Journo of the Month

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Our journalist of the month this month is the fantastic Thomas Swallow. Thomas is the Style and Grooming writer for The Gay UK and has a passion for grooming, fitness and fashion. He’s also the guy behind @urbanmaleuk. Here, he answers the notorious Sunny Bird PR questions…

 

1.       What are the 5 words that best describe you?

Determined, enthusiastic, sassy, confident and well-groomed (I’m counting it as one word 😂)

2.       What magazine do you love reading and why?

My favourite magazine to read is GQ. I think it’s the only male magazine that features all the things I’m passionate about but holds the side of misogyny. As a gay man I can still like fitness, grooming and fashion, without it all being geared to getting laid. You know what I mean? 

3.       What is your favourite book?

Sounds cliché but it will always be “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. Read it in secondary school like most of the UK and completely fell in love with the book. I think it’s such an important literary piece that defines the injustice present within the world.

4.       Which song makes you dance?

Avicii: Wake Me Up

5.       What has been your best career moment?

Getting published for the first time and seeing my name in print. Pretty sure I cried on the phone telling my parents. Yes, I am indeed a sap!

6.       What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Well I was at university in Newcastle, so it would probably be to invest in better fake tan. You know, orange just ain’t a look! In all honesty I’d probably just have told myself to relax more. I used to spend so much time at uni thinking of what everyone thought of me, me being gay and my appearance. The thing is there was nothing wrong with any of it and as soon as I realised that, I just became so much more of a fun-loving and confident guy.

7.       Where are you happiest?

Sweden! I went on an exchange at university there for half a year and I just fell in love with the country. There’s just something about it that I find so relaxing. If I ever need to focus and get something done, I head there for a mini break. If you’ve never been, try it! Plus their summers are consistently in the mid 20s to 30s…. #JustSaying

8.       Who would be your number one dinner guest be and why?

I think it would be Jake Gyllenhaal and not just because I want to marry him, although if by some chance you’re reading this, yes, I am indeed single! I just found him such an inspirational role model growing up. He has such a liberal attitude to life and he was an English major at university, so we’d at least have a starting point to planning the wedding.

9.       If you could have any superpower, what power would it be and why?

I would like to be able to speak any language in the world. Sounds a bizarre one but I love travelling and making connections while doing so. Some of my best friends live in other countries and I just wish they didn’t always have to speak English for me. Currently trying to learn Spanish… it’s not going well!

10.   If you had to ask us one question what would it be?

What do you consider the most enjoyable part of working in PR?

Sunny – For me it’s all about meeting inspiring new brands. We are lucky enough to be surrounded by creativity on a daily basis and creative people and I love being inspired by them.

Laura – No two days are the same in PR and I love the variety of stuff you work on. You become an expert in everything from business bartering software to the science behind snoring. You get such a breadth of knowledge working in PR – it’s great for pub quizzes!

Georgie – I love how creative we get to be in PR. Every day we are given opportunities to stretch our creative muscles, whether it’s coming up with a new angle to get our clients in press or whether it’s putting yourself into the customer’s shoes to write up a press release.

Jess – Every day is different, one day you might be working on pitching a cool new product to journalists and the next you might be hosting an event for a client. You never know where the next week is going to take you, so it certainly keeps you on your toes!

Elizabeth – The most enjoyable part of PR is that it’s all about communication and I love communicating! Whether that’s through words, graphics, events, social media, websites, radio, TV, interviews, interpretative dance, etc etc, each opportunity to connect presents a new challenge and a chance to shine!

Rachael – I love that PR is part of the media industry, so we keep up to date on what’s going on in the world and the news, not only for our clients but generally in the media too. I love spending time researching what journalists are talking about.

Journalist of the month!

Lucy Gornall

Lucy Gornall

This month we asked award-winning journalist and fitness guru Lucy Gornall the notorious Sunny Bird PR questions. Lucy is the Health and Fitness Editor across TI Media’s weekly women’s magazines along with the monthly titles Fit & Well and Woman & Home. When she’s not commissioning features and writing copy Lucy can be found at a 6am HITT session or planning her next exotic adventure. Here’s what Lucy had to say…

1. What are the 5 words that best describe you?

Organised, impatient, stubborn, happy, determined.

2. What magazine do you love reading and why?

Aside from the ones I work on…Men’s Health. I love the workouts. 

3. What is your favourite book?

Any atlas.

4. Which song makes you dance?

Avicii – Levels.

