In My StylewithZoe Salmon
Zoe Salmon is an award-winning television presenter from Co Down.
After winning Miss Northern Ireland in 1999, she went back to graduate from Queen’s University with a degree in Law.
Zoe then landed one of the most sought after jobs on TV as presenter on the BAFTA Award-winning BBC’s Blue Peter making her a household name - a role she held from 2004 to 2008.
Since then Zoe has been involved in many TV shows including Dancing On Ice, Celebrity Masterchef, World’s Strongest Man and The Island With Bear Grylls.
She also starred in ‘Get Him To The Greek’ as her first Hollywood debut.
As an event host and presenter Zoe always looks fabulous with her own unique sytyle.
Tell us a little about yourself Zoe?
I won the title of Miss Northern Ireland before I graduated in Law and postgraduated in Professional Legal Studies, both from Queen’s University Belfast. I qualified as a lawyer but then got offered one of the most coveted jobs on TV as a presenter on Blue Peter, the world’s longest-running children’s television show. I became known as the Blue Peter Daredevil and was the first presenter to pull my own parachute chord free falling from 15,000 feet and I was the first Blue Peter female presenter to run a marathon.
Since then I have fronted TV shows across the BBC, ITV, Channel 5 and Sky where I presented in genres ranging from factual documentaries to game shows on wide-ranging themes including sport, health & lifestyle, fashion, dating and quiz. As a presenter experienced in live television, I have filmed all over the globe in no less than 25 countries thus far in my career. I loved partaking in some of our biggest and best loved TV shows including BBC1’s Celebrity MasterChef, ITV’s Dancing on Ice, BBC1’s Fame Academy and Channel 4’s The Island with Bear Grylls where my fellow islanders and I proudly raised £500K for Stand Up To Cancer.
I have hosted events in Europe and in iconic venues including London’s Hyde Park, The Royal Albert Hall and The O2 Arena to name but a few, with audiences in their thousands. I have also fronted commercial campaigns for national and global companies too.
Aside from presenting, I made my Hollywood movie debut in Get Him to the Greek alongside Russell Brand, Rose Byrne, Jonah Hill and Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs. I graduated from world acclaimed The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute in Los Angeles and in the world of theatre one of my favourite roles was playing the title lead role in Bill Kenwright’s production of Cinderella to sell-out audiences.
I am delighted to have worked with a plethora of charitable organisations over the years, fundraising for and supporting various campaigns.
So far in 2020 I have raised £11,000 for Cancer Research UK and Alex’s Wish -thank you to every person and company who supported me to far exceed my fundraising target.
I have three siblings – Lara, Naomi and Julian. We were all born within five years so it must have been a lot of fun for our parents, Joe and Priscilla, to have four children under the age of 5!
In 2016, my mum devastatingly passed away. But also in 2016, my husband Will and I got married. It was a year of extreme joy but of extreme heartbreak, a feeling still very raw to this day, especially so during the current pandemic.
Describe your personal style?
I like to keep it simple, classy and sometimes a little sassy! My wardrobe focuses on elegant and timeless pieces. I have an eclectic variety of items from over the years which always comes in handy for an array of work reasons - from wetsuits, salopettes, jodhpurs, dance-wear and even a NASA Space Camp boiler suit, to ballgowns and business suits. It is a crazy stockroom of just about everything! I love adding to my wardrobe from my travels. Some of my most loved pieces come from filming in countries such as Japan and USA and I love the special feel those pieces add to my wardrobe. It’s a nice bonus that from various TV shows I’ve presented or fashion shoots I’ve modelled for, that I’ll be given the clothes and accessories, so my wardrobe is often being added to with styles chosen for me that perhaps I wouldn’t normally think of choosing for myself.
Where do you find style inspiration?
Usually in my head! As a young girl I liked to draw and design my dream dresses, I kept some of the drawings and even though they are now years old I would still wear the design today - even as a child I had a sense of timeless pieces!
