These days Andrea McLean is a well-known TV presenter and enjoys a thriving career as co-anchor of Loose Women.
But she’s admitted the road to success wasn’t easy and as an aspiring journalist she used to work for free and live in a bedsit.
Andrea, 48, candidly recounted the early days of her career on Instagram, after coming across a post about other famous faces’ early struggles.
She re-posted a quote which read: “At 23… JK Rowling was broke, Tina Fey was working at the YMCA, Oprah had just been fired as a TV reporter and Walt Disney had just declared bankruptcy.
“It’s going to be okay.”
The post inspired Andrea to recount her own life as a 23-year-old on her gap year, and how her early experiences of journalism involved unpaid work and a bank loan after returning to the UK broke.
She told fans: “At 23 I was backpacking around Asia and Australia without a phone, laptop or any way of being contacted other than calling from pay phones and giving the address of post offices to my parents.
“I took six albums of photos and filled three books with notes and memories. I came home broke but driven; I knew if I could survive a year away from home I was brave enough to try anything.
“A few months later I had a bank loan, a bedsit in London and worked for free for any national magazine that would take me.
“Some nights, on my way home from a late shift, I’d stop on Waterloo Bridge to take in the awesome beauty of London, and feel the thrill of excitement that I was ‘actually doing this!’
“I still stop on the same spot on the bridge that I used to all those years ago, and marvel that 24 years later I am still ‘actually doing this’ and still get a huge kick out of it.
“I hope I will always have the buzz and excitement of a 23 year year old, no matter how old I am!”
Many of Andrea’s fans branded her post “inspirational”, with one saying: “Great story, we are all stronger than we know.”
Another said: “This made me cry! What an inspiration for your kids, well, everyone! Keep doing it.”
A third chipped in: “I bet there are some strong determined women, in your family tree. Well done, so happy for you, for your new life ahead.”
Andrea’s got an exciting time ahead after getting engaged to boyfriend Nick Feeney in Paris over the summer.
It will be Andrea’s third marriage – and for the first time, she’s going to take her husband’s name after the wedding.
“I’m going to be getting married and whether to change my surname has been going through my mind,” she said on Loose Women.
“I think, actually, for the first time I will change my surname.”
“This feel so different and so right and I actually really want to have the same name as him on a passport, which I’ve never had before,” she added.
“Now I know this is what it’s supposed to feel like. It feels so nice and makes it special.”