Fame, Family and OYNB: Suzanne Shaw | OYNB 089

One Year No Beer Podcast Episode 089 – Fame, Family and OYNB with Suzanne Shaw

Some jobs are more social than others, and people who have social jobs often find that alcohol accompanies the social aspect of their work. That may be especially true for those who work in the entertainment industry, like today’s guest. 

Suzanne Shaw auditioned for the ITV show Popstars in 2001. As a participant in the show, she won a place in the newly-formed pop band, Hear’say. The band saw great success, including two number one records and four top 10 hits, as well as their own TV show.

“At the end of the day, if you do put your mind to something and you are determined, you can achieve great things.”

When the band eventually broke up, Suzanne found career success in musical theatre, plays, and television. But despite her career success, Suzanne’s life was not perfect, and in today’s episode, she talks about some of the challenges she faced over the years. 

At the time of this interview, Suzanne was 95 days into her One Year No Beer challenge, and she talks frankly about the improvements in her life as she changes her relationship with alcohol as well as the difficulties of saying no to alcohol, especially during isolation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Suzanne describes some of the changes that she’s made since giving up alcohol, like turning vegan and taking up running. And she also talks about her own podcast, The Challenge Files, where she explores some of life’s difficult challenges.

OYNB LINKS

OYNB Website: https://www.oneyearnobeer.com/
OYNB Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Oneyearnobeer/
OYNB Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/199505820380513/
OYNB Twitter: https://twitter.com/oynbuk/
OYNB Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/oneyearnobeer/
Email: [email protected]

SUZANNE SHAW’S LINKS & RESOURCES

Suzanne Shaw on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/suzi_shaw/?hl=en

Suzanne Shaw on Twitter: https://twitter.com/suzanneshaw?lang=en

Suzanne Shaw on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/suzanneshawofficial

Episode Transcript

Jen: Hi guys, this is Jen Fairbairns and welcome to the One Year No Beer podcast. Our guest today is British actress and singer Suzanne Shaw. She rose to fame by winning the talent show, Popstars, in 2001, which also won her a place in the newly-formed pop band Hear'Say. After the band was dissolved in 2003, she went back to her roots of theater, plays, and television. She's played Roxie Hart in the West End production of Chicago and appeared in many other reputable theater shows. She won […] of Dancing on Ice, which also got her a spot on Dancing on Ice All-Star series.

She's appeared in the crime drama, The Bill, on the panel for Loose Women, and multiple times on TV shows this morning. And Emmerdale fans might know her as series regular, Eve Jenson. Having pretty much grown up in the entertainment business, she's endured the pressures of fame, public heartbreak, and everything else that comes with it.

Today, Suzanne is 95 days into her OYNB Challenge. In this podcast, she shares some interesting insights into her alcohol-free journey and gives some helpful tips on how to work through those pesky triggers. Suzanne is loving an alcohol-free life, and she is using positive and creative juices to work on her own legacy, helping others heal by sharing her own story. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Suzanne Shaw. Welcome on the podcast, thank you so much for coming on.

Suzanne: Oh, thank you for having me. This is so much fun. […] to podcasting.

Jen: I know. We don't have to leave our houses ever again. We have a lot of the UK audience but we also have a lot of people in the US and around the world that might not be familiar with who you are. Why don't you give them a little down-low?

Suzanne: Absolutely. We didn't quite travel over the pond in America or overseas in that case. I am from a band that was the very, very first reality show competition, where they put a band together. You know it as The X Factor now, The Voice, or any of these talent singing competitions. I auditioned way, way back, many centuries ago, back in 2000 for a show called Popstars and ended up in the band, Hear'Say, which was my first break. After 2001, we had our number one hit with Pure and Simple.

The rest is history, really. We were in the band. We weren't together for very long. We were probably a tomato season, not that long, had a few hits, a few albums, a few tours, and then we went our separate way. Then, I went into musical theater in the West End, gameplays and shows such as Chicago, Joseph, White Christmas. Also, I entered another talent competition called Dancing on Ice, which I won back in 2008—I'm feeling really old in this interview—then did a short stint in an episode of Emmerdale. I had quite a varied career.

