Sarah-Jane "Trinny" Woodall (born 8 February 1964 in Marylebone, London) is an English fashion advisor and designer, television presenter and author. She was raised in a wealthy family and was privately educated. After ten years working in marketing – and battling alcoholism – Woodall met Susannah Constantine in 1994, whom she joined to write a weekly fashion column for The Daily Telegraph. This led to the launch of their own internet fashion-advice business and the release of their first fashion-advice book, both of which ventures ended in failure.
They were then commissioned by the BBC to host What Not to Wear in 2001. The following year Woodall and Constantine released their second book, What Not to Wear, which gained them a British Book Award and sold over 670,000 copies. The pair co-wrote many fashion advice books, several of which became best-sellers in the United Kingdom and the United States, and have now sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide.
After co-hosting What Not to Wear for five series and appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show as style and make-over advisors, Woodall and Constantine moved to ITV to host Trinny & Susannah Undress... in 2006, and Undress the Nation. After becoming the faces of Littlewoods Direct, they released their own Littlewoods clothing range and latest fashion advice book, The Body Shape Bible, in 2007.
Woodall is the youngest of six children, three from her father's first marriage. Woodall's father made his fortune as a banker in London, and her brother is Mark Woodall, co-founder ofclimate change capital which is a merchant banking institution specialising in green energy resources. Woodall's maternal grandfather was Sir John Duncanson, controller of the British steel industry in the last two years of the war, who went on to become managing director of the British Iron and Steel Federation (BISF) in August 1945 and then managing director of Lithgowsin 1949.
When Woodall was five years old, she was sent home from school after cutting off another pupil's plait. A family friend, Ronald Searle, who created the St Trinian cartoons that inspired the later films, likened her to a mischievous St Trinian girl, and the name Trinny stuck from then onwards. Woodall was educated at boarding schools from the age of six, which included Queen's Gate School in Queen's Gate, South Kensington, London. She also attended Baston School for Girls. She has described one of the boarding schools as "cruel" and "sadistic". She has connected a fear of being naked with the time she was made to stand totally unclothed in front of the other pupils as a punishment for having a water fight. Woodall also attended boarding schools in France and Germany between the ages of twelve and fifteen. During her school years, she felt overshadowed by her older sister who was the "star of the school", which prompted pupils to use Woodall to get to her sister.
Woodall started work in the financial and marketing sectors before becoming deeply involved in fashion, but was never certain about what occupation she wished to pursue. Her uncertainty prompted her to change job every two years.Some of her early jobs included taking coats at a restaurant, working as a secretary for a commodities company, aged eighteen, doing PR and using her contacts to promote her employer's restaurant, and working for Anoushka Hempel. In her marketing career, she did work for clients including Henry Dent-Brocklehurst, the owner of Sudeley Castle. She was discontented during her time working in marketing, commenting: "I wasn’t doing what I felt I should be doing, but what other people felt I should do. If you live your life like that you are never very happy." Despite working in marketing, Woodall's love for fashion was not suppressed. She would regularly customize her garments from the high street, and took to making her own fashion accessories, which she sold to Harvey Nichols and Harrods.
Woodall and Susannah Constantine first met at a dinner party hosted by David, Viscount Linley, but initially did not get along well. Woodall originally thought of Constantine as a stuck-up English aristocrat, and Constantine in turn saw Woodall as 'Eurotrash'. Woodall later commented that they were "like dogs sniffing round each other." Despite their initial differences, they collaborated in 1994 on Ready to Wear, a weekly style guide for The Daily Telegraph which ran for seven years. The style guide highlighted affordable high-street fashion, with the pair using themselves to demonstrate clothing that suited different figures. Woodall assumed the role of stylist and made the company's business decisions. She and Constantine later became co-founders of Ready2shop.com, a dot-com fashion advice business, but it ceased trading in November 2000 for lack of funds. The business dissolved in July 2001 and lost its investors a reputed £10 million. The time spent running the internet business almost ended Woodall and Constantine's friendship after an explosive argument, but the pair were reconciled and continued to work together.
