Poppy Jamie: Golden Girl of Showbiz
It was incredibly early in the morning. The birds could still be heard chirping faintly in the trees and the sun hadn’t quite risen enough, so our studio was flooded with golden light.
Poppy Jamie strolled in, wearing the kind of infectious smile that you automatically return. Poppy had attended the Whiplash premiere the night before, however her fresh makeup-free face did not betray a shred of tiredness. When she shook my hand, I was shocked at how cold her hand was. Poppy said nonchalantly: “Oh sorry, I just walked from Kings Cross.” I took one look at her towering black shoe boots and raised an eyebrow. Kings Cross was almost 2 miles away and it was bitterly cold outside. Poppy smiled softly, she assured me: “Honestly, it wasn’t that far.”
I was instantly impressed. Poppy pulled off her elegant black cape and revealed a grey novelty jumper, emblazoned on the front in thick black script was ‘Mercury was in fucking retrograde’. She noticed the surprised look on my face and responded with a giggle, she said: “I’m really into Astrology, I speak to an astrologist every month. I saw this jumper and I had to get it because when mercury is in retrograde, I am in trouble.” She threw her head back and laughed hard.
Full look: Beyond Retro
Poppy Jamie has carved a phenomenal career for herself as an entertainment presenter. She has interviewed some of the most recognisable faces in the industry, from One Direction and Katy Perry to Samuel L. Jackson and Jude Law.
It may come as surprise for some, but before Poppy dominated red carpets and interviewed icons, she studied Politics at the world-renowned London School of Economics. A glorious cackle escaped her lips, she said: “I am right out of Legally Blonde. My life was two polar opposites, I was working as a presenter throughout my entire time at university but I never told anyone. At university the discussions were about the welfare system and women’s rights, I could hardly pipe up that I was going to interview One Direction afterwards.”
Although Poppy had no intention of pursuing a career in politics, her degree has given her credibility in the entertainment industry. She tucked a strand of blonde hair, which was still wavy from the style she had worn at the premiere the night before. She said frankly: “My degree was for balance. I think I probably look quite stupid because of the blonde hair and chubby cheeks, people think I am a ditz. So if someone has written me off, it helps to drop that I have a politics degree. It is the last thing people would expect.”
Jumpsuit: Sera Ulger
Poppy has built her career on the unexpected. Although she did take the traditional route into presenting by starting off as a tea girl in a newsroom, she got her foot in the door in an extraordinarily innovative way.
Poppy revealed: “My parents sat me down one day and told me that if I wanted to be a television presenter, they would support me but not financially. So I had this dilemma because obviously when you start out they want you to work for free and I couldn’t afford to.”
So Poppy knuckled down and started her own company in her first year of university. She said: “It was right at the time of the financial crisis of 2008. No one could get a job and I wanted to find out why. So, I got this bunch of merry men together who had never operated a camera or knew anything about sound. We would storm into these huge offices and kind of lampooned all of these business leaders with questions like ‘Are you employing? If so, who are you employing?’”
She smiled mischievously and fingered her personalised gold necklace that had ‘Poppy’ emblazoned on it. Then said: “After the ‘interview’ I would ask for a job, it was crazy. My second interview was with the head of ITN at the time and after I interviewed him, I asked for a job, he stuttered and said yes.”
The following week Poppy became ITN’s new tea girl. Poppy spent the next six-months in the ITN newsroom, making tea and harassing her colleagues for presenting opportunities. Eventually her friendly ambush tactics paid off and her boss offered her a last-minute opportunity to cover a red carpet. She smiled softly as she recalled: “I remember standing there staring into the camera and in absolute disbelief that I was working for one of the biggest news organisations in the world.” She added: “I was only 19-years-old, still at university and living in a rat-infested flat in Kings Cross with four boys. It was an incredible moment.”
Poppy revealed that her inspiring work ethic comes from her parents. She bit her lip slightly, then said: “My mum is the best, she is a hypnotherapist and introduced me to an alternative way of thinking. My dad works in packaging, it is not very glamorous but he worked very hard.”
She added: “When I was growing up, my dad would often work 14-16 hour days and I remember not seeing him very much when I was little. Whatever we got, whether it was a present or a meal, my mum always told us it was because dad worked so hard. It made me very grateful and aware.” Poppy revealed that this work ethic was instilled in her from a very young age and it has also given her a deep intolerance towards people that seek instant gratification.
