Lisa Riley chats tattooing, weight loss and her desire to become a mum

Where: Inky G's Tattoos, Wolverhampton.

Lisa, you’re playing a tattooist in your new TV drama – have you learned how to do it for real?

I have! I spent ages with a tattoo artist and I’m pretty good with a needle now.

Have you got any tattoos yourself?

I have a fake full-body rose tattoo for the series, but I don’t have any real ones. I was actually going to get one about three years ago, just on my bra line.

I got as far as going into the tattoo studio, but chickened out.

If I ever get a period drama, I don’t really want a tattoo!

Your 12st weight loss is remarkable – what made you do it?

I lost my mum Cath to cancer in 2012, when she was only 57.

Then in 2015, my dad Terry was in hospital after a cancer scare and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

It was like a light bulb going on. I don’t smoke or drink any more. I lost 12st, going from a size 28 to
12 by sheer hard work, diet and exercise.

So no gastric band then?

No, it really annoys me that people say that.

Listen, I could eat a family-sized trifle all by myself. And crisps were my heroin! I still miss them.

Not to mention being able to polish off a bottle of Malbec easily. But I radically changed my eating habits. I cut out carbs and now eat lots of fresh fruit and veg. I still exercise a lot – Zumba classes and the like. And at the beginning I went to boot camp a few times to give me a kick-start.

What do you like most about how you look?

I do like looking at myself now, I have to be honest. I’m a real slave to lingerie! I’ve got every single piece of the new Rosie For Autograph range at Marks & Spencer.

If I wanted an evening dress I used to have to order online from America, as that was the only place I could get lovely frocks in big sizes.

Whereas now I can go anywhere and everything looks fab.

Confidence never seemed to be an issue for you when you were bigger, though…

I don’t want to sound vain, but maybe I’m more classy now.

I don’t have to be the one being the centre of attention any more. I was overcompensating – I had to be funny.

Now, I think: “Lisa, you get enough attention in work, never mind in your private life.”

One of the best things now is I’m cast just as an actress rather than filling a brief that says fat, chubby or bubbly!

Are you in a relationship?

Yes, I’m in a very happy relationship with Al.

We’ve been together three and a half years and it works because we have our private life.

No one really cares, as there are lots of reality people to write about who want to tell everyone about their relationships.

Frankly, I don’t want to be one of them. He’s seen me change – before, middle and after. He loved me before – he saw through the chub.

You’ve said you’re considering IVF with Al…

I worry I’m too old and worry about what comes with it.

If I fall pregnant, gorgeous, but if not, I’m fine.

I’m happy, I’m in a fantastic relationship and I think now I just want to enjoy the next stage of life.

  • Age Before Beauty starts on BBC1 this summer.

BTW

  • Lisa says she never cheats on her diet and hasn’t had a plate of pasta in two years.
  • She doesn’t have sugar in her coffee any more.
  • Despite being off the booze, Lisa still hits the dance floor until the early hours.

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