Style of the City talks exclusively with Cardiff’s foremost style and beauty influencer, actress and mother of two – Danielle Bux; who’s about to embark on the newest chapter of her life.
Stunningly beautiful, Welsh and Gary Lineker all spring to mind when we think of Danielle Bux. She was thrust into the limelight at 28 after becoming involved with Match of the Day host Gary Lineker, whom she later married (and subsequently divorced in a very amicable manner in 2016). Danielle grew up in Cardiff, attending Cantonian High School. Shortly after finishing her A-Levels she was chosen to represent the UK in Miss Hawaiian Tropic and following that booked several prestigious modelling assignments. But acting is Danielle’s real passion, after attending acting classes at the Guildhall, London she made her acting debut in ‘Calendar Girls’ at the Bristol Hippodrome. She has since appeared in several TV and film productions including BBC One’s ‘Silent Witness’ and NBC’s ‘Aquarius’.
We speak to Danielle at her West Hollywood home where she sips her morning coffee looking effortlessly beautiful. One may think that LA would have impacted her but her distinct down to earth nature is ever present.
How is life in LA at the moment?
Life is really good and also pretty hectic; with a new baby, we have just got a new puppy and I’ve just taken on a new housing renovation. As I have just had a baby I may as well get the craziness out of the way now and do everything at the same time – plus I am actually going out to auditions again. The sun is always shining here though, which definitely helps.
What do you miss the most about home?
I miss my family and friends for sure; if I could just simply lift them all up and bring them here it would be perfect. I am very Welsh – as you can hear; I have no hint of an American accent. Can you imagine if we had sun in Wales? It is one of the most beautiful places in the world and I always say that. We have got the mountains, the sea, the greenery, it’s an absolutely stunning landscape and I feel so proud to be Welsh. I also always wear a signet ring on my little finger with a Welsh crest on it.
What are some of your fondest memories of Wales? Also, what was it like growing up in Cardiff in the 80s and 90s?
My grandmother was from Cardiff docks, so I grew up with people from all different places and all races. I absolutely loved that, it makes you so much more of a well-rounded person. I don’t want my children growing up in a sterile area of LA.
You did an amazing wedding shoot for Asiana Magazine, which originated from your own Asian ancestry; can you elaborate a little on your heritage?
I always knew where I came from, I was darker skinned than all the other children in school but I never really embraced it until Ella (Danielle’s 16-year-old daughter) started to ask questions. My grandfather came to Cardiff after the second world war from Pakistan and married my grandmother who was Irish. Thus, I grew up watching Bollywood movies with my Nana and that started my love of Bollywood.
In 2007, you were thrust into the limelight, which must have been a very sudden phenomenon, how was that experience and how did you cope with that?
That was really difficult actually and for a while I thought I might not be able to stay in the relationship because it was so much pressure. At the time my brother was in Rookwood hospital (a spinal injuries hospital in Llandaff, Cardiff) he had an accident that had left him paralysed and the intrusion at that time was unbelievable. But Gary is great he deals with it so well, he is unbelievably calm as he is used to it – so he has really helped me through it. It was very odd and very strange and I didn’t know if this is what I wanted for the rest of my life.
How did you manage to stay grounded?
Friends and family really, my friends have never changed and I just don’t think I have changed ever after being in the limelight. That whole limelight and celebrity thing I never really indulged in any of it as none of my friends are in the public eye and therefore we have never really been on the circuit. We went to the odd event maybe that mattered to us. I quickly realised that being with Gary meant that people will take your picture and they will write about you, whether you like it or not. I really struggled with that and for about a year we didn’t really go out or do anything.
You are in this amazing space right now and you have just had a new baby girl called Romy Wren, what was it like to become a Mum again after a 15 year break?
It was really exciting but also really tough, I know we are able to have children later and that is fantastic, but it is so much harder the older you are. I am just about coping with the lack of sleep; I really feel it so much more this time than I did with Ella. On the other hand, though, I am much more patient, I’ve got more patience than I did with Elle. I know now that teething doesn’t last forever and waking up at night doesn’t last forever but when you are young you have no idea, so I think you are a bit more frantic and anxious. So, in many ways I am way more chilled out, but also I am bloody exhausted. I went out last night and I had a glass of champagne and oh my God I thought I was going to die this morning. I just thought I cannot do it anymore. It is hard work but she is so adorable and she brings us so much joy.
You always look stunning as well as being a beautiful person, how did you manage to get your wonderful figure back so quickly?
