Interview: ZEE TV’s Natasha Asghar

unnamed (3)

Natasha Asghar is a presenter for ZEE TV UK

Natasha Asghar is a writer, radio DJ and TV presenter. Graduating with a Master’s degree in politics, she got a taste of media by chance and hasn’t looked back since. @NajmahWrites caught up with her for some tips on breaking into the industry…

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background

I’m an only child of an accountant/politician and a doctor. I was born in Newport, South Wales and studied there until I completed my A-levels. After school I moved to University in London. Whilst at University, most of my friends were working in the student union or doing temp work to make extra cash as a weekend job.

I began hosting a show on a channel called Vectone. After nine months I began studying for my master’s degree, which meant I couldn’t continue with researching, presenting and doing all of the running around for the show by myself and fulfilling the course requirements.

After completing my Masters in Contemporary British Politics and Media, I took up a job as a banker. But I missed the media buzz, so I started doing little bits here and there on the weekends.

I then left the job at the bank and decided to give media my all. It was at this point I started working for Buzz AsiaAsian Woman Magazine as their Agony Aunt and also B4U Music.

I won’t lie, there was a lot of struggle and difficulty as there was not much stability, so I chopped and changed jobs from 2012-13; moved and travelled a lot for work, then out of the blue, I went for an audition at ZEE TV.

The rest is history.

Q: Your career path has been quite different to the subject you chose for your MA. Do you have any plans to go back to politics?

My father is still in politics. I have and always will stand by him, in each and every way I possibly can. I do have a keen interest in politics and with the role I do choose to remain impartial to all political parties.

As for my political ambitions; right now I love my job and have not thought of doing anything along those lines.

But as for the future, who knows? Never say never right?

Q: How difficult was it to present, produce and research your own radio show?

I had never worked in radio until Buzz Asia and although I knew how to present, I had no idea about the technical side of it.

Admittedly I was very fortunate to have a wonderful station manager, ‘Raj King’, who was really supportive – and my fellow presenters Zee Khan and Doni Brasco both very patiently trained me on the technical side of radio.

I quite enjoyed the freedom I had there and I enjoyed helping people through the show with issues they were going through. It was hard to juggle that with other jobs and I was getting inundated with emails from listeners who wanted help, so time management skills were important. Plus I really loved radio, so I made time to juggle my other responsibilities too.

Q: What do you like most about your job? What do you like least?

I love the variety of each day; every single day is different. One day, we may have a top Bollywood celebrity, then a self made billionaire followed by a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) representative talking about a really important health issue. Plus I love everyone at ZEE – they are such a friendly bunch of people. The least favourite part of my day is when we have to go home! (As sad as that may sound!)

Q: What has been the happiest day of your career?

There are a few but I would say the most recent was when I hosted the ZEE Bollywood Rockstars concert at Wembley Arena. It was in front of 6,000 people and my parents were sat in the third row. Their facial expressions were priceless.

Q: What do you hope to achieve in the next five years?

World domination – you can interpret that however you like!

Q: What one word would you use to describe yourself?

Blessed.

Q: What advice would you have for someone who is wondering whether or not to go into media?

I will never glamourise the media industry to anyone. I have had a mighty struggle over the years and some of my nearest and dearest can vouch for the times I used to get highly emotional out of sheer frustration. There is a dark side and a wonderful side and I’ve been incredibly privileged to have met some people along my journey who have supported me and stood by me, when I was totally new in the industry. We are still firm friends even now.

For anyone who wishes to get into media, here are some of my pearls of wisdom:

  1. Don’t expect to become a superstar overnight. It takes time, practice, patience and effort.
  2. Be prepared to WORK from the ground up. I see so many people wanting to get into the media industry, thinking they are already born stars and should be given what they want. It is a SLOW process so be prepared to work for it.
  3. Don’t expect media to pay your bills straight away. It is very hard to find a full-time, well paid job in media and the competition is fierce. My father always taught me, when it comes to work, to have a plan A, B, C and D. It’s something I have never forgotten. When I worked in radio, I also worked freelance at B4U and at the online shopping channel. I also hosted various events, helped my father out with the accountancy whenever I could and wrote for Asian Woman in my spare time. So if you want to get into radio or TV, make sure you have a few back up plans up your sleeve.
  4. Be prepared to make time for your work – and to do the leg work yourself. Don’t expect to have a researcher helping you out all the time, so be prepared to run around A LOT.
  5. Don’t see any job as small. Some people turn down great opportunities and experience because it’s not a BIG NAME in the industry. Don’t make that mistake. You never know, you may end up working for what is to become one of the biggest companies in the media industry.

If you are looking to break into the media industry like Natasha, be sure to follow us on Twitter @JournoGrads and like us on Facebook to stay up to date with the latest jobs and internships

Related posts:

%d bloggers like this:
- price9 - deals5