Cherry Healey gets touchy-feely

Cherry Healey has never been shy of getting completely involved in the issues she is investigating.

She was filmed giving birth during her BBC3 programme on pregnancy and made a documentary about marriage while preparing for her own wedding.

Now, in Cherry Healey: How To Get A Life, she tries out a range of modern lifestyle choices, from our obsession with looks to addiction and relationships.

We caught up with 31-year-old Cherry to find out what she discovered…

The programmes are all about how we deal with modern life… We start with a programme about vanity, asking if our looks have become more important to us than or personalities in an era where fake tans are pretty much standard, plastic surgery isn’t shocking any more and people have Botox in their lunch breaks.

I got a tattoo for the programme on vanity… But I wanted one anyway. I try to get personally involved in the programmes. For the one on work, I followed a City trader around for a day. He works 20 hours a day and lives off caffeine pills and caffeine drinks. Half way through the day I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I’d had so much caffeine, my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my rib cage.

Later in the series we look at addiction… I met a guy who smokes salvia. I didn’t even know what it was. Apparently, you put it in a pipe and smoke it and it makes you hallucinate for a couple of minutes. It’s legal, but I felt uncomfortable about it, so I didn’t try it.

I call what I do immersion journalism… A lot of normal journalism is about speculating why somebody does something and then making judgments from the outside. I think it can be helpful to stand in somebody’s shoes for a day.

It can be difficult exposing as much of my life on screen as I do… My husband and I talk loads about where the boundaries are. My daughter Coco appears in the programmes. But she’s not yet three, so she doesn’t mind. She only cares about whether we’re having fish fingers for tea.

I started out wanting to be a director… I’d still like to try it at some time. I might miss being the centre of attention as a presenter, but being able to boss people about should make up for that.

It’s hysterical the things people make up about you when you’re in the public eye… There’s a story going around that I used to be the British breakdancing champion!

Cherry Healey: How to Get a Life begins on BBC3 on Wednesday, June 20 at 9pm

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