Natasha Kaplinsky OBE, 49, is best known for her long-standing career as a news anchor for Sky News, BBC News, Channel 5 and ITV News. She was the first ever winner of Strictly Come Dancing in 2004, and now lives on a farm in East Sussex with her husband, Justin Bower, and their two children.
Kaplinsky has been an active ambassador for Save the Children for over a decade, and became the President of Barnardo’s in 2019, a role previously held by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall. She launched eco-friendly mother, babycare and beauty brand Mum & You in 2017.
Best childhood experience?
When I was eight, we moved from the UK to a remote Kenyan village outside Nairobi called Kikuyu. We were the only white family and we were made so welcome: we’d go on safari in the bush, speak Swahili and walk along the beautiful, endless sands of Mombasa. My father was a South African political refugee who was given sanctuary in the UK. We moved there partly because he missed Africa so much. After that, we came back to East Sussex, where I had been born.
Best day of your life?
I struggled to get pregnant and to become a mum. For years, I found it hard to talk about. The best day of my life was the day I became a mother. It was a difficult journey and I promised myself that if I ever had a baby I would use my voice to encourage other women going through treatment and multiple miscarriages [Kaplisnky shared her story in Channel 5 documentary Miscarriage: Our Story, available to watch online]. My son Arlo is now 13 and my daughter, Angelica, who everyone calls Kika, is 12. They are the absolute centre of my life.
Best part of your day?
We have a lot of animals, and I’m first up to be greeted by them in the morning, while everyone else is still asleep. I’m obsessed with animals. When my husband is away I often sneak in another pet. It’s chaos.
Currently we have six dogs, two cats, eight alpacas, chickens, ducks, a Highland cow called Mabel, and four sheep – Stella, Bella, Ella and Cookie. If anyone’s ever having a difficult moment, I always think the answer is to get a puppy. Alpacas are my therapy. They’re the most incredible, gentle creatures.
Best decision you’ve ever made?
Moving to the countryside. I lived in the hubbub of London for years, working early mornings on BBC Breakfast. Once we had children, I found it really quite stressful having to avoid them getting run over on the way to the park four times a day. Unpacking the boxes, I thought, why didn’t we do this before? You can’t get a cappuccino or a blow-dry for miles, but it’s worth the sacrifice. Now, my favourite days begin in wellingtons on the farm and end in stilettos in London.
I’m very instinctive. The moment I saw my husband Justin across the room I knew I was going to marry him. I haven’t eaten meat since I was 11, and I can’t drink because I’m allergic to alcohol, so I’m a very cheap date. Justin proposed to me after five weeks and I think that was because he knew that I could drive him home after a boozy night out, and that I wouldn’t drink his expensive wine.