I keep hearing the words "role models" in the press and it got me thinking about who were mine when I was growing up. I am constantly hearing about how bad role models Rihanna or Miley Cyrus are, with their fannies out and their drug advocating. It made me think back to when I was an impressionable 15 year old, and who could influence me.
I work in TV now, not the usual ambition for a girl from my upbringing. Don't get me wrong, TV is fairly mix of people nowadays, but when I started, I found it hard to find people who hadn't gone to 'Oxbridge', let alone hadn't gone University at all (like myself.) Although it's a lot more diverse these days, I still find myself always asking people how they got "into it", knowing that it isn't the easiest route to take in life. You hardly find an Associate Producer job advertised in the Jobs Centre window.
I read something recently about how Zadie Smith (the author) admired Madonna growing up, and I started to think about whom I looked up to, and to be honest, I've been struggling. There must have been something, someone, and somewhere that gave me not only the idea of the job I wanted but then the confidence to actually attempt to follow through with it.
I grew up in Northampton. You may have heard about it of late, as some twat in a clown mask is running about scaring people. Neither I nor anyone in my family even knew anyone who had moved to London, let alone worked in TV in London. There is no one in my family who went to University, who did anything deemed by society as "highly achieving". In fact, you would fit in more in my family had you been arrested than had you went to University.
I don't mean to paint us like the cast of 'Shameless', because we were far from that. We were working class, but not scummy. I just wondered where I got it into my head that at 18 I would trot to London to pursue a showbiz career. (Initially, that was to try and become an actress, but I soon went behind the camera when I realised I wouldn't have to brush my hair.)
Looking back at my childhood, I couldn't think of any female celebrities I really looked up to. There was no 'one life' I liked the look of and wanted to emulate, but a series of characteristics from both men and women that I wanted to have in my personality.
I remember watching Sandra Bullock (in the majority of the films she stars in), getting a man's attention and respect by using her wit, not her tits. She always played a bit of a tomboy, and was always liked by men and women. I remember thinking that is how I wanted to be, I almost made it a mission at 12 years old to NOT be sexually desired by men...
I also remember thinking that the 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air' had a way with people from all ages and backgrounds. My eldest brother had the same quality, and when he died (he passed away when I was 17), we had hundreds of cards from young people, old people, rich people, poor people. I remember thinking I would try my best to always relate to people from all walks of life.
I remember leaving a shop on a holiday to Florida and the assistant saying "have a nice day now", I was only 9 and I promised myself from that day onward I would say thank you and tell people to have a nice day whenever the opportunity arises.
I remember hearing someone call an old man 'Sir' and me deciding that I was going to call every older man I come across 'Sir' from now on (something my boyfriend still laughs his ass off at.)
I remember one November, my Mum's birthday cards filled the entire house, in every card I picked up was a loving message from someone whose life she had touched. I chose that day to try to be as kind as she had been in her life.
So, although I still don't know where I got my ambition or drive from, I guess I picked up a lot of qualities from a lot of people over the years.
Hopefully, the kids of today are doing the same, and not just slavishly following Miley Cyrus and her twerking talents.Suggest a correction