Woodall's first chance to work on television came about when Granada Sky Broadcasting signed her and Constantine to host a daytime shopping show, also called Ready to Wear. Regarding the programme's low budget, Woodall stated "It was shot in our homes, with dogs as models." They brought out their first fashion advice book called Ready 2 Dress, but the book was a failure and 13,000 copies of it ended up being pulped. Soon after their television debut, they were given a recurring makeover slot on Richard & Judy. This gained them crucial exposure and attention from Jane Root, controller of BBC Two, who signed them to the channel despite the failure of their book and internet business.
Woodall came to prominence as co-host and fashion advisor for five series of the BBC television series What Not to Wear. She and Constantine worked on the show from 2001 to 2005, combining their knowledge of fashion to improve the dress sense of the candidates selected for the show. What Not to Wear made Woodall a household name, and she and Constantine became jointly known as Trinny and Susannah. Woodall has been referred to as "the one with 'no tits'". The duo have stated that they cannot envisage working without each other, and have investigated insuring their television partnership in the event that something unpredictable should happen. They became infamous for their straight-talking advice, and regular use of the word tits. Woodall has strongly rejected claims that they patronised subjects on the show, commenting "If you ask any of the women we've worked with, some of them would say it's a very tough journey, but I don't think any of them would say we'd been patronising." Woodall's comments were known on occasion to have reduced participants to tears, but she has commented that she does not think the show was "actually rude". The New York Times wrote "Trinny Woodall, one of the upper-crusty and scathingly blunt hosts of What Not to Wear, a hugely popular fashion makeover show on the BBC, does not mince words."Woodall has been spoofed on many comedy-themed television shows, including Big Impression, on which impressionist Alistair McGowan took to spoofing her presenting techniques on What Not to Wear.
In 2002, Woodall and Constantine won a Royal Television Society Award for their work on What Not to Wear, in the category of best factual presenter. The show itself was nominated for the Features Award at the BAFTAS in both 2002 and 2003. The pair have given makeovers to various celebrities in What Not to Wear specials, including Jeremy Clarkson in 2002, who later commented "I'd rather eat my own hair than shop with these two again".After success with viewing figures on BBC Two, the show was promoted to the more mainstream BBC One in 2004. The show has also been broadcast internationally in countries including America, Spain and Portugal.
With What Not to Wear proving popular on BBC America, Woodall worked frequently as a makeover and fashion expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show with Constantine, where they gave fashion advice and tips on how to improve overall appearance, often using themselves to illustrate the guidelines. They appeared on NBC's The Today Show in 2006, giving makeovers to three women, and returned to America in late 2007 appearing on Good Morning Americatwice to perform makeovers on different shaped women. They also reported for Good Morning America on the fashion at the 80th Academy Awards' red carpet event in February 2008.Woodall (left) and Constantine on Trinny & Susannah Undress
After What Not to Wear, Woodall and Constantine transferred from the BBC to ITV for a deal worth £1.2 million. While What Not to Wear was taken over by Lisa Butcher and Mica Paris, Woodall and Constantine began their new television show, Trinny & Susannah Undress..., on 3 October 2006. The first two series saw them helping couples who were experiencing difficulties in their marriages, by giving advice and a fashion makeover to increase confidence. Woodall spoke of her excitement to be addressing the fashion problems of men for the first time, a personal highlight being that "it gives men permission to take an interest in clothes and their appearance." The show exposed the duo to criticism questioning whether they were qualified to deal with some of the serious issues raised. Woodall commented "I think it's great that it's caused a reaction. But at the same time I think the people who are criticising us haven't really watched the show. We are not claiming to be marriage guidance people, or anything." The third series on ITV took a different format, tackling the main fashion issues present in Britain, under the new name of Trinny & Susannah Undress The Nation.
