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What inspired you to get into journalism?

From a very young age, I was always inquisitive! Very chatty and asked a lot of questions. So, I think I was just born to be a Journalist. But seeing Isha Sesay and Amanpour on CNN in war zones actually made me believe that I could be a journalist. Because they looked like me and their job just looked awesome to 6-year-old Sam.

Briefly describe the journey so far from beauty pageants to working for CNN?

Like I mentioned earlier for me journalism was more of a calling and I knew that from about the age of 6 so everything I did the end goal was to go into journalism. So, I used pageants as a starting point! As I noticed that girls who did pageants, we’re confident in public speaking and comfortable in front of the camera. So, at 14 I decided I was going to do pageants for that reason! And the plan worked I built a little fan base and got more confident as a public speaker. That’s how I got my first presenting job with Zim Entertainment as a teen reporter. It was a great opportunity for a 16-year-old, but I knew I wanted more so I made sure I learned as much as could and got as much camera time as possible to create my showreel.

Though I loved the Zim community it was time for me to fly the nest, so I left Zim entertainment and started showing my material to other people, I guess it was quite impressive and I landed a few great gigs including working for Prince Harry and going to America.

What challenges did you face after graduating, in terms of securing the job of your dreams?

As a young black immigrant trying to tell my parents I’m getting a Master’s in Journalism was a lot my mum got it, but my dad wasn’t sold. So, for this reason, even before graduating the pressure was

on! Despite going to the best journalism school in the country most of my classmates had jobs and I was still searching! And searching and searching! 2 months into post-grad life I was going crazy and ended up applying for anything including jobs I knew I was overqualified for but even with that... no luck. Some days I was getting 5/6 rejection emails a day! My CV was great I mean I’ve been working on that since I was 14 but for some reason, no one wanted to hire me!

Did you ever felt like giving up and why?

Yeah, I felt like giving up! I did give up after 2 months of rejections every day I got a care job and stopped job hunting.

How did you deal with postgraduate depression?

I didn’t deal with it too well if I’m being honest! It also doesn’t help that I was going through a breakup at the same time. My confidence at this point was at 0. So, I spent most days in bed crying and watching love and hip hop. Gained a lot of weight!

Then I decided to come off social media! As much as I was happy that was classmates were getting jobs it made me start comparing myself to them and that drives you insane.

So, I just isolated myself from the world working a care job just to get out of the house.

What was your reaction when you got the job at CNN?

I was shocked! I don’t even remember doing the application as I was applying to lots of places every day but I’m pretty sure I sent my application an hour before the deadline then just forgot about it. So, when I saw an interview email, I was shocked! This was going to be my first ever job interview! Went for the interview and 48 hours later I got another email with my start date.

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