Rising Stars: What happened next for Anila Chowdhry


WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star Awards are now in their sixth year.

The Rising Star awards were introduced to showcase the UK pipeline of female talent below management and to create female 100 role models across 25 different industries and professions.

Over the year’s, the awards have recognised over 500 women across the UK and India.

In this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.

We spoke to Anila Chowdhry, who won a Rising Star in Creative Industries Award in 2019.

Anila Chowdhry is an award-winning Presenter and Producer.

Since the age of 15, she has gone from conducting work experience at local radio stations and newspapers, and interviewing influential people like MP Sir Charles Kennedy in Parliament and Jon Snow in the Channel 4 newsroom for her YouTube Channel, to working for the world’s leading media companies including the BBC, ITV News, The Telegraph, ITN and Zee TV.

Anila has presented and produced across TV, Radio, and online, breaking major news stories like Brexit, the General Election, Grenfell and the Manchester and Westminster terror attacks.

She has hosted live debates on the topic of the day and interviewed many inspirational and influential people including MPs, experts, celebrities and real people. And she uses her platform to raise awareness of the work done by various charities, predominately focusing on equality, eradicating poverty, empowerment, and supporting the next generation.

Anila is passionate about creating a well-informed electorate, promoting gender equality, and furthering the development of humanity.

How did you feel when it was announced that you’d won a Rising Star award?

 There were times when I was just starting out in journalism that I would wait for the first bus in the blistering cold to get to my work placement on time. I travelled across the country nearly every weekend to work for ITV, while working elsewhere during the week. I spent every summer holiday at a new place, including LBC and the BBC. Once, I remember receiving at call at 11pm saying the magazine I worked for needed to go to print in the morning, so I stayed up the entire night editing every single page singlehandedly. Every moment has led me to where I am today. Every action I took caused me to produce and present for some of the most incredible names in media including the BBC, The Telegraph, ITV News, ITN, and Zee TV. So when you have dedicated your entire life to your passion, and worked hard to achieve success in your field, it is an incredible feeling to be recognised for it. When my name was announced at the We Are The City Awards, I cried. I felt grateful for my journey, to all the people who helped me along the way, and to WATC for celebrating my work, and shining a spotlight on what I do. I also felt excited for what was to come – becoming part of the incredible WATC network, which supports and connects amazing women, and to build on the momentum of the award and reach new heights.

Please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards?

Since winning the award, I have launched my own online show called At Home With Anila where my first interviewee was Hollywood actress and #MeToo’s Rose McGowan. I have interviewed some household names including Hollywood’s Will Smith, Lord David Blunkett, former education minister Nicky Morgan and Chief Superintendent Raj Kholi. I have been working for the BBC World Service where I have produced some compelling and original pieces including speaking to a fire fighter in the burning Amazon rainforest. I have loved sharing people’s voices and stories from around the world, giving them a platform, and connecting them in one place on the Service. And thanks to WATC, I was featured in The Sunday Times as an award-winner, and have attended various WATC events including a coaching session with the brilliant Kay White on practical steps to success!

I have also done a lot of charity work. I completed a 10k run and raised money for period charity Binti International, as its Ambassador, and attended their first government taskforce meeting to get menstruation on the school curriculum. As a supporter of the children’s charity Barnardo’s, I have attended various events and visited a school where I spent the day with children and teachers. I represented Queen Mary, University of London in an alumni video for their socials. With extensive media experience, I have provided mentoring and advice to people wanting to break into the field.

What advice would you give to someone else going through our award’s process?

Be true to yourself and take time to reflect on what makes you who you are, and why you do what you do. Remember, the people reading your application might not necessarily know you, so start from scratch and create a highlights reel through words for someone to get to know the best bits of your story. Include both the highs and lows to show how you have overcome adversity and carried on to achieve your success story. And think of how you can give back to others.

What tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

Function from your ‘why’. We live in a very fast-paced society that never seems to slow down! Some people ask me, ‘how do you manage the early starts and long days?’ I know it is not from an energy reserve or masses of coffee. It comes from a place deep within, and it is an energy source I am constantly tapped into. It stems from the need to fulfill my purpose and passion and share what I have to offer to the world. I wake-up wanting to provide people with information so they are better informed when they go to the polls. I want to share people’s stories so others can connect with them from around the world, to create greater understanding between individuals and communities and bring them closer together. I know and function from my ‘why’ everyday. Find it and do not lose sight of it. And never forget the 4 P’s: Purpose, Proactive, Passion, Persistence.

Nominations for our 2020 Rising Star Awards are now open. Find out more here.

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