I love presenting and can’t describe the feeling in words it gives you. Standing up in front of a crowd with everyone watching and listening to you. Being one of three daughters meant I always had to be the loud one to be noticed, so hundreds or thousands of people watching you be the centre of attention is a priceless experience, and one that everyone should try at least once in their life.
The nerves you get before you open your mouth should be bottled up and sold as a legal high. Your legs start to shake and your heart rate picks up as you walk to the centre of the stage. I’m getting tingles all over just thinking of the moment before I look out and open my mouth.
I don’t do drugs but this is the closest that I will get to the feeling of being high. When you get off the stage and you’ve nailed it, you just want to high five everyone. I may be guilty of the odd fist pump after an appearance, she says wincing.
I’ve had some amazing jobs presenting. I’ve shared the stage with celebrities such as Jake Wood AKA Max Branning, co presented with Fiona Bruce and presented for international brands such as Gore-Tex and GlaxoSmithKline.
Don’t get me wrong there have been moments that I’ve wanted to walk off crying, but you’ve got to keep smiling and hold it together until you’ve taken that last step off the stage.
Luckily I’ve only left the stage once wanting to cry after someone took it upon themselves to destroy me publicly because it gave them a good reaction from the audience. Being a target in front of hundreds of people is sole destroying and I cried the whole way home thinking I never wanted to present ever again. My ego crushed and my confidence in tatters.
I got over it a week later but getting back on the stage filled me with dread that next week. I just told myself that we all have a bad days at the office and that the stage was my office. As it happened the next gig was epic and I selfishly lapped up the positive attention of doing a good job.
This experience makes me really synaptic to anyone being victimised so publicly. Ok so it’s happened to me once but being a presenter or celebrity means that you’re fully allowed to be humiliated and put down anytime, by anyone, for any reason. Most of the public seem to think it’s ok to call out or write unkind comments on social media like they’re never going to be seen by anyone other than their mates. Obviously it’s ok to have a bit of a joke, we all need to have a sense of humour, but not when it becomes a personal attack. That’s the step too far.
Last week Fortnum and Mason held a food and drink award ceremony hosted by Claudia Winkleman. Its F&M way of thanking all of their amazing suppliers; after all F&M do sell some pretty amazing food and drink. (Edible glitter covered shortbread should be on your list to try before you die.)
Well the long and short to this story is that they published the photos live it seemed, onto Instagram as the ceremony took place. There amongst the kind and well thought out messages were some pretty vile comments. I couldn’t believe how many people were being so critical, judgemental and darn right rude. There were some very personal attacks on everyone from Claudia Winkleman the host to the CEO of F&M Ewan Venters.
I couldn’t understand why people felt the need to comment with those negative words when their victims were so obviously going to read them? This event was meant to be about celebration not negativity. These unkind words really seemed to dampen the event on Instagram and really undermine what F&M were trying to achieve. The comments about the CEOs appearance have vanished but the Claudia ones remain.
I like to think that Claudia Winkleman as a professional probably just shrugged her comments off, but they still must have hurt. I now wonder if those words effected her like they did to me at her next gig? She is human after all.
I couldn’t stand there reading the comments without feeling the need to comment back. I hate bullies.
No one commented after my words or took the opportunity to withdraw their comments.
I did receive a private message a day later from Fortnum and Mason.
It was nice to know my sentiments were gratefully received and it made me selfishly feel good for a while and I hoped that Claudia had read them too, so she knew not everyone shared their vile views. I didn’t feel the need to sympathise as a fellow presenter. Just pointing out comments of that kind were not required and weren’t true was my way of silencing the bullies and it work.
I know this isn’t an isolated case and thousands of “trolls” spread vile words daily but we must all stop and think before we comment. Whether you’re commenting on social media or face to face, it’s not on. You wouldn’t stand for it at your office or workplace so why should we?
That’s when the wise words of “If you’ve got nothing nice to say, then don’t say it at all”.
I hope next time people remember that there is a person inside that celebrity or personality and that they are just doing a job.
So next time you’re on a social media page or at a gig – think before they comment.