Who Is Amrit?
Nuts is the word there are many faces to Amrit. I can be serious and I can be religious I can be crazy. I’m just a fun loving spirit kind of person. I try and put that in every aspect of what I do. Whether its work or whether it’s with friends. I’m just generally fun.
What is your day job?
So I work at the BBC and I’m an assistant producer. I kind of landed on the radio. People always ask me if this is something you’ve always wanted to do and the answer is no. I always knew I wanted to work in the media. But I didn’t think it was obtainable. When I was at school I was a massive geek and I loved English and I wanted to be an English teacher. My teacher’s really inspired me and that’s what I went off and did. So I went to university and I did English literature because I really enjoyed it, with the hope that I became a teacher. So I ended up doing a teachers module and I was put off by it. There was just so much paperwork and I thought to myself I don’t want to sit there and plan lessons. I wanted to go out there and automatically go and inspire people. So I started looking at magazines and writing with something I was always very good at. I did several internships in London after uni. that was really really good but it was very very competitive. So I wasn’t even earning anything as it was an internship. So that’s how I started doing blogging. I always used to be blogging all the time when I was to finish work and I needed to come home I used to be on my laptop. Friends and family used to ask me what I was doing and I already used explain that I was blogging and I was actually doing something. When I moved back to Northampton I was looking for more 9 to 5 jobs. I was an ice cream lady that was fun. I also worked in the fashion department for Avon. I was my buyers assistant. It was a 9 to 5 job but it had a creative edge and it was really fun. That’s how I kept my passion for keeping my blog going. I was getting more experimental by using YouTube and making videos and going live and I’ve also done a few events.
How did you get into the BBC?
So my contract with Avon didn’t continue so I then picked up the phone to the BBC and asked if there were any jobs going. I picked up the phone to the local BBC in Northampton. I just rang them up and said I have loads of experience and I’m looking for a job. I remember the BBC saying it doesn’t work like that. I said email this senior broadcast journalist. I really thought that I was getting fobbed off and I thought that they weren’t going to look at my email. But I still sent my email off. I was very naive but still sent it and the lady emailed me back, the lady asked me if I wanted to come in for a chat and I didn’t even know what that even meant (laughing) So I just went along thinking I might get a job out of this and if it doesn’t work out at least I went and to get some experience and what it looks like to do an interview. she took me around all the news rooms showed me around. I remember her saying I was very brave as in to send in all my stuff to her and I came across very confident. The lady said to me you would be really suited for radio and I was quite shocked as I thought I’d just wanted to write some pieces for their website nothing about radio so I was really shocked. The lady was like no no you’ve got a lot of confidence you would be great and give the radio a think. She introduced me to community radio stations and there was one radio station called inspiration radio FM and I was part of their volunteer program and within two months, and because I was in that circle of broadcasters and in radio it completely changes the way you think when you look at something. When I was in fashion my eye was trained to look at fashion. So by chance, I came across an internship with the BBC Asian Network and I remember thinking oh my god I’m never going to get this and I was very inexperienced I’m not very good at radio. It was the BBC at the end of the day.
So I just applied and it was through creative access at the time there was a charity and they were helping BAME people in the media. So I applied and I was put through interview stages. So I got through and that was pretty much it and I’ve never looked back and it is something I really really enjoy and it’s definitely the direction I want to be in. I trained with the BBC for a year and I was working with all different shows from Noreen Khan and Bobby Friction.
So you were the Assistant Producer for Noreen Khan Show and Bobby Friction Show what was that like?
The two presenters are very different so their shows are very different even the time of day was different. So what was funny with Noreen when I was doing my blogging way before the BBC. I was reporting at a fashion event and Noreen was there and she was showcasing some of her pieces for her fashion. I remember meeting her at that event and speaking to her and I remember two weeks later I was at the BBC and she came over and she like “oh what are you doing here”. I was like oh I’m going to be on your team (laughing) it was really funny but a brilliant experience a lot of fun on that show.
I worked on the Bobby Friction show first I always say this but Bobby I spent 6 months on his show and he really taught me everything that I could carry with me today. Since been working with the Asian Network I’ve done a few radio shows here and there. that was at BBC Northampton and also with sunny and Shay. how was will remember that Bobby gave me my first piece of advice just always be yourself and I will always keep that very close to my heart because he said that.
