AJ Odudu 'found it tricky' to get her start in telly as a black northern woman

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 1 July 2022
AJ Odudu

AJ Odudu confused people being Black, northern and a woman

AJ Odudu “found it tricky” to get her start in telly being black, northern and a woman but isn't interested in "tokenism"

AJ Odudu "found it tricky" to get her start in telly as a "black northern woman".

The former ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ contestant says it was “hard for people to get over” that she was all three things instead of just one and felt they were very taken aback.

The 34-year-old television presenter told Red magazine: “I found it tricky to navigate my way around a space that sometimes made me feel ‘other’.

“My accent was a big thing, but what was confusing was there were other regional accents – Nick Grimshaw and Annie Mac were on BBC Sounds.

“It was more that I was black and northern, rather than just northern. It was hard for people to get over that. It was a lot being black, female, and northern all at once.

“It was tricky at times. I did doubt myself because I was essentially being told to not be me. But all you can do is lean on your support network.

“There are so many people who do see the good in you.”

AJ – who is set to host the revamp of ‘The Big Breakfast’ with comedian Mo Gilligan after they fronted a version of for Channel 4’s ‘Black to Front’ day – isn’t interested in “tokenism” and thinks there is much more work to be done to have equality in television.

She said: “I think bringing ‘The Big Breakfast’ back as a regular thing is one of the positives we took away from ['Black to Front'].

“But there’s so much more work to be done. Change is going to take a long time. I don’t like tokenism, and I don’t think anyone should do just one thing, pat themselves on the back and think they’re done.

“We’re never going to reach perfection in this lifetime, but we should always be striving to make change.”