‘You Have To Put Your Emo­tions To One Side’

We chat­ted to the pre­sen­ter and jour­nal­ist about her ground­break­ing new doc­u­men­tary on the dark webé

Look (UK) - - STACEY DOOLEY INTERVIEW -

OK, we’re a lit­tle bit ob­sessed with Stacey Doo­ley. The mega-tal­ented 30year-old has only gone and made another in­cred­i­ble doc­u­men­tary – and we can’t stop talk­ing about it. Delv­ing into the dark side of dig­i­tal, Stacey’s eight-week in­ves­ti­ga­tion ex­plores the con­nec­tion be­tween drugs and so­cial me­dia – specif­i­cally how schoolkids are buy­ing class A drugs on­line, coded with emo­jis (eg, a snowflake = co­caine) and via plat­forms such as In­sta­gram and Snapchat.

Stacey Doo­ley In­ves­ti­gates: Kids Sell­ing Drugs On­line (watch it on BBC iplayer now), sees her go un­der­cover, ques­tion­ing dan­ger­ous drug gangs and ar­rang­ing meets with deal­ers – one as young as 16, who turns up straight from the school play­ground. We caught up with Stacey last week to find out how she keeps her cool un­der­cover and what she gets up to when she’s not tack­ling se­ri­ous

world prob­lems. Not gonna lie, there was also a lot of gushing about our mu­tual love of Louis Th­er­oux…

Hi, Stacey! Con­grats on the new doc­u­men­tary – it’s in­cred­i­ble. Did you ex­pect it to be so sur­real? I was so in­trigued. We know that the dark web ex­ists, but the fact that kids can go through per­fectly le­gal, le­git so­cial apps to buy drugs is pretty crazy. There’s a part in the doc­u­men­tary where you’re film­ing un­der­cover and you con­front one of the school­boys [who was about to sell drugs to Stacey]. How did you feel in that mo­ment? Did you feel sorry for him? Of course. Some peo­ple asked whether the con­fronta­tions were nec­es­sary, but I think they were. We had to make sure they were ac­tu­ally turn­ing up and try­ing to sell drugs. But he was only a baby – there’s no joy out of it. It’s so sad. What was the driv­ing force be­hind mak­ing this par­tic­u­lar doc­u­men­tary? I’ve no­ticed it’s a lot tougher for the younger gen­er­a­tion, as there are all these so­cial pres­sures now. I wanted to ex­plore that. We’re fa­mil­iar with per­pe­tra­tors us­ing [so­cial me­dia] to push their ter­ror­ist views, for ex­am­ple, and we’re shocked and ap­palled by that, but the idea you can buy class A drugs in 15 min­utes isn’t as out in the open. What was the most shock­ing part? The age of the kids and how enor­mous the busi­ness seems to be. One man claimed 75 per cent of his gang’s tak­ings came from on­line deals. How can we deal with this type of is­sue? These so­cial apps have an eth­i­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity for these kids, their cus­tomers. I don’t think they’re do­ing enough. This is my per­sonal opin­ion and doesn’t rep­re­sent that of the BBC. Snapchat, es­pe­cially: the fact that I was go­ing to them very calmly, ex­plain­ing the sit­u­a­tion, and they didn’t even have a few min­utes to talk things through on cam­era – I think that’s ap­palling. When you’re un­der­cover and you have the hid­den cam­eras, how do you feel? How do you get past the nerves? It can be very fright­en­ing but you have to re­mem­ber why you’re there and put emo­tions to one side – oth­er­wise they’d cloud your judge­ment. Peo­ple al­ways say: ‘You’re so brave,’ but I think any­one would do it if they felt so pas­sion­ately about some­thing. I think we’re all stronger than we imag­ine and I’m very lucky to do what I love for a liv­ing. I never take that for granted. Can it be quite emo­tion­ally drain­ing? Yeah, you do get up­set; these peo­ple are up against it a lot of the time. Which doc­u­men­tary has been the hard­est for you? I made one last year look­ing at the Yazidi women [Stacey on the Front­line: Girls, Guns and Isis]. Think of your worst night­mare, times it by 100 and you’re close to what they went through. Ob­vi­ously you meet loads of peo­ple through your doc­u­men­taries – and form close bonds and friend­ships. Are you ever able to stay in touch? I can some­times. Of­ten, be­cause they can be so far out, they won’t have a mo­bile phone or re­cep­tion, so some­times it’s tricky. But this is one of the ben­e­fits of so­cial me­dia. It does help if they’re on Twit­ter or In­sta­gram and you can touch base ev­ery few weeks. What’s been the proud­est mo­ment of your ca­reer so far? I was short­listed for a Gri­er­son Award, which is kind of the Os­cars of doc­u­men­taries. I was the only fe­male un­der 40 who was nom­i­nated for Best Doc­u­men­tary. That was lovely. What doc­u­men­taries do you love? Louis Th­er­oux, ob­vi­ously! I met him this year and you know when you meet your hero? It was like that. I was try­ing to be cool [laughs]. He’s re­mark­able. We think you two pair­ing up would be an ab­so­lute dream… [Laughs] I mean, he’s so bril­liant. What is­sues are you tack­ling next? There’s a law in Rus­sia that if you’re in a vi­o­lent re­la­tion­ship, you can only press charges if he phys­i­cally breaks bones or hos­pi­talises you. A woman ac­tu­ally came out with a state­ment and said: ‘It’s just not worth break­ing up fam­i­lies over a slap.’ It’s hor­ri­fy­ing. I’m go­ing to Rus­sia at the end of this month. What do you do when you’re not film­ing and in­ves­ti­gat­ing? It’s very dull [laughs]. Spend­ing time with my boyfriend or my dog, and squeez­ing in a hol­i­day when I can. As Look is a fashion mag­a­zine, we just have to know, where do you shop? I also love shop­ping! COS, Zara and

Cé­line are my favourites.

So­cial apps aren’t do­ing enough in my opin­ion – they have a re­spon­si­bil­ity

Stacey’s films of­ten put her in risky sit­u­a­tions

Stacey ex­poses the avail­abil­ity of drugs on­line

Hang­ing out with her beloved Bernie

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