Dolly Alderton is one of those names that every woman aged twenty and above has heard of. She’s the beloved British author, agony aunt and best friend to everyone who’s gone on a date, fallen in love or had their heart broken. Her candid tone of voice and ability to make very personal situations somehow feel universal has seen her win the hearts and minds of young women everywhere.
A published author of two incredible books — Everything I Know About Love and Ghosts — the former of which has been adapted into a TV series), a podcast host on the High Low and Love Stories, and frequent guest, columnist and much more, Alderton’s career has been wildly expansive — and thank god for that.
While she’s never one to shy away from sharing personal details about her life, our obsession has caused us to investigate even further, unearthing some surprising facts that diehard fans may not be aware of.
Below, ten facts about Dolly Alderton that will make you love her more.
Her real name isn’t Dolly
The author was actually born in London as Hannah Alderton, before changing her first name to Dolly during her teenage years.
She was rejected from Bristol University
Appearing on an episode of Elizabeth Day’s popular podcast, How To Fail, Alderton revealed that she was rejected admission to Bristol University which cause her a lot of self-esteem issues throughout her teens and late twenties.
To this day, she still can’t help but feel resentful of anyone who attended the University.
She’s been on a lot of dates
After landing a job as a dating columnist for The Sunday Times Style, Alderton went on over 100 dates between 2015-2017 alone (which makes sense, given she was writing her column weekly and obviously needed content).
She trialled seven different dating apps and three different sites in order to track down some potential suitors, and as she later revealed, dated just about everyone you can think of.
“There have been bankers, lawyers, musicians, barmen, taxi drivers and conspiracy theorists. I’ve been on the front line, guys. The John Simpson of dating. I’ve seen it all,” she wrote in 2017.
She didn’t think her first book, Everything I Know About Love, would be a success
While Everything I Know About Love became the universal bible for women in their mid to late twenties, resonating with people all over the world. Shockingly though, the author suffered major anxiety of whether or not it would be a success.
“A month before my book came out I remember ringing my mum in a panic, in floods of tears, because I was so convinced that the only people who would buy it would be my extended friends and family,” she told the Evening Standard in 2020.
“I remember crying to my mum on the phone saying ‘I’m worried people at Penguin are going to lose their jobs’.”
As we now know, the book went on to be a great success, landing itself on the Sunday Times bestseller list in its first week of publication and winning a National Book Award (UK) for Autobiography of the Year. In May 2021, news broke that the BBC had commissioned an adaptation of the book for a series of the same name.
The synopsis describes it as a “generous, funny, warm-hearted and uplifting Sex & The City for millennials which covers bad dates and squalid flat-shares, heartaches and humiliations, and, most importantly, unbreakable female friendships.”
The show is streaming June 8 on Stan.
She doesn’t want to write about her personal life anymore
Understandably, for someone who has spent most of their career divulging the most intimate details of their private life, she’s happy to take a break from her tell-all style of writing.
“Put simply, my first book was all my good stories,” Alderton told BBC News in 2020. “I had a particular story to tell. And that was also a thematic story that fit neatly into a memoir, which was a story about growing up.
“But also, I just don’t want to write about my personal life any more, I have neither the inclination nor the strength to do that,” she said. “Not to say that I regret doing that. I’m really glad I did that for that period of my life. But any desire to do that has completely left me now.”
Currently, Alderton still works for The Sunday Times, but now, as an agony aunt. This way, she can help others with their personal lives, offering advice and insight in that candid way that only Dolly can. She describes it as a ‘dream job’ and is grateful for the opportunity to pass her wisdom along to the rest of the world.
“Think of how you persuade your parents that you’re old enough to get your ears pierced, I’m so grateful that I’ve persuaded my editor that I’m old enough to be an agony aunt, I’m loving it so much, it’s my favourite journalism gig I’ve had,” she explained in an interview with the Evening Standard.
She’s a huge Sex And The City Fan
If you’re a fan of Dolly, you’ll absolutely love her good friend and fellow-writer Caroline O’Donoghue, who hosts a podcast called Sentimental Garbage. Last year, the two combined forces to launch a limited-series titled, Sentimental In The City, where they discussed every season (and the questionable films) of Sex And The City.
The glorious duo debrief every minor detail, from the terrible ongoing treatment of poor Steve to which of Carrie’s boyfriends they hated the most. It feels like you’re hanging out with two friends, gossiping over your favourite show over a bottle of wine (an absolute must-listen if you haven’t already).
Nora Ephron is one of her favourite authors
The greatest authors of our time are almost always inspired by other great authors who came before them, for Alderton, it’s Nora Ephron. In an interview with i-D which asked her to share the books that have made her the woman she is, Alderton listed Heartburn, I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing, all written by Nora Ephron.
In 2020, I Feel Bad About My Neck was re-released with an introduction from Alderton, where she talked about the love lessons she’s learned both from Ephron and from life itself — undoubtedly a career highlight for the author.
She doesn’t like being called relatable
For many famous people, being called ‘relatable’ might feel like a compliment, but for Dolly, it’s a murky word that makes her rather uncomfortable.
Speaking to Glamour, the author revealed that she actually believes herself to be extremely unrelatable.
“I am privately educated and white. I live in London and am financially secure without a partner,” she said. “I am middle class. I’m cis. There are lots of things about me, that make me very unrelatable. Particularly when women like me are over represented in the media and in publishing, I don’t think it’s helpful for me to be touted by others as someone relatable to a whole generation. Because if I was someone different and people were telling me that this woman with all the privilege she has, is entirely representative of all my experience in the world, that would fucking piss me off.”
Her last meal would be spaghetti vongole
Dolly has frequently professed her love of pasta, revealing that it’s one of those simple life pleasures she just can’t get enough of. In an interview with The London Mummy, she revealed that her last meal would be spaghetti vongole (which means spaghetti with clams). She’s also a big fan of food in general, and expressed her love for pickling while appearing on an episode of The Spectator’s podcast, Table Talk.
She’s open-minded about love
While she’s spent most of her life talking about, writing about and then actually going on dates, for now she’s happily single.
“I’m a great romantic, so I’m very open to it in my future, but it’s not something that’s occupying the top of my list at the moment,” she told The Belfast Telegraph in 2020.
“I would love to have a family and be in a long-term relationship, but what I want even more is to write novels and make a career out of my writing for the rest of my life. The rest of it, you just have to be hopeful and open-minded and see what happens.”