Strictly’s Tess Daly says only her mum uses her real name after changing it years ago
Strictly Come Dancing host Tess Daly has revealed the reason why she ditched her real name – and admitted she didn’t even choose Tess herself. She has credited her modelling agent with coming up with her now-famous name
Strictly Come Dancing host Tess Daly has revealed only her mum calls her by her real name after her agent changed it at the start of her career.
The telly star was born Helen Daly and started her career as a teenage model.
However, her agent discovered there was already a model on the books of her agency with the same name, so she had to change it.
Tess revealed her agent picked the name Tess for her and now her mum is the only person who still calls her Helen.
She told Weekend magazine: “My mum’s really the only person who still calls me Helen, and that’s not often.
“She tends to call me ‘love’, so when she does say ‘Helen’ it can take me a while to respond.”
She went on to explain how she got her new name, revealing her agent was a big fan of an actress who starred in Roman Polanski 1979 film Tess.
Tess added: “My agent was obsessed with [the actress] Nastassja Kinski at the time, who was in the film Tess, and thought I looked like her.
“So Tess it was. I was gullible and impressionable. Mind you, two weeks later I was in Japan then travelled the world. Paris, Milan, New York.”
She has never changed her name officially so remains Helen on paper, admitting she doesn’t think it would be right to abandon the name her parents gave her.
Tess said: “I’ve never changed it by deed poll or anything because I think it would be disrespectful to my parents.”
The telly star is back on the box tonight with Strictly Come Dancing’s first live show, while her husband Vernon Kay is also making a return to TV.
Vernon has long been said to be a part of the new series of I’m A Celebrity, and he was pictured along with seven other rumoured contestants taking part in a photoshoot for the show.
If it’s true, Vernon is going to be spending the next two weeks in isolation before being packed off to Wales to film the series at a ruined castle.