Entertainment

As a black woman, I had to work twice as hard as everyone else, says Charlene White of Loose Women

CHARLENE White says she had to work twice as hard as everyone else to further her TV career.

the Loose woman star – who became the first black woman to anchor ITV’s news at ten – told The Sun International Women’s Day that being black, female and working class meant breaking down barriers to progress.

Charlene White was the first black woman to host News At Ten on ITV

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Charlene White was the first black woman to host News At Ten on ITV
Charlene says she had to work harder to get where she is

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Charlene says she had to work harder to get where she isCredit: Paul Edwards

“I’ve been working seven days a week, three or four shifts, to get where I am,” she says.

“I was always taught to work twice as hard as my neighbor and I haven’t stopped doing that and I will tell my kids to do the same.”

Charlene, 41, says she inherited her work ethic from her parents, who emigrated to the UK from the West Indies, and says their achievements are a tribute to them.

“My parents worked so hard when they came here, to a country that didn’t treat them very well,” she says.

“If I’m not shouting about their achievements that made it possible for me to get my achievements, I’m doing them a disservice.

“I wouldn’t have made it if they hadn’t drummed things into me.”

Charlene was joined by The Chase’s Anne Hegerty and reality star Fern McCann for the International Women’s Day event chaired by the former BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin.

The panel at The Sun’s London headquarters was watched by an audience of 100 teenagers from Girls Network and Greig City Academy.

More on International Women’s Day

Charlene was on a panel with Louise Minchin, Anne Hegerty and Ferne McCann

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Charlene was on a panel with Louise Minchin, Anne Hegerty and Ferne McCannCredit: Paul Edwards

The presenter began her career in a lively, lively newsroom at music channel 1Xtra, but says she faced discrimination because of her accent when she switched to regional television.

“As a black woman from a working-class family, I didn’t necessarily speak the way other journalists spoke,” she said.

“I fought really hard not to change that. When I switched to regional television in Norwich I recorded my voice and a reporter said to me: ‘You have to repeat that because that’s not how we talk on the BBC.

“I said, ‘I’ve just done six years at Radio 1, so I think I’m fine.’

“I don’t necessarily speak what is historically referred to as Queen’s English, but it’s part of me.

“I grew up in Lewisham and I’m not from where everyone else is from. Not everyone else’s parents had to work six jobs to send their kids to school, but that’s my superpower and what sets me apart.”

Regrets toning himself down

Charlene says she regrets toning down

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Charlene says she regrets toning downPhoto credit: Getty

She also says she regrets “toning down” her behavior to accommodate.

“At 1xtra we never had to be quiet or behave in a certain way. So when I went to regional television, I was exactly how I’ve been for six years,” she says.

“I was shocked because suddenly people were looking at me like I was weird, like I wasn’t smart and couldn’t do my job.

“So for a couple of years I had to force myself to tone it down a bit, and the older I got the more I felt like I didn’t have to change to do what I wanted to do. ”

“But other people made me feel like I was wrong for being who I was, and I really regret listening and acting the way they wanted me behind you.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/17873453/charlene-white-loose-women-international-womens-day/ As a black woman, I had to work twice as hard as everyone else, says Charlene White of Loose Women

Dais Johnston

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