Jen: Wow. You packed a lot of stuff in a very short period of time. It's incredible.

Suzanne: Yeah. I am very much an all-or-nothing person. I think it's safe to say because I love my job so much and I love the variety of singing, dancing, and acting. I went down the route of just picking up the jobs that I was asked to do or was asked to audition for. I auditioned for Hear' Say by accident, actually. It wasn't something that I'd planned to do. At the time, I was auditioning for Coronation Street and the popular UK TV soap, a UK TV drama, and a touring musical. It was very much the acting musical theater route that I wanted to go down to but it wasn't until a friend had asked me, would I go along to this audition with her because I had a car and she didn't so I had to do the driving.

I took her along and saw the audition. I thought I'll audition myself. I never thought in a million years that I would have ended up being in a pop band. Needless to say, my friend doesn't speak to me anymore. We are no longer in contact. I never thought that that would be my calling in life, that I would have started my career in a band touring. I thought it was all fabulous when I was a teenager supporting Take That and living old Backstreet Boys and all the big bands, but never in a million years would I think I would be doing that myself. It's funny how life takes you off in different places. Never in a million years, I thought I'd learned how to ice skate as well.

Jen: That just shows, you say, it happened by a fluke. But then, as you say, you're an all-or-nothing person, so once you get in there, you have worked hard until this day and therefore, you've become very successful. Put your mind into it, anything is possible. We are all capable […].

Suzanne: Absolutely. Do you know what? You are quite right. At the end of the day, if you do put your mind to something and you are determined, you can achieve great things. But I think a lot of the time in life, you get lost or you lose your confidence halfway through a project and you don't have the nerve to carry it through. There are so many things that I, in my head, think I wonderfully want to do and I can achieve it and I still haven't.

Some days, I even find it hard to get out of bed. That can be a challenge in itself. It doesn't come without saying that these great things have happened in my life but also, I do have mental health challenges as well. It's not always easy. I think, for me, I have achieved these great things. I've lost my way in recent years. I've got to be honest, I have lost my way a little bit and taken a bit more of a backseat on my career to figure out really what I want to do in life now. I kind of lost confidence as well. Kind of rebuilding things at the moment. I'm in that stage of my life where things are a little bit different and I'm taking it with a brand new approach.

Jen: That's beautiful. The most important thing is you're being honest and say I've got stuff going on. We all have stuff going on. We have mental health issues. The important thing is being honest about it. We all come to this little crossroads in life. We get older, maybe we become parents, and next, we start re-evaluating things massively. As a mother, I found that. How did you find your experience? You've got children.

Suzanne: I think my first time around, I was a baby when I, myself,  had my first and I was only 23 years old. I'd come out of being in a very successful pop band, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Elton John, dueting with him, dueting with Lionel Richie, major, major stars to then very quickly after Hear'Say ended becoming a mom. It wasn't easy. The UK people probably know my story through the tabloids. Me and my ex-partner, Darren Day, got followed around all the time. My personal life was in the tabloids for everybody to see.

It wasn't easy. I was phone-hacked, I was followed relentlessly around. My ex-partner had his battles, his own mental health battles, his battle with his addiction to drugs while only being 23 and carrying a baby, not knowing whether I'd still be in a relationship at the end of my 9-month period of carrying my child or whether I would be entering motherhood as a single mom. Needless to say, I did. Seven weeks after Rafferty was born, myself and Darren went our separate ways.

I was 24 years old, a single mom, had this major success in my career but lost everything. Financially, I'd lost a lot and I didn't know what was going to happen next. I had fantastic support from my family and friends. Without my mom, particularly, I don't think I would have gone through a lot of it. But again, that was a big achievement, being a single mom, and raising my son, Corey, to then getting back on the career ladder, going in and landing a show like Dancing on Ice which catapulted me back up there for my career and not for my personal life. It became absolutely fantastic. 

The second time around having a child, I was older, more secure, and in a proper united family atmosphere. What I found strange was sharing that responsibility with somebody. I was used to doing it all on my own and making my own decisions with my child. Then suddenly there was a father in the mix and I had to compromise, I had to share the love with him. Even now, my youngest is four years old, I think. Wow, it was so much harder the first time around and it's so much easier because I'm not doing it all on my own. But also, having to share this love when selfishly you want it all to yourself that's why […], it was odd.

