My guest this week is the gorgeous ray of sunshine that is Sian Welby, the lovely lady that reads the weather on Channel 5 as well as getting our hopes up on the live National Lottery updates; she is also a presenter on BT Sport, Eurosport and ITV4… plus she is the female face of Electronic Arts… welcome Sian…
Hi! My name is Sian, I’m 27, from Nottinghamshire and I’m an alcoholic! Sorry, couldn’t resist! Basically I’m a tea loving northerner masquerading as a Londoner, now living in Clapham and working on the telly. After 5 years of travelling the country, working all hours and putting in ground work I finally got my big break in 2010. The way and route I got there is certainly unconventional and here’s my story.
After I finished 6th form I knew that uni was going to be a waste of time for me. Time has always been an important factor in my life. I knew if I wanted to be an actress or entertainer I had to start the second I had finished my A levels if I was to stand any chance. I initially did a few drama school auditions, but to be honest I couldn’t afford to do more than 3. Some cost £50 an audition, then there’s the travel on top as well as accommodation if it’s a two day event. I was skint. Working Saturdays at Waitrose, doing A levels and learning to drive, it was all too much. I ended up on the ‘waiting list’ as they call it, for Mountview School of Acting, but when that fell through that’s when I decided to have a year out, save some money and try again properly the year after. That one year out would become five. After landing a job at New Look in a town called Newark I decided that I would just try and work as many hours as I could. Meanwhile, I had had this new idea of becoming a presenter as a few mates had likened me to Cat Deely who at the time was a bit of an idol. Mainly because she wasn’t afraid to laugh at herself and be silly. So I literally googled ‘how to be a presenter’ and a website called startintv.com came up. Once I had joined that I uploaded a pic, wrote a quick bio and to my surprise instantly got an audition. That audition would be successful and take me to LA and Las Vegas. It was an incredible start to the world of television and it taught me so much. When that ended I would get another presenting job and so on and so on until suddenly five years had passed and I was STILL at New Look. It was crazy. I had an advert in Times Square one day and was picking up sale clothes off the floor the next. That was it. 2010 was the year I HAD to make it. I remember having an unopened bottle of champagne in my house and I vowed I couldn’t open it until I deserved it. The year flew by, it was suddenly September and to cut a long story short after applying for an agent through a Facebook competition, I was asked to do an advert for New! Magazine. I literally had to say loads of words, DIETS, CELEBRITY, GOSSIP etc etc when the advert went out the line they used of mine was PETER ANDRE. Who knew that line and that moment would lead to one of the biggest names in media and publications spotting me and ultimately giving me a job on his new channel, Channel 5, as his weather girl. I started that November. Amazing. I still haven’t thanked Peter Andre!
Being a former New Look sales assistant, you have hosted some fashion week shows and being on TV presenting the weather you are in the spotlight fashion wise (more so than when presenting sport, I feel). Do you pick the outfits you wear to present the weather, or does the wardrobe department have a say or bit of both?
Once you’re in the lime light you always feel under pressure to look good. It took a bit of fine tuning on the weather because you are only shot from the waist upwards. So I quickly learnt that dresses have to be fitted and shirts tailored. Block colours look really good on tv. Black actually isn’t great on tv, where as reds and blues look amazing. On the weather I have a green screen so I can’t wear certain colours. I choose all my own outfits, because I know now what works. On the health lottery it’s quite fun because I actually have a stylist and she finds me some awesome outfits that I might not have ever chosen myself. Always high street brands. You really can’t go wrong nowadays with the high street because there is so much to choose from! Oasis and Miss Selfridge are my go to brands.
Despite your blonde hair and ultra feminine exterior, you are a tomboy at heart and a gaming geek! You are the female face of Electronic Arts and Xbox 360 features the show on their live dashboard. What do you love most about the world of gaming?