5. What has been your best career moment?

The day I went from an intern to a writer and was given my first job.

6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

DO NOT worry about what other people think. Don’t follow crowds if you don’t agree with them and always do your best in everything. Don’t ever settle.

7. Where are you happiest?

On a beach, somewhere hot, with no cares, a cocktail and good friends. 

8. Who would be your number one dinner guest be and why?

Victoria Beckham. I worship the ground she walks on!

9. If you could have any superpower, what power would it be and why?

To know what goes on in men’s heads.

10. If you had to ask us one question what would it be?

 What’s the most annoying thing about journalists?

“We rely on journalists to achieve great things for our clients so it’s essential for us to have good relationships with them. With cuts in publishing houses and newsrooms nationwide, we know journalists are more pushed for time than ever before and that’s why, as a PR agency, we try to make their lives as easy as possible and never get annoyed as we appreciate how much pressure they are all under!”

Journalist of the Month!

Laura Hampson with her Journalist of the Year prize at the London Venus Awards

Laura Hampson with her Journalist of the Year prize at the London Venus Awards

Laura Hampson is a Digital Lifestyle Writer at the London Evening Standard and covers travel, health and fitness, food, drink and design. She was also the 2018 winner of the London Venus Award for Journalist of the Year!  Laura took some time out of her award-winning career to answer the notorious Sunny Bird PR questions… 

What are the 5 words that best describe you?

I asked my best friend and she said: “Curious, enthusiastic, kind, loyal and brave.”

What magazine do you love reading and why?

Evening Standard magazine, of course. As they always have interesting features and profiles. Other than that, I love Stylist as they always hit the mark.

What is your favourite book?

The two books I always go back to are Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern, two books I read when I was a teenager that have stuck with me and that I could read over and over. I am currently reading Michelle Obama’s memoir ‘Becoming’ which is also an excellent read.

Which song makes you dance?

Sorry by Justin Bieber. I attempted to learn the dance from the music video a few years back so now crack out a terrible version of it whenever it comes on.

What has been your best career moment?

Winning Journalist of the Year at the Venus Awards, I definitely didn’t expect it, but it was such a thrill to hear my name called.

What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?

Don’t be afraid to speak up more, your opinion matters.

Where are you happiest?

At home, cooking dinner with my boyfriend or whenever I get a chance to go back to New Zealand to visit my family.

Who would be your number one dinner guest and why?

Kate Sheppard, basically New Zealand’s answer to Emmeline Pankhurst. She pioneered the women’s suffrage movement in New Zealand and helped NZ become the first self-governing country in the world to give women the vote in parliamentary elections in 1893. I would like to say ‘thank you’.  If it has to be a living guest, then Jacinda Ardern, NZ’s current Prime Minister. She just seems cool.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Teleportation. 100%. Then I could go see my family after work every night instead of having to fly 24+ hours and halfway across the world just to say hello in person. Oh, and it would make commuting a breeze.

If you had to ask us one question what would it be?

What country is at the top of your bucket list to visit and why?

Last month we answered where’s next on our travel bucket list, so this month we’ll tell you all about our number one dream destination to visit…

Georgie: “Mine would definitely be a tour to see wild mountain gorillas. I saw wild Bornean Orangutans in 2016 and it was an incredible experience, so gorillas are next!”

Alex: “I would want to travel around South America, I really want to see the Chilean marble caves and Bolivian salt flats.”

Jess: “I would go to the floating pizza and champagne bar in the middle of the ocean in Fiji – all my favourite things!”

Lu: “I would travel around Australia, New Zealand and Bali because I love the heat and I want to see beautiful sights. I would definitely do a sky dive too!”

Laura: “I would go to Mexico so I can eat nachos all day long…”

Rachael: “My number one would be Bali, mainly because of the weather and the beautiful scenery. Plus, you can indulge yourself in ultimate luxury on a budget and the food is colourful and healthy.”

Lizzie: “I’ve heard there’s a cat island in Japan…”

Journalist of the Month

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Melanie Giandzi is an official Food Tester at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Lucky Melanie spends her days taste testing the latest food and drink products from the coolest brands and penning copy for the title. Here, Melanie has taken a break from sampling the wares and compiling product round-ups to answer the notorious SBPR questions:

1. What are the 5 words that best describe you? Cheeky, caring, motivated, funny and personable.

2. What magazine do you love reading and why? I love reading all the grocer’s own in-house magazines as I love knowing what new products they are getting in and learning about what’s in season.