I am not back to where I was, I am in my clothes again but they feel a bit tight so I know I have a little way to go. I wouldn’t say I am working that hard, although I am working out 3 times a week and I have definitely cut down on the carbs and eating late at night. I put on nearly 3 stone being pregnant and she was a big girl at 8.5 lbs. Everyone was laughing at me saying I was the biggest pregnant woman they had ever seen, but I actually really enjoyed my pregnancy. I see these pregnant girls who are still stick thin and I think “for once in your life just let it go, have the piece of chocolate cake!”
How do you juggle being a mother to daughters and working?
I’ve got my partner’s sister who will come in and help watch the baby for a couple of hours, so at least I have someone. I also am lucky to have my daughter Ella, who is a great help, if she isn’t at school she will help with Romy. It is tough because it is not just the logistics, but you also feel so guilty as a mother, although you do not need to keep that sense of self also. I believe that girls need a role model, a mother who goes out to work, I want them to see that women can kick ass and do what they want.
Can you tell me a little bit about the housing project?
I bought a really old house, it’s literally the worst house on the street as in falling down etc, but I really love it. I was doing the projects before I had even met Gary, but on a much smaller scale. I was buying really old run down places and then living in them a while, then doing them up slowly. I absolutely love it; the last house that we had lived in (Gary still lives there) took 2.5 years to do up. I have also always loved vintage and boho style, I really don’t like anything modern at all, such as shiny surfaces etc. So, I think people were a bit shocked when they saw my house, maybe they were expecting to see footballer’s wives style.
Where are you now in the project management phase?
We are about 4-5 months off being finished; I would say 6 to be safe. I would have liked to have pulled the house down and started again but the house is in a historic area – so you have to work with what’s there – which is really nice as all the houses have character, even the street lamps are a little bit deco and it’s so pretty. It isn’t a flashy area at all, I would absolutely die if I had to live in Beverly Hills as it’s so sterile and boring.
Who has been your inspiration in the film world?
Obviously, Catherine Zeta-Jones springs to mind straight away as she is absolutely brilliant and she is still so Welsh. I have actually met her a couple of times and she is so funny and a mesmerizing beauty to look at. Emily Blunt has also really inspired me – I love that she can do serious and that she can do comedy and I just think that she is absolutely brilliant.
How do you prepare for your roles?
I actually can be a bit of a nightmare before I start something new; I get a bit stressed and need my own space. I also like to spend a little bit of time with what it is that I will be working with, I don’t like to go in cold, so maybe I will have a coffee with them. The last film that I did with Warren Brown (an independent movie by Matt Wilde called Kicking Off) where I played his girlfriend, it was really nice to get to know him beforehand. I am not in the position now to be taking on these really deep characters, although I would love to be in that position one day. Right now I am lucky to be on set, doing what I do and having a taste of it.
Who gave you that ambition and drive to do what you are doing today? Who gave you that fire in your belly?
I had two unbelievable grandmothers, their strength was unbelievable and the lives that they had as children were really not good. I think I got their strength and courage from them and their kick-ass mentality. My grandfather died quite young, so my grandmother was left with 7 children to look after on her own. I can honestly say that I had two unbelievable, strong and beautiful role models in my life.
You have a 16-year-old daughter, Ella, what is the best advice you share with her now as a young woman?
I keep telling her now not to really care about what other people think. I believe that is what I would tell my younger self, if I could. To not really care what others think, or are doing, or saying, and just focus on your own goal. This is something that Gary taught me as well – that it is a waste of energy.
Can you share your beauty and skin care secrets with our readers?
My biggest skincare secret is to use Retinol (a cream that belongs to the Vitamin A family) its that the only thing that makes your skin produce more collagen. I usually do Retinol once or twice a week and I love the Skinceuticals range which I regularly use. I have tried laser and infrared treatments also; however, I have heard that laser peels can really thin your skin, which isn’t good. I never use fake tans – clearly, I think even if you are pale just embrace it. I really look up to French women, they really look after their skin, they look effortless as if they haven’t tried, even though we know they have. Ella doesn’t wear any makeup, she just puts a little Vaseline on her eyelashes and I am trying to encourage her to look after her skin.
What can we expect from Danielle Bux in the next year?
I have recently shot in Los Angeles for a park in an up and coming movie called “The Wedding Year” starring Sarah Hyland (of Modern Family). It should be released sometime next year – and I am very excited about the project.