You were a journalist for Punjab 2000 also, how did that happen?
Yes, I was. I don’t do as much anymore due to my work commitments. I’m very close to the guys there they do just such a brilliant job. So when I was blogging, Tony Pabla he found me online. He introduced himself and said we would love for you to write for us, we would love for you to come on board and blog for us. I will always remember the day that happened I was going to wireless Festival that day and he was like yeah yeah that’s great you can write your first piece about it. I will always be grateful to Tony because he found me online due to my blogging and I was already doing that. It gave me a platform for me to share the work I was doing at the time. I got introduced to the whole Punjab 2000 team. At the Asian Media Awards, I was an intern then for the BBC and that was the year that Tony had passed away and the Asian Media Awards they wanted to pay a tribute to Tony. I remember no one could go down and I get a phone call from Tej, he asked me could you do it could you speak at the event. So I did do that and for me it was good because I could give Tony a tribute because not only did he give me a platform so did Punjab 2000. They are the fore front on most events also. What they do they do with passion.
Who is your role model and inspiration?
Oh god, that’s a really hard question because I could break it down into all different categories. I’m going, to be honest, the main people for me who will be my role model’s and inspiration is my family. But I am the way I am due to my family. I mean I’m a bit nuts but they all appreciate that. But I also get a lot of stick for it but so what, they will take the piss out of me but they get it and they know that’s who I am and they’re very supportive. they are always encouraging me in anything that I do. I mean for an example back in my blogging days and I was working on something and I’ll be sat there with my laptop and he asked me what are you doing and that’s because they were actually interested and what I was doing. It’s really nice to know that they are interesting in what I do care about what I do. I have a massive family. I mean with my immediate family we all live together and then my cousins they live down the road we are so used to being in each other’s faces all the time. We have never kept anything for secret we’ve always been very open with each other. I mean I go to loads of events interview you know lots of guys you know I’m travelling all the time and it’s not an issue for my family and that’s the main concern because the other see if they trust me and they know what I am doing. I have my family’s blessing.
I mean my parents both have full-time jobs but they are also carers for three of my grandparents at home. My grandmother, she had a stroke, my grandfather he’s very old now and also my dad’s uncle (chacha) He also lives with us as well and he has Down Syndrome and Dementia.
We have a very very busy household, people sometimes say their carers for these people in the household but that has never stopped them from having a social life and doing their own day-to-day things that they need to do. I mean my mum she effectively looks after me and my sister and then my grandparents and she’s doing all that and having a full-time job and running a household I mean it’s just inspiring.
Also, we were featured in The Guardian Newspaper. (below is a clip Amrit did on her blog)
Musically I used to listen to R&B back in the day and Destiny’s Child was definitely part of my life especially in my childhood, songs like independent woman and even Beyonce she’s just incredible. Destiny’s Child song for me when my favourite has to be soldier is very poignant, as you know I have a love of fashion and it was them vs them so it was so good.
In the media have to say Anita Rani has to be my god she is one incredible lady I just love her if I had to look at a broadcaster she is the one. I mean what she has done for British Asians it’s just outstanding she’s putting them on the map. She is a professional. I look at her and that is someone I aspire to be like.
You have your own blog “Amaretto’s World” First why that name? Why did you start a blog?
So Amaretto’s World started because at uni I didn’t have many Asian friends. Growing up in Northampton I possibly had one Asian friend there wasn’t many around. I only ever knew Asians because they were my family I didn’t actually have many Asian friends. So when I went to university a lot of my friends were English and when I used to introduce myself and tell people my name they couldn’t pronounce it or say it properly. I need to remember I had to break my name down into syllables that people could understand what my name actually was. I remember someone saying your name actually sounds like amaretto, I was like oh yeah I actually quite like that. Then that name just stuck and that’s how people started to know me as.
This was a very DIY blog, I created it. It became easy to blog when people take photos and jump on peoples bandwagons. I am proud of my blog that recently posted that I got 2000 followers that may not be a lot but that’s down to the fact I didn’t pay to get followers. It was all because people wanted to see what I did and were proud of what I did. That’s what makes me proud. My blog is something I care about. It was a personable thing for me.