3. What is your favourite book? Can I say Harry Potter 1-7? 😉

4. Which song makes you dance? Tom Misch – Beautiful Escape.

5. What has been your best career moment? Deciding to change from the beauty world into food – a passion which always fills my mind.

6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? Save your money!

7. Where are you happiest? Having a picnic with my partner Cam at Primrose Hill.

8. Who would be your number one dinner guest and why? Frank Sinatra – I’d cook him a delicious meal in exchange for a serenade.

9. If you could have any superpower, what power would it be and why? Teleportation for sure, all my family is back home in Australia, so it would come in handy for sure.

10. If you had to ask us one question what would it be? What is your proudest moment at Sunny Bird PR?

As a team, there is a lot we’re proud of so this one took some thinking! Here are the team’s proudest achievements to date:

Lizzie: Creating Bournemouth’s Biggest Ever Street Art for a client – a giant Spiderman painted on Pier Approach which achieved 20 pieces of coverage in just two days with a reach of over four million people and exposure on TV, radio, online and in print.

Georgie: My first piece of coverage for Sunny Bird PR which was in the Telegraph - I loved winning the PR tiara and Prosecco for the piece too!

Laura: Securing 90 VIP guests to a restaurant launch in just one week and achieving 10 pieces of coverage off the back of the event.

Jess: Smashing our targets  and achieving more than 20 pieces of regional coverage for our client Ramsay Health Care UK in just one day.

Alex: Securing TV coverage on BBC Spotlight for one of our newest clients and even encouraging the presenters to get dressed up and take part in a cycling activity.

Sunny: My proudest moment to date has been hosting our PR & Publicity Reaching Millions courses which enables start-ups and SMEs, which don’t yet have the budget for PR, get their businesses of the ground!

Journalist of the Month

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In honour of our fabulous PR placement student, we’ve decided to do things a little differently this month and showcase a journalist from a student publication. Zlatna Nedev is the Fashion and Lifestyle Editor for Bournemouth University’s Nerve Magazine as well as a presenter for Nerve Radio. When she’s not busy with assignments and deadlines, she loves delving into New Philosopher magazine and dancing to Eminem’s new album. Here Zlatna answers the infamous Sunny Bird PR questions…

1.    What are the 5 words that best describe you?
Ambitious, open-minded, spontaneous, passionate and a little bit crazy.

2.    What magazine do you love reading and why?
I absolutely love magazines. My collection got so big that I had to get rid of half of them because I just didn’t have enough space. I know people prefer the digital alternatives now, but I just like the feel and smell of a brand-new magazine. I like to look around different shops and pick up magazines I’ve never seen before or special editions. If I had to choose a favourite it would be New Philosopher.

3.    What is your favourite book?
I’ve always liked Russian and English classic literature such as Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. Sadly, I haven’t had much time to read since being at Uni.

4.    Which song makes you dance?
Right now I have Eminem’s new album on repeat.

5.    Tell us about your proudest moment.
For me it’s not about an exact moment, it’s more about the hard work and the decisions I’ve made to get where I am now. I’m proud for being brave enough to move from Bulgaria to England and do what I love.

6.    What’s your dream career?
Two years ago I would have said a magazine editor straight away. Now, I’m more open to not putting myself in one category. I love journalism and writing and talking about our society. In the past couple of years, I’ve fallen in love with radio, presenting live and connecting with the audience. I’m passionate about so many things, so I hope my future career will allow me to be creative and inspire people to question things.

7.    Where are you happiest?
Anywhere with my friends. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by positive, supportive, energetic and ambitious people so this is where I’m happiest.

8.    Who would be your number one dinner guest and why?
These questions are getting more and more difficult, aren’t they? There’s this Bulgarian actress, her name is Stoyanka Mutafova. She’s 96 years old and she’s still on stage working in theatrical plays every day. Her nickname is Ms Natural Disaster and she really is one!

9.    If you could have any superpower, what power would it be and why?
I want to make everyone appreciate each other’s differences.

10.  If you had to ask us one question what would it be?
What journalistic skills cross over into the PR industry?

There’s certainly a lot of the same skills required for both industries. Here’s what the SBPR team thought were most applicable:

·         Lizzie: Writing, interviewing and working to deadlines I think are the strongest transferable skills.

·         Georgie: Knowing what makes a good story.

·         Alex: Developing a thick skin!

·         Laura: Knowing what journalists are looking for when pitching to press.