I landed the job for EA sports the same time as getting the weather job. I have always been a tomboy and grown up, me and my sister were like brothers! Building dens, climbing trees and playing on a the mega drive! It’s funny because from working in the games industry I learnt that it really can be such a fun and sociable hobby. It’s not all sweaty geeks in damp fusty bedrooms, it’s so much more interactive. I got hooked on this snowboarding game SSX when it came out a couple of years ago. Basically it was who could ski down the mountain the quickest and most stylish. Simple. But when you’d get home, you’d get a notification to say your mate had beaten your time and suddenly the battle was on! I can get quite competitive, especially against boys, and especially against the proper geeks, because I knew it would kill them knowing this blonde girl had beaten them!! Last year I hosted the launch of the new xbox one in Leicester Square and that was a real career highlight, it was the first time live music had EVER been played in the square, and I was there, hosting it all.
Your TV presenting career has also veered towards the sporting world – especially the cycling events on both Eurosport UK and on BT Sport too. Do you participate in any sport? What’s your favourite sporting activity that you love presenting and/or watching?
Since presenting for ITV, BT sport and Eurosport covering the cycling I have really got into riding my bike, there are some beautiful parks in London and it’s a great way to see them all. I also went skiing this year for the first time and loved it. I think it might be something I try and do once a year.
Is there any style of presenting or TV role or job that you would like to try that you haven’t yet experienced?
I’ve always been sad that I never got to do kids tv. I want them to bring back the types of live Saturday shows I grew up with like SMTV and Live and Kicking. You can’t beat shows like that. You get to have fun and make mistakes and laugh along the way. It’s an ideal job.
My youngest son and myself share a mutual interest in the subject of weather, climate, natural world, earthquakes and volcanoes etc. In fact, he checks the weather app every morning for the weather not only where we live but to check other places around the world too! Not only that, he has been known to role play as a weatherman in games with his brothers! When you was a child did the weather fascinate you?
I have also always been fascinated by extreme weather. I love a good thunderstorm! I would really like the chance to go storm chasing tornados in America. I just need to try and find a tv crew who dare to come with me!
You know what. I really think if you won that kind of money you should really think about doing something that would literally otherwise be impossible without it. If you earned good money you would get a mortgage, new car and set up a savings account. If you won good money, you should really try and make a difference. I would definitely start up a charity or get involved with an awesome project that would fall through without your input. I would also buy something ridiculous, like a pet giraffe.
Have you got any future plans lined up for 2014 that you can tell us about?
Well I’ve had lots of exiting meetings, but as I’ve come to learn, in this industry you just have to be patient and hope the right job finds you at the right time. I can’t wait for the next new challenge and something I’ve realised is, I really enjoy radio. So we’ll see!
Being a presenter you have come across many colourful and influential characters I’m sure – have you met or interviewed anybody who was either your idol or has left you lost for words? Who would make you go giggly & all unnecessary?! Who has made a lasting impression on you so far?
I have met some great people. Actor Nick Frost is one of the best celebrities I have ever met. A very funny,very humble bloke who got me in a headlock on the red carpet in Leicester Square and gave me a ‘nuggi’ it was hilarious. Jonny Depp once looked at me and said ‘alright?’ That. Was. Amazing. Ha! It’s funny all the little moments you remember. I’m meeting Simon Cowell in June and I’m actually so excited. He really is an icon.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing when not on TV?
Fashion wise I always get pulled back to my tomboy roots. I love a pair of jeans with a loose fitting t shirt and a pair of converse. Although I am into fashion and when I’m working or going out I like to be in the latest trends. Recently I’ve been loving the big shirt and jumper look, with skinny jeans and a pair of boots. Although I tried out that look on the weather one week and someone tweeted that I looked like a little school boy! Ha!
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
Love ASOS, TopShop, Oasis, Miss Selfridge, Bershka and even Missguided the new online store. It has some right gems on there.
One day I must own a pair of red soled Louboutin’s. Even when they break my ankles when I fall over in them, I’ll still love them unconditionally like a child.
Boots or Shoes?
Boots are great because I love wearing socks! Weird fact about me is that I always wear odd socks!!
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can follow you and your career.
@sianwelby on twitter
Sian Welby presenter on FB
Thanks Sian… it has been great chatting to you! The storm chasing idea sounds absolutely awesome… I’d love to do that too but I may be a teeny weeny bit scared but it sure would be an ultimate adrenaline rush!
Photo credits: All photographs have been published with kind permission from Sian Welby.