HEART FM’S PANDORA CHRISTIE is the mid-morning weekday presenter on the radio station airing nationwide. Pandora has been working at Heart FM for the past 10 years, slowly working her way up to ranks at the radio station. We caught up with Pandora Christie to talk about her career so far and what is in store for the future.
AC: Can you talk us through a typical start to your day for the mid-morning show?
PANDORA – I take myself out for a little run or walk in the park, turn Heart Breakfast on and then get ready for work. I am usually out of the house for 7:30am, I go to my local coffee house en route to the tube and make my way in. Once I’m in, I go through my music log and start prepping my show by finding out what’s happening in the world, what people are talking about, if anything I’ve done in the last 24 hours is worth chatting about, what’s been happening on social media. Before I go on air, I always get a big breakfast and one last coffee for the day, I’m then ready and raring to go…BOOM…10-1pm I’m a bundle of energy ready to entertain the nation!
AC: Every morning, you go head-to-head with Clara Amfo on BBC Radio 1 and Will Manning on Capital FM. Is this something that you spend much time thinking about?
PANDORA – It is great to have amazing competition, it keeps you on your toes. They’re both incredible presenters that own their craft so I look up to them respectively. The radio industry is really friendly, we all respect and support each other.
AC: It is not the first time you have worked at Heart FM. Can you talk to us about the journey of getting there?
PANDORA – I have been in the industry for a long time and started off volunteering on community radio stations. In those early days, I used to do a very long overnight bus ride across London to get to my community radio show. I did this all for free to gain experience. I then slowly started to collate demos to pitch to commercial radio stations. But in the interim, I used to try and get as much experience in radio as I could. I thought it was really important to gain knowledge of how the whole industry works, so I used to shadow other DJs and producers, asked to spend a few weeks helping out the radio managers and engineers.
I first worked with Heart FM when I saw an advert needing ground patrol members (that’s what we were called back then). So I auditioned and got the job, I handed out flyers and stickers and went to schools and hosted events getting everyone to tune into Heart! A decade later I am now hosting my own national radio show on Heart! Can you believe it? I feel like dreams can really come true no matter how big or bold, you can do it.
AC: How important are community radio stations for finding new talent?
PANDORA – This is where I got a lot of my experience so I would say they are very important. Many of the presenters you hear on commercial radio now would have been on a community radio station.
AC: On your show, what can listeners look forward to in the coming weeks? How can they get involved?
PANDORA – We just made someone a millionaire. Yep, you heard right someone won a million pounds. It is the biggest competition I have ever been involved in. it is so nerve-wracking for the person on the other end of the phone as they had to decide whether to take the daily sum of money upfront or put themselves into the draw to be a millionaire. It is amazing to be involved in something so life-changing!
AC: Do you have a go-to tune right now?
PANDORA – Yes I do, I have two … I’m obsessing over Harry Styles’ Adore You and Dua Lipa’s Don’t Start Now, both are proper feel-good anthems that can lift anyone’s mood and instantly just brightens up you as soon as you hear them.
AC: Growing up, what were your career ambitions?
PANDORA – I initially wanted to be an actress, but I wasn’t any good at acting (and I also realised that I was much better just being myself). Acting opened up the doors for me to see that radio presenting was my actual true calling, I was so much better being myself than trying to be someone else. I hope no one ever sees my old audition tapes. They were awful.
AC: What is your biggest source of motivation?
PANDORA – Happiness and a positive mental attitude. From a young age I was in and out of children’s homes and then was fostered. I am grateful for my foster parents and what they instilled in me but I went through some really hard times no child should. I always used to tell myself things will get better just give it time. I could always see an end goal, a way out of my current situation, and that things will always get better.
You have to be happy in this life, we only live once. Don’t waste your time doing things you don’t want to do because if you work hard enough and keep focused you can make your dreams become a reality! My foster family (who now live in Barbados) were so loving and constantly told me to aim for the stars and go for my dreams even though they secretly wanted me to be an accountant and study mathematics rather than study drama. But they kept pushing me to follow my dreams, I was lucky to have them.
AC: How important is social media to you right now?
PANDORA – I am a big user of social media. I absolutely love it! I understand how dangerous and damaging it can be so I try to educate others on how to get the best out of it, how to use social media to brighten up your day, and how to simply, just enjoy it. I love Twitter and Instagram. However, I have just joined TikTok and it’s taking up a lot of my spare time at the moment. I am still trying to practise my dance moves!
AC: What do you want the world to look like in 10 years?
PANDORA – Hopefully, we will be a kinder and more accepting society. I want communities to come together and quality of life to be available to everyone. If you think about all the lessons we’ve learned from our current situation in lockdown, In ten years wouldn’t it be nice for us to care more about one another, to let those close to us know how special they are on a daily basis, to spend more time with our family and friends and our pets! To stop the fast-paced life and slow things down a little so we can actually enjoy it. To care more for our environment and look after our planet which we are destroying, basically take care of everything we value in life.
AC: If you had the chance to put something on billboards worldwide next week, what would it be? Or what would it say?
PANDORA – No matter how bad things are today or how bad your situation is, tomorrow is a brighter day. Things will always get better.
Follow Pandora on Instagram @pandorapresenter
PHOTOGRAPHY: RACHELL SMITH
INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES