The Show­biz Spe­cial­ist


Now seven months preg­nant with her third child, Mar­tel Maxwell has suc­cess­fully carved out a ca­reer in news­pa­pers span­ning al­most a decade. She’s now a pub­lished author. When I first went into the in­dus­try, it wasn’t easy; you needed a cer­tain amount of con­fi­dence as a young woman, even if you painted it on. I started out at The Sun as a grad­u­ate trainee, I was a bit cocky when I was 22. Five years on, a man who started at the same time as me and I chat­ted over drinks. We dis­cussed salary and I was earn­ing more than him. You might need balls of steel to ask for more money but it’s worth it. Although it was a male-dom­i­nated en­vi­ron­ment, you rose based on merit. I was a young, hun­gry, show­biz re­porter, but there was no way I could have done it with kids. You needed to ded­i­cate your whole life to it. You’d be drink­ing with celebri­ties in free bars un­til 3am, and were ex­pected to be at your desk at 9am. I am glad I made the con­scious de­ci­sion to leave news­pa­pers to do ra­dio and TV work. I chose to work for my­self and go free­lance af­ter eight years of be­ing full-time staff be­cause I saw, first­hand, that col­leagues who had be­come mums strug­gled. I have friends who ex­press milk on their cof­fee break. I didn’t want to be in the po­si­tion of com­ing back to work, into an am­bi­tious and hun­gry ca­reer, af­ter hav­ing a baby. Some women I worked with didn’t get huge sup­port if they wanted to go part-time. Women were treated dif­fer­ently to men and I didn’t want it to be me. When my son Chester (who is 21 months) was six days old, I recorded a voiceover for TV. That might sound ridicu­lous when your baby is six days old but it was only for an hour-and-a-half and I felt like I had seen the out­side world. I was asked to work for The One Show 11 weeks af­ter giv­ing birth to my sec­ond son and I felt em­bar­rassed to ask the male pro­duc­ers if I could go and ex­press milk, and I ended up get­ting mas­ti­tis, but that was my own fault. I am very lucky be­cause my hus­band Jamie works for him­self too so when work comes in, I can usually say yes, then worry about the child­care af­ter­wards. My ad­vice is: if you are am­bi­tious, knock on doors and you are good, you will be in de­mand. In the future, I hope to have a healthy third child in De­cem­ber and bring my chil­dren up to be good peo­ple who can do any­thing they want. Pro­fes­sion­ally, I would like to com­plete a sec­ond book and get it pub­lished.

‘You might need balls of steel to ask for more money, but it’s worth it.’

Dress, Prin­ci­ples by Ben de Lisi, £50, neck­lace, Prin­ci­ples by Ben de Lisi, £18, cuff, Prin­ci­ples by Ben de Lisi, £15, heels, Red Her­ring, £22, all at Deben­hams. Hair and make-up: Kayleigh Brock. WITH THANKS TO: The Academy of Make-up, Deben­hams Sil­ver­burn.

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