Interview with Janey Lee Grace from BBC Radio 2
Janey Lee Grace from The Big Show with Steve Wright on BBC Radio 2 has enjoyed a long career in show business – starting as a backing singer for Wham!, Kim Wilde and Boy George, and working as an author of five books, TV presenter, magazine columnist and radio DJ (including 16 years working with Steve Wright).
She’s also a well-known figure in natural beauty, a media trainer, AND a mum of four! Here’s her story.
What qualities have enabled you to maintain your success in such a competitive industry?
I think above all I’m a bit of a show off. I got a degree in Performance Arts, dabbled in pop music, had my own Number 8 hit single *yeah) and then got the bug for radio. Becoming an author came much later.
For the performance side of my career, it was the love of communicating and performing, and since getting my own ‘thing’ off the ground it’s been about an absolute passion to encourage others to reach their potential and make great choices.
What have been the toughest barriers you have had to overcome in your in your career? And how did you get past them?
When I was a backing singer, I was self-employed – and had no idea where the next job would come from. Yet I had a mortgage to pay. I was rejected for one high profile tour, they chose other backing singers, and I was devastated.
At that point I realised I needed to take some control and put my own thing together. I called up a couple of singers, we formed a ‘section’ and got the gig with Wham!
And your proudest moments?
There have been a few! Having a Number One amazon best selling book – Imperfectly Natural Woman, having four babies naturally, and being voted number one in the Who’s Who Natural Beauty Yearbook, four years running.
Have you always found it easy to be yourself when presenting or broadcasting, or is it something you had to learn how to do?
My first ever radio show was desperate! But I quickly learnt to speak to one person. I did lots of training and I now train others in how to be a great interview and how to present themselves well.
What’s Imperfectly Natural, and why is it important to you?
My first book was Imperfectly Natural Woman and it was successful, I believe, because I was being realistic. I am passionate about helping people find the natural alternative to everything without comprising.
I also have a website, Imperfectly Natural, with life hacks for the ‘imperfectly natural’ woman.
Your website had over quarter of a million hits in its first month. How did you achieve that?
The book reached number one on Amazon, and I was featured in lots of magazines, and featured on BBC breakfast and Five Live.
In truth I think I was a bit ahead of my time. I see Youtubers now and think… aah they’ve got millions of followers because they are talking about raw food, juices, FIR machines, yoga, wheatgrass, natural deodorants, cleaning the house without chemicals et al, and I was doing it all back then.
Who inspires you, and why?
My first inspiration was Lesley Kenton, author of Endless Energy, she really WAS ahead of her time. I am inspired by Zoe Harcombe and what she does for nutrition, too. And for eye candy – Chris Martin!
What does an average working day look like for you?
Crikey, it varies but a couple of days a week its up at 6.45, sort brekkies and packed lunches for kids (aaggh!) walk to school, go for a walk / stretch if I have time, then catch the train to London for prep and show at BBC Radio 2.
Once I’m home, I grab a quick drink in a local bar, make dinner, answer emails (thousands) do a Fitsteps class if possible (LOVE it), and crash out by 11pm.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
Presenting a TV show or a strand on holistic living / organic skincare / beauty. But also helping heart-centred businesses shine.
You also do media training. What are your three top tips to help women present themselves and increase their exposure?
- Get absolute clarity on your USP. I call it your YOU-nique brilliance.
- Get clarity on what you want for your brand (you’d be amazed how many women are stuck on the wheel haven’t asked themselves – why ?).
- Be your own best PR. Be ready to use your own story and be visible. People do business with those they like, know and trust.
Who is your media training ideal for?
I believe you are a brand, even if you don’t have a business, and how you ‘present’ yourself is important. People decide within three seconds if they ‘like’ you. It’s ideal for anyone with a ‘heart-centred’ brand – small business owners, therapists, coaches, authors, teachers et al.
And if someone wanted to work with you, what could they expect?
Absolute passion and enthusiasm – hopefully my determination is quite infectious because I am a big believer in moving forward from procrastination.
Lots of clients have said, “Oh I’d love to write a book. I’ll do it when the kids leave home.” My attitude is, if not now, when? The time never comes.
I encourage people to just start. My motto is YOU don’t have to get it right, but you DO have to get it going!
You can find out more about Janey Lee Grace on her website.