As a brand new series of Let’s do Lunch with Gino & Mel gets underway on ITV, Melanie Sykes has her ambitions focused on Olympic glory. She’s going to Rio to shoot clay pigeons with Team GB. Many people are surprised that she’s taken such a liking to the sport of shooting, but Mel says she thinks she’ll be good at it due to her skill at darts and snooker.
Model, presenter, mother, newlywed – Melanie Sykes never sits still for long. And now she’s set her sights on the Rio Olympics.
She’s just as bubbly in person as she is on telly, so it’s no wonder Melanie Sykes recently had to tell herself: “Just sit down and chill, wench.” Well, herself and about 120,000 followers.
“I tweeted it and everyone responded with, ‘Oh my God, you’re mad,'” she laughs. “I do have to talk myself into relaxing. I was literally going, ‘For God’s sakes, Sykes, sit down!’ So I put on an episode of Mad Dogs and made myself properly switch off.”
Switching off isn’t easy for the 42-year-old presenter, model, newlywed and Olympic hopeful.
Yes, you read that right – Mel is in training for clay-pigeon shooting at Rio 2016 and, armed with her kind of determination, you can bet she will pull it off. But more of that later.
Aiming for the Olympics is one of many things this tireless multi-tasker is juggling at the moment. Spare time is a rare thing when you’re doing a live weekday TV show, and have a sportswear range and health supplements to promote.
But watching Mad Dogs, Mad Men or Breaking Bad is her definition of bliss.
“And if the sun’s out, then I’m out,” says Mel, who has lived in London for more than two decades but has lost none of her Lancashire twang. “Doing nothing apart from reading a good book and sunbathing – that’s when I’m happiest. Chilling by a pool and sunbathing suits me just fine.
“I don’t have a pool, let me make that clear,” she adds, lest anyone should think this most down-to-earth of TV stars has a lofty lifestyle. “I live in a flat. But the ideal family day would be me and Jack lying next to a pool somewhere and the kids having fun in the water.”
Jack is Jack Cockings, a 27-yearold roofer who Mel met via Twitter last year and married in May.
Jack has a young son, Lewis, while Mel has two boys from her first marriage to Italian actor Daniel Caltagirone – Roman, 10, and Valentino, eight. But she reckons that marriage hasn’t altered their lives too drastically.
“We fell in love, we’re together and being married doesn’t feel any different,” she explains. “It’s just a commitment we made in front of other people – and it was amazing – but for us as a couple, nothing’s changed.”
They tied the knot at Sherborne Castle in Dorset (Jack’s neck of the woods) Des O’Connor and Eamonn Holmes among the guests.
“It was fun and romantic,” she recalls with a smile. “There was a lot of laughter and happiness.”
But no first dance as such. Rather than rehearse a special routine, Mel and Jack resorted to “that romantic thing of going around in a circle a million times. It’s not really me and Jack to prepare a dance,” she adds.
“We were planning the wedding and we’ve got kids and careers and all those things were going on at the same time, so learning a routine just wasn’t on the agenda.”
Shooting clay pigeons is a bit different than playing snooker or throwing darts, but it does show that Melanie Skyes is good at aiming. That should set her up pretty well for the Olympics in Rio. Let’s see how this fair sports lover does.