Our next move

From writ­ing a novel to liv­ing a sim­pli­fied life, four fa­mous faces share their plans

Woman & Home - - Editor's Letter -

four fa­mous faces share their plans for the fu­ture

“A fam­ily tragedy to­tally changed ev­ery­thing for me”

TV pre­sen­ter June Sar­pong, 40, lives in north Lon­don. She’s re­leas­ing her first book, Di­ver­sify, this month.

I em­brace new ex­pe­ri­ences and seek them out, but any­thing new is fright­en­ing. You can put me on a stage in front of 50,000 peo­ple and i wouldn’t flinch. But writ­ing a book felt in­cred­i­bly daunt­ing be­cause it’s new.

I thought I had no prej­u­dices, but I did. My book came from an ex­pe­ri­ence i had while film­ing in Las Ve­gas.

A young man ap­peared on set with tat­toos and i felt in­tim­i­dated even though he was in no way men­ac­ing. As a woman of colour, i’ve been on the re­ceiv­ing end of that kind of judge­ment – this made me see the other side.

We all need to start hav­ing th­ese con­ver­sa­tions. whether you’re a woman, have a dis­abil­ity or are in any

way “dif­fer­ent”, you know what it’s like not to be con­sid­ered the gold stan­dard. i want to en­cour­age peo­ple to spot their own hid­den prej­u­dices.

I strug­gle with con­fi­dence, I’m ac­tu­ally quite shy. i’ve named my in­se­cure side Agnes – and she’s bloody an­noy­ing!

But in nam­ing it, i’m able to no­tice when Agnes is in charge.

Friend­ships are very im­por­tant to me. dur­ing tough times you see who your real friends are. My brother died [he com­mit­ted sui­cide] two years ago, and it was the dark­est time. i wouldn’t have got through it with­out my friends.

My life now com­pared to then is like night and day. Peo­ple said it would get bet­ter; i didn’t be­lieve it – but it did. the sil­ver lin­ing about dark times is that it makes you ap­pre­ci­ate the lit­tle things. i am also much more com­pas­sion­ate and mind­ful of try­ing to be as kind as i can. My brother dy­ing changed ev­ery­thing.

I be­lieve in god, the power of prayer and med­i­ta­tion. we all need some­thing out­side of our­selves to get us through. For me, it’s faith and prayer.

My big­gest hobby is food and cook­ing. Food is at the cen­tre of African cul­ture. My par­ents’ gen­er­a­tion were a stern bunch – the way they showed love was through food. i love hav­ing peo­ple for din­ner. My sig­na­ture dish is jollof rice, a biryani crossed with tomato risotto!

I’m in a re­la­tion­ship but it’s still very new. we’re liv­ing to­gether and i’m very happy – it’s too early to say any more.

My shoe cup­board is ridicu­lous! i don’t even want to think about how much i’ve spent on shoes over the years.

I used to have a five-year plan, but the past few years have shown me you can­not con­trol ev­ery­thing. now i’m much more in­clined to go with the flow. i’ve re­cently started pre­sent­ing an arts show on Sky Arts, some­thing i would never have con­sid­ered be­fore.

June’s book, di­ver­sify, is out now (HQ).

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