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Women's History Month: Meet Brenda Emmanus

HAVE FAITH: Brenda Emmanus says she is very spiritual (Photo credit: Good Housekeeping)

DIVERSITY IN Journalism is steadily improving. However, one particular woman has been an inspiration to many aspiring black British female journalists, serving as a pioneer in the field. Brenda Emmanus’ career has been long-standing and consistent.

Over the years she has juggled the worlds of television broadcasting, radio, and print journalism, making her a jack of all trades in a highly competitive industry which previously lacked black British representation. She currently serves as BBC London News’ Arts and Entertainment Correspondent - a role which combines her love of journalism with creativity.

The Voice Newspaper alum has also written for The Observer, Pride and Cosmopolitan Magazine and is a regular face on ITV’s This Morning.

Q: What’s your source of inspiration?

Brenda Emmanus: I am spiritual junkie so my first source of inspiration is God. I pray and meditate for guidance, motivation and to overcome challenges. I am also inspired by strong successful women who have overcome challenges and used their talents for the greater good – Michelle Obama is my ultimate hero; Shonda Rhimes changed my life once I read her book and Oprah inspires me to keep going in my work in the media.

What challenges have you faced in your career journey?

BE: There are the obvious challenges of being a black woman working in an industry still dominated by white men, but I don’t get bitter, I aim to get better. I am a strong believer that persistence can overcome resistance and although there is a long way to go to achieve equality, I think the fight is not over but ‘change is gonna come!’

I am in an industry where your career is still determined by the favour of others – I can’t just go and demand what I want and it happens. I’ve had to work really hard, perhaps twice as hard as many because of the double whammy of being black and female.

Q: What advice would you give to young women following in your footsteps?

BE: Simple – Go for it. Don’t let anyone dampen your dreams. Do the work? Be professional, learn your craft and follow your passion. Network like crazy, seize opportunities and work through your fear. More and more you will find that you have to create your own opportunities so be mindful of that. Get yourself a mentor and keep your good friends close for the tough times!

Q: What do you do to relax?

BE: I am a culture vulture so – art galleries, museums, theatre, films and dance consume me. I simply love hanging out with my family and friends, going out to dinner and travel. I work out and I also love cooking.

Q: What has been the highlight of your career?

BE: So many! The Clothes Show was indeed one of my career highlights but I have had some amazing experiences since. I will never forget meeting Muhammad Ali in Atlanta while filming a documentary in Atlanta; being flown to Texas to interview Clint Eastwood, and also meeting the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Desmond Tutu, Maya Angelou and Robert Redford.

Being the Arts and Entertainment Correspondent on BBC London for over a decade has meant that I have had the privilege of being up close and personal with some amazing creative talent – from artists, actors, dancers and writers.

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