Posted on July 10 2019
I first met Jacqueline at the launch event of the O-bag Factory shop in Crouch End a few years ago. Already working in television, she had the quiet confidence of a seasoned presenter and effortlessly spent the evening networking with everyone else, including myself.
Jacqueline has one of those beautiful beaming smiles that lights up the room and instantly draws you in. When I first met her, I was most struck by how she spoke about her work. It didn’t sound like it was work at all and I knew right away that she loved what she did and would go on to achieve a lot of great things. I kept her details firmly pressed into my notebook as one to watch.
Four years on, I got in touch with her to find out what she has been up to and I am even more impressed! Here is our interview:
How did you first develop an interest in television?
I'm one of those people for whom working in communications was innate. Whether I was presenting in front of the class, or speaking publicly at events, I never shied away from talking in front of a crowd large or small.
What were your first steps?
While at university I had a go at radio. It was short lived, but it piqued my interest and made me appreciate that the pastime I enjoyed so much was actually a job that I could do; prior to that point I had never made the connection. On reflection, this was probably the result of a lack of representation.
After working for several years in very communicative jobs, I did some street fundraising, recruitment then I took the LEAP and went for it in media. I did pretty much everything; shadowing, assisting, running, until I managed to gain some momentum which has evolved to the point, I am now at 10 years later.
And it’s a very good place to be!
What advice do you have for individuals interested in working in TV?
Be tenacious. The media industry is not for the faint-hearted. If you know that you enjoy the work enough that you would do it for free (not that you should have to) you know that you have the passion for it. Then you must be dogged in your efforts. It takes a while to build up a reputation and a body of work, if you don’t have the patience for that, then it's not for you.
So as well as the hard work and sacrifice, that conviction will propel you.
Yes, keep working!
Let's talk about your most recent project; What’s Up TV, what are you working on?
I recently became Producer of What's Up TV, the show I fronted for nearly 8 years on Sky One.
Congratulations on your promotion!
Last series I decided to step away from presenting the show and was taken a bit by surprise when my promotion from Assistant Producer to Producer occurred, but I’ve loved it.
Brilliant! What has it been like?
It's been a challenge being across all the segments on the show, from comedy to current affairs, arts to music, as well as the delivery of the programme, but I have learned so much and there's never a dull day. It's been fantastic working with such a like minded, inclusive team so the results mean that we have a diverse programme which we can be really proud of. That's really important to me.
The series starts end of July 2019 for seven weeks on Sky One.
Looking forward to it already.
Thanks, will keep you updated with the dates.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced on this project and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was the feeling of imposter syndrome that I had for the first couple of weeks following my promotion. Lots of people were looking to me for answers. I had to work really hard at owning it, and in doing so I slowly began to feel empowered and capable. I'm really happy with how I managed to coach myself through and am lucky enough to have had a team that really believed in me, which helped a lot!
Thank you for your honesty and openness. Imposter syndrome affects most people and especially women. I like that you have highlighted the importance of a team that believes in you, this is not said often enough.
I agree, as much as I worked on myself, my team were equally important.
To succeed in your job, you must be very well organised. What organisational tools do you swear by?
I love a good list. I’ve been known to wake up at three in the morning and write a substantial list of things to do during the week. When it comes to you, it comes to you, so regardless of when that moment is, write it down. Needless to say, I sleep with a pen and paper close by, and use the Notes app on my phone a lot.
We are all constantly looking for inspiration and ways in which to grow, what books do you recommend?
I'm currently reading “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.” I think it's a must read for understanding a lot of why certain systems are in place in British society, and as a black person really gives a history lesson that I feel I never had but always needed. Great read.
You also have a new podcast!
Congratulations on that as well! Tell us a bit more about it.
LEAP is an acronym I created and stands for Listen, Equip, Action, Patience. It charts how I went from recruitment to media and has a series of conversations with other women who have taken the leap in their career. This summer I will record a batch of new conversations for season two of the series, but you should check it out, there are some real gems on there!
You also do quite a bit of charity work. What charity are you working with at the moment?
Yes, I do support many charities. I am employed by MAMA Youth Project and train young people from underrepresented backgrounds to get into TV, it’s extremely rewarding.
That’s incredible. It is important for us to keep inspiring and equipping the next generation.
I couldn't agree more!
Now coming to fashion, I absolutely love your style. Are you a trend follower or do you go with your own style?
Thank you, I like a bit of both, but largely my own style. I would say that my style is a little bit quirky, classy, cool as opposed to going with what's in. Having said that, a trend that I have succumbed to is animal print. I realised the other day that I have three leopard print dresses! But in my defence I actually only bought one dress and acquired the other two.
Do you use a personal stylist or have you ever considered using one?
I had a stylist when I was on What's Up TV. Her name is Justyna, and she definitely fits the description for quirky, classy cool, so much so that I would often wear her clothes on the show, as well as the ones that she sources for me.
What would you expect from your personal stylist?
We did an item on sustainable fashion last year and that has really stuck with me, I'm trying to be more responsible with my choices which is a challenge as shopping is real vice of mine.
Overall, I like a stylist who is creative, will put things together that one might not typically consider and yet make it work. One who can visualise beyond what I can see, while still maintaining my character.
What are your favourite pieces from our collections and why?
What's the beauty product you can't live without and why?
I'm all about the natural hair and I use a raw Mango butter from Pure Goodness, my hair loves it! My make-up artist is Emma McRae . She is a really important piece of the puzzle and I have worked with her for years. She knows my skin tone, texture and preferences and is a gem to work with.
It’s been an absolute pleasure catching up with you and thank you for making the time!
You are welcome and thank you for having me.
So one last question, what do you have planned for us in the next 6 months/year?
You can expect more from the Taking the LEAP podcast in the next six months.
Thanks! I'll also be the roving reporter for Jazz ReFest once again this summer. Of course look out for the new series of What's Up TV that I produced which will be on Sky One throughout August and September and I also plan on doing more writing so watch this space!
And we will! Thank you again.
You can find out more about what Jacqueline is up to by following her page here.
Interview by Arikana for MYSTYLIST LONDON follow Arikana @labbooksandstylefiles