It's been very different, it's the hardest job in the world, being a mom. It is tough. You're always second-guessing yourself, that doesn't come with a manual, that's for sure. Every child is different. I disciplined my children very differently because one takes to the one way that I asked them to do something and another has to be more bribed into […]. It's not easy. I think what I've accepted being a mother and the biggest part is not being perfect and accepting that.

You know what? Just do it the way you'd only know how and as long as you're trying and giving the best you personally can to your children. That's all you can do. You can't be comparing yourself. Especially with social media, you cannot be comparing yourself with the arts and crafts that lots of people are doing out there because mine certainly doesn’t end […] easy.

Jen: Yeah. I'm going to hold my hand up and say that in the first week of this. My kids were home a week before the lockout, they shut the schools because everyone was sick in school. I was like, they have a little bit of a cough so they stay home but they are fine. Coming into the school shut down, I looked at all the homeschooling websites, Facebook pages and stuff, and it was stressing me out. I can't keep up because you're running a business.

I did what you said there, I just stopped looking at it. I'm just going to do my own thing and love on my children because this is uncertain times of them right now. So, just loving them and having fun with them, doing what you can and do your best as a parent. We're all winging it, there's no manual.

Suzanne: Yeah. There is no manual and you cannot compare yourself to another family because your set-up could be completely different. In fact, what I started doing since this isolation, I've been posting my own videos online called Family Fails, which means first attempts in life. I show that we argue and it goes wrong. We started […] so two weeks ago, which has not been touched and I am showing the reality side effect, not a […]. In fact, I've been editing those bits out to show the realistic side of the fact that we generally argue over any challenge that we do together.

Jen: That's great, I love that. I think we should more a […] rather than people spending all this time focusing on fighting on stupid memes, we should be doing that. Show them the real life real-time, not the perfect painting dogs that the parents claim to have been helping out with. We need to be honest and that's what gets us to it. There's nothing more refreshing than a person, a human, a mother that is honest. It makes you feel okay to be like, “Oh, it's not just me then.”

Suzanne: Yeah, I know. Absolutely. The more that I speak to my friends and you start off with what people do and say, “Well actually, we can buy our schedule,” they've been doing the job work out at 9:30, they've been going on to do arts and crafts at this time, they've been doing mathematics, and they've been doing that. Then, you start to get into that conversation and then the reality is like, “Why can't we just start off good? I'm struggling today. It's 11:30 and I've already screamed at the children,” so just please go buy one of the things I asked them to set out to do.

Instead, there's the same thing going around that my fridge is actually saying, “What the hell now?” because that's what I'm doing is ending up in the fridge all the time. All the children and daily argument is please stop eating from the minute you get up to the moment you go to sleep. Have a break.

Jen: It is so true. We're saving money by being home but what we're spending where we actually go out to get our emergency provisions, it's ridiculous.

Suzanne: We were like, “We got nothing in the fridge.” I kind of like, “They put the prices up at the supermarket or we just got more,” because this isn't our usual weekly shop and this is only for three days.

Jen: Yeah, I know. It's crazy. Another thing about people might not be aware of is that you have been alcohol-free for a while.

Suzanne: Yes, I am 95 days today.

Jen: What?

Suzanne: Yeah.

Jen: How are you feeling?

Suzanne: I'm feeling amazing. I am feeling really, really good. Apart from the fact I will be completely honest, I have struggled since isolation. That has been my hardest point, it's been harder than the first few weeks. I have found it quite tough the last (I’d say) 10 days have been particularly tough. I'll go on to that in a minute actually.

The reason I started this, the One Year No Beer, was purely because I started to realize over the last few years that my relationship to alcohol was a real love-hate relationship. I found that I'd kind of really start to look at my intake of alcohol and the self-loathing that house with myself afterward. I took a real look when I started drinking to see why I’ve fallen into this kind of place. 

Like a lot of jobs out there, a lot of social jobs, it comes with a job in the entertainment industry. You do a lot of socializing. When I go into Hear'Say, in fact, Hear'Say, I didn't drink that much because we worked so hard. We were working 24/7, we had no time to socialize or drink. It wasn't until after the band split that I tried to do a lot of socializing.

