Cheryl Baker: Bucks Fizz star says “I don’t feel my age and I certainly don’t act my age.”

43 years after her iconic Eurovision triumph with Bucks Fizz, newly 70 Cheryl Baker has very much made her mind up about ageing and her unequivocal verdict is, ‘Don’t sit and stagnate.’

BucksFizz.Retro

Cheryl with her band mates from The Fizz. Photo credit: Instagram @thefizzcmj @Ruth

Born Rita Crudgington in 1954, Cheryl Baker won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1981 with Bucks Fizz, triumphing with the iconic song Making Your Mind Up. The group separated seven years later after 20 hit singles before Cheryl embarked on a successful TV presenting and musical theatre career. She has two twin daughters, Natalie and Kyla, with her husband Steve Stroud and lives in Kent.

Cheryl Baker

Rita Stroud aka Cheryl Baker

How many candles did you blow out on March 8th this year?

I blew out 70 candles this year and I didn’t think there was a cake big enough.

Is it a landmark you’re embracing?

I’ve discussed this with all my friends from school, who I still see regularly, and we’re still all nuts, we still laugh and love just like we used to.

When I was younger, I used to think of 70 as old, but I don’t feel old. I’m still on stage. I still rip my skirt off. I still dance about.

I have great friends, I’m still working. I love my life. Seventy doesn’t define me as I’m not 70 in my head.

How old are you in your head?

I feel the same age as I was when I was 21 or when I was 15.

When I was about 14, I remember saying to my sister Sheila, who has just turned 81, that she was quarter of a century old and I used to think of people in their seventies, ‘what’s the point of living anymore? You’re so old. Just die!’

But now I’m 70 I certainly don’t feel that. I don’t feel my age and I certainly don’t act my age.

BucksFizzTour

The Fizz are back on tour this summer. Photo credit: Instagram @thefizzcmj

What’s the best thing about ageing?

Wisdom. I still love learning stuff. And I love cooking. My family is very musical, but we love cooking, especially if it’s with a new ingredient we haven’t heard of.

I like the fact that my kids come to me because they know I know stuff and I only know stuff because I’m old. 

You were born Rita Crudgington, but the world has known you as Cheryl Baker for 50 years. Which persona is the real you?

I wear both hats, although I’m Rita Stroud now not Crudgington. When I’m on stage, I’m definitely Cheryl Baker. Rita Stroud would not go on stage and rip her skirt off. She just wouldn’t.

Rita Stroud is embarrassed to sing in front of people. Rita Stroud went to Asda this morning with no make-up on but talking to you now Cheryl Baker wouldn’t dream of doing that with no make-up on. I like wearing two hats. 

 

It’s now 43 years since you won the Eurovision Song Contest with Making Your Mind Up. How different do you feel from the 27-year-old Cheryl who famously ripped off her blue silk skirt mid-song?

I don’t feel different at all.

After losing the first time it was a dream to win second time but I’m still the same person. I’ve still got the same silly sense of humour.

I still cry with laughter. Non-stop. I love laughing actually. I love humour. I’m the same person. I’m just older.

Album artwork for Everything Under the Sun by The Fizz

Album artwork for Everything Under the Sun by The Fizz

Do you think following your passion in life has kept you younger?

I really do, yes. You can change your life, with the way that you think and the way that you act. If you’re a lazy person, and you eat too much chocolate and cake and stuff, then you’re probably going to put on weight, and you might be unhappy with that.

You can do something about it. I’m a very much an optimist and I think if something bad goes wrong in my life I always think that something good is going come out of it in the end anyway.

A positive person can make positive things happen. And likewise negative people can make negative things happen. I really believe that. You are in control of your own destiny. 

Performing with Bucks Fizz Eurovision

Performing with Bucks Fizz at Eurovision, 1981

Do you love performing as passionately aged 70 as you did when you were 20?

I adore it. I absolutely love it. I come to life when I go on stage and when you hear the cheers of the crowd who are just there to see you, I just can’t wipe the smile off my face. I jump up and down like I’m 21 again.  

Are you the same off stage?

I went away with my sister and some friends on a long weekend last year, and we were all up dancing. There was definitely some bad behaviour. I love bad behaviour. It’s fun. I’ve always been a bit naughty.

Cheryl Baker

Cheryl Baker

What would your message be to people of a similar age to you who don’t embrace life quite so passionately?

I do see friends who say, ‘Oooh, I couldn’t do what you do,’ but then I couldn’t do what they do. I couldn’t sit and stagnate. Life’s too fantastic for that. You’ve got to live it.

Some people are quite happy to just sit and be couch potatoes and let the television rule their lives, but I could never be like that. I have to keep myself busy.

I hate getting up in the morning and thinking, ‘I’ve got nothing to do.’ Everyone lives their own life and if that’s what they want to do, that’s fair enough, but there is a life out there. There’s so much out there that you can do. You don’t have to just sit and watch the telly.

Cheryl Baker

Cheryl Baker will perform with the Fizz at the London Indigo O2

You’ve already achieved a lot but what’s still on your bucket list?

My bucket list was to win Eurovision, and I did that 43 years ago. My aim now is to see my children be successful in whatever they want to do in their life.

And when you’re 80 or 90, will you still be ripping your skirt off on stage?

When you’re on stage you take people back to 1981, so if I possibly can I’ll still be ripping my skirt off when I’m 80 or 90.

THE FIZZ (Formerly Bucks Fizz) will be performing at London’s Indigo 02 on 28th June.  For tickets go to: https://www.theo2.co.uk/events/detail/the-fizz