When I started the blog I thought It will be really funny to call it that it as it was different and I loved the title Amaretto’s World, as it’s my little world it’s my little bubble. I remember sitting in my room at university and I remember thinking I don’t like wearing what other people wear I like to wear completely different clothes. So when I used to go out at university I used to make my own clothes. We have an attic at home and my mum keeps all her vintage clothes up there so I remember taking them and making my own clothes out of them. It first started as a fashion and media blog really and then it just kind of progressed into blogging about everything.
What was the most memorable article you wrote?
So I just spoke about my blog being a lot about fashion and media. So as I became more interested in the media. It started to become more of a profile on me and what I was doing. So it was my journey and I remember as I left uni and started to work in London I used to work for this magazine called Interact and we were all assigned our own articles at the time. At the time my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and this was a very life-changing and significant point in my life as you know I was involved with the Caring of my grandmother also. So when my parents were at work I was around for all the appointments for my grandmother. So I wrote an article about it and it was the first time for my wider and extended family to be able to read and understand my articles. It was my thoughts and it was my way of dealing with things and my feelings at the time. That was for me a very very important article.
On your blog who would you say was the most memorable?
When I say blog it’s also mixed into my vlogs. The most memorable one for me I have to say it was Bishamber Das. I did an interview with her and at the time, I was doing talk time with amaretto. I wish I had a little bit more time where I could do that again and profile more people. I mean what she has achieved and is still achieving now which is just incredible. As a person she is very very relatable and she’s a people person and it came across in the interview if you watch it you can see how wonderful she actually is. She is a real person. We clicked straight away.
Do you get any negativity for being curvy?
Yes. So this is something I have started to recently talk about as you know. Being part of The Yours Campaign and the way that came about was a friend messaged me and said you should apply for this you’ve got a really good platform for it and I was sort of like a bit apprehensive first. Never really thought about myself being curvy before you know you do get comments like oh that’s not going to fit you or you’re just too fat for that. I’ve always took it on the chin and it never really really ever bothered me. Both me and my sister are curvy unfortunately for my sister she had it a lot tougher growing up. I think that’s a very Indian thing to be honest. I never look in the mirror and thought oh my god I don’t look good I really really just don’t let it affect me. I just don’t listen to peoples comments.
You entered the “Face Of Yours Campaign” which i voted for you. Why did you personally enter?
The reason I entered is I wanted people to see it through my eyes. I mean for me no matter what you want to achieve you should never let your weight or what you look like stop you from doing that and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to do this campaign. I want people to look at the inner confidence than the outside I mean sometimes that’s even through friends that say don’t post that picture because you look fat in it. I mean if you have to be comfortable within yourself look at how beautiful you are as a person and not what you look like. You know what be realistic about life be happy.
Whats your biggest achievement so far?
The fact I’m doing a job I love and I’m passionate about and its my career. Working at the BBC is something i’ll always be grateful. I love travelling. I’m proud of that. I have done a few shows and learning about presenting. I have hosted a few community events. I am believer that things happen for a reason.
Tell me about Desi and Desire?
When I was at university. I grew up reading Roald Dahl and Jacqueline Wilson books your standard children’s books. I never got to relate to the characters as they weren’t Asian. So I then discovered Bally Rai books and I was like wow there are indian people in books! I then discovered Nisha Minhas, it was selection of books with real quirky titles like Bindi and Brides. So I read them and formed my opinion on them and did my dissertation on it and my research was limited and it was really interested. Years later Lambert Publishing contacted me and asked me if I was a author and I was like yes! They published my book and then I thought of the campaign #desianddesire. I have done 4 out of the 5 books and there might be a music video! I have created all different images and it was so cool and it would be great to have an exhibition about it.
Any advise to anyone who want to get into media?
Yeah just like the Nike saying goes, Just Do It. People like Satnam Sanghera are an inspiration I remember reading his book when I was 17 years old. Things that were going on in his life was like I met my foil like an older person who literally went through what I had too do. There was a strong connection there. Over the years I got in touch with him as he really inspired me. Through work we got to know each other. It was because of him I found out about the Intership’s with Creative Access. I’m proud of him and he’s just brilliant.
Whats next for Amrit?
Who knows wherever life takes me!
Wow what can I say about Amrit Matharu, she is so creative and fun loving! Meeting her for my blog was an amazing experience and she is just so lovely. She is known for Amaretto’s World, a BBC presenter at BBC Asian Network. Also the author for Desi and Desire. Amrit it was fun talking to you and you are inspiration and role model for females and males out there!! Very proud of you!