Celebrities share their funny first period stories | ActionAid UK

Our new poll shows that a third of women in the UK are too embarrassed to talk about their periods. So to open up the conversation and smash period taboos, we asked three amazing celebrities to spill the beans with their funniest period stories. 

Comedian and actor Jo Brand shares her funniest period stories with us for World Menstrual Hygiene Day.
Celebrities share their funniest period stories with us for World Menstrual Hygiene Day.

A new poll, released this week*, shows that a third of women in the UK are too embarrassed to talk about their periods. So to celebrate this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day, we decided it was time to talk periods! 

So we asked three amazing celebrities to spill the beans with their favourite period stories. Find out what they said!

1. Fay Ripley’s major period confusion

“So it’s really hard being a teenager but it’s particularly hard when your period’s about to start.

When mine was about to start, because there was four of us in the house, everyone just forgot to tell me that I was going to have this thing happen — this monumental thing. 

And when it did eventually come (I was quite late, I’m not going to lie), basically I thought it was because I’d eaten coco pops for my breakfast, and I thought it had come out of my body.

I went downstairs crying and everyone went ‘What’s wrong?’ and I said: ‘All my cereal’s come out in my pants!’

To be honest, I’ve never been able to eat coco pops since.” 

2. Miriam Margolyes’ period advice at school

“I started my period at school, and it was the unfortunate duty of my Games Mistress, Miss West, to tell me what to do with my sanitary towels — which is what we used in those days.

She was very embarrassed about it — she had a little nervous giggle — haha, haha, like that! — and she said: ‘I believe you’re the first person in your class to start your period.’

I said: ‘Yes, Miss West’. 

She said: ‘Right, well, unfortunately we do not have any incinerators in the pavilion, so would you please bring a satchel to school on *those days* and could you please wrap them up, your sanitary towels, in newspaper, and put them in your satchel, and take them home.’

‘I hope that’s alright!’.  

3. Jo Brand’s period shock

“When I was about eleven years old, I went to school one day and they explained to us all about periods. Well, what a nasty shock that was. 

I wasn’t quite expecting all the unpleasant things that were going to happen — the tummy aches, the bleeding. It all sounded appalling! 

But I went home and spoke to my mum about it, and said ‘They’ve told us all about it’.

And the only thing I’m happy about is that you only have one!’

My mum said to me ‘I think you’ve misunderstood, because actually you have them every month until you’re in your fifties.’

I was devastated. I don’t think I got over that for years. 

No girl should be held back because of her period

They might result in funny stories, but the truth is, around the world periods hold millions of women and girls back from achieving the life they want

Taboos, shame and period poverty can have a huge impact on the lives of girls around the world, the UK included. 

That’s why we work to make sure no girl is held back because of her period

We’re making sure girls have access to sanitary products (and clean, private spaces to use them), but also helping to educate girls about their bodies, sex and education through our girls’ clubs and forums

Together, we can break the taboos around periods, and ensure every woman and girl can access the clean, safe sanitary products she needs. Your donation of just £3 a month could help us to change lives. Please donate now

Find out more

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1096 females. Fieldwork was undertaken between 9th — 10th May 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 16+).