Thursday, April 09, 2015


Dear gorgeous person, you!

I'm so pleased to be able to share this with you. Career Profiles is an idea I came up with a while ago when I went to have breakfast with the amazing Simon Wright (Group Head of Talent - The Mill and ex- BBC talent exec). Breakfast was held at the KUDOS office in North London. Read the full story here. From this, I did an interview with Dan Isaacs the Chief Operating Officer at KUDOS.

This piece however is about Bob Clarke - the CEO of MAMA YOUTH PROJECT (MYP) and the exec producer of the Sky One show 'What's Up'. I do apologise for making a big deal at the start of the video (below) saying how special Bob is to me but it's because I genuinely meant it.

I remember making the heart-breaking decision to give up everything I knew and leave my full-time job as a physiotherapist in Leicester in 2011 to become a TV Presenter. By this time, my only taste of TV had been me carrying a cheap hand-held Canon Legria camera around town and self-filming anyone and everyone that wanted to be interviewed. I roped in my friends and family to help me film these terrible low quality videos and then I taught myself to piece the footage together on my cheap dell laptop using Windows Moviemaker (which crashed the whole time) but somehow I convinced myself I was doing a great job and that one day I would become that TV Presenter I always wanted to be.

After giving up my job, I had no solid plans, no means of making money, no where to live in London and even more frustrating - no connection to the TV world - NOTHING. I knew I wanted to move to London because I heard that all the big time TV Presenters lived there but believe it or not, I didn't even know where London was. So I moved back home to Shropshire with my kind mum who believed in my dreams but didn't know how to help me.

It was here I became really obsessed with TV (seeing as I was jobless) and then one day, I was watching a show called 'What's Up' on Sky Three and this gorgeous young woman came on telly - she was very well spoken, with great poise and looked around my age. I was hooked. As soon as her name came on screen, it was like a flashbulb moment in my head - I knew I needed to get in touch with her. So immediately after the show, I googled 'Jacqueline Shepherd' - I was in awe of her work and I got in touch with her on 'YouTube' - seems like ages ago - who does that! LOL. Jacqueline was amazing - she got back in touch and gave me loads of advice, then asked me to contact Bob Clarke and so I did.

Bob kindly invited me down to Dephna House - MYP's head office in North Acton. He graciously talked me through just how the show was made and how the MYP charity helped young people who had no link into TV get their foot in the door. By this time, I had seen all the episodes of What's Up, hence it was a very detailed conversation and Bob made me feel like I was already part of the team. Bob took his time with me, playing back some of his personal highlights of the show and showing me some exclusive behind the scenes footage that viewers had not seen. At the end of this meeting, Bob invited me for a screen test and the rest is history - I joined the Whats Up team as a TV Presenter in 2012. My very first interview was at the House of Parliament interviewing Stephen Twigg - the then Shadow Secretary of State for Education. I literally went from dreaming about presenting to interviewing a politician! I vividly remember pinching myself a few times.

You can already see why filming this Career Profiles piece meant the world to me. This really was the man who gave me my first opportunity in television and I'm only one of the many young people he's helped. This was my way of saying thank you to Bob. Sounds corny but I am in awe of Bob and the work he does considering the limited resources he's constantly had to work with. As discussed in the video, the story of What's Up dates back ten years - you hear Bob talk about how it all started off as a street dvd but today, this amazing show has ended up on Sky One with very talented presenters like Jacqueline Shepherd, AJ King and Remel London.

I'm so proud to have been part of What's Up and God knows, if I'm ever invited back, I definitely would not think twice.

Thanks so much Bob for opening up to me and giving me your time. Thanks for everything you taught me and thanks for the work you do for diversity and young people.

If you're a young person and you would like to apply for the next series of What's Up, do that here.
Follow What's Up on twitter here.
Watch full episodes of What's Up here.

Hope this piece has been as inspirational for you as it has been for me.

Lots of Love,
xo xo

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