Interview : Noreen Khan
Noreen is a successful radio and TV presenter. She currently presents her show on the BBC Asian Network weekdays from 1:30-5pm. Listening figures regularly prove she has the most listened to Asian radio show in the UK. Away from the airwaves Noreen has a huge interest in fashion and has launched her very own clothing line. Needless to say, she is a role model to many. We had the delight to interview her for Inclusive Networks.
You’re a very successful radio presenter. Is this a job you always dreamed of doing?
I didn’t actually plan to go into radio when I was at school but I think it was my passion for music that got me there eventually.
How did your career start?
I started off volunteering in hospital radio, then went onto work for a commercial radio station in London and then after four years of commercial radio I was poached by the BBC!
Was it all plain sailing or have you encountered any challenges along the way?
I did experience challenges along the way as media can be an extremely competitive field so you’ve got to really prove yourself to get noticed. I also struggled in the beginning when I was trying to hold down a full time job and get some unpaid radio experience on the weekends. I didn’t have much of a social life for a while as I was so determined to get as many air miles as I could.
And now you’re the presenter of one of the biggest Asian radio shows in the UK. That must feel good?
I do feel proud to have the most listened to show on the BBC Asian Network. To sum up my show, I’d say I play a good mix of music, including new and classic Asian music. I cover the latest showbiz news, gadget and technology news, sports, lifestyle and have lots of cheeky banter in between. My show is pretty much info-tainment.
“We’re still in a country where white men dominate many industries. It’s very important to have visible diverse role models to help inspire others and to reflect the world we live in.”
What does success look like to you?
Success to me means being the best in your field and being able to maintain being at the top.
Do you still have things you want to achieve?
Yes, there is so much more I want to achieve. I never stop!
Who are your media role models?
My media role models would include anyone from Oprah Winfrey, Chris Evans to Ant and Dec as they have been in the game for a long time and are still getting good work which means they’re doing something right.
Do you think it’s important to have visible diverse role models in the public eye?
We’re still in a country where white men dominate many industries. It’s very important to have visible diverse role models to help inspire others and to reflect the world we live in.
How do you feel being considered a role model to many people?
I never really think about it…if people see me as one then that’s a huge compliment. Being a role model also comes with a bit of responsibility.
“I’ve never really followed anyone but there is one woman who I’ve pretty much studied since I was a little girl and that is the icon Marilyn Monroe.”
Racism is something that’s still a big problem in the UK (and beyond). Is this something you’ve ever experienced?
I can’t say I’ve ever experienced any sort of racism first hand. I hope I never have to either.
What role do you think the media has in putting discrimination, whether it be racism, homophobia…, in the public eye and helping educate people of the damage it does to the victims?
Obviously media plays a very important role in helping with these issues and as an industry we should try and help and do all we can to help eradicate it.
We’d love to know more about your clothing line. How did this come about?
I actually set up my own clothing boutique when I was just 21 so it was always in me to get back into fashion which is how Noreen Khan Couture came about.
How would you describe the clothing line and where can people buy it?
My label is a blend of Asian and Western influences as I want my clothing line to appeal to non Asian women too. It’s all available via my website: www.officialnoreenkhan.com
Who are your own fashion icons?
I’ve never really followed anyone but there is one woman who I’ve pretty much studied since I was a little girl and that is the icon Marilyn Monroe.
Do you have any hopes and dreams for 2015?
I have a lot of hopes for 2015….if any of them work out I’ll drop you a note! I can’t say too much about them right now…
Getting to know Noreen:
My local ‘Tipu Sultan’ in Birmingham
Favourite sweet treat:
Billie Jean by Michael Jackson