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Close Up March 18

COVER INTERVIEW

COVER INTERVIEW www.itvpictures.co.uk 10

COVER INTERVIEW YOU AS A PERSON HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO YOURSELF TO FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU ARE WORTH. WE ARE ALL ENTITLED TO FIGHT AND IF WE AREN’T GETTING WHAT WE THINK WE SHOULD, YOU SHOULDN’T DO THE JOB. Born in County Wicklow in 1985, Laura went on to study journalism at Dublin City University and Boston University. Her big break came after winning the Pick Me MTV competition in 2008, resulting in huge presenting jobs across Europe. For the past five years, Laura’s braved the snakes, the spiders, the unforgiving time difference and Joe Swash as a co-host to bring us all the jungle gossip on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here Now. Laura’s hosted live from the BRITs, the BAFTAs, the MTV Movie Awards and the London 2012 Olympics. With huge live events all over her CV, she was also well-equipped for the grand-scale glamour of Strictly. Talking to BBC before her appearance on Strictly she said “I’ve embarrassed myself so much over the years I’m not sure there is anything left I can do. I fell off my chair on I’m a Celeb on live TV.” She also recently co-hosted the 2017 MTV EMAs at Wembley, returning to her former MTV roots. While in Africa fulfilling a new hosting role on reality show Survival of the Fittest, Laura Whitmore admitted her three week stay on the sweltering savannah, where 12 contestants face off in a fiercely competitive battle of the sexes, meant she sadly missed her first Valentine’s Day with boyfriend Iain Stirling, voice of ITV favourite reality show, Love Island. ‘I think he wanted to come out because he had four days off – he’s on a stand-up comedy tour – and now it looks like he’s only got two days,’ the Irish presenter, 32, said. ‘But you know I actually talk to him more when I’m away, because you end up on the phone. If you’re in the house with someone and you’re watching television and you’re not concentrating… I think we’re very lucky with FaceTime now and stuff like that.’ Whitmore says she and her ‘Love Island’ boyfriend Iain Stirling are not ready for marriage and kids - but admits she feels pressure about starting a family now she is in her thirties. Speaking in-depth about becoming a TV couple for the first time, Laura said: “I haven’t had a lot of relationships, people have said I have relationships, but not actual boyfriends. “At the moment I feel very lucky to have someone who gets me because it is hard, there is pressure in this industry. “I have known Iain for a while and it was a friendship thing that led to something else which is great. “We haven’t discussed marriage or children. At this stage we are still early in our relationship like six months or so. But I am at that stage where some of my friends have got married and then they are like ‘are you having a baby?’ and then I have some friends who can’t have children. “As a woman that is another pressure. I have friends who have been trying to have children for two years, you don’t know what anyone’s situation is. “I am in a situation where I am seeing someone who is my friend and I have a great time with them and I am enjoying it. We both have busy careers and we both get each other, that is what it is at the moment. “That is all I am thinking of because I don’t know what I am doing next month sometimes.” Laura, who fronted new Love Island style ITV2 show Survival of the Fittest, also said it was a positive time to be a female on TV following action at the BBC over gender pay. She added: “Do you know what is great? We are talking about it [gender pay]. Ten years ago, we wouldn’t be talking about it. “I think there are some really strong female role models out there, Emma on The Voice, Caroline on Love Island. You as a person have a responsibility to yourself to fight for what you are worth. We are all entitled to fight and if we aren’t getting what we think we should, you shouldn’t do the job. As hard as that is when you are looking for a job. “I do think these big organisations are under pressure because the public and the media are shining a light on it. Even if it is out of embarrassment or afraid of being shamed. That is not the way it should work, but if good comes from that then bloody hell that is amazing.” 11

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