Woodall and Constantine have revealed that they have dressed in excess of 5,000 women over the course of their career. According to their personal website, their pleasure does not lie with the success of book sales and viewing figures but with the knowledge that they have inspired many women through their fashion books, makeovers and articles. They have adopted the attitude that dressing to compliment body shape is important, on which subject Wodall has commented "If you want to make the best of yourself you don't necessarily need to diet – you need to wear the right stuff."
During the BBC's 2002 Children in Need appeal, Woodall and Constantine sang their own version of Madonna's "Vogue" in front of celebrity backing singers. Children in Need 2004 saw them giving EastEnders characters Little Mo andMo Harris a makeover à la What Not to Wear. Also in 2005, Woodall voiced a robot version of herself in the well-known science fiction series Doctor Who, in episode "Bad Wolf". The episode saw the robots Trine-e and Zu-Zana presenting a deadly futuristic version of What Not to Wear.
In 2007, Woodall appeared on Comic Relief Does The Apprentice in order to raise money for Comic Relief. The show required celebrities to sell tickets to a fun fair they had organised, with Woodall selling a ticket to a friend for £150,000. Another participant on the show, Jo Brand, later jokingly commented that Woodall "knows everyone in Belgravia who earns more than £10 million a year so she got on the phone and the rest of us just went to the pub, it was great!". The Times wrote "Trinny Woodall is a prime-time star, but is proper posh with mighty connections, as demonstrated by the six-figure sums she blagged from richer friends on Comic Relief does the Apprentice." During filming, Woodall was involved in a fight with fellow contestant Piers Morgan, consequently reducing her to tears.
Woodall and Constantine have appeared on Parkinson three times together. Their first appearance in 2003 coincided with the host's now infamous interview with Meg Ryan. Parkinson said that he felt Ryan's behaviour towards his fellow guests, Woodall and Constantine – whom Ryan turned her back on – was "unforgivable".Woodall has made appearances on numerous other chat shows and on Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car, a recurring segment on the BBC Two motoring programme Top Gear.
Woodall and Constantine became the faces of Nescafé in 2003, featuring in advertisements promoting the brand of coffee. One Nescafé competition winner had the chance to receive a £10, 000 makeover from the duo, five times the amount offered on What Not to Wear.Woodall in the Littlewoods advert
The duo also became the faces of the home shopping company, Littlewoods Direct, when orders rose thirty per cent during its sponsorship of their ITV programme Trinny & Susannah Undressin 2006. They have since provided twelve pages of fashion advice within the Littlewoods catalogue and also produced a booklet called The Golden Rules. The booklet was distributed to all Littlewoods customers with fashion advice aimed to suit all body shapes. They have also compiled online style guidelines aimed at internet customers. The £12m television and print advertising campaign featuring Woodall and Constantine is one of largest ever seen for a home shopping and internet-based company. Woodall has openly admitted that she originally mistook Littlewoods for Lillywhites, having never heard of Littlewoods.
Two series of television advertisements have aired to date, where the Christmas adverts saw Woodall and Constantine trying to hijack a motorised sleigh carrying Littlewoods designer gifts. Since the advertisements were launched, Littlewoods' brand awareness, sales and website traffic have increased significantly.
It was announced that Woodall and Constantine were to embark upon a tour to New Zealand and Australia where they made a series of public appearances at shopping centres owned by the Westfield Group. They performed live styling sessions for customers, and were met with crowds of thousands.
Woodall and Constantine have co-written numerous fashion advice books, which have sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide. Their style advice books have proceeded to become number one bestsellers in Britain and the United States, have been translated throughout the world, and have placed them on The Sunday Times best-seller list and The New York Times best-seller list.Woodall (left) on What Not to Wear book cover (2002)
Their first major book, What Not to Wear, was published in 2002. It featured brash chapter headings such as "Big Tits", "No Tits", "Big Bum" and "Saddlebags" with style advice for each category. It gained them a British Book Award in 2003 for The TV & Film Book of the Year. The book outsold popular television chefs Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson when sale figures reached a total of 670,000 copies, selling 300,000 copies in just fifteen weeks. It was also selling 45,000 copies a week at one point, and had sold 250,000 copies before the peak book selling season had even begun. What Not to Wear made sales worth £8.7 million which led to a £1 million book deal to produce more of their fashion books.