I love being creative and putting outfits together. I keep all my clothes and I find ways to recycle and rewear. Some of my key pieces are over 20 years old, for instance, my fave denim jacket and leather jacket too. One of my favourite items to re-wear is my wedding dress, I purposely chose a dress that I could wear time and time again.
Do you read fashion magazines?
I had a subscription to Vogue which my friend Konnie kindly bought for my birthday present one year, such a lovely gift. At the moment I have a backlog of Harrods magazines which I am keen to get through. From years of living in London I have enjoyed many shopping trips to Harrods and many of my favourite items are from Harrods – from my cashmere bed socks to Chanel and Louis Vuitton handbags, and some of my favourite jewellery too. Aside from reading about fashion, I love watching it too; documentaries such as Dior and I, and The September Issue, are insightful.
What is the best style advice you’ve received and who gave it to you?
At a photoshoot a couple of years ago the stylist told me that white was ‘my colour’ which I loved because people have commented that white would look great on me but only with a tan. I love white on my skin, I think it’s very pure and the stylist gave me the confidence to wear white without ever having to consider a fake tan.
What is your favourite fashion trend?
My style would generally consist of more staple pieces than trend pieces. I don’t tend to follow trends. The thing with trends is that then a lot of people tend to wear something similar and I like to remain individual and stay true to my own style. I love it when items that I’ve been wearing for years all of a sudden become a trend which is convenient because going shopping for new clothes etc wouldn’t be on my list of favourite pastimes!
What’s the oldest item in your wardrobe and what is so special about it?
A stunning long green dress that belonged to my mum. It’s at least five decades old but it looks like it’s brand new, and it’s a timeless classic style. Many years ago I thought it would be a good idea to cut it short for an event I was attending. I still have the material I cut off and I would love it if I could find someone to put it back together to its original state, the way my mum had originally bought it and loved.
And the most recent?
Generally speaking I prefer not to wear sleeves but I love a little puff sleeve, I think they are so elegant and pretty. I saw a beautiful puff sleeve blouse on Meghan Markle and so I ordered it in two colours – classic black and white. They have been my go-to tops in isolation whenever I’m filming from home and especially when it’s just a mid-shot as then I can team the blouse with pyjama bottoms - comfort first!
Do you keep things in your wardrobe that you haven’t ever worn?
Absolutely, some of my favourite items I have never worn! But then one day I’ll wear an unworn item and love it so much that I will then start wearing it regularly - so in the end I always get my use. Just a few months ago I was delivering a speech at Westminster and the beautiful black business dress I wore was perfect for the occasion but it had been sitting in my wardrobe unworn for a decade! I wonder will I wear it again before 2030? A few years ago I bought a WOW red Oscar de la Renta silk ballgown that I fell in love with in Brown Thomas; I even took it to a dressmakers to get it altered slightly and to customise the design. I still can’t wait to wear it!
What was your worst fashion mistake?
I think I made the right decisions at the right time LOL! That’s fashion for you! It evolves, as do we all! One memorable moment was when I was a contestant on The Weakest Link I wore a pretty yellow layered dress that I bought when filming in Japan - Anne Robinson’s reaction to the dress was hilarious! I still love that dress and must wear it again soon! That’s the thing with fashion it is very personal and it’s hard to please everyone so I just focus on wearing what makes me feel good. However, I am always mindful that my clothes can often look very different when I’m on TV or in photos but often there is a stylist or wardrobe department to help.
What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought, clothing-wise?
It would be a tie between my Berta wedding dress and my Hermès Birkin.
What is your favourite item of clothing and why?
It’s difficult to choose because I look at my clothes not just as items but as memories; I have sentimental attachments to so many of my garments. One of my favourite memories is when I was crowned Miss Northern Ireland and I absolutely loved the red dress I wore when I won. I wore it for a shoot recently and it’s practically brand new. It’s such a classic, timeless style and shade of red that will always be in fashion; I love that I could wear it time and time again just like my wedding dress.
