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"Redefining the Game: Celebrating Emma Jones' Playbook for success in Sports Journalism

“As a collective, we can do far more than as just individuals." Emma Jones shares empowering reflections on misogyny, mental health, and mourning.

Emma Jones is a captivating and witty sports journalist and best known as the TV host for Leeds United. She shares her hilarious series -DM Helpline- with her 408k Instagram fans in which she exposes the audacious messages she receives from men.

With International Women’s Day coming up, I had the opportunity to explore a real side to her away from the male-dominated industry of football. Full of warmth and wisdom, her relatability makes her a calm in the chaos of the stadium.

PWR: Is there a woman who inspires you and shapes your identity?

EJ: Definitely my mum, who I lost when I was 18. For six years before she passed away, she

had multiple health struggles. She was diagnosed with MS and then breast cancer and every

new diagnosis that came her way, she faced it head on. I remember shaving her hair off for

her and I was looking at her in the mirror in complete and utter awe of her courage as a

human being. So when she did die, I took a lot of strength and I continue to take a lot of

strength from her. She is the person I always think of in any situation where I need self belief

or courage.

PWR: Do you ever suffer anxiety, and is there any tips for anyone on how to protect their

mental health?

EJ: I do, and that often shocks people, because the assumption is that when you work on TV,

you must be confident in everything…but that's not true. I've been speaking to a therapist for

about 10 years now. So, before I was even properly in the industry. And I fully believe in the

power of speaking and sharing thoughts and feelings. I find that grounding myself and

practising breathing techniques really help being able to focus. There shouldn't be any

stigma or shame around it, because it's a perfectly natural biological reaction. It’s ultimately a

state of fear.

And it's about perspective. There's a natural inclination to judge people without

knowing them. So if ever I feel affected - I just look around, I have a large group of friends

and a wonderful family, and I know that I'm loved by them for who I am and they're the

people that truly know me.

PWR: What do you wish you could tell younger you?

EJ: That you will find happiness and joy in living - that you'll build a life that you're proud of.

It'll take time and hard work, but you will do it. And when you do, you'll find the greatest joy in

the simple things, like fresh air and taking your dog for a walk. That might sound ridiculous,

but when you're young, you have these big dreams and hopes for your life. And when you

get on the path and you start learning on the way, you realise that actually the things that

bring you the most happiness are the things that don't cost anything.

PWR: I see you use humour for clapping back at trolls - rightfully so. But, has it genuinely

ever gone too far?

EJ: It's gone too far a few times, to be honest. A few years ago, a man kept threatening to do

things to me when he found me. And the police came and spoke to me and they were really

helpful. It was quite scary. Loads of people get comments on the internet. But in terms of the

DM help line, it was created to turn it on its head and allow people to see the vulgarity of

some of the messages that we’re actually exposed to online. And I've had people

occasionally question whether it could actually be encouraging them with the DM help line.

But I received those messages regardless. So I'd rather highlight it in a way that engages

people and raises awareness of the issue, rather than just ignore it.

PWR: If you're not doing sports presenting, which industry would you have been in?

EJ: So, this might surprise you. I always said I would either be a presenter, or part of the

Battersby family from Coronation Street. I wanted to be Janice and Les Battersby’s daughter

and sisters with Leanne and Toyah. But if I wasn't presenting, I'd be doing one of two very

different careers. I'd either be acting, or training in something that allows me to help others,

like a counsellor or psychologist. That would be very fulfilling for me.

PWR: Is there a secret side to you?

EJ: I have creative interests, I really enjoy writing. And I used to do it a lot more when I had the

time. I used to write poetry but I just don't really get the chance to do that as often now.

When I was growing up, I had books and books and books of poetry. And I just used to do it

because I loved it and it was like an outlet for me to write stuff down.

PWR: What's the most difficult story you've talked about on your podcast?

EJ: Probably telling the actual story around mum's death and the aftermath. There was a lot that

happened after she died, and me and my brothers nearly lost everything. I never got the

opportunity to go through her clothes, her jewellery or anything that would remind

me of her. So, I had very little left of her because it all got taken away, and actually sharing

that story and acknowledging the pain that I endured in the years after her death was a lot for me to handle.

When I first spoke about it on the Dead Parent Club podcast, I had to take a deep breath

before I did, because it brought all of that back. I wanted something sentimental, but the

beautiful thing is that whenever I go into a shop that sells perfume I do a spray test.

Whenever I see Dolce & Gabbana, the original one, I always spray it on, and it reminds me

of her. I think it's something about smells that can take you right back to a place, a feeling, a

person- and that's beautiful because that can't ever be taken away.

PWR: Is it difficult to ignore people's opinions or do you find it easy to not care what they


EJ: When I first started out in the industry, I took everything to heart. Now it just goes over my

head. If I see a negative comment on social media, I laugh and it's forgotten about in five

seconds. And that is a really liberating feeling. That is something that over the last few years

has been extremely freeing. I wouldn't want anyone to have to get used to it. It's far better to

be unaffected by it than the alternative, which is to allow it to affect you.

PWR: So, how important is it to you for women to have healthy female friendships and look

out for each other?

EJ: I’m very lucky because I’ve got a big group of female friends who I have been close to since

high school and have shaped who I am. They are some of the most important people in my

life. In the sports presenting world, there are more and more women coming through. And

what I've also seen in my experience has been wholly positive. We are individuals but we're

in quite a unique position, so it's really nice when you can relate to each other in such a

unique way. And it’s important because as a collective you can do far more and be far better

than if you're all just individuals.

PWR: Would you describe yourself as somebody proud of your achievements or hard on yourself and why?

EJ: I've always been told that I don't really acknowledge or celebrate my achievements enough.

And that's probably true. I have five seconds of cheering then I focus on what I need to do

next. Give yourself a pat on the back every now and then. We naturally play down anything

that we've done or is deemed to be good. Maybe that's just human nature. But it is

something I'm working on because there's no point working on achievements if you're not

going to say well done to yourself.

Interview & Words by: Saz Aga

Makeup by: Berivan Er


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