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Samantha Allan, Journalist

Hi Samantha! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

My name is Samantha, but everybody calls me Sam. I am 24 years old and I am a journalist at CNN, I have been there for close to 2 years now. I bagged the job straight after finishing my masters so I’ve just been living my best life post uni life really, living my dream and following my passion.

What motivates/d you to pursue your career aspirations?

What motivated me to become a journalist was watching the news when I was younger. Most young kids would run home to watch Disney, I was running room to watch the news. I was really fascinated with seeing people travelling the world and telling other people's stories. Then I started seeing a few reporters who looks like me such as Isha Sessay and Claudia Liza and I would see myself looking at them. So, at about 6/7, I knew that was what I wanted to do. Wasn’t sure how I would get there and didn’t have a lot of support as my family is full of health care professionals, but my mind was made up. I wanted to tell stories about my country of birth Zimbabwe and other areas which most times are only ever in the news for negative reasons. Though it's still important news, I want people to see the beauty and greatness Africa also has and change that negative narrative the media has been pushing for so long. 

What is your daily inspiration?

My goal is to be a household name for my generation and leave a great legacy. Every day I ask myself, what am I doing to achieve this and to make the world a better place. That alone is enough to drive me.

How do you stand your ground as a woman in the workplace?

I think as a woman of colour not only are you a woman but you’re also an ethnic minority so that alone is difficult and I don’t think I’ve mastered how to stand my ground. That’s something I’m trying to establish if I’m being honest. Journalism is a very male and middle class field and I tick none of those boxes so sometimes I definitely feel a little out of place. But I’m very confident in my ability and respect others so when I feel a type of way, I’m not afraid of sending an email to my editor asking for more work or calling out behaviour I might not like. 

What does workwear look like to you? What are you go-to outfits for conferences and work functions and Why?

No one day is the same when working in journalism, you never know how your day will end and so it's important to be comfortable. You could have a day that you're scheduled to be in the office. Then breaking news happens and you need to run to Downing Street and spend 10 hours there producing.

Comfort clothes for me are my go-to. What I find myself wearing time and time again are fitting trousers and a shirt or cardigan or jumper. I'm a big fan of GAP. They have some really lovely feminine pieces. I usually shop here for cardigans and jumpers. You can't bean Zara for the shirts they produce. I totally love them because they are so classic and chic and so you'll probably almost find me in a Zara shirt most of the time.

Like I said about the running around, I don't even attempt wearing heels to work. I do keep a spare pair of heels at work though. Day to day, you'll find me in loafers because they look professional and are very comfortable to manoeuvre around if for example, I need to run to Downing Street, I don't have to change from wearing trainers. I get there and I'm ready to go.

If I know that my day is going to be chilled, I do like to dress up. That, for me would be a fitted bodycon dress. I'm a curvatious woman and I'm not afraid to flaunt it - professionally of course. I wouldn't wear heels because of all the walking up and down that I have to do. Another look would be wearing fitted high waisted trousers with a nice shirt and cardigan - you guessed it - ideally from GAP or Zara. I do also love my pencil skirts. It sounds so cliché for journalists but I absolutely love them. It's an easy look to pair with any top or blouse and you portray that professional look.

What's the story behind WTF Is Going On Podcast?

Me and my two friends who are also journalists and women of colour felt unhappy working in white dominated newsrooms because we felt silenced and unable to tell stories we wanted to, so we decided to start our own platform. From that, WTF is Going On? podcast was born – a platform where we controlled the narrative of the stories we told.

The "WTF is Going On?" podcast is a biweekly series fronted by myself, Abigail Opiah and Lola Arisekola. Described as a timely blend of "unheard, unbothered and unfiltered" perspectives, WTFIGO both challenges and communicates some of the most contentious themes and topics facing our generation - all with an added dose of personality, cheek, laughter, (and for lack of a better word) sass.

In June 2020, we turned a year and it’s been an incredible experience. We’ve managed to generate listeners from every single continent in the world and even topped the charts in places like Dubai, Zimbabwe & Zambia.

Let's talk full-time work and side hustle

Having a full-time job and a full-time side hustle has been hard! It can be difficult for me and the girls to find a date we are all free to record our podcast episodes due to our busy schedules. This means a lot of late night working and at times, we record a day before releasing an episode then we spend the whole night editing and it doesn’t end there, I still need to show up to my day job. The pandemic has made things even more difficult and has challenged us to find creative ways of using technology to be able to release new material.

I love being busy. For me, I thrive in high pressure environment and so I wouldn’t change a thing, I totally love it.

As time goes on you learn to manage your workload to avoid burn out. You also discover the important of self-love and massages!

What's your take on first impressions?

In my line of work, first impressions are definitely important. I however, I do think we put great emphasis on the notion. I’ve come to learn that someone could be having a bad day and they could be sad when you first meet them. I don’t think you can fully judge someone or have an opinion of them based on first impressions and that’s why I feel it is important to get to know someone.

You can find Samantha on Instagram

Follow WTF is Going On Podcast here.

R x



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