On growing up:
I grew up in Salford, near Manchester and although I loved reading magazines like Just 17, a career in journalism was never on my radar. When you have an Asian father, the options are doctor, engineer or lawyer. The fourth option is failure. The emphasis is on traditional well-paid jobs with security and intellectual status.
It was my older sister who got me into publishing. She started out as a lawyer but she hated it. After winning a competition on More magazine, which involved a date with two models and two weeks’ work experience, she quit her well-paid job to become a junior writer on the mag – and she was made editor 18 months later. She proved to my dad that journalism was a legitimate career and she carved the path for me.
I studied French and English at King’s College London, and spent a lot of my time doing work experience for the big glossy magazines which were based just down the road. Sadly, you still have to do unpaid internships for long amounts of time to get your foot in the door – and that means only certain people in the class system get into journalism. My biggest frustration is that it’s not always a meritocracy.
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