What made you decide to sign up with a dating agency?
I’ve had a couple of years on my own and now I feel ready to meet somebody but I wasn’t quite sure when and how that was going to happen. A dating agency opens up the world so, rather than just meeting somebody from your local pool of people, there’s a wider group.
You’re one of the most glamorous women in the country — surely you don’t need help to find a man!
I’m 50. I don’t go to bars and clubs and they wouldn’t be the place I would necessarily want to meet somebody. I have a wonderful group of friends but most of them are in couples and I work as a psychotherapist, so that work is very much just me and my clients. Then we’ve had lockdown and we weren’t able to go out, so I decided to be proactive. Dating agencies can have a stigma — why would I have to? But the reality is, why not?
Saucy snaps: Melinda’s past
Do you think your glamour model days mean you attract the wrong sort of man?
Understandably, there could be a perception that I’m this uber-glamorous, sexy person. I’m actually the complete opposite! The wrong kind of person for me may be attracted by that, thinking that’s what they get, and actually I’m not that, so neither of us are happy and neither of us get the kind of relationship we want.
Why did you opt for a traditional agency rather than just swiping right?
My son, who is 20, said, ‘Just get on Tinder, mum!’ I said no way! To them that seems completely natural and I’m not knocking it. I know people in my age group who have met partners and it’s worked but I break out in hives at the thought of it. I wasn’t looking for a fling, I wanted to meet somebody for the long term. I had a friend who met his partner through Sara Eden and he said I should give it a go. I went along and I was really blown away by them. They sat for hours and really understood me and what I was looking for and what I was about. It’s much more bespoke.
What sort of man would you like to meet?
Somebody who is very genuine, kind, gentle and self-aware. Not the classic alpha male — quite the opposite. Ultimately, I’d like to meet somebody who is a life partner. I’ve no deep desire or urge to be married, though.
Are your children supportive over your search for love?
My children are really desperate for me to meet somebody. They’re constantly on my back! They want that for me and that’s really lovely.
Not her type: Alpha males like Bruce Wills
Would you ever ask a man out, or are you too shy?
I wouldn’t. I really wish I could but, given my history in relationships, I’m nervous. I’ve had a couple of challenging relationships and that makes you take stock of how you want a relationship to work.
What do your kids think of your glamour modelling?
They’ve got different takes on it. Morgan, who is 21, thinks it’s brilliant. His attitude is — yeah, good on you, why not? But he’s an extrovert. My other son, Flynn, aged 19, was deeply horrified and mortified by the whole thing and couldn’t understand why I would want to do that. My daughter Evie is somewhere in the middle.
Were you surprised you became so famous?
It was hugely surreal and it took me years to get my head around it. I still don’t understand why that happened. I never will but I accept it now. It was just one of those crazy things.
You then went on to become a successful TV presenter. Why did you walk away from your TV career and retrain as a psychotherapist?
It was something I always knew I wanted to do. I found psychotherapy training and thought that was absolutely it. It’s very beautiful soul work — being with another person and facilitating their healing.
How do you feel about being 50?
It’s made me feel a lot stronger, more confident and more independent. In the past I had those people-pleasing co-dependency tendencies, which doesn’t make for a healthy relationship. I’m not in that place any more. I’m quite fulfilled and whole in my own life.
What has lockdown been like for you?
It’s been a joy. It’s probably been one of the best periods of my life. Having that time to yourself is priceless. It’s been very peaceful, just me, the children, my friends and my animals. I’m at my happiest when I’m at home, with the doors open, the birds singing in the trees, the kids around and sitting there with a cup of tea. It’s bliss.
It sounds like you don’t really want to meet a man, Melinda!
That’s half the problem! But I thought I couldn’t get stuck in a rut because life is meant to be shared, isn’t it?