For the first time in the interview, Poppy’s glittering persona faded slightly and I saw her eyebrows knit in frustration. She sighed, then said: “I wish more people would understand that reality television does not depict real life. When I was growing up, I didn’t have reality stars to look up to, especially not the ones that basically have sex on television and call that a job.”
She added frankly: “I really hope young people learn the importance of hard graft like I did. My parents always told me that if I wanted anything in life, I would have to work really hard for it. There are no guarantees but if you work hard enough, you will always know that you tried your best.”
I sat there in silence for a moment, in absolute awe of this woman who shared my exact thoughts. It also dawned on me that I completely respected Poppy and everything that she stood for.
Our assistant Misty placed the hot cross bun and milky tea that Poppy requested in front of her. Poppy’s face lit up as she nibbled on her bun, she looked up at me, smiling mischievously then said: “Oh wow, thank you so much! Food makes everything better.”
Jacket: Maison Scotch Dress: Lazy Oaf
Poppy has become famous for her charismatic and playful interview style. She has won over everyone, from Jamie Foxx with a Rio 2 inspired rap to a game of ‘guess the mum-inspired dance move’ with One Direction. It is a real delight to see some of the worlds most recognisable and respected people letting their guards down for a moment and really enjoying themselves. Poppy revealed that two of her favourite people to interview are Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. Poppy took a sip of her tea and her eyes smiled above the rim of the cup.
She said: “They are the dream, definitely the most hilarious interview I have ever done. I interviewed them for MTV in the US and then I came back to London and interviewed them again for ITV, they were amazing both times.”
She added: “I recently interviewed Cameron again, she is always so wonderful. She always immediately recognises me and shouts ‘Poppy!’ before giving me a huge hug. I feel like Cameron and I were sisters in a past life, I absolutely adore her.”
One of my favourite interviews of Poppy’s was with Jude Law. It involved Poppy falling off of her chair, causing Jude Law to burst into hysterical laughter. Poppy followed suit and was soon so hysterical that she couldn’t even speak. She burst out laughing at the memory; her golden hair fell into her eyes, shielding her face.
Once she had composed herself, she said: “I totally flashed Jude Law, Bridget Jones style. My skirt rode up, I flashed my bum cheeks and god knows what else. It was a massive wardrobe malfunction.”
She added: “It was the biggest interview I had done and my boss had warned me not to mess it up. Then what did I do? I messed it up royally. I am sure he thought I was a random fan who had gate-crashed the interview.”
Poppy interviewed Jude again six months later. She recalled: “He was so lovely, when he saw me, he helped me sit and kept checking was okay. It was hilarious, he is a really nice guy, that could’ve been a really awful interview but he made it fun.”
One of Poppy’s favourite interviews was with the iconic Samuel L. Jackson and took place on a golf course. She smiled nostalgically, she said: “I actually cried whilst I was interviewing him because he was telling me how Alzheimer’s has affected his family. I was invited to play golf with him because he organises a tournament to raise money for Alzheimer’s.”
She added: “He told me how the disease had affected his mother and grandparents. They had all suffered from Alzheimer’s. I felt so honoured to have the opportunity to speak to him about such personal issues. It is not often that you have a connection like that.”
Poppy’s most memorable interview is unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. Poppy interviewed the formidable Sir Ben Kingsley when he was starring in Night of the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. It was painfully awkward to watch. At one point Sir Ben Kingsley even accused Poppy of being on drugs, due to her exuberance. Poppy openly cringed as she recalled the interview; she covered her mouth and quite literally screamed in exasperation.
She said: “I found it difficult. I think that it’s hard when you’re interviewing someone who does not quite realise who his or her audience is. The real difficulty comes when people want to be perceived in a certain way but their project doesn’t reflect that.”
In typical Poppy style, she managed to finish the interview with the air of fun and professionalism that has made her so popular, whilst Sir Ben Kingsley looked less than favourable.
Poppy has interviewed some of the most famous people in the world, however the line between professional and personal often blur and she now classes some as close friends. One look at Poppy’s Instagram and you can see her singing Happy Birthday to Kendall Jenner in Los Angeles alongside Cara Delevingne and Selena Gomez, in another video you can see her in a helicopter in Brazil with Suki Waterhouse. Speaking of her famous friendships, Poppy said thoughtfully: “I meet a lot of friends through work. It’s like any job really, you make friends with people you meet.”
