The only life lesson I learned: Presenter Katie Durham says confidence helped me beat bullies
Katie Durham, former ITV news anchor, 51 years old, is currently a presenter on BBC Radio 3 and the face of BBC Proms. She participated in Strictly Come Dancing in 2015 and hosts the Just The Tonic podcast. She lives in Sussex with husband John Vincent, co-founder of the Lyon food chain, and they have two daughters Natasha, 21, and Eleanor, 16.
It’s important to trust your opinions and speak what’s on your mind so that you can challenge others. It was essential in my job as a news reader. This is what I always said to my daughters: “Listen, ask, and challenge.” But to do this, you must trust yourself.
One of the most formative experiences I ever had was when I was 17, when our entire family moved to Mexico City for half a year for my father’s job. Before that I had been bullied in high school very badly. I returned to England with greater confidence, having had this mind-blowing experience. When we came back, I had my interview with Cambridge, and the experience I had in Mexico helped me stand out and be accepted.
Katie Derham, 51 (pictured) who lives in Sussex, explains the importance of trusting your opinions and expressing what’s on your mind, so you can challenge others
When she went to ITN in 1998, she became the youngest news anchor on British television since the 1950s. I was incredibly nervous of course. I had already worked as a producer on BBC Radio 4’s Moneybox and as a presenter on BBC’s Film 96, but it was a big step to start questioning public figures. I told myself I just had to stand up and do it.
At Strictly Come Dancing in 2015, my confidence waned around the sixth week when people started saying things about me like, “Oh, you can move on.” I was thinking, “What if I screw this up?”
I just had an impassioned talk from a life coach friend, who helped me put everything back in order. Then I started to relax and enjoy it again.
By the time I was named lead presenter for the Proms in 2010, I knew I could do the job, and while some nerves and adrenaline always keep you on my toes, thankfully, I felt very fortunate to be in a career that I love.
- Katie’s Just The Tonic with Katie Derham podcast can be found across all major broadcast platforms and on Acast: shows.acast.com/just-the-tonic