How I got into Journalism

Writing about yourself is hard, isn’t it? Especially when you are a private person like me. 

When I left school, I knew I wanted to be a writer and journalist and study English at university, so I went to do an Art Foundation course where I majored in Photography. It was a great way of bridging the gap between school and university as it encouraged independent thinking as well as fuelling my love for art and art history. I still enjoy filming and photography today because of the time I spent there. 

I attained a BA (Hons) in English Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London. During my second year I landed an
internship in the summer holidays working at Harper’s Bazaar magazine in the Beauty department. I absolutely loved it! Shadowing the legendary beauty editor Newby who was so kind (and even laughed when I nearly booked her on the wrong flight to New York) my duties included everything you would expect and others that might surprise. Each day I would phone beauty houses like Chanel and Dior and ‘call in’ a beauty product or two which would soon arrive at the magazine
offices via motorbike. (I wonder if they still do that?) Then, I would attend the launch for a new product at a luxury hotel in London (honestly, I’ve been to more basic weddings than the fancy occasions arranged for the latest shampoo and
conditioner) before finishing up for the day arranging the beauty editor’s diary. 

I think the Beauty desk was the best place to start learning about journalism and magazines. I never got over the thrill of opening box after box of new, wonderful (and, frankly, often weird) things. The office dynamic was brilliant and the work was truly unique. One day I answered the phone and got
chatting to the girls at a well-known beauty company who
surprised me the next day with the most beautiful silk scarf, just for being nice and polite. Why hasn’t this continued? I don’t know. 

The year after that I got another internship at Glamour Magazine as a Features intern during the week, while working at the weekends in a gift shop near home. The experience was great, again, with lovely people (when I accidentally handed over the Managing Editor’s office key card with the paperwork she had given me to take to HR in a separate building miles away, she simply smiled as I dashed towards the stairs).
Following on from that, I found myself in the wardrobes of the Daily Mail Femail Fashion dept, sorting through rails of clothes ahead of shoots on location and in the studios. The buzz of newspaper offices was so exciting. I remember getting lost in the Mail offices every single day. I genuinely hadn’t realised that each time I was leaving the building it was via a different door from the one I came in (and on an entirely different street) until the day I left. 

Luckily I had a better sense of direction in terms of future plans. I started an MA in Journalism at Kingston University, learning how to write news features, media law and, naturally, shorthand. My nemesis. Dyslexia and taking fast dictation by making odd lines and shapes do not go well together. Who knew? 

Part of my Masters included securing work experience at my local paper where I learned the real nitty-gritty business of journalism. What makes the news, how and why. It was a
wonderful and steep learning curve. You never forget your first front page scoop. Mine? The scandalous story of… car number plate thefts. Something I still find myself thinking about even now.

I started freelancing, writing culture stories for publications like the Spectator Life and Standpoint Magazine on books and art, writers and artists, and their lives.

I became a Reader for Penguin Books and I enrolled on a
Creative Writing course at an adult learning centre, which I
thoroughly enjoyed.

In November 2020, I handed in the first draft of my book to my literary agents, so fingers crossed. In the meantime, I have been busy chiselling-out book two. So exciting!

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