ITN News presenter, Poppy Jamie, talks about her successes (and failures!) on her journey to landing her dream job. As the youngest ever entertainment correspondent at one of the UK’s largest news organizations (ITN), Poppy has accomplished an impressive amount in her comparatively short career. See what Poppy has to say about interviewing the world’s biggest celebrities including Hollywood heroes, such as; Jude Law, George Clooney and Tom Cruise, music legends like Madonna, Nicki Minaj and fashion icons like Anna Wintour, to name a few!
TH: To what links and lengths would you go to get the exclusive story?
Poppy: I wouldn’t go to lengths to get an exclusive story because I don’t believe its ethical. I try and make my interviews as fun as possible rather than trying to get a scoop! Also, exclusive stories are never really exclusive so I try and stay away from being really interrogating but rather just concentrate on having fun.
TH: What was your biggest presenter/interview faux par?
Poppy: Oh god where do I start!? I once fell off my chair infront of Jude Law and face planted near his crotch! It was the MOST embarrassing thing in the world!! Left me red-faced for days and now the interview is online. Luckily the video doesn’t show the fall but you see the aftermath which is me not being able to stop laughing!!
TH: How did you get started?
Poppy: I started interviewing when I was 18- I worked for a celebrity product placement company. We used to set up gifting suites backstage at award shows and I used to interview the celebrities when they came in to pick up free stuff! The interviews were mainly on video phones and flipcams, so nothing very professional, but it gave me the most incredible experience and built my confidence!
TH: What was your big break?
Poppy: It's got to be when I was given a job at ITN at 19! I was still studying at university at the time and I interviewed the ITN productions boss for my student TV show. After the interview, I asked whether I could work at the company and miraculously he didn’t dismiss the idea- he then put me in touch with his colleague who gave me my first break!
TH: Reporting vs interview- which do you prefer?
Poppy: DEFINITELY INTERVIEWING... Interviewing and chatting to people is SO MUCH FUN!! I love meeting new people and my job allows me to meet some of the most interesting individuals in the whole wide world! You learn so much from people, so listening to different stories, playing fun games and discussing fascinating topics is a total dream job for me!
TH: What is the best thing for a presenter to wear? You want to look good on camera without going overboard- how do you find the perfect balance?
Poppy: I often get this VERY WRONG. Gosh I have worn some shocking outfits in my time!! But I think it is trial and error. You have to try a number of styles and see which one works for you. I prefer wearing more fitted clothes on top because baggy tops and jumpers tend to make me look ENORMOUS on screen!
TH: What is the best way to treat people when you’re on the up?
Poppy: I have an amazing mentor (my first boss) who has shown and taught me so much in life. She has an incredible ability to make everyone around her feel special and loved and I think I strive to be like her. No matter where you are, manners cost nothing so be nice to everyone because they’re in your life for a reason!
TH: How do you deal with knockbacks? What has been your most horrific experience?
Poppy: I have had so so so so so many knockbacks! I’ve been told I don’t look right, sound right, not cool enough etc etc. I got initially rejected from uni, I have lost out on jobs… the list continues!! Although I have had some really tough times, I wouldn’t change them because I feel I’ve learnt to be a bit more resilient. Everybody experiences knockbacks so I think it’s important to bounce back and keep trying.
[blockquote]My mum always told me not to be afraid of failure![/blockquote]
TH: Apart from your show-reel, what should a presenter always have in their back pocket?
Poppy: TV directors and commissioners are going to ask you, what are your hobbies? Interests? Hot topics? And I think it’s important to have a list to hand. Presenting jobs are few and far between so make sure you have some sort of specialist areas so when a show comes up on that topic, you can be considered for the job!
TH: How do you think you can best showcase your personality in 30 seconds?
Poppy: Keep showreels snappy, short and to the point. I think in 30 seconds you need to show you’re eloquent, chatty, full of energy and good with people.
TH: How do you cope with thinking on your feet when you’re a presenter? You couldn’t possibly pre-think all of your questions and answers…
Poppy: It took me a long long long while to get my head around thinking and listening at the same time! I am the worst multi-tasker. But I think during an interview, you need to know what direction you are kind of heading in but also be confident to deviate because it’s important to have a natural flow when you’re presenting. It’s very important to listen to answers because interviewing isn’t an interrogation but a conversation!
TH: How would you use presenting to change the world?
Poppy:I really enjoy the entertainment world and think it’s fascinating how integral it is to our society.. I want to spread positivity and promote glass half-full thinking!
TH: What do you think about Talenthouse and artists being able to make money from making?
Poppy: I think this is FANTASTIC!!!!! Talenthouse is the most amazing platform for upcoming creatives and as it’s notoriously difficult to monetize creativity, it’s absolutely amazing that Talenthouse is providing a solution.
TH: Is Talenthouse a viable platform for presenters?
Poppy: There is NOBODY like Talenthouse!! Talenthouse is such an innovative idea. A platform for all creative’s to integrate, communicate and collaborate is absolutely genius. I’m on the site continuously looking at new users work and keeping up-to-date with the amazing Creative Invites!
TH: What do you imagine the highlight of a presenter’s career to be?
Poppy: A highlight for me would definitely be to present something like This Morning, The One Show or Daybreak.
TH: Who are your mentors?
Poppy: Maya Bogle is the most incredible mentor to me. This woman, as said earlier in my interview, has taught me more than I could possibly ever write down. She is the essence of positivity, very hard working and the kindest person I know.
Check out Poppy's showreel here.