The entertainment industry definitely comes with its awards parties, premiers, aftershow parties. It's a very, very sociable career. Especially after Hear' Say, I went into musical theater. After every show, every night, you're on tour. You're not with your family or your own friends. You go out with the cast and you go drinking every night. That ended up entering an everyday drinking session. In your 20s, you can almost, like anybody else, but for myself, I would be able to almost pull an all-nighter and I feel absolutely fine.

But then, when you hit your 30s, life becomes very different. You start getting the boozy blues, as I call it, and you start self-loathing, you start drinking on emotion rather than on the occasion, and I fell into a rut. After my dad died back in 2012, I hit it hard and my career certainly slowed down as well.

Then, I’ll pull myself out to that. I had a second baby and then I was on a fitness mat, not drinking in the week, just in my limit down getting to the weekend. That was great until probably about a year. He was about maybe about 18 months, 2 years old. It started creeping in a little bit more and I was back to old habits. It would be, like my career, all-or-nothing. It hits a challenge hard and I would make sure that I would do it to my best ability. I did that with alcohol, too. I would make sure that if I was having a night in with my friends and I'm out with my friends or night by myself, I would do it to the best of my ability.

I was waking up hating myself almost to the point where I wish I hadn't woken up. That got dark and scary. Then, I would stop for two weeks, then six weeks. Then I hit it hard again, and this time around, the start of 2020, I was like, “No, this is it now. I am done with this relationship. I don't enjoy it anymore.” It's a friend that doesn't want me to be happy. That's what alcohol was to me. One of those really toxic relationships where it does not want me to be happy. It wants to coerce me into a false sense of security.

I thought, “Right, okay. I'm going to do the 90-day challenge.” In the back of my mind, I'm going to do the One Year No Beer. I felt that the best way for me to take on not drinking because I could announce it back to my friends that that's what I was doing so I wouldn't be tempted or in the back of my mind, hoping that I will never have a drink again. Now, wasn't I an alcoholic? I think I had a bad relationship with alcohol, but it was that grey area where I wasn't getting up in the morning drinking as soon as I got up and that's what I did all day and treated like it was the right place instead. It didn't feel like that was the right place. It just felt like I needed to take it from a different approach.

For me, that approach was only taking on the One Year No Beer challenge but also taking on other challenges like, I want to do an ultramarathon this year, I've gone vegan, and I want to start my own podcast, which I'm in the process of doing right now. I'm writing a sitcom. I'm doing lots of different things and physical challenges where we want to do the Three Peaks Challenge. Lots of these physical challenges were lined up until now. I didn't mean that it would stop. I think I have to find lots of different activities to prevent me from thinking about alcohol and that's, for me, how I've succeeded for 95 days so far.

Jen: Well done. You're taking all the correct steps. All the habits changed. Changing the bad habits to good habits, what do you replace it for, what do you do, what are the goals. I'm amazed that you're setting these goals of an ultramarathon. I'm going to do this and this and this, doesn't matter if you want to pause for a couple of months, it's still there, you still have your drive. That is what we tried, all of our members, it's just you need to find the replacement. What is it that you're going to focus on and you're doing all that.

Suzanne: Absolutely, and I do have another one of your members, Lynn, who I met through charity. She's the real saving grace for me to start with because she said, “Do a video blog if you're struggling. Write down the list of how you would feel in the morning if you went for that drink today.” She's been a fantastic help. It does help doing a little bit of your personal diary and the long time that it has helped.

Recently, it particularly really hit hard this weekend. It's so difficult. I wrote a list of how I would feel in the morning if I was to drink. It was my partner's birthday on Sunday. We did a surprise zoom quiz party for him. Everybody was drinking. Sam was really enjoying himself and he has a completely different relationship with alcohol than I have. He can have a couple of beers and that's it. He's fine, he can drink. He'll not drink for a few weeks and be absolutely fine.

But he kind of hit hard on Sunday and good for him, that's what he wanted to do. We're in a new home, it was sunny outside, and lots of people. They weren't in the same room, it felt like they were in the same room. We're enjoying ourselves and I did have a placebo, I did have my zero beer.

