And then Victoria Wood arrived into our homes via television. I had already been warned off her by my mother, who said she sang lewd songs about condoms (VW, not my mother, to clarify). Finally, here was a woman who looked like I wanted to look. She was northern and funny and confident – at least on the outside. She loved Joyce Grenfell, someone I already delighted in from hearing her on the radio. I still have her biography bought in my teenage years. (‘Nursery school’ tracks on YouTube if you are interested). Victoria Wood wore suits, or jackets and trousers, and commanded the stage. Finally, I had a role model and a style. One of my sisters used to describe me to others as being like Victoria Wood and I felt confident enough to go her wedding in a bright pink linen trouser suit, shirt and bow tie. The trousers had shrunk significantly in the wash and I hadn’t realised until the day itself, so my outfit was not all it could have been. But oh the joy of not having to wear a skirt or dress! I went to see Victoria Wood live in Bristol, my body ached from laughing so much and at one point, I seemed to have even run out of laughter, she was so funny.
I was so sad to hear of Victoria Wood’s death yesterday. I didn’t know her, yet she was such an important person for me, when I so badly needed to see a different way of being a woman in the world. This is the thing about being a role model. We don’t necessarily intend to be one, but when we are fully ourselves and let our light shine through, we influence others and help them to grow, even if we never know it. Thanks Victoria.