Sky New's Weather presenter Nazaneen Ghaffar on Tunbridge Wells and life in Kent
13:39 19 July 2011
She's bright, beautiful and still only 26 which should be annoying, but really isn't: Nazaneen Ghaffar is down to earth and simply delightful.
Sky News' newest weather presenter turns up at Woods restaurant in her home town of Tunbridge Wells for our meeting, a little late (parking problems - we all know the town well and shake our heads in sympathy), and armed with several changes of clothes for her photoshoot.
She's used to having the services of hair, wardrobe and make-up at Sky but happily does without today and, this being an English summer, deals with posing on the Pantiles in the rain like a trouper.
Despite only having joined Sky last November, Nazaneen was chosen to cover Aprils Royal Wedding, an experience she describes as the "best of my career" despite the comments of a certain Prince.
Apparently Prince Harry was asked what he thought the weather would be like on the day and he said whatever the weather people say, itll be the opposite. I was not impressed! she says.
It was quite difficult because we knew everyone was watching and it wasnt just for the people camping outside, or the Royal couple, it was all the street parties up and down the country.
Nazaneen, the daughter of Iranian parents who met in Tunbridge Wells, has always been interested in weather and loved geography at school. She knew from an early age that she wanted to be a TV presenter.
I used to watch TV in the evenings with my parents, the News would come on and I would turn the sound to mute and then put the Ceefax subtitles on and read the news and the weather forecast as though it was my autocue, she admits.
Nazaneen went to St James Primary School and Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Girls, where she was an academic all-rounder and enjoyed lots of different sports, from tennis to football and rugby.
Theatre studies was one of her passions, so was her acting experience something she could draw on for TV? At first you almost start trying to act being a presenter, but then you realise you have to be yourself because you cant act as well as deliver a
lot of detailed information, she says.
The confidence comes from just being yourself and presenting every day. People want to know what the weather is going to be and its my job to tell them though I don't like to get too technical, especially at breakfast when people just generally want to know what to wear to work - and brolly or no brolly.
After A-levels Nazaneen studied broadcasting and media at Ravensbourne College in Chislehurst and her first job was in Bristol as a runner on Deal or
No Deal at Endemol. Literally across the road was ITV West and after much persistence, Nazaneen
landed a job as media coordinator. Only six months later her dream came true when she was asked if she wanted to become the third weather presenter.
And a further18 months on things got even better when she was able to move to BBC South East. Not only had she missed her family and friends and being around Tunbridge Wells, but shed always had a real obsession about working for the BBC in her home town and confesses: When I was little I used to go to the BBC shop and buy the badge and clipboard and go round town pretending I worked for the BBC and interviewing people!
Nazaneen not only grew as a weather presenter during her time at the BBC, but had to grow up quickly too. I joined in June 2009, my birthday week, and I asked if I could have my birthday off and they said of course you cant.
Instead, she was volunteered to be a lookout in Gravesend for an undercover investigation. It happened to be the hottest day of the year and
there I was, sat in my car in my trakkies with a walkie-talkie. Its got to be my worst birthday ever.
When shes not dressing down as a lookout,
does the emphasis on how female presenters look bother her? Its part of the deal, to be honest, I just ignore it and concentrate on what I have to present. At BBC South East I had to do my own hair and make-up and think about my clothes, and that wasted my time. At Sky all I have to do is go in and make sure I have the right weather story.
What prompted the move? I got an email out of the blue from the Sky News bosses saying they would like to talk to me their main weather presenter was leaving and they wanted to replace her. That rarely happens in this industry and I knew immediately it was the right time and right job for me.
Coincidentally, 10 years ago Nazaneen actually met her new on-screen colleague Eammon Holmes when he was doing a charity auction event on the Pantiles. She waited all evening to meet him and asked if he would read out a message to her mum the next morning on GMTV which he duly did.
As the Sky studio is in Isleworth, Nazaneen has had to move and home during the week is in Turner Green (10 doors away from Colin Firth, no less). Luckily shes always been a morning person. I get up around 4am, go in for 5am, by 5.30am Im getting all the latest data and an hour before Im on air my hair and make-up is done it goes so quickly. We finish on air at 9am and my shift ends around 11am.
Can Nazaneen tell us what the weather's going to be like this summer? I cant put my neck on the line and predict August, Im afraid, she smiles.
The further forward we go the less accurate our forecast is. Were a tiny island, weve got a number
of weather fronts coming at us in all directions. Everyone says when I was younger the summers were so much better, but last summer wasnt bad and the rain we had in June was very much needed, because April and most of March was completely dry.
Will we keep her on our screens for a while?
I definitely want to stay at Sky for the next five years because I am enjoying it so much and there
are so many opportunities to push myself further, she says. Im doing the worlds weather, and it doesnt get much better than that! n