Ashley Conrad is reporting from the front line
We caught up with presenter Ashley Conrad for a behind-the-scenes look at his online life.
When did you decide to specialise in red-carpet interviews and presenting?
Presenting started many, many year ago. Don’t laugh, but it was hearing Vanessa Feltz on the radio – around 12 years ago, one day in my Dad’s car – that changed my life. I loved the way it felt like she was talking to me and me alone about anything and everything – I’m still hooked today.
From those teenage years, I studied and listened to various presenters – mainly female. I shadowed and contacted a fair few radio shows before getting myself a show on a small local radio station in Kent. Entertainment news, Celebrity gossip and sex tapes were easy to talk about and make fun of, and it just grew from there.
Red carpet presenting was a chance I took when I invited myself onto someone else’s shoot at a fashion show. I just made it my mission to find out who these people were, in the most entertaining way in a short amount of time.
The red carpet is unscripted , unpredictable, and I get to wear something a little flamboyant – it’s fun!
How hard is it to break into the world of entertainment reporting?
I feel like I’m still trying to break into it. How often do we see new faces on TV presenting or reporting ? It’s incredibly hard – unfortunately there’s no set path.
Sometimes it feels like you have to have been on a reality show or have a sex-tape in order to get your break.
However, with the rise of streaming services on social networks, anyone can now be a ‘reporter’ – the quality of the report is another thing.
Who are some of your of your entertainment reported heroes or inspirations?
I love female presenters. I adored Joan Rivers. Joan’s red carpets are legendary – you get a laugh , some information an outfit, and she moves on.
I’m also a Wendy Williams mega-fan. Putting aside some of the things she’s said over the years, I admire her work ethic and the lengths she went to in order to make it to where she is today. Also, no one beats Old Wendy’s Radio interviews. Her interview with Whitney Houston is legendary.
On my local BBC radio station, there’s a presenter called Jo Good. Her red carpet style of interviewing is a very interesting and humorous listen – Jo shows a very human side that brings the audience much closer, and makes you feel like you’re listening to an amusing relative.
Growing up in London, there was a black radio station called Choice FM. Each Saturday morning, Geoff Schumann presented an excellent phone-in show. It was fun, yet he’d also tackle controversial issues. I remember him once having a debate with a member of the BNP – listening to that as a young black man was just as hard-hitting as it was inspiring.
What are some of your goals and aspirations for the months ahead?
Despite everyone saying less and less people are watching TV, I would like to be there. I feel there is a huge gap in the market for some fresh faces. I think I’d fit in nicely as an entertainment reporter on breakfast television.
I’d also love to fall in love and live in a penthouse – like Joan Collins in Dynasty.