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Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock

photo: Lovelight Photography

Space scientist, author and TV presenter

What did you like to do on weekends when you were 10?
When I first went to school, I didn’t like reading because I’m dyslexic. Then I watched a series on the BBC about Heidi, and I loved it, so I read the book and because it was the Heidi of my imagination, it seemed magical. Then I became a real bookworm, especially science fiction books because they could take me on all the journeys I wanted to go on. I also liked to do art and it’s something I still like to do, colouring in and drawing and calligraphy.

What would you tell young girls aspiring to go to space?
To any girl who’s got the space bug, I’d say YES, you’ve got the right idea! Only about 550 people have ever been out in space out of all the people who’ve ever lived on planet Earth, so it is quite an elite group. I’d say, I hope you get there, and if you do, will you come back for me because I want to get out there too!

What has been your greatest hurdle in life?
I would say the dyslexia has been my biggest hurdle. Dyslexia means your brain just works in a different way; you’re sort of wired slightly differently. When I was first at school, it was a challenge because I found reading and writing quite hard. I was put in the remedial class, so I became quite disinterested in school for a while. But at the same time, the dyslexia means that I think in a different way. My dyslexia brain will take me to new ideas, and I think that has been really important in my career. So although it’s been the biggest challenge in my life, it’s also been one of the biggest benefits.

 

DR MAGGIE ADERIN-POCOCK was interviewed by Clarrie and Jess in issue 9.

Darcey Bussell

Age 8

Ballerina and TV presenter

What did you like to do at weekends when you were 10?
I went swimming a lot with my friends and we also hung out in the park.

What is the biggest mistake you have ever made?
I know I have made lots of mistakes, but I believe that nothing is really a mistake, because I think you can always turn something around or use them as a tool to strengthen yourself. I hate to call anything a ‘mistake’… I think you can work out solutions where things haven’t gone your way. I think you should always try and see the best in those situations. They’re there for a reason.

What is something important your parents taught you?
To be myself and not to try and be anything I’m not. To be proud of myself. We all grow up with different strengths and weaknesses. My parents taught me to never be ashamed of my weaknesses because they’re part of who I am and they’re OK. I suppose my parents also gave me the grit and determination to stick with something and not give up and I really value that.

 

 

DARCEY BUSSELL, DBE, was interviewed by Zoe and Sasha in issue 1.

Dame Evelyn Glennie

photo: Philipp Rathmer

Multi-percussionist

What did you like to do at weekends when you were 10?
I am a farmer’s daughter and I grew up on a farm. We didn’t go away on holiday so most of the time was spent on the farm. We were always given jobs of one sort or another. Sometimes my job would be to look after lambs in the springtime, to make sure they were fed and that kind of thing. I would also have been practising the piano at that age. I loved to practise the piano.

What has been your favourite performance and why?
I think one performance that was so important was the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. There were so many volunteers and people who had never played an instrument before, or never danced before, or never acted before, or did so many things for the first time, and that really changed their lives in many ways. That combination, the teamwork, to have so many people having the same goal was amazing.

What advice would you give children with a hearing impairment like you to encourage them?
I think it’s so important for all children, whether you’re hearing impaired or otherwise, to believe in yourself and to try as many things as possible. If you listen to other people, well they might say no, you can’t do this, you can’t do that … You have to listen to yourself and say well, hold on a second, I want to try this. So, it’s about believing you should have those opportunities, and that you’re like anyone else.

 

DAME EVELYN GLENNIE was interviewed by Yahya, Aqilah, Jubayra and Miski for issue 10.

Liz Bonnin

photo: Toby Strong

Wildlife biologist and TV presenter

What did you like to do at weekends when you were 10?
I was living in the south of France in the mountains above Nice. We had a little forest by our house, so my sister and I would spend a lot of time outdoors. There were snakes and hedgehogs and spiders, and we had two dogs and we would just spend the whole day outside having all these adventures. I remember staring at little birds and little animals