EXCLUSIVE: Stephanie Waring speaks to Closer about Hollyoaks, motherhood, and her beauty secrets

Stephanie Waring (AKA Hollyoaks' Cindy Cunningham) speaks to Closer about juggling motherhood with acting, her beauty tips, and what's next in store for one of the soap's longest standing characters...


by Ellie Hooper |
Published on

What’s in store for Cindy over the coming weeks?

So Cindy has been away from the village for awhile as you all know, and she’s been actively avoiding her other husband Mac who has just descended on the village.

Now she’s back, she’s trying desperately to keep her two husbands away from each other because heaven forbid that they meet! She needs to get an annulment, but she’s terrified Dirk will find out, so she’s going to need to enlist some legal help to get that done.

Stephanie out on the town
Stephanie out on the town

What’s the best thing about playing Cindy?

She’s like a fun b****. She has so many different colours and she doesn’t let anyone get in the way of what she wants.

But at the same time, she’s lovable - she’s sort of a camp, fun character.

However there’s depth to her too. Last year she was diagnosed with Bipolar, and now she’s fallen in love for the first time in her life.

I think in her heart Cindy just wants to settle down with a man and have a normal life, but with her illness and everything else that has happened, that’s going to be hard for her.

I love playing her because there are so many aspects to her and she’s so full of drama and emotion. It’s a real pleasure.

How do you deal with playing a character with a serious mental disorder?

Last year was particularly difficult. I got given the Bipolar disorder storyline and had to do a lot of research into how I was going to play that role. I went to a mental health unit and spoke with women living with the disorder, and found out what could and couldn’t happen.

A lot of the things I portray with Cindy I gleaned from speaking with other sufferers and hearing their experiences.

As we know, Cindy was diagnosed with other disorders first, but I think that’s quite realistic for sufferers, who often go through a few before finding what they really have.

I wanted to get it right, I found it really tough, but it was so rewarding in the end.

For the soap, it works well because she can be medicated or unmedicated depending on what’s happening, but we always have to be sensitive, and Hollyoaks have always been really great at tackling those hard-hitting storylines.

What’s next for Cindy?

I'm not sure. I’m enjoying the present so much I haven’t even really thought about what I would like the character to do next.

I love the dramatic stuff but I actually find that comedy is my favourite thing to do, so perhaps more of that.

What’s great about doing comedy scenes is that you spend the whole day laughing and have such an amazing time.

In contrast, when you’re doing emotional stuff you have to go somewhere to pull that out of you, and it can be very draining.

If you fake your way through it, you’re not delivering good TV, so you really have to invest in that scene.

Recently, with some of the scenes I’ve been filming, I’ve had to go there and it has made me ill (Stephanie was dragging herself through the flu when we spoke with her). They take their toll but they are so worth it.

Stephanie is mum to Mia and Lexi

How do you cope with working so much and being a mum to two little girls?

I don’t have it as tough as other parents, because I have my children 50% of the time, and their dads have them the other 50.

We have equal responsibility so that’s the way it should be.

There’s obviously after school clubs that help too and they allow me to work without having to use a babysitter.

I can pick them up at the end of the day, get them home, help them with their homework and put them to bed - nothing beats that feeling.

I then have one day at the weekend with them and that is proper quality time. So if I get papped out and about on the weekend, that’s because my children are at their dads, not because I’ve just dumped them on a babysitter!

Sometimes it’s hard and a juggling act but you get on with it.

I’ve been doing it a long time, you get yourself a routine, you don’t let yourself crumble and think, 'ah what am I going to do, it’s all out of control I’m so stressed.'

You’ve got to get on with it, you’ve got to do your job, you’ve got to pay the mortgage and you’ve got to take care of the kids, and that’s just how it is.

You always look fantastic on the red carpet, what are your hero beauty products you rely on to get you looking camera ready?

I’m really not fussy. I’ll use whatever I have in my make up bag. My one big secret isn’t a miracle cream or anything, it’s what I put in my body.

I turned my diet around earlier this year and since then my skin has just glowed. I just like to eat natural, unprocessed foods, green juice and the like, and that has really made my skin fantastic.

Before January I would just eat crap, processed meals and could never understand why my skin was so dull. But since I made the change people always comment on how nice my skin looks.

What about red carpet dressing, do you pick your own looks?

I don’t have a stylist but my really good friend is a fashion designer so I always ask her advice.

Usually I have an idea of what look I am going for, and she’ll help me finalise it. She can tweak it and just make it that extra bit special.

Tune into Hollyoaks, 6.30PM Weeknights on C4.

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