Strong Yet Feminine Profiles are a series of interviews, showcasing ambitious women who are striving to follow their passion. Many are working full time and pursuing their dream on the side, some have already taken the leap, and share their experiences (the good and the bad!).
Any career decision is difficult, but making a leap into a different field, in order to pursue a true passion, has to be one of the most inspiring stories. I know, for me, hearing stories like these were crucial to bolstering my confidence when considering my own change in direction.
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Hazel Butterfield, TV, Radio Presenter & Model, tells us how she became an entrepreneur at the age of 12, and how her grandma and mum were the ultimate Strong Yet Feminine role models, who inspired her to be the amazing lady she is today.
You started your career at age 12, tell us more about that.
I’m originally from up t’north and all my family had a great working ethic, if you wanted something, you earned the money to get it. I even bred hamsters from 10 yrs old to fund my menagerie of pets! But from 12 I had a paper round, worked in the local pub kitchen and saved at least half of my weekly wages. I moved out at a young age (17) to be nearer to my drama school as the hours could be brutal, combined with a restaurant job I had in Leeds city centre. Busy times, but I did manage to buy (on a mortgage) my first house on my 18th birthday!
How did the radio show come about and what made you decide to start you blog? Which came first?
The radio show came first. I’ve always been involved with the media; acting, extra work and modelling but about 4 years ago I saw an advert for a presenting position at a station in East London and I went for it, blagged knowing what to do (I even took pictures while the station manager popped out to get coffee and googled the equipment) and got the position. I’ve loved it ever since and am currently at WandsworthRadio.com with random appearances at BBC London and BBC regionals. The blogging was to compliment my weekly discussions, but I’ve always loved writing (and being opinionated!).
Have you always been self employed?
That’s actually quite a new development from the start of this year, it was very daunting but luckily I have lots of friends who are self-employed who were on-hand to advise.
What are the most challenging aspects of being self employed for you?
You have to keep the momentum going when work is coming in which can get interesting when juggling Blogging, Radio, Social Media Management roles, kids, cats, dogs and my love of being sociable!
What has been the most rewarding point in your career?
Wow, can I have 2? There was a lady who wanted a shoutout on one of my shows for a fundraising campaign for her niece who had a very rare disorder and by the end of the show a listener topped up the page to its goal amount (approx £1400), it was obviously something close to his heart - but an incredible result. Also, launching my website was a great moment for me. Being able to write and share regularly, collaborate and promote some great musicians and causes.
It seems you are constantly juggling many roles, including motherhood, what do you like to do to switch off?
Cooking, without a doubt. If I’m ever anxious or overwhelmed I start cooking. Creating and being methodical sorts my head out and I get to eat, it’s a win win! It can also be great for my friends too, if we’re spending the evening together and I’m a bit anxious from whatever may have been going on, they know they can just chill out while I take over their kitchen or they come around to mine and feast!
How does Strong Yet Feminine resonate with you?
It’s all about individuality and autonomy. You can be who you want to be, don’t be dictated to or obsess about who likes you. It’s your path, nobody else’s. But it’s good to be kind and strong, they go together like chips and gravy (or humus & pita bread).
Has there been a Strong Yet Feminine women who has inspired you in your journey?
Lots, I’m very lucky. My grandma who is now 93 is incredible, she attended university back in an age when it wasn’t that popular for women, rowed in the Oxford & Cambridge race back in the late 40’s, was a magistrate, a psychiatric nurse and was a great backpacking companion for me when we went to SouthEast Asia for a month when I was 19 she was 73! Up until her 80’s she could also still beat me at tennis and cycling too! Then there’s my mum who had 5 jobs at a time when we were young to make sure we had similar to what our friends had, got her degree while I was in my teens and has done incredible work with the government on Early Years initiatives and is still regarded as one of the go-to people for advice on how to make a childcare setting/programme the best it can be. She can also completely transform a tired property into something from House & Home with what most of us pay for a meal out in London!