·         Raluca: Content creation and storytelling.

Journalist of the Month

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Jennifer Savin is the Features Writer at Cosmopolitan. Covering all things Cosmo from living with drag queens, to Gambian travel tips, to prince seduction, to sexual harassment at work, Jennifer is the archetypal Cosmo writer. Jennifer took five minutes out of her glam, leopard print schedule to answer the infamous SBPR questions:

1. What are the 5 words that best describe you? Ahh, I’m so bad at answering questions like this! I just WhatsApped my boyfriend to ask for help and he said ‘funny, smart, honest, sweet, spontaneous’. I’ll take that, cheers.

2. What magazine do you love reading and why? Besides Cosmopolitan (obvs), I also love Attitude magazine for its great interviews and all round fabulousness and Take A Break because it makes me feel way better about my own life. Oh, and I’ve recently upped my fitness game so Women’s Health has become a new addition to the bedside table. Basically I just love magazines.

3. What is your favourite book? I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s my favourite, but I always recommend When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – the true, heart-breaking account of a doctor who becomes a terminal patient. It’s beautifully written. I also love trashy celeb autobiographies so much that my friends and I started a book club dedicated to them, it’s called Read It My Pony – we’ve just finished The Rock Says by The Rock.

4. Which song makes you dance? Work by Drake and Rihanna, What’s My Name? by Drake and Rihanna, or Wild Thoughts featuring Drake and Rihanna.

5. What has been your best career moment? Coming home after winning my first PPA New Talent Award last year and putting it next to my framed, decade old rejection-for-work-experience letter from Vogue. It was a poignant moment in realising how far I’d come and how hard work really does pay off.

6. What advice would you give your 20 year old self? Don’t get that tattoo, ya eejit.

7. Where are you happiest? Either getting ready for a night out with friends, with a glass of wine in hand and some old school R&B/garage on the go, or having dinner with a beautiful view and great company on holiday.

8. Who would be your number one dinner guest and why? Chrissy Teigen – my fantasy best mate. Although if she didn’t like me I’d be totally crushed, so perhaps it’s better to invite someone I dislike, such as Trump? I’d ask him why his face is the exact same colour as a McDonald’s hash brown and why Melania looks so dead behind the eyes. ☹

9. If you could have any superpower, what power would it be and why? Freezing time – growing up I always thought I’d make far better use out of Bernard’s Watch than he ever did. It was wasted on that kid.

10. If you had to ask us one question what would it be? Everyone I know who works in PR seems to be really organised and good at being on time for breakfast meetings (unlike me). Any tips on staying organised/becoming a morning person?

We're definitely all very organised - you have to be in a PR agency! As for mornings, the team's tips to start the day are:

  • Beach walk to work - easy for us to say in Bournemouth but any bit of outdoors to start the day and wake you up will do the trick

  • Eat breakfast!

  • Grab a coconut milk iced coffee on your way in to work - these have been a massive hit with the team this summer and the café next door have been making a killing!

  • Make a ‘to do’ list every morning so you have direction and purpose while you're sipping on your iced coffee

Journalist of the Month

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Our Journalist of the month is Lizzy Dening, the Digital and Fitness Editor at Top Santé. When she’s not busy writing about workouts and women’s issues, she can be found volunteering for her local rape crisis centre. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The Guardian, Grazia, Elle, Marie Claire, Mail Online, Women’s Health and Huff Post. Find out more about Lizzy in her answers to the SBPR questions below:

 

1.       What are the 5 words that best describe you?

Ambitious, energetic, creative, quirky and neurotic!

2.       What magazine do you love reading and why?

Apart from Top Santé of course, I’m a big fan of Cosmopolitan. I thought I’d outgrown it in my 20s, but under the direction of its editor Farrah Storr it’s still grabbing my interest well into my 30s and isn’t afraid to tackle challenging topics.

3.       What is your favourite book?

I first read Mrs Dalloway (Virginia Woolf) when I was at university and adored it, and there’s still something about it that allows my brain to reach an almost meditative state. I will also admit that in challenging times I’ve been known to indulge a childhood Harry Potter habit too.

4.       Which song makes you dance?

Anything Michael Jackson or Move On Up by Curtis Mayfield.

5.       What has been your best career moment?

Blagging a press trip to Hawaii for Grazia and taking my husband with me! It led to some real ‘pinch me’ moments, including snorkelling with manta rays, taking a helicopter over the cliffs featured in Jurassic Park, and watching a pod of spinner dolphins following our boat.