Jen: You had all the triggers. […], isolated, you’re starting the pressure, the kids are growing up, all that stuff. Everything is […], left or right.

Suzanne: Yeah. All on Sunday. It was […]. But I was strong and I didn't do it. When I saw Sam in the morning, he's very much a, “No. I'm just feeling a bit sluggish. I'll actually be fine.” I was like, “Yeah but I was listening to you being sick all night.” Yeah, he was like. “Are you sure you're fine?” “Yeah, I'm absolutely fine.” Cut to the front room and he's lying down. Had not been able to […]. That's why I didn't and that would have been me and I had so much to do. I'm on a deadline writing the script, and I wouldn't have done that on the day. I wouldn't have gone to the park with my sons. 

I've made a lovely meal course, it would have just been like, “Let's get a takeaway, let's not do anything. Let's all get under the TV and let's watch movies and not enjoy the sunshine.” It is and it has this year, I've never been on so many walks with my family. I've got a very different relationship now with nature, really appreciating it.

Jen: I've been there the whole time but […] aware of it. People are like, “My God, I love them.”

Suzanne: I know I'm now a morning person. I love getting up first thing, I love doing things. Don't get me wrong, I was always very big into my fitness, especially it’s a part of my job. But it will be old enough again, I go, “Oh, I've got two weeks of really hitting it hard at the gym and eating really healthy,” to then having a really big night out and then taking four days to recover and doing nothing. 

I look back now and I think if I have had a life of not being a big drinker, either one having a different relationship with alcohol or not drinking at all, I definitely would have been a better mom and more successful in my career. I'm heading forth the next year and I just want to make those changes now so I can say, “Do you know what? I wrote a novel, I've got a successful podcast, I've set up the foundation I've always wanted to set up.” I'm doing all the things that actually remind me what I wanted to do when I set out being in the public eye to have that platform to help others and now that's the next stage of my life that I want to plant to grow into.

Jen: Amazing, beautiful and say, you're turning 40. I turned 40 last year and I also had this thing, like I had this completely new mission. I was like, “The past is the past, I've done great. This is beautiful. Now, I'm focusing.” Last year was the same thing. I did ultramarathons, I competed […] and all this stuff. People are like, “Are you having a midlife crisis.” I'm like, “If I'm having a midlife crisis […], so be it. But if this is a crisis then I'm good with it,” because you find your drive and you go with it. Then, you realize that you have so much more to give. This is just getting started because all the experience that you've had before and you say you've been struggling up and down with mental health and you have all this knowledge and you're using it for something good. Tell us a little bit more about your podcast that you're doing, your foundation.

Suzanne: Yeah. My podcast is called The Challenge Files, and it's all to do with challenges that I have been through. I'll take you to the backstory. So, it's The Challenge Files and the reason I set it as The Challenge Files was because of all the challenges I wanted to achieve from this point on the first beer in One Year No Beer and not drinking. Then, I turned vegan and then took up running. I went to do an ultramarathon and wanted to do the three peaks climbing challenge.

There were all these challenges and I wanted to do something. I'm going to podcast this, I'm going to speak to professionals in that industry. People have changed their lives around, people who do these challenges and make a podcast out of it. Then I thought, I've also been through a lot of challenges in my own life personally and career-wise. This isn't about starting the challenges that I'm about to go on to, this is also about reflecting on the challenges that I've done to help me then move on to these next challenges.

I'm also taking a look back on my life of the challenge of becoming a pop star and the challenges that I have—good, bad or indifferent—the challenges of doing something brand new and learning how to ice skate. The challenges of losing my father, grieving and overcoming grief. The challenges of being a single mom, going through a divorce. Financial challenges. All of these are my challenge files where I've already got in the files and files to come, talking to others who have been through that, get tips, help, and advice on things that they did to overcome challenges or hit goals and challenges themselves.

Jen: The Challenge Files, everyone. You need to check it out. That is what it's all about, sharing and being honest with yourself and especially when you have a platform like yourself. You're using it for the good. “Listen, I'm having a rubbish day.” This is what it's like rather than this whole, “Oh, look at me. I'm on the front page and I'm just my life is amazing,” which is what people see and go, “I want to be like that.” But they don’t see the struggles behind it.

