Why Hollywood life isn't as glam for Dawn O'Porter as you think

Dawn O'Porter (David Loftus/PA)

Broadcaster, author and vintage clothes buff Dawn O’Porter, wife of Irish actor Chris O’Dowd, reveals that life in Hollywood is not all about schmoozing with the A-listers. And in a town that’s obsessed with looks, she goes her own way with diet and fitness.

The author, whose latest book The Cows follows the lives of three modern women, lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two-year-old son, Art, and is expecting a second baby in the summer.

We caught up with her to find out about how different life is in Hollywood.

How many red carpet events do you go to?

Dawn O'Porter and Chris O'Dowd (Ian West/PA)
Dawn O’Porter and husband Chris O’Dowd (Ian West/PA)

“I don’t even remember the last time I was on a red carpet. It is so rarely a part of our lives. We certainly don’t pursue that lifestyle at all. We only go to things when Chris is in something or I’m in something or one of our friends is in something. It’s not really part of our world. I’ve done so few red carpets. My life is very domestic and I just sit in my office in the garden on my own most of the time and write books. It’s quite boringly normal.”

Do you go to loads of parties?

“We have parties in my house in my garden. They are the only parties we go to. I have parties every Sunday, when I have six to 20 people round and I’ll cook loads of food. That’s the main crux of my social life. It starts mid-afternoon until nine or 10. We’ll have a barbecue or a big slow-cooked pork shoulder or something else delicious.

Are you always surrounded by showbiz pals?

Global Fashion Awards with WGSN - London
Dawn at the annual Global Fashion Awards (Ian West/PA)

“No. I’m very happy in my own company. I can really relate to the joy of being alone and not feeling lonely. Being a writer I can say, ‘You’re not allowed in here for eight hours’ and I get to be on my own and I love that.”

Do you worry about being papped and having private moments posted on social media?

“We’re all constantly under threat of being exposed either by ourselves or by someone else. You could be walking along the street and scratch your bum and someone takes a picture of it and sends that as a viral.

“We’re not doing anything compromising when we’re just out and about. I don’t think we’re at any more of a threat of being over-exposed and embarrassed than someone just walking down the street wearing a bad T-shirt. We are all in a position where it could happen to anybody.

(Fiona Hanson/PA)
Dawn says she doesn’t get recognised liked the Beckhams do (Fiona Hanson/PA)

“We don’t long for privacy because we are not that public. We are not the Beckhams. If I’m not with Chris, no-one comes over and if I am with Chris, they just want a selfie. We are never chased by the paps. We are very lucky. We get to do our jobs and be in the public eye enough to promote what we do and have successful careers without any intrusion at all.”

Have you ever been starstruck yourself?

(Ian West/PA)
Who wouldn’t get star stuck meeting Brad Pitt? (Ian West/PA)

“I met Brad Pitt once and that was quite a big one. But it’s amazing how quickly it becomes normal and everyone is such a human being.

“It’s such a boring thing to say, but my most starstruck moment was when we went to see Dolly Parton in concert and she did the meet and greet. She didn’t know who Chris was, I just got a photo with her and I completely lost my mind – because I’m her fan. But when we are at events, everyone’s just a human being.

“I saw Mariah Carey at something and that was great because she was just surrounded by bodyguards – but I’m quite calm about all that stuff now.”

Would you have cosmetic surgery?

“I’d never have it. I don’t think I need it and I don’t want it.”

Are you a carbs or quinoa girl?

“Oh carbs, definitely. We are not a diety family at all. I try to eat reasonably healthily and when I feel I’m putting on weight I’ll go for a long walk.”

Are you into the LA obsession of exercise and fitness?

(Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)
Dawn prefers long walks to hours in the gym (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

“No. I’m not a member of a gym or any classes or anything like that. I walk and swim. I’ve never had a fitness regime. I hate gyms. I’ve tried and I’ve failed and I really resent spending money on exercise as well. In LA you can go for hikes up a mountain, I walk up into the Hollywood hills. I do like to stay fit but I’m not trying to be skinny.”

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter is published by HarperCollins, priced £14.99.

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