Written by: Lauren Demir
Photos: David Franco
Collages: Annie Mcgill
Monikah Lee is a recognisable name in the game. Not only is she a host and presenter of her own show ‘Talks with Monika Lee Show’; she also on Westside Radio every Sunday morning from 10am-1pm as well as working with Link Up TV.
A confident, vibrant, easy going character, we talk about a range of things for over an hour when we met. Although coming across as happy go lucky, this girl definitely has her head screwed on. Throughout the interview she shows she has foresight in terms of her career and where she wants to end up, ‘My brand is not just a representation of me but also whoever I’m working with.’ She so cautious down to what she tweets about as she knows you can’t delete anything from the internet, ‘I’m careful with what I tweet and retweet; I don’t even say men are trash.’
Her last ‘Talks with Monikah Lee Show’ she had a panel discussing topics from inter-racial dating, to the then up and coming election. The show got heated at times, due to the topics, but Monikah managed to keep it both respectful and entertaining. She wants to see more women of colour presenting and hosting. Although she acknowledges the current women doing their bit, 'AJ Odudu she's sick, Remel London's killing it, Maya Jama, her energy is so energetic and contagious. These presenters have been on their grind and it’s humbling to see them all flourish. But what Jamaican girl is there on a national/ commercial level within the presenting industry ? I’m ready to add a bit of my yardie touch'
We got to find out more about Monikah Lee and what she has to say about the industry and what advice she has to give from her journey so far.
In Jamaica I used to do beauty pageant shows and I realised I love being in front of people. As I grew older I wanted to get into acting but was tired of being told 'You fit the part but we’ve already got a black person.' So I thought let me just go to uni and get a degree. At uni I realised I can’t be in an 9-5 office job. After I left uni I went to an afrobeats concert, and my boy asked me t0 present behind the scenes and I loved it!
Monikah lee show
The initial idea was to talk about issues we experience as young people but don’t speak about as lot of our friends might be close minded. I wanted an audience of people from all over, where we could sit and talk and no-one’s going to be rude or discredit anyone as a person. I wanted to discuss social issues, political issues with people leaving my show thinking about life, like rah even though I don’t agree; I respect what you’re saying.
I was on Flames radio and I loved it. But I was focused on learning how to DJ and wasn't engaging with my audience. Then Westside holla’ed me to do a pilot show, I felt this was the perfect opportunity to chisel my craft. On my pilot show they said to me in a polite way, what have I been doing on radio for the last year due to my inexperience. I felt I had to start all over again. I started officially in January.
Remember where you are, what kind of questions to ask them depends on the scenario. You don’t want to be damaging someone else reputation just to make yourself look good. So it’s just being sensitive, empathic and showing emotions,
When things are moving awkward or they’re not really feeling what you’re saying, move onto the next question. Make it a joke, turn it into humour you don’t sit there and point things out.
Find out what they like, what they want to talk about, what interests them, warm it up first. Never feel like you’re interrogating someone when you’re interviewing them, have a conversation and it’ll come natural.
Hosting with an audience and speaking in front of the camera are two different things. With a live audience you’re able to feed off people’s energy. When you talk in front of the camera it’s just you and the camera, the camera doesn’t give me back anything.
Know what type of host you want to be. Corporate, music, TV? If TV what kind, BBC, Channel 4, ITV? Do you want to stick in the urban world, go commercial? Once you figure that out you know how and where to move on.
Don’t take anything personal. You might be good for that moment, but when that moment goes it’s up to you to use that platform that you were given.
Don’t think about money, money will come when it’s the right time. Know and understand your worth. What have you done? If someone asks you what can you give them, what can you say?
Be yourself, be a nice person, willing to learn, willing to talk to people. If you see someone doing big things, don’t be shy to ask for help. Just because they don’t get back to you doesn’t mean that you should feel like rejected or anything, just keep on asking.