Suzanne: Yeah, I believe that's it. There are so many people out there who talk about how they have now got to that point. There's very few that still say, “I'm still on that journey. I still don't have a perfect day.” So, you either talk about the past and how dark it got and now you're in a better place or show that it's always been a better place and how wonderful it is. But yeah, last weekend was tough for me. I thought I don't want to host this party with my partner because I know how hard it's going to be for me. But I have to break that and put on a brave face.

In the morning, did I want to get up and out of bed and do that? No, not at all. I wanted to hide away because I thought, I'm going to fail on my own. I'm going to start drinking and something's going to happen that I don't want to happen. Even only a few days ago, it was extremely tough. I don't grace through days and I never will. I don't expect to ever have to get to that point where I go, “Yeah, finally. I know how to be a human being.” Yes, without even perfect parts.

Jen: Getting through that day, that is a massive win for you as well and go, “Hey, I did that.” Your confidence goes and you go, “Hang on. I am pretty badass at the end of the day. I've got to do this.” But with the mental health aspect, one of the main reasons why I don't drink is I focus on health and exercise, competing and doing all that stuff. I have this carrot because that's really my focus.

When all this crumbled now where everything's been postponed this year like I've lost my goal, still so far away now, so much later in the year. I stumbled and we all stumbled. We also adapt, that's why humans do the best. We've always had to adapt. We've been a bit comfortable for many, many, many years now. We're thrown into this unknown now, but we have the capacity, we have a survival instinct. We have the capacity to adapt to this stuff and that's what we do and that's what you're doing. Your life is changing, as always changed, whatever life is throwing at.

A quick question back to you. You were worried also about what you think, friends, and people around you would think if you were to take a little alcohol break and stuff. What's that experience been like with friends? Are they supportive?

Suzanne: Yeah, they are. I suppose I was always […] with my friends. I would be the entertainer but in a kind of self-deprecating way and a bit of a clown way, and they all thought it was fantastic, brilliant, and I was really good fun. I would be, in the morning, thinking what do they say, what did they do, oh my God, […] the booze out again in front of everybody. That kind of reality would take you. It's like, “Oh, my God, I feel so ashamed. I'm 38 years old. Why am I doing this?”

But they know me and love me for that and that is my fault completely because I've gone through two generations with my friendship groups, and that's all they know for me. There have been a few going, “When you get out the other side of this, let's go for a drink and let's go on holiday or let's have a party or maybe we can go to Vegas together. Let's do Vegas for the 40th and then we can have a little drink.” In the back of my head, I'm thinking, “I'm not doing that. That's not what my plan is.” Again, let's go for a pint or let's do something completely different. Then I fear, will I lose those friends in my life? I do fear it now. I do think, do they want to hang out with me? Am I holding it to their face if I'm not drinking, they don't really want to be around somebody who isn't drinking. I do still fear, will my friendship groups completely change now.

Also, even with a partner as well. We start doing things a lot more separately. If I'm not interested in going out if they call or something. I do fear in the long term, who will my friends be in 10 years’ time? Will they still be the people that I've been friends with in the last 20 years? And that yeah, I've got to admit, I do think it answers a lot. 

Jen: That's one of the main things that we do, the members in […] do kind of ask and wonder. A lot of the more seasoned members who've been on the challenge for a while, a lot of people have been honest and share their experience with it and the experiences that they're like, “Well, I've really found out who my true friends were.” But most friends just adapt. It's a new world, we're into 2020 right now. It's a different world. More people are turning big and more people are not drinking. But you never know and that's the only time I will tell you as well.

But then, let's say, you're starting to focus on exercise, you'll start making new friends in that area. You said, this day, you're the average of the five people that you hang out with. You're going to start surrounding yourself with the more active people, people who are running and stuff. They don't drink usually, so it becomes easier. You'll just make new, more amazing friends. But hopefully, your other friends will still be there in the background and cheering you on.

