Since I’ve been here my inbox has been overflowing with love and support from friends, family and even people whom I haven’t spoken to in years! So firstly: THANK YOU!!
Almost every message I receive has a question (or about 20 of them) about my time here so far. I love a bit of curiosity (I can spend my life asking questions too!) so I’ve decided to address every query in this blog post… enjoy!
Where do you and the crew film?
All over the place! We are normally at a new location 4 days a week and come back to our ‘base’ (the producer’s villa) where we spend the next 3 days as a long weekend. Locations vary from national parks to specialised game reserves to areas with epic extreme activities to houseboats etc
What does your average day look like?
This one is tough because no two days are the same here. But if I had to outline a rough day, here is what it would be: When we’re out filming wildlife, I wake up at around 5:30, we leave at 6:30 to drive (and walk) for 4-5 hours and hopefully find something good to film (there have only been 2 occasions so far where we didn’t find anything), we come back for lunch and leave for an afternoon drive at around 3 and back by sunset. That’s the rough schedule but you NEVER know what you’re gonna find so the surprise element is always there. When we focus on filming activities, we can start the day later and play it by ear.
Is the show scripted?
No. And in all honesty, I don’t even know how it can be because you never know what wildlife and what situations you’re going to come across, so it’s all very much ‘in the moment’. The only parts that I CAN maaaaybe think of ahead are when I present the lodges. But even then I prefer not to as it comes across quite unnatural.
How did you get the job? Don’t you need a zoology or animal sciences degree ?
It’s a common misconception that to be a presenter in a certain area, you need to be fully qualified in it. It is certainly the case for some , but not for many others. A presenter’s first and most important job is to engage the viewer and keep them coming back for more episodes. That’s what I focus on and when it comes to in depth info about the wildlife we’re seeing – I strike up a conversation with our guide and ask him leading questions to make the show informative as well as entertaining. I got the job by applying for it on a casting website I often use. Apparently there were over 600 applicants so sometimes I still can’t believe I’m here !
I would like to know about the hygienic conditions (i.e. showers, laundry services)
Laundry all gets done in the weekends while I’m at ‘home’. Even though most lodges do offer the service, I never find the need. Hygienic conditions are great because thankfully we always stay in nice, clean places. The only thing that you wouldn’t do in certain areas is drink tap water – but once again, that largely depends on the location. In one of the lodges, they got all their tap water from a crystal clear waterfall source at a 1820m elevation, so actually it was RECOMMENDED to drink the tap water there!
How’s the food?
We have to hunt for food. Sometimes, when I get REALLY hungry, I’ll nibble on a giraffe leg.
And the sad part is, some people actually believed that!! No, in all seriousness- the food is insanely good. Everything is fresh and so much better quality than in Europe. It’s lots of meat, vegetables, potatoes and maize. People have chefs and eat a lot and as a result- my pants are even feeling a tiiiny bit tight. I know I SHOULD care, but I kinda don’t.
Are you the only presenter/ host?
Yes. I talk to the guides a lot on camera though, especially when they’re with us for the game drives. It’s great to get all the info and interesting facts about the animals we’re seeing.
How do you go about hair / makeup/ styling/ wardrobe? Is there anyone to help?
Thankfully the main focus of the show is wildlife, travel and safaris so my appearance isn’t the number 1 factor (otherwise we’d all be pretty damn screwed), BUT it’s still nice to look good on camera so I try to coordinate my wardrobe so that it’s comfortable, semi fashionable and appropriate for safaris. So far that’s been the easy part. I do my own makeup too which I’m okay at. I’ve watched makeup artists do it on me over the years so I know what looks good, even though I know I should be wearing about 5 more layers for the camera… but in all honesty, I just can’t be bothered! So I use spf, 1 layer of thin liquid foundation, a bit of pink/peachy blush, bronzy eye-shadow, mascara and neutral lipstick. Hair has been the hardest so far because I have so much of it and it’s got a life of its own (not to mention 547698374586977679 baby hairs that seem to grow out of nowhere) and often when we’re driving the wind will mess it up biiiigtime and there won’t be an opportunity to adjust it before we start filming. #crymeariver, I know.
Is what you do dangerous?
Another tough question. Anything can be “dangerous” if you’re not doing it right. Driving a car or crossing the street or doing an intense workout is dangerous if you’re careless, for example. Same goes with this. You need to keep your eyes open and realise that this space belongs to the animals and you’re the intruder , so judging their body language and giving them space is crucial. Accidents do happen, obviously. I’ve heard plenty of stories in my time here- people getting eaten by crocs, attacked by elephants and rhinos, chased by lions etc. But most of those (just like car accidents or plane crashes) are human error and miscalculating the situation. That’s why it’s so important for us to have a good guide with us in the wild areas – someone who can really read the animals’ body language and guide us accordingly, especially during the close encounters. When it comes to extreme activities – I’ve felt super safe on all of them so far and would do them all again in a heartbeat.
Any highlights so far?
So many!! But the top 5 moments would probably be:
Standing 2 feet away from a wild elephant during one of my first days on the job (here) , just the whole week at Vic Falls (here), seeing the Cheetah hunt, watching the 200 elephant herd (both here), being the 1st person to try the World’s tallest zip-line and the first to try free abseiling over Muterazi Falls (here).
Do you miss London?
I’ll be honest- not yet!! I’ve grown up living in so many different places, that I’ve learnt to see ‘home’ as wherever I am NOW 🙂
When and where will it air?
Not for a while. It’ll be around 12 episodes, about 50 mins each , PLUS a travel show which is only 30 mins per episode. All that takes aaaaages to edit and we only finish filming late October. Then there’s negotiations with the channels that have shown interest and only THEN will they schedule to air it. So hang on tight and I’ll be keeping y’all updated as new progress happens!
That’s all folks! Any more questions – send em through and I’ll add them to this post! Next blog will be up in a week so stay tuned xxx