Meet How to Look Good Naked ad campaigner Nikki Fox, and find out what she thinks about fashion and how to make it in the media.When it comes to fashion, what do you think is the most important thing to remember?
I think the most important thing with fashion is to try and work out how you want to look and how you want others to see you. If you know your style, your body and what suits your shape then you’ll be confident, which will make you look even better. It can take ages - I’m nearly 30 and I get it wrong so many times. I’m only just getting to know what looks OK and what doesn’t and that I should definitely wear less make-up.
But, with clothes, for many years the only shoes I could walk in (badly) were white trainers. If I had somewhere to go to that was a dressy occasion, I would always wear a maxi-length dress with my trainers. The dress would cover the trainers but my friends, as a joke, would lift up the dress and say, ‘new laces Foxy?’ My dress was black and beautiful and my trainers were white and although I was desperate to wear a little shoe boot, I put a white flower in my hair to make the top match the bottom and just tried make the best of the trainer situation. All I really wanted was to look like gorgeous Claudia Winkleman and wear little dresses and really high heels and be as beautiful, glamorous and feminine as my mum. I’ve now discovered that I can walk in boots and they make all my outfits better so I’m closer to looking how I’d like.
I also think it’s also good to know what your best assets are and show them off. I’m happy from my bottom upwards so I wear clothes to highlight those areas. I’d love to have Cat Deeley’s legs but I don’t, so I tend to wear clothes to detract from them.When it comes to the fashion industry, what do you think is missing?
I think it’s good to see a bit of difference because then we all get used to seeing people who are different. I think it’s hard for people to react in the right way all the time - it’s hard if you’re not used to seeing difference. It would be such a good thing to see a beautiful disabled person modelling clothes, so that a bit of difference becomes more familiar. It may also help younger disabled people who might be going through those awkward teenage years, who might not be comfortable in their own skin or who might be coming to terms with a recent disability. Seeing someone disabled and modelling might give them a role model, someone to look up to, to give them hope with the fashion and beauty side of their life.What does the HTLGN … With a Difference advertising campaign mean to you?
At the end of the HTLGN campaign, if we can just get a retailer to take on a disabled model then I think we’ve done OK. If I pass a shop window in the future and see our Naked model, Shannon, selling clothes on the high street then I’ll be very proud of what we have all achieved.What would be your ideal outcome for your campaign?
For a retailer to take on our beautiful disabled model Shannon to sell their clothes. That would be a bit of a result.What would be your advice to anyone in a similar situation to you who wanted to start a career in the media?
To work really, really hard. To know your strengths and to work at those. When you start out as a runner or a junior researcher, one of the most important things is to know that you are there to make your team members' lives easier. To get done well what needs doing, so that they can concentrate on what they need to do, even if that means making sure they’ve eaten or had a cup of tea. Television is such a rewarding industry because, if you work hard, get the job done and have the right attitude, you will get rewarded with so much support to help progress in your own career. I have met the most generous and kind people in television.
As a disabled person I think it’s also good to let your team know if you physically can’t do something. I would love to shoot, but physically it would take too much time for me to put up a tripod, so I don’t. I work on things that I know I can do well, like people finding, looking after contributors, my team, getting stuff organised at short notice, persuading people to help us out at short notice and going on shoots, as long as everything is accessible and I will be a asset rather than a hindrance.Tell us a bit about your experiences on Channel 4’s Diversity Production Training Scheme.
I think Channel 4’s Disability Researcher Programme is the greatest scheme of its kind. I hadn’t thought about a career in Media growing up. I had worked as a checkout girl while I studied for my degree in music. We were all made redundant so I had to find a job quickly. I applied for a job as an administration assistant at a local radio station in Peterborough because I love music and speaking to people on the phone, which was perfect for a phone-in breakfast show. I stayed for over a year and got to do little entertainment bits on air. It was a great experience. It was after I left the radio station that I saw the researcher training programme advertised. I went for my interview with loads of enthusiasm and although I thought I had completely messed it up, someone must have seen something in me and I got the placement. From then on my life completely changed. I started as a Junior Researcher on How to Look Good Naked. With constant support from colleagues and other trainees, the placement was the best working year of my life. I had found a job I loved the most, a job I felt most suited to. On top of that, we were given the most amazing training at Channel 4 every single month - on how to find contributors, how to use a camera, archive research and so on. So as I was learning researcher skills on the job and given the best training at the same time, I felt so lucky to have been given the chance and I hope that I never took it for granted. The scheme really invests in each individual trainee; if you need someone they are there for you. The scheme aims for you to be a success working behind the scenes, and you really are equipped with everything you need to make a go of it. It’s because of the people that run the scheme and the amazing production company I was placed with that I've had all the amazing opportunities that I have.
For information about how you can get involved with Channel 4’s Diversity Production Training Scheme, just go to www.channel4.com/4talent