Suzanne: Let's hope. I think they certainly will. It'll just be a very different relationship I have with them. I think they are going to go through a stage with me as well, thinking how we're going to adapt to this new Suzanne. Half of these people go, “Who are you? You're vegan, you're running, you're not drinking.” I'm known for knocking down that white wine. I've done a kebab at the local chicken. It'll take them a little bit of time to adapt to this new me. I totally understand that it's going to take a while to get used to it as well. It's funny because I do find that some friends are triggers as well which I don't want to avoid speaking to them but I certainly avoid speaking to them at certain points of the week and day, the time of the day.

Jen: That's fair, but you're finding your way. That's actually a good point. We always worry about what is right. Maybe you need to let your friends have that time to adapt and to give them the time to, “Hang on a minute. How do I deal with my friend who is not out drinking?” They always have to figure their stuff out. That's actually some angle we might have thought about before. It's always about you and, “You should accept who I am.” They will but they might just ponder a bit.

Suzanne: Yeah, exactly. I think as well, there's one thing that I seem to be saying to people is when I'm saying, “Oh, yeah, coming out,” or, “I'm doing something,” or, “Yeah, I'll be there.” They'll still ask the question, “Are you still doing this no drinking thing or will you be drinking?” I always follow up with, “I'm not, but I'm still fun, you know.” […] to say I'm still fun because I still go down. I won't sit in a corner and be that character from Friends from time […]. You get to be only his friend when he's drinking. I'd still be silly and down. I just won't last as long and will be on the same level as them.

Jen: That's […], we're always just justifying it but now, just keep doing the thing. You look like it would be a lot of fun to hang out with. I hope for your friends to see that. You've had quite a life, you've got a lot going on. What would you say is the big mission for you in life here forward?

Suzanne: Big mission now for me in life is to utilize the platform that I have, to (I think) tell my story about my career, about new things that I want to achieve and find this new life for myself, this next chapter, and to inspire and help others. I do, at some point, want to set up a foundation to help young kids and the community in sport and entertainment, something that me and my partner will be working on because we have our own sport and entertainment company. Just continuing to be a lot longer.

Jen: I would love to follow-up with you in a couple of months’ time just to see how you're getting on, be in touch, and see how you’re doing. But for anyone who wants to check out Suzi, who is not within the UK—a lot of people might already be aware of you—for those who are curious now, you can go to Instagram and check out suzi_shaw. Twitter, we got SuzanneShaw. Facebook, Suzanne Shaw. Is there anything I missed out on? Anything that you feel like you want to share?

Suzanne: I think we've pretty much covered all of it. Just to let you know, we'll be launching my podcast this month. I'm recording a few episodes now, getting them together. I'll be having all sorts of people talking to them about no alcohol, I'll be talking about the Vegan, I'll be talking about career and the entertainment industry. Prepare for The Challenge Files.

Jen: The Challenge Files, I will definitely be subscribing to that one. Do you have any wise words to say? You're 95 days in? 

Suzanne: 95 days in.

Jen: Any wise words for (let's say) our new challengers, people who are just in the beginning and might feel like it is tough. What helped you in the beginning, et cetera? What can you say?

Suzanne: I think for me, the biggest tip I could give anybody out of this is when you have that overwhelming feeling of I need a drink is to just say, give yourself 15 minutes. It was always this 15-minute mark and then that moment will pass. I kind of now have put that into my life completely. Fifteen minutes, either mood will pass or that craving will pass. Just give yourself 15 minutes and hopefully, that will just disappear. That has really helped me; it's the 15-minute mark. I don't know why it's 15 minutes but yeah, the overwhelming feeling should subside.

Jen: I like that. Get yourself busy for 15 minutes. Do something extraordinary or whatever, just distract yourself.

Suzanne: Yeah, take your mind off it. Distract yourself and in 15 minutes it will pass.

Jen: I like that. […] 15 minutes. Awesome. Amazing. Well, thank you so much for talking to us. […] It was fab. Keep smashing your challenge, you're doing amazing. I can't wait to check out your podcast. That sounds like a lot of fun.

Suzanne: Yeah. Looking at interviewing you guys as well so you can talk about how you started the One Year No Beer. 

Jen: Can't wait, looking forward to it. Thank you so much, Suzanne, for coming on. We appreciate it. 

Suzanne: Take care. Thank you. Bye.

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