Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?
My name is Linda E. I’m a freelance presenter, commercial model, and content creator
What does your job involve? What happens on a typical day?
So, my presenting includes hosting different things for clients, whether it's a live event, a video, or covering the red carpet and interviewing people. The commercial modeling side is working for different brands or campaigns to essentially sell or bring attention to their products or services. Whether national or international campaigns, photography campaigns, TV commercials, etc. As a content creator, I create social media content for different brands. A typical day for me is waking up and heading on set for a shoot or a job. Or a day where I am submitting self-tapes or going in for castings or creating/editing content to post. Even an admin day where I am submitting invoices, responding to emails, and applying for opportunities.
What’s great about what you do?
Honestly everything, I feel very blessed to be in this industry. There is so much variety in what I do, I can never get bored. I get to meet some incredible people and get to go to some really cool events too.
What are the toughest parts of your job?
Being a freelancer always [has] a level of uncertainty of when the next job will come in. Also, it’s competitive, but then again, most industries are. One of the toughest things about the industry though is rejection. It can be hard not to take it personally and can be very confidence-crushing.
What are the highlights of your career to date?
Oh, one of them has to be appearing in a global campaign for No7, wearing my African print top. The TV commercial was seen all over the world. Another one has to be the global Adidas campaign I was a part of earlier this year. Not only did I have a solo image in stores (my friend randomly saw it in Spain), but the group shots were on a billboard in Times Square, and I absolutely love New York. Also appearing in BBC1’s This Is MY House was such an incredible moment; a prime-time show on BBC1! Honestly, I couldn’t believe it! My whole family watched it, and my fiancé's family gathered to watch it too. Oh, and finally hosting a corporate event was a huge challenge but so rewarding! I love hosting shows and being able to do the Tech Leaders Awards in 2019 pushed me out of my comfort zone but reminded me that I can do anything.
What's been the biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was getting over comparing myself to others. In 2019, I was feeling really stagnant and just kept seeing a lot of my peers doing amazing things and just feeling like I wasn’t good enough. As a Christian, I really had to turn to God for this. Reading scripture, and doing devotionals that dealt with these feelings really helped me turn my focus from what I don’t have to what I do have. Also, my sister gave me some great advice about being bold and reaching out to people, and actively applying for roles, all of this got me to where I am now.
What was your career path into this job? Have you also worked outside the arts?
It’s crazy because my first experience in the industry was at the age of 8 when I was a presenter on the CITV Kids Awards. Once again, my whole family watched me on TV, and I loved the feeling. I have always been confident and have always loved entertaining people, so for me being on TV, etc. was always what I wanted. Between 15-21, I did some theatre and really wanted to be a singer. After university, I ended up working a 9-5 outside of the arts until I was able to earn steadily from my arts career.
Have you noticed any changes in the industry in recent times? If so, what?
The industry has become so much more inclusive, not perfect, but I have definitely noticed the improvement over the last 5-10 years. There is more diversity now in terms of in front of the camera, different types of presenters, and models – although behind the camera and in the top end (board members, decision makers) still needs work.
How has your background, upbringing, and education had an impact on your artistic career?
Growing up in a Nigerian household education was always essential. My parents instilled the importance of this at an early age, thus we are all university graduates. However, my parents always knew that I wanted to be creative. Their main worry was that it wasn’t financially viable, so they didn’t really push me in that direction. Sometimes I wonder if they had been more supportive would I have “broken through” sooner, but to be honest, I wouldn’t change a thing about my journey.
You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to 16-year-old you. What do you say?
Do not give up [because] it will happen, [and] don’t let anyone knock your confidence or self-belief.
Do you have any advice for young people interested in your field?
Firstly, believe in yourself. People will tell you it’s impossible and then when they see it working for you, they will say they always believed in you (lol). Research and network. For me, being able to find sites that allow me to apply for roles was incredible. There are also schemes for under 25’s to get into various aspects of the industry too. That being said, don’t let age deter you! Knowing people who know people will also get you far. There is no point in being incredibly talented at something if no one knows who you are (if you want to turn that talent into a career).
Where can people find you and your work online?
@imlindae on Instagram, I usually post a lot of my work there. I have a website www.lindae.co.uk and I am also on Spotlight “Linda E”. You can also catch me on YouTube on Seasoned by BuzzFeedUK. I also have content with the New York Times, and I work regularly with tech giants Curry’s and the faith-based app Glorify.