As Miss NI one of the incredible prizes I won was a modelling contract with ACA Models. From modelling jobs doing cover shoots, editorial photoshoots, and catwalk I have enjoyed modelling everything from lingerie to wedding dresses: as Alison Clarke always told me - a good model will wear anything well! Alison is a fabulous boss and friend. I love hosting the Miss Northern Ireland Gala Final; it’s such a fashionable and glamorous event that I look forward to every year. Sponsors Rosie’s Closet has provided me with some exquisite dresses over recent finals.
What shoes do you wear most often ?
I have over 100 pairs of shoes but this is mainly because I keep everything. Casually, my most worn shoes are my Stella McCartney for Adidas trainers, I have them in a few colourways but the nude/rose/gold are my favourites – I Iove anything with added sparkle. I searched high and low for them and I eventually got them delivered from Italy.
Formally, it would be a tie between my peep-toe nude Christian Louboutins because they go with every outfit, and my Louis Vuitton court shoes - I have them in a black heel version and gold too, again they complement everything. I got that particular pair of Louboutins when I was in New York City, a decade ago, and they still look like brand new even though I have worn them well over 100 times. My favourite shoes are a pair of Louboutins I got in London. I have only worn them once because they are so delicate, the crystals like to fall off, and the nude mesh isn’t very friendly with dirt etc – so basically not the most practical shoes. They were my dream wedding shoes and I spent months trying to get my hands on them so I was over the moon when I finally did!
Who are your style heroes?
My parents! One of my favourite photos in the world is their wedding photo – their wedding attire is so incredibly beautiful, stylish and unique – they look like movie stars. I look at photos of their style over the decades and they never got it wrong. From the clothing to accessories, to hair style etc. they have always been so fabulously and effortlessly fashionable.
What accessories do you normally use?
I think a smile and healthy skin completes any outfit. A smile costs nothing and I love to wear mine! I love elegant and classic pieces; diamonds and pearls are a timeless addition to any outfit. I don’t wear a lot of jewellery but when I do I love earrings and my favourite are a De Beers diamond pair that match my diamond wedding ring. Diamonds always complete an outfit for me so I love wearing my wedding and engagement rings, watch, earrings and necklace. I also love sunglasses, they can be such a glamorous accessory but yet extremely practical. My favourites are a pair of Cartier red cat eyes. Most practically, my hair cannot go a day without wearing a hair-clamp or two. My favourite clamp for my hair type is from Primark. I used to get them from Asda but then they stopped selling them. I have tried many hair clamps but at the moment Primark wins!
Do you think you can be fashionable without spending a lot of money?
100%. We live in a digital age where we are spoilt for choice from online retailers, local and global; there is a price point for all of us. I love charity shops too, from a young age my mum always supported the local charity shops and I used to love our family shopping trips to the ‘War on Want’ charity shop in Bangor. Finding an outfit there was like finding treasure and I really enjoyed it. For Christmas, my husband and I went to charity shops to get a gift for each other and one of my favourite Christmas gifts from Will was a floral jewellery box from Cancer Research UK.
What are your favourite local shops?
Verona Bridal in Magherafelt is a dream shop for dresses – wedding and formal. I got my wedding dress from this beautiful boutique and all my accessories too – my crown and earrings. Verona Bridal is my go-to place for my red carpet and event dresses. I wore a stunning Berta gown to the IFTAs and I most recently wore the most incredible Milla Nova gown with all the sparkles - it was a real Cinderella moment, the dress is a breathtaking masterpiece and received so many compliments and I was inundated with messages on social media asking me where it was from.
Will and I love shopping trips to Lunn’s in Queen’s Arcade, Belfast, as it’s a wonderful experience that we can enjoy together.
Beyond Skin Clinic in Belfast is my skin’s favourite place to go. Jennie, Gillian and the team are so friendly and professional. They have won so many awards and their expert advice helps me to keep my skin healthy and glowing. And as our nutrition is key to how we look and feel, I love all the fresh farm produce from Corries including their popular award-winning meals. Congratulations to my husband Will and his team for everything they have done as key workers to keep customers safe and happy.
Follow Zoe’s style journey on Instagram @zoesalmonofficial