Continuing on our quest to meet inspiring women with super cool jobs, we caught up with XFM Radio DJ Hattie Pearson about life on the radio, childhood dreams and spilling peppermint tea all over the studio...
Hattie: I’ve always loved talking so I suppose it was a natural career path in many senses! I don’t actually have any specific qualifications in media or radio, but at university I found student radio and spent most of my free time reading news bulletins, presenting shows and training other students. Student radio taught me loads and let me make mistakes without it mattering too much!
H: When I was about eight I fancied being a weather girl! They always looked so glamorous and didn’t really seem to do much work… although now of course I know that’s not the case! I also quite liked the idea of being a lawyer or a police woman or a fashion designer - quite a mix!
Hattie’s advice: "Whatever it is, if you want it bad enough then you will succeed! Don’t give up!"
H: There really isn’t an average day! Some days I’ll be up at 1.30am (my show starts at 3am!) and then I might sleep until 2pm, although I miss my family and friends when I’m catching up on sleep in the day! I’m an ambassador for a charity called Girls Out Loud, too, which helps girls who might be struggling at school or with family issues; I meet some amazing girls and it’s loads of fun!
I manage a band, too, so other days I’ll get up at 6am and spend the morning sending emails, or I might be DJing which doesn’t start until 10 or 11pm. If I’m not sitting at home in my pyjamas on the laptop then I’m in the studio recording and editing my podcast ’More Hats’ or doing voiceover work.
H: Well my life is a bit sporadic and there’s no routine - which I actually really love! A structured routine would be hard for me I think, but it also requires self-motivation which can be tricky on days when I just want to sit in bed and read or take my dog for a long walk!
H: Trust me, the novelty wears off! I meet loads of famous people, get sent free stuff and go to cool parties but I think I mostly love the freedom of my job. Sometimes I’ll just be having one of those days and I don’t have to worry about having a lazy day and hanging out with my friends.
"I recently (accidentally!) spilt my peppermint tea in the studio! I got told off as it seeped into the electronics - no more drinks in the studio for me!"
H: Honestly, it can be a tough industry. It’s competitive, but you have to ask yourself, ‘Why do I deserve this job?’ and show off your individuality. Work experience is always great, but the best thing to do is show you’re passionate! Set up a YouTube channel, make a podcast or start blogging - they’re all free and you can find your style and learn a ton of skills, and your motivation and drive will impress everyone.
H: I would say just do what you love! Whether it’s playing sport, watching TV, anything at all; all you need to do is find the people who are already getting paid to do those things and find out how they got there.
Hattie won Best Female at the Student Radio Awards in 2012; the award takes pride of place in her living room, on top of her record player!
H: So, you could get in touch with a fashion blogger, an independent shoe shop or a manufacturer and ask them for advice! Twitter’s a great way to get in touch with people in the field and you’ll be surprised what’s on your doorstep! People are generally happy to help you out.
H: Well I love what I’m doing right now, but my industry is always changing. XFM, where I work, is for a younger audience so I doubt I’ll still be presenting in 20 years’ time! I’d love to do some TV work, as well as some speech radio. That’d be a challenge I’d really enjoy. Watch this space!
H: Hmm… I’d say I’m most like you, Lea! I love talking to anyone and everyone and I’m lucky enough to get paid for it! I think the world of fashion and the world of media are very similar: they’re competitive, but if you have the drive and determination you’ll have a great time!