FOR obvious reasons, there hasn’t been much to cheer about over the last couple of years, but there’s one outcome of the pandemic that Dannii Minogue is celebrating.
After more than 30 years, her big sister Kylie has decided to quit her adopted home in the UK and return to Australia – and Dannii, who has been based in Melbourne since 2010, couldn’t be more delighted.
“Kylie’s moving back to Australia,” she says. “It’s always so amazing to have the family together. We are definitely a tight-knit bunch and for many years have been separated by a lot of distance, but I think in this last incredible year so many families have been on such a reminiscing journey and spending time together – and that changes things.
“Here we are in 2021 and it’s going to be amazing to have Kylie back home. The whole of Melbourne is excited!”
Kylie, 53, reportedly made the life-changing decision while on an unplanned extended stay in Oz earlier this year, when pandemic travel restrictions meant she was unable to return to the UK. The sisters found themselves living in the same country again for the first time in more than a decade and it gave them a chance to reconnect. It also meant Kylie got to spend quality time with her nephew, Dannii’s 11-year-old son Ethan.
Having so much time with family made Kylie reassess her future, and she will base herself in Australia from now on.
If anyone can give her advice on such a major relocation, it’s Dannii. She took the plunge herself over a decade ago when she left London to have Ethan – her son with her model ex Kris Smith, 43 – after nearly 20 years in the capital.
She now lives in a four-bedroom house in the affluent Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn East, close to her parents Ronald, 80, and Carol, 77, who still live in Surrey Hills, where she and Kylie grew up.
“When I moved back to Australia, that was a huge change, because I never thought I’d leave London. [Like] I never thought I’d be a parent, and suddenly I’m moving back home and my world is going to be focused on Ethan.
“The most important lesson I want to pass on to Ethan is ‘always trust your gut.’ It’s something I’ve been thinking about so much lately – to do what makes you feel good. I think Covid has taught us a lot about how we’ve got to really make the best out of every day.”
It’s also taught us that Zoom conversations can be awkward and no one looks good on a laptop camera – apart from Dannii, that is. Not only does she radiate a warmth through the screen that makes you feel like you are talking to your best friend, but she also looks much younger than 50 – a birthday she celebrated just a couple of days ago – as This Morning fans agreed when Dermot O'Leary revealed her age this week.
There are a lot of women who feel that they have to lie about their age. Back in the day, we didn’t see a lot of women in TV and film after a certain age.
Both Kylie and Dannii have been open about having Botox in the past, but they decided to put a stop to that back in 2010. Instead, Dannii attributes her youthful looks to good genes from her Welsh granny, Millie Jones, who turns 102 later this year.
“My dad has really good skin, too. It’s obviously down to the boring things that we know are good for you – sleep, exercise, drinking water. I try to look after myself with regular facials. I haven’t gone much over the years, but recently I’ve definitely had to ramp that up. I have terrible rosacea so I have laser treatment for it. It makes the skin so smooth and glowing and it helps with collagen [stimulation].
“If I sit in a make-up chair and the make-up artist is like: ‘Your skin is good,’ that’s my favourite thing!”
She says she’s proud of being 50 and has never been tempted to shave a few years off her age.
“There are a lot of women who feel that they have to lie about their age. Back in the day, we didn’t see a lot of women in TV and film after a certain age. So I suppose it started way back with Hollywood actresses lying about their age just so they could keep working. But I guess I’ve been lucky enough to grow up in a time where I’ve seen that change. And I now have role models like my icon [fashionista and Insta fave] Iris Apfel, who is just loving life at 100.
“I can see women of all ages are visible out there on TV and film doing an amazing job. I think that women used to have panic attacks about turning 30, because that’s when they would disappear from our screens. Now you can be in your prime at any decade – even 100 like Iris. So I think it’s going to change and women will stop lying about their age and start just being really empowered by it and owning it.”
And own it Dannii certainly does, after Kylie’s breast cancer diagnosis in 2005 gave her a more philosophical approach to ageing.
“Growing old is a privilege,” she says. “I realised that after going through Kylie being sick and not knowing if we were going to lose her. And then I lost my best friend to cancer. If I’m around people now who are upset about getting older it just takes my breath away – like, seriously? There’s a real appreciation of life and you’ve got to celebrate it.”
Her 50th birthday plans might be temporarily on hold while Melbourne remains in lockdown, but she jokes that this means she will have no option but to carry on the celebrations for the next 12 months to make up for it – with Kylie by her side.
The sisters have always been close, with Kylie leaping to Dannii’s defence when, after Simon Cowell hired her for The X Factor, she faced cruel taunts over her music career from fellow judges Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh. Kylie described the sneers as “pathetic jibes” and said the constant comparisons between her and Dannii “annoy the hell out of me”.
