Sukaina Benzakour is a TV presenter and broadcast journalist. She has covered red carpets, showbiz events, fashion shows, celebrity interviews and so much more. Sukaina currently presents her own entertainment shows Celebrity Scoop and Reality Buzz on Videoblogg. As well as being on camera, Sukaina has experience in radio and she has also written for various publications including HEAT, Sprouts Magazine and others. She recently moved to Dubai to further her presenting career out there but is now back in the UK. Sukaina graduated in 2016 after studying London Met’s Journalism - BA (Hons). We took the opportunity to turn the microphone around and ask her a few questions – here’s what she said:
You’ve interviewed quite a few celebrities and beauty industry professionals from TOWIE stars to actresses – who has been your favourite person to interview and why?
I’ve met some amazing and talented people so this is a really hard question, but I would say Donna Air because she’s so down to earth and sweet and she also gave me some interviewing tips which was nice. We met at a press launch for fashion designer Lena Hoschek's pop-up store in London.
Your TV shows deal with issues such as whether social media influencers and celebrities should be banned from promoting dietary / detox products if they have little nutrition or health knowledge. How do you come up with your ideas for shows?
We have a team of researchers who find topics on what is relevant at the time, what's trending and what people are talking about. Detox products being flogged by celebs and social media influencers with no real knowledge on the product and what's in it is a big topic right now and something that needs to be discussed.
You’ve said in one of your Instagram posts that “I don’t want to be judged for the way I look or the clothes I wear or even my size (why does that even matter)”. How can we help put an end to this?
Stop judging women solely on their appearance. We don’t do it to men – men can pose on the front cover of a magazine and be praised for ageing and looking mature’but women are constantly scrutinised in the media for it. Our weight, our size, our figures – it's all constantly highlighted no matter how intelligent, how hard working we are – it's never recognised. There isn’t an all-encompassing solution, but until women stop believing that looks are all that matter and begin to concentrate on what’s inside their heads, things won’t change. We need to be more outspoken about this – the more people who speak up about this, the more we are closer to change.
I understand you were involved with Channel 5’s Do the Right Thing with Eamonn and Ruth – can you tell us a bit more about that?
I was involved in filming a small segment on the show about fashion, looking at the latest wedding dresses currently in fashion. Although the segment didn’t get aired because of technical issues I really enjoyed being on set with Eamonn and Ruth and Michael Underwood – they are honestly the loveliest people I’ve ever met. Eamonn gives the best hugs by the way! Eamonn and Ruth gave me some presenting tips too.
We see that you covered part of London Fashion Week this year – what were your favourite parts?
London Fashion Week was full of so many highlights this year, I loved the Poster Girl showcase at the British Fashion Council designer showrooms. Stories From Arabia showcased some amazing Middle Eastern fashion designers who I got to meet. But my favourite has got to be the Pam Hoggs Aw19 show – it was AMAZING! Leather, latex and so much sass – I was honoured to have been backstage before the show started so I saw all the models and what goes on behind the scenes.
I see that you did a placement at Echo Newspapers in Basildon...
It was part of my journalism course, the work experience placement module. It was really interesting to see how a local newspaper operates and what work goes into it. I worked on feature articles, sourcing different stories around the area and also court reporting (which I actually really enjoyed). The most challenging part for me I think was doing the death knock, I’m quite a sensitive person and I have to say that was tough knocking on the door of someone after a death in their family to write a story. After the placement it made me realise that print journalism wasn’t for me.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and why you chose to study at London Met in particular?
I chose to study at London Met because of its diversity. Before applying for London Met I was accepted to study at a private American university in Richmond with students from the US. After attending a few days there I realised it wasn’t for me. London Met is full of people from different backgrounds and walks of life and this was particularly interesting to me as someone with a Moroccan background, I felt more comfortable and able to express myself.
What were the journalism facilities and your lecturers like at London Met?
Journalism at London Met was exciting for me as it was my first real experience with broadcasting. I learned skills in print, TV and radio. We created our own publications, radio shows and TV shows and I was able to express myself creatively.
The lecturers were also around to give advice and insight into the media industry as they had a lot of experience in this field and this was helpful to me. The facilities really helped me picture what it would be like in a real TV studio, it prepared me for the real thing. I gained a lot of valuable skills that have helped me in my career such as great interviewing skills , sourcing and researching stories, time management, auto-cue reading, script writing and most importantly, how to present and pitch myself as a broadcast journalist and presenter.
What did you like best about your course?
The talks and presentations – they were insightful and inspiring and it helped me build contacts early on in my career.
Did anything surprise you about your course or London Met?
Just how open minded everyone was and how keen everyone was to learn more about each other's backgrounds; it's refreshing to see so much diversity being celebrated in one place.
What’s your favourite thing to do on a weekend?
I’m a foodie so I love going out to eat with friends and trying new places. And shopping! I’m a bit of a shopoholic.
Did you find it easy to make friends at London Met?
Yes I did, I loved meeting new people. Every day was different for me.
What’s your next step? How do you think London Met is helping you achieve these?
I’m excited to be working on some new projects this year which I can't reveal just yet. More presenting, also covering the BFI Festival this year which is exciting as I love seeing the new talent and movies that come out.
London Met helped prepare me for a career in the media industry. After graduating I felt confident with all the skills I had learned over the years in my journalism course to break into the industry and here I am!