TV presenter Anna Williamson on beating bullies and making it in the competitive world of presenting

If you’ve watched Nickelodeon, Daybreak or This Morning, you’ve most likely seen gorgeous TV presenter Anna Williamson on your screen.

Anna is also a Childline Counsellor and we caught up with her to find out more about the new anti-bullying campaign she is advocating – the Be a Buddy campaign with Cartoon Network.

Bullying is a real issue, whether in school, university or the workplace. Anna tells us about overcoming her own struggles with bullies, how she got into the competitive TV industry and why not comparing yourself to others is so important. You won’t want to miss this.

Anna Wilkinson

Image Credit: Anna Williamson

1. How did you get into TV presenting? 

After 17 years in front of the camera, I still haven’t worked out a decent answer to this question!  It’s because it just sort of ‘happened’ haha.  I was in a girlband (Blush) from the age of 15-17 and back then you did a lot of the kids telly shows to promote your single. I just loved the presenting side of these guest appearances and so when the band ended, I decided my life goal was to become a TV presenter. I badgered and badgered the exec producer on a network called Carlton Kids, a show I had appeared on a lot, and eventually he got so fed up with me he gave me a trial. I owe him a LOT!

2. Tell us about what you are working on for #AntiBullyingWeek with Cartoon Network?

Bullying is the number one issue for young people who call Childline.  As a counsellor both for the charity, privately and on the telly, it never fails to amaze me just how many people are suffering as a result of bullying. Be it in person, at school, online or at home, bullying is never ok and this is why this campaign is so important. It tells everyone that bullying is wrong, that it is never the victims’ fault and that there are things that we can all do to help. The Be a Buddy campaign with Cartoon Network is a brilliant reminder that we can all step up and help those suffering at the hands of bullies, and in some cases the bullies themselves.  By being a buddy to those that need a friendly smile or a supportive pal can make all the difference.  We want children and parents to work together to ensure this happens.

3. Have you ever experienced bullying in your life? Ever in the workplace?

I think bullying in the work place for adults is just as bad as it is for young people, but perhaps for different reasons and articulated in different ways. Excluding and ignoring people is classed as bullying and in my experience this can be just as bad as being physically hit. I have suffered a bit of the exclusion bullying in the work place and being undermined and belittled which can be devastating to one’s confidence. Fortunately that is all way in the past now and I tackled the bullies head on at the time – words can be super powerful and liberating!

4. What would your advice be to young people to feel more confident?

Don’t measure yourself against anyone else. You are unique and have your own strengths and weaknesses, and skills and mindset. Remember that. Keep focusing on your own goals and path ahead and don’t worry about or compare yourself to what everyone else is doing around you.

5. Do you think people have ever treated you differently in the workplace for being a woman?

I haven’t really experienced any sexism fortunately. I grew up surrounded by brothers so I have always been raised as ‘one of the pack’ – I never even thought about any differences between boys and girls. Not so much for being female, but for someone who has a fairly posh southern accent and blonde hair, I have perhaps felt more of a need to prove my intelligence and worth in work over the years than perhaps I would have otherwise.

6. What would your advice be to aspiring TV presenters?

Have a vision of what you want to present and why and then go for it! Don’t think about or do it solely in search of being famous, money, or glamour….believe me, that only happens to a select few and even then, it can be short lived. Really believing in your craft and what you want to present is key to longevity in this industry. Do it because you love the job and the skill set required to entertain/inform millions of viewers…that’s why I do it, not for the dosh.

Now what?