zoe ball

The first thing you notice walking into Zoë Ball's dressing room is her impressive collection of sparkly shoes. Part of the Strictly "uniform", she wears them to present It Takes Two, the popular Strictly Come Dancing spin-off show on BBC Two every weeknight. What you don't see is that she's also happy to generously lend some of her collection to complete strangers who are the same show sizes as her (that would be a seven). It's typical Zoe - genuine, warm-hearted and funny, she's the kind of girl's girl you instantly want to be friends with.

Her big break came in the 90s when she started her career on the children's Saturday morning show Live & Kicking, after working as a runner at Granada Television and then a researcher on BSkyB. Zoe went on to present The Big Breakfast, Top of the Pops, and the BRIT Awards and made history by becoming the first ever female presenter of the BBC

Radio One Breakfast Show. Incredibly honest, she admits she went off the rails in her late 20s. "I don't remember much of that time" before marrying DJ Norman Cook, AKA Fatboy Slim, in 1999. She settled down, took a break from the spotlight and had two children Woody, 15 this month, and Nelly, five. The family now live in a house on the seafront in Hove, Sussex.

But what lessons has the former Strictly contestant learnt in her 45 years? For one, that it's okay to make mistakes. "You can't live a perfect life - if you mess it up, move on, forget it and start again," she says. And for her wellbeing? "Don't smoke! It doesn't look cool and it's not good for your health." Watch our exclusive video behind-the-scenes of our photo shoot to discover what else our January cover star would tell her younger self...

Read the full interview in the January issue of woman&home, on sale Thursday 3rd December.