6.       What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Do more writing for yourself, not just for publications. I’ve been lucky enough to be featured in many of my favourite magazines and papers, but actually the work that’s brought me the most satisfaction are the things I’ve written for myself. I’ve recently started a blog about sexual violence and the media which is a topic I’ve become passionate about since working for the board of Peterborough Rape Crisis Centre. Writing for it without worrying about word counts or editorship has been liberating. https://rape-and-media.blogspot.com/

7.       Where are you happiest?

Anywhere with animals, or on my sofa with my husband and our cat Moomin.

8.       Who would be your number one dinner guest and why?

My best friend – she lives in Canada and we rarely get to see one another. She’s much funnier and more interesting than any celebrities.

9.       If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Infinite knowledge – or if that’s too big an ask, I’d like to be fluent in every language. My GCSEs in French and German just don’t really cut it.

10.   If you had to ask us one question what would it be?

If you were at Hogwarts, what form would your patronus take?

 

Interesting question Lizzy! See below for the SBPR answers:

Jess - A dog, because as long as I have enough sleep, good food and sufficient exercise I will be everyone’s friend.

Lizzie – Flamingo!!!

Alex - A monkey, because they always look as though they are thoroughly enjoying life.

Georgie - A dolphin, because my happy place is the sea (even though I only learnt to swim recently).

Raluca - A cat because they’re cute and fluffy!

Laura – A penguin apparently because I’m aggressive yet gentle, outgoing but shy, stable yet flighty! Plus I love the sea.

Sunny – A unicorn!!

Lu – A koala because I love hugs!

 

 

Journalist of the Month

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Emmie Harrison, 25, is a features writer for Chat, Pick Me Up, Woman, Woman’s Own, Woman’s Weekly and Now as well as a freelance travel, lifestyle and music journalist! We’ve followed Emmie’s work for a long time and love her passion for women’s issues. Emmie took five minutes out of her busy day to answer the infamous Sunny Bird PR questions…
 

1.       What are the 5 words that best describe you? Smiley, bubbly, kind, curly and (I hope!) funny.

2.       What magazine do you love reading and why? It has to be Time Out! It’s been my bible since I moved to London. It’s a great mixture of thought-provoking features about people that live and work in London, and a guide to the best restaurants, plays and bars. I’ve found some of my favourite places thanks to Time Out.

3.       What is your favourite book? This is tough! Anything by Chuck Palahniuk (author of ‘Fight Club’ – that’s his worst!) or Stephen King. Creepy books are the best!

4.       Which song makes you dance? Dancing in the Moonlight – Toploader. I’m the first one up!

5.       What has been your best career moment? I’ve been utterly grateful for every moment that’s allowed me to write, but it must be when I got my dream job on women’s magazines in London. I was 23, and I finally felt like the years of hard work had paid off.

6.       What advice would you give your 20 year old self? At 20, I was at university and going through a really rough time. I’d say b-r-e-a-t-h-e. Stop trying to do everything at once and slow down. Everything falls into place eventually.

7.       Where are you happiest? I’m happiest when I’m at home, in Newcastle. Time works differently at home, everyone smiles and my family are my biggest fans. Plus, I really miss my mum’s Sunday dinners.

8.       Who would be your number one dinner guest and why? Liam Gallagher! I want to see how hard he really parties… I’m sure he’s got some incredible stories to tell, too.

9.       If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why? Definitely to teleport. There’s so much of the world I want to see!

10.   If you had to ask us one question what would it be? What would you choose as your last meal on earth?

Oh, tough question, Emmie! Of course we all vary massively, so here’s the team’s choices:

Sunny – “There’s no way I’d be having just one course if it was my last meal! I’d start with Koh Thai Tapas’ 24 hour ribs, followed by their Pad Thai Green curry with a desert of a nice big pot of Haagen Daaz Bailey’s flavour. Obviously I’d have to accompany it with a cocktail so I’d have a lipstick rose!”

Lu – “Salmon with every grilled vegetable that has ever existed.”

Lizzie – “My Gran’s paella. I lived in Spain for a year and still have never have had a paella that good!”

Georgie – “Even for my last meal on earth I couldn’t stray from my favourite lobster mac and cheese.”

Alex – “Mine would be fish pie because it reminds me of home.”

Laura – “I’d tuck into a Chicken Katsu curry because, well, it’s amazing!”

Jess – “Rib-eye steak, medium rare of course.”