Does The Apprentice (2007).
Although their first book, Ready 2 Dress was a failure, Trinny Woodland and Constantine continued to write, publishing their first major work What Not to Wear in 2002 and their ninth book, The Body Shape Bible in 2007. What Not to Wear became a bestseller, selling a total of 670,000 copies.
In 2003, they went into business, launching Trinny & Susannah's Original Magic Knickers, which in 2006 was followed by Trinny and Susannah Magic Pants. Next in September 2007, they launched their own clothing range exclusively for Littlewoods Direct and in 2012 a range of Bodyshape Clothing for QVC UK.
In 2017, Woodall launched ‘Trinny London’, a makeup company that provides women with a personalized selection of makeup. Sold online, the products are available in 66 countries across the world
Trinny Woodall is best known for her BBC show What Not to Wear, which she co-hosted for five series with Susannah Constantine. It was a hugely popular makeover realty television show earning several awards and nominations. Later, the duo wrote several books based on the show.
Awards & Achievements
In 2002, Trinny Woodall and Constantine’s work on What Not to Wear earned them a Royal Television Society Award in the category of best factual presenter.
In 2003, they earned a British Book Award for their best-selling book, What Not to Wear.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1999, Trinny Woodall married musician turned company director, Jonny Elichaoff. Although the marriage ended in a divorce in 2009, they kept in touch until his death in November 2014. Meanwhile on October 28, 2003, she gave birth to their daughter Lyla. She is also a mother to Zac, Jonny’s son from previous relationship.
Currently, she is in a long-term relationship with Iraqi-British businessman, Charles Saatch.
When Trinny was five years old, she was sent back from school because she had cut off another student’s plait. It prompted cartoonist Ronald Searle, who was also a family friend, to compare her with the St Trinian girl and somehow the name Trinny stuck to her.