Sistr Q&A with Helen Skelton

For our first post in the Big Sistr series, we caught up with broadcaster and ultimate shero Helen Skelton. We spoke about her daily rituals, biggest career fuck ups and what she’d tell her 20-year-old self.

The aim of this series is to inspire you, motivate you and to let you see behind the scenes and into the lives of some of the fiercest female trailblazers in the bizz. What makes them tick? What they do in their daily lives and what’s made them who they are today? Enjoy.

Paragraph on who you are and what you do

I am a multitasker. Officially a broadcaster…. but who the hell knows what that means these days! I work on telly, in radio and write now and again. I have two kids and two dogs and I like to be outside more than I am inside. I have never had a regular job or regular hours, I am freelance so no two days are predictable or the same!

What was your first job?

I worked in a fast food restaurant on a campsite. I stank like chips for about a year!

Do you have a daily ritual that keeps you sane?

Getting fresh air and being able to see some greenery. Looking out of my window at trees calms me.

What’s been your biggest career screw up/mistake?

How long have you got! I make mistakes all the time and often there’s a newspaper or twitter troll on standby to blow it out of proportion! You have to find a way to learn something from every mistake and move on.

What advice would you give your 20yr old younger self?

Don’t waste money on bleach or time on social media.

What’s the worst & best advice you’ve ever received?

You get out of life what you put in. If you want to play hard, you need to work hard.
The worst advice was probably not to invest in property in London.

Number 1 tip for nailing an interview?

If you’re nervous, speak slowly. Buy yourself time by slowing your words. And ask questions about the role. Never ask about pay though.

Have you ever had a mentor? If so what was the best thing you’ve learnt from them?

Very proud to say Sue Barker was officially my mentor, she emailed me and was so professional and warm. In reality, there are lots of women I look up to, the legendary Angela Rippon told me to think more before I speak. She was right.

What keeps you awake at night and what’s your top coping method?

Worrying about being away from my kids. I am lucky I usually only work a day or so a week so when it’s more than that I freak out a bit. But everyone has to work and I am lucky I get to do something I like. I keep a notepad by my bed and write down things I have planned to do with them.

Any inspirational books/podcasts/blogs/people you’re loving at the moment?

Look in the mirror. Cliche to say but you’re doing better than you think — congratulate yourself on something you have done today. I worry that blogs and podcasts mean we compare ourselves.

Want to be mentored by Helen? Sign up to Sistr here.