Kylie also duetted with Dannii’s contestant Leon Jackson in 2007, who went on to win the show, and the sisters performed together for the first time in 30 years at Kylie’s Christmas gig at the Royal Albert Hall in 2015.
Perhaps most importantly, Kylie moving home means Dannii will once again have full access to her coveted haul of designer accessories.
“My sister has an incredible handbag collection. I’ve gone through wardrobes and found bags that she’s forgotten about and then borrowed them! So we have a lot of fun.
“We are different sizes, so [we swap] shoes, handbags, scarves, stuff like that.”
However, while they are more than happy to share now, it wasn’t always that way. As girls growing up, they used to fight all the time because they had to share a room.
“When we were kids sharing a bedroom, it was the opposite. We didn’t want to share a bedroom. There was a line drawn down the middle. And you weren’t allowed to borrow each other’s stuff – you know, just trying to stake out your own territory. Now we are the complete opposite.”
Her 50th birthday has been a perfect time for Dannii – who began her TV career in Australia at the age of seven – to reflect on all her achievements. After a spell as troubled teen Emma Jackson in Home And Away, she moved to the UK to launch her pop career, before becoming a judge on The X Factor from 2007 to 2010. For the last two years she has been a judge on The Masked Singer Australia.
“The Masked Singer has been such a joy,” she says. “I’m just having the best fun because it’s everything I love. It’s like family TV with costumes, colour, sparkle, music, and I’m along for the ride. Coming to London to do The Masked Singer [UK version] would be really fun, but I would have to brush up on which celebrities are around, because I’ve been away for so long!
I’m always adding to my bucket list of stuff that I want to learn and do. Though I have to say I’m pretty content, pretty happy. I’m a mum. I’ve got abeautiful boyfriend. I’ve got family I love and a job I love.
“I’m always adding to my bucket list of stuff that I want to learn and do. Though I have to say I’m pretty content, pretty happy. I’m a mum. I’ve got a beautiful boyfriend [Dannii has been dating Adrian Newman, 47, since 2014]. I’ve got family I love and a job I love.
“At each major birthday you do tend to look back, and that can be completely scary because you don’t know what’s ahead or if it’s going to be different. But you never want to be back in that same life as when you were in your 20s. You move on and you make it fun.
“There’s a lot of reflection, and a lot of it came from Kylie turning 50, my brother Brendan turning 50 [in August 2020], and my dad turning 80, because we’ve been getting out family photos and looking through stuff.
“I’m the [youngest] one, and I always get the eyeroll on my birthday because they’re like: ‘You’re the baby!’ At some point we’ll all get together and just accumulate all of the 50ths and 80ths and make something happen.”
The best bit about having a delayed birthday party is all the belated presents, of course.
“I love champagne. A beautiful glass with a beautiful champagne in it and some good music. I love all of that – it makes me happy. Kylie gives good presents. She’s known in our family
for being extremely creative and she just has a knack for making things look nice and making things sentimental.
“What she’s done over the last year is, when we get a present as a family member, she goes through all the old photos and prints out a bunch and adds them to the wrapping paper.
“You relive all of these beautiful memories and then you open the present. I don’t know what she’s got in store for this year, but just being able to see family, that’s enough for me.”
Dannii, who is 5ft 1in, has also just launched her petite clothing range with QVC – and naturally, Kylie was on hand to help out.
“All my life I couldn’t find anything to fit and had to get everything tailored. It was a delight when QVC wanted to invest in this and have a full collection. There’s been a really emotional response from the customers. Kylie is loving my QVC range obviously, because she is petite, too.
"She’s always throwing in ideas, or I show her new clothes and that sparks another idea. She’s very good at contributing, and I bounce ideas off her as we’ve had a lifetime of frustration of trying to find things that will fit.
“She’s ordered a lot of rings as well because they fit her tiny little hands and she wears them all the time, which makes me so happy.”
And with Kylie soon to be back at her side, we’re sure there are many more happy times ahead for Dannii.
- Dannii Minogue Petites and Dannii Minogue for Diamonique are available exclusively at Qvcuk.com.
In the make up chair with Dannii
What’s your make-up bag essential?
I have red skin, so I don’t feel comfortable unless I have a bit of tinted moisturiser on and Runway mascara (it’s black with a warmth to it, and with blue eyes it’s really good). And always eyelash curlers, too.
What do you splurge on?
I love essential oils, such as Aromatherapy Associates Revive. It smells beautiful, makes your skin really glow and changes your whole mood.
Best budget buy?
A magnifying mirror – that’s what happens with age!
Who’s your beauty icon?
With or without make-up, J.Lo’s face is amazing. I just want to be able to look like her.
How has your look evolved?
In the ’90s, I had the thinnest brows – I can’t believe they grew back. An incredible lady called Amy Jean looked at me when I moved to Oz and said: “We can fix it.”
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