Tell us a bit about your role! Is there a “typical” day?
There’s never a typical day in the world of entertainment! When you work so closely with talent and creators, you’re often reacting to brand new opportunities which makes the job so exciting.
But if there was such a thing as a typical day, it would involve client calls, responding to emails, scrolling and connecting with people on social, managing my team and checking in on clients.
I’m very strict on organisation so I spend my mornings tightening up processes and trying to make sure everyone is aware of what they should be doing. It’s important to me to track everything from revenue to actions.
I also take the time to source content on social, looking out for any exciting or upcoming creators. Social media is the perfect place to connect with talent as well as other business leaders and companies.
A lot of my job is creative, which is brilliant. I spend time working with our creators to launch new initiatives and build out their communities. I also have plenty of meetings - the job is a relationship at the end of the day so I’m always prepped for a last minute Zoom call or a coffee with a client.
What was the biggest challenge in getting to your current position?
There aren’t many opportunities and the pay at the start can be quite low generally.
I think you have to prove you have experience with creators and talent, which can be difficult when you’re starting out. I think the biggest challenge for us all is that moment where you have to believe in yourself and trust that you are the right person for the job. It’s easy to forget how hard you’ve worked to get to where you are and it’s important to remember that so you have the confidence to get to new positions.
However Jungle Creations is very good at fostering young internal talent, which is one of the reasons why I was so keen to work there.
What is your personal background and what role did it play in your career?
Growing up, I was a natural born entertainer so I would often enjoy putting on plays and shows for my family and friends. This sparked my interest in television and film, and specifically reality television.
I distinctly remember watching Big Brother when I was about eight years old (my parents had no idea) and being blown away by how innovative and clever it was as a format. I knew that all I wanted to do was immerse myself in that world and come up with ideas like that.
My parents also raised me to take pride in what I love so I was never embarrassed to chase a dream of working in television, when all my friends were becoming doctors or lawyers. My father was so sure of my creative strengths that he ended up sending me to an arts school when I was 11 where I was really able to flourish.
Fast forward 13 years and I got a job as a runner on Big Brother (my total dream job) and ended up working up the ladder to be a producer there. That’s where I met Rylan and realised I had a knack for working with talent. I went on to talent management at YMU - and the rest, as they say, is history.
I’ve also built my own mental health charity as a side hustle which has taught me a lot of leadership skills. It’s tough to lead a team of people who don’t get paid to do something, on top of their full time jobs. It made me realise what is important when motivating a team and what isn’t.
What is your biggest career-related win? What is your biggest loss?
I had a full circle moment sitting in the Royal Festival Hall listening to Rylan on stage talk about how we had met and how important I had been in his career after I was chosen to also write a chapter in his new book “Ten”.
Knowing I was about to leave as his manager after working with him for eight years, I felt very proud to have done something so impactful together. And I felt like I was ready for the next chapter.
I wish I could tell you about some of the most incredible moments and wins but for me, it’s much more granular and personal. My biggest win was getting that runner job at Big Brother and even though I was making teas and standing in the cold at 11am some nights, I was in the world of one of the most inspiring things of my life, as sad as that sounds.
In terms of big wins, I try not to judge things as wins or losses because to me, everything that happens has a lesson buried within, and therefore if you’re learning, you’re always winning. That’s not that exciting but that’s how I try to look at it.
That’s not to say I haven't had losses. One of the worst moments of my career was when I accidentally sent an email to a client instead of our accounts team saying that “we needed to pull a report because we would be “WAVING goodbye” to said client”. How embarrassing. I had to sit outside after I realised and have a little weep to myself.
With my mental health charity, we have reached over 40,000 children with our wellbeing resources which, beside all the talent work I have done, is my proudest achievement.
Which individuals and/or agencies do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
Clarence Avant is one of my inspirations. He is an American music executive, entrepreneur, and film producer, who also went by the name of "The Black Godfather”. If you haven't seen the doc about him on Netflix it’s a must.
Basically, he was a fixer working in a time where to be a person of colour and successful was near impossible. Not only did he do it but he ended up being the go-to person for some of the greatest people in the world including Barack Obama and Quincy Jones.
From a television point of view, it would have to be Stephen Lambert and Studio Lambert - they create the best entertainment shows on the planet and I have a lot of respect for people who are not afraid to push the boundaries. When they launched The Circle, everyone scuffed their noses but now it’s one of Netflix’s most popular shows.
My former agency - YMU - is a maverick in the entertainment talent space. Again, you can see a theme with my choices but YMU continues to pivot and adapt to allow growth in the modern day, including launching a YMU arts department for NFT talent and integrating with DSM, one of the leading sports marketing, gaming, and entertainment agencies.
If you could go back to your teenage years, would you have done things differently? Do you have any regrets?
Not one regret. Again, this is not me from my high horse.. This is about understanding that life has its ups and downs and they are all part of the process.
As mentioned above, I was lucky enough to be allowed the freedom to pursue my dreams and not be pushed in any certain direction (even though I know my parents were desperate for me to go to university).
If I had to pick something, I would have put in more effort at school. Now that I am older, I love learning about new things and if I had that desire in my education, I could have got better grades. But then who knows where I would have been? As I say, no regrets!
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
I’d be working in a zoo. I’m obsessed with animals and when I was thinking about university, I was looking to do Zoology. I always wanted to open a zoo that was both beneficial for the guests but a conservation zoo (with no metal cages) for the animals.
What’s your one big dream for the future of the industry?
Diversity and inclusion needs to be a priority - there needs to be a more diverse range of people in our industry to help create those new opportunities for people like me. At Jungle, we aim to be a driving force in ensuring the creative community is a truly inclusive one, and have some exciting initiatives coming into fruition later this year.
On top of this, I want us to focus on new safeguarding for creators and talents. It’s very easy to focus on revenue and fame when building up content creators and talent but there is not enough focus on safeguarding those stars from what being famous means.
I’d like us to develop new ways of working with the media that means certain tabloid newspapers aren’t feeding on scandal and hate, whilst still having entertaining stories to write about. Preventive Mental health and wellbeing for talent is crucial.
What are your top tips for aspiring creative professionals?
Email as many people as possible and don’t feel like you are being annoying - be annoying. That’s how I got my first job.
Don’t be afraid to speak out because whether you’re junior or senior, you can still have a great idea. On that note, always put yourself out there - it will pay dividends in the future. If you always follow the herd, how will you ever be heard?
What are your top tips for other creative leaders?
Listen! Listen to everyone around you. Make sure you are watching the best shows on television and reading the top news. Stay culturally relevant and know what is going on.
Don’t be scared to be innovative and try new things. It’s better you try and it doesn't work out then not try at all.
When you think about your team, what is the thing that matters to you the most?
Make sure you remember to stay empathetic when leading your team. Being in the talent industry can be overwhelming and consuming and you spend a lot of your life dedicated to other people. You have to lead your team with empathy and make sure to check in on them. You’re a team rather than you being the boss and them just actioning your tasks.
When it comes to what my team is like, confidence is key. I need people who feel like they can challenge my ideas and make our business stronger.
On top of this, my pet hate is when people come with lots of problems and no solutions. Always make sure to offer up ideas of how you would suggest changing an issue. It will help open up discussion and progress things in a much faster way. Problems are just solution opportunities!
Do you have any websites, books or resources you would recommend?
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
4000 weeks by Oliver Burkeman
Midjourney and Canva applications for artistic direction
ChatGPT helps a dyslexic like me