In 2006, Woodall and Constantine launched their own underwear range "Trinny and Susannah Magic Pants" which are made from nylon to flatten the tummy, buttocks and thighs, in order to make the areas appear slimmer. The fashion duo launched their own clothing range exclusively for Littlewoods Direct on 20 September 2007. The women's range is designed specifically to be fashionable but to suit all women's body shapes and minimise the buttocks, thighs and tummy, and define the waist. The fashion range comprises a series of coats, trousers, dresses, cashmere knitwear, faux furand sequinned shrugs. Woodall has commented: "They're really designed so that our black coat will give you a waist, our trousers will hide your saddle bags, our cashmere makes your tits look great."
Their latest book, The Body Shape Bible, was published on 18 September 2007. Prior to writing The Body Shape Bible, Woodall and Constantine conducted a survey on women that helped them to identify the twelve most common body shapes, which they have featured in the book and given names such as 'apple'. The new book is aimed to help women decipher what particular shape they are, proceeding to give fashion guidelines according to each individual shape. She currently writes a weekly column for The Sun.
Woodall has one daughter, Lyla (born 28 October 2003), and is stepmother to her ex-husband's son, Zak.
She married musician turned company director Johnnie Elichaoff in 1999, at her family church, St Columba's, situated in Pont Street, Knightsbridge. The church was the venue for her parents' wedding, Woodall's christening, and is where her Scottish grandfather is buried. Her wedding dress was made by designer Elspeth Gibson, while Woodall designed her own bridesmaids' dresses. Their shoes were designed by Christian Louboutin and differed according to the shape of the bridesmaids' ankles.
The couple announced their separation and intention to divorce on 19 October 2008. Woodall confirmed her divorce had gone through in August 2009.
Woodall formerly suffered severely from acne, which began in her early teens and stayed with her until she was twenty-nine. Her condition caused her to feel, in her own words, "unbelievably ugly for years". When the condition cleared up, she was left with extensive scarring, which she later successfully cleared by means of laser treatment. Woodall has freely admitted that she is a recovering alcoholic, having begun drinking heavily at age sixteen, but has been teetotal since she was twenty-six and still attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Woodall recalls a defining moment at 3 am when she realised that she no longer wanted to drink alcohol. She has commented that she spent a year in rehabilitation and changed her entire circle of friends in order to stop drinking alcohol.
Woodall has also had many problems with conceiving in the past. She underwent IVF treatment nine times and had two miscarriages before she became pregnant with Lyla. She is an avid supporter of charities, and stands as a trustee of the British charity The Chemical Dependency Centre, having also supported the Lavender Trust at Breast Cancer Care and The Elton John AIDS Foundation. She currently resides in a £1.5 million house in Notting Hill, west London, estimated to be worth £5 million in 2006, and reportedly made £3.2 million in 2007. Woodall has been criticised by The Daily Mail for looking too thin, but responded by declaring: "I've been nine stone for 20 years, I always eat what I want, it's not an issue for me".
Woodall and Susannah Constantine became the targets of gem thieves during a visit to the Cannes film festival in 2002. The incident occurred while they were sleeping at a friend's villa on the French Riviera. The thieves rendered them both unconscious through the use of chloroform, and then stole money and jewellery belonging to the two women. One of the items stolen from Woodall was an aquamarine ring which had great sentimental value for her.
A close friend of Elizabeth Hurley, Woodall agreed to perform a sangeet dance at the Hindu wedding celebrations of Hurley and Arun Nayar in March 2007, dancing with Hurley and six others, including Janet Street-Porter.