She added: “I have been lucky enough to have met some incredible young girls. It is so special to have friends who have work hard and understand the world I work in. They have become some of the best friends I have ever had because they understand the life I am living.”
The future is spectacularly bright for Poppy. She is currently splitting her time between London and Los Angeles and is in all senses of the word, living the dream.
Poppy thought for a moment, then said: “A typical day in London would consist of; going for a run if I can be bothered, getting ready in a messy flat, having my face squeezed up against the glass on the tube, going to ITV News and writing my script for the bulletin then maybe running to cover a fashion show like I did with Burberry last week or a film junket.”
She added animatedly: “God, I love junkets. You get to go to a really lovely hotel, eat lots of croissants and talk to an actor that you probably fancy. After that, I run back to the studio, record the news before going home to change and then attend an event such as a film premiere in the evening. I like to finish off the night eating a nice apple crumble.”
Poppy revealed that her days spent in Los Angeles are a stark contrast, she said: “In Los Angeles, I get up really early and do yoga. I tend to eat really healthily in too and rarely drink alcohol. If I am working for MTV, it is insanely glamorous; you get an entire glam squad to make you look presentable. In London I just slap a ton of makeup on myself.”
What surprised me most about my time with Poppy is how we would often go off on a tangent and discuss serious issues effortlessly, such as the effects and pressures of social media and ‘reality’ culture on young people. Poppy had so many relevant and interesting points that this interview could of easily been three of four times its current length. She was captivating, intelligent and a real pleasure to be around. I found myself feeling quite inspired by her and all that she has achieved.
It would be a mistake to underestimate Poppy Jamie, there is so much more to her than what meets the eye. Yes, she is bubbly and blonde with an adorable cackle but behind those piercing blue eyes is an incredible brain, admirable work ethic and a fierce determination to succeed.
After we wrapped the interview, our team swarmed around her, painting her face and putting her in extraordinary outfits, ready to shoot. Poppy had the entire room in hysterics as we all did some impromptu karaoke to old Spice Girls songs on YouTube. Before we knew it, the day was drawing to an end.
Poppy emerged in her head-to-toe black outfit and after she had thanked the team profusely and squealed about how much fun she had had, she gathered her things and got ready to leave. I offered to book her a taxi but she responded that she would like to go the way she came. Suddenly, she smiled mischievously at me, and said: “I like the walk.” After a final flurry of hugs and kisses, she was gone. Her black cape billowing behind her and in her wake, she left us all standing there, those same gloriously infectious smiles plastered to our faces.
Ten Questions We Ask Everyone
1. What did you want to be when you were younger?
A television presenter.
2. If you could offer advice to your twelve-year-old self, what would it be?
What will be will be, stop worrying. I was a big worrier.
3. You have 24 hours with no travel restrictions, how would you spend it?
I would go back to South America, I went to Brazil this year which was so incredible. I would do something that I have never done before though, maybe visit the Amazon and visit a tribe. Then I would finish off on a nice beach, maybe in the Seychelles.
4. What is the most exciting thing that has happened to you this year?
Oh my god, definitely the MTV music awards. It was a dream, the absolute dream. I was hosting this red carpet in like 120 countries and then being seated next to Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Zac Efron. It was like I was one of them, sitting and watching the show, it was incredible, a real wow moment.
5. The film you can watch over and over yet never tire of?
6. The song that always makes you emotional?
Vance Joy – Ripetide. I was in Chicago, for Lollapalooza and we had had the most insane time. We were in this downtown Chicago rave, I was in the DJ booth and suddenly Disclosure came on the decks. It was so ridiculous. Afterwards, it was like 5am and we were driving across Chicago in a taxi. We plugged our iPod into the dock and Vance Joy’s ‘Ripetide’ came on.
7. If you could spend an entire day with anyone uninterrupted, who would it be?
8. It is Friday night at midnight, where are you most likely to be?
Probably tucked up in bed, totally exhausted.
9. What is your biggest vice?
I’m quite extreme, I have quite an excessive personality, so everything has to be all or nothing!
10. How would you like to be remembered?
It’s not so much how people would remember me, but how I hope people felt. There’s so much sadness in the world, I would like to shed some light. That sounds so fucking self-involved but life is hard, I just hope that I can provide a little bit of relief in someone’s day.
Follow Poppy Jamie on Twitter: @poppyjamie
Follow Poppy Jamie on Instagram: @poppyjamie
Make Up Artist
Jessica Hunte using Armani