Originally published online for OPEN Magazine
Dawn O’Porter is one cool woman. From slimming down to a size zero, to orgies and polygamy, she’s done it all. She can now also add best-selling novelist to her never-ending list of talents. I caught up with Dawn at the Liverpool signing of her book, Paper Aeroplanes (give it a read, it’s not just for kids) to discuss her drinking days in Liverpool, Scouse Brows and online dating.
Within seconds of meeting Dawn she has complimented me on my mazzy bun, I have a feeling this is going to be a good interview…..
Hi Dawn, it’s not really mentioned much but you actually used to live in Liverpool (Dawn was a student at LIPA) – did you enjoy your time in Merseyside? This is going to be a really awkward interview if you didn’t…..
Haha, I LOVE Liverpool. I had an absolutely great time here. When I left, I didn’t look back because life got so busy in London but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have the most amazing time here. I remember having such a good time but it was so different. The social life was smaller, I think it was the Finch and Furkin on Hope Street. Is The Pilgrim still open? I was there all the time. Zanzibar? I wouldn’t have a clue where to go nowadays.
The Pilgrim’s still around, don’t worry. Now we’ve confirmed that you love Liverpool, you can tell us; what’s your favourite thing about Scousers?
Scousers are so much fun to go out on the piss with! I had a few local friends when I was here. My social life wasn’t massively about my course and I had a little group of friends and we hung with a lot of Scousers. I love Liverpool humour. This guy Joey – Joey, if you’re reading this I don’t know where you are or what happened to you – but he used to make me laugh so much. He was old school Liverpool, he was about 40 odd when I were at college and he would just hang out with us and make us laugh all day. I’ve never forgotten him and he was one of the funniest people in the whole world. Scousers were great for a days drinking – that’s all I really did here if I’m honest!!
Now, your book Paper Aeroplanes is about two teenage girls and is marketed as a young adult read, any plans for literature just for the grown ups?
These two books (Paper Aeroplanes and the sequel Goose which Dawn is currently writing) are young adult but I’d like to keep writing about these two girls, Renee and Flo, all their life. I’ve already mapped out the 3rd book which is them in their 20′s and the 4th will be them in their 30′s. They’ll obviously be aimed at adults because the characters will have grown up. The idea is to keep the audience growing with the book, that would be ideal.
I didn’t write it any differently to how it would have been if the book was for adults; I didn’t think about teenagers when writing it – I thought about female friendship. I don’t have a teenager audience yet, so most of the readers have been 25 plus and the response has been amazing.
You’re returning to our TV screens soon with a show about internet dating – what can we expect?
The nice thing about the TV I’m doing nowadays is that it’s not about me. All my TV during my 20′s was about me going through an experience – that was the younger me. It was exhausting and took quite a lot out of me. The nice thing about this online dating show is that it’s about other people – I’m just doing the research and the investigating. So there’s a survey of 1000 people, all who are online dating, and we’re getting the answers about how to do it and what works and what doesn’t work. Vegetarians and Christians lie more in their profiles than meat eaters and atheists – really fun facts like that.
Any ‘Catfish’ style investigations?
It’s more about looking at the people who sell other people’s profiles. Some kids are under 18 and have joined a dating site then their details have appeared on quite adult sex sites! It’s quite grim because your information isn’t safe, so we’re warning people about that. I love internet dating – I did loads of it when I was younger, I think everyone should do it.
You met your husband online after all…
I did! I met him on Facebook – I’d never heard of him, I didn’t know who he was and he, through a friend who told him I was out in LA, contacted me and it’s the same kind of thing. It’s making that first approach online because you haven’t got time to go the pub every night and meet people so I just think, I had a great time internet dating when I was single and I met the love of my life on the internet so I think it’s a great thing.
Did you enjoy having a nosy at other people’s profiles?
Yeah. We do talk through how to write the right profile as well and it’s amazing how many people get it wrong. Also, how defensive people sound in their profiles. A lot of women say ‘I’M REALLY INDEPENDENT, NOT LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO CHANGE THAT’ – what’s appealing about that? You need to say ‘I’m an independent person but I’m looking for someone to be independent with’; it’s a different way of talking.
What do you think about speed dating?
Speed dating is odd. I’m not into that at all. I’d be interested to know how many people get together from speed dating. It’s so quick and silly; most of the people you’ll just be like ‘oh God’ and you won’t have a good night. I’m not into that, it’s not realistic.
Liverpool’s produced lots of glamorous celebrities – who’s your favourite famous Scouser?
Natasha Hamilton from Atomic Kitten. She’s so sweet. I met her at a party the other day and she’s really cute.
Lets see if you remember any Liverpool lingo – Scouse Brows, yes or no?
LOVE THEM. I like big eyebrows. Eyebrows for a while were really thin – so I’m glad big brows are back. Scouse Brows are awesome.
Do you remember what ‘Boss’ means?
That something’s ‘wicked’?
Scran is scouse for food – so if you were to have a pan of Scouse, you’d be having ‘a big fat scran’
Ahhhh. I had Scouse when I was here. I love of that kind of food; Scouse, Hot Pot, Corned Beef hash…..
Dawn, it’s been an absolute pleasure. You need to a refresher course on your Scouse lingo but as you love Scouse Brows so much we’ll let you off. And Joey, if you are reading this, give Dawn a Tweet…..
How To Find Love Online starts Tuesday 18th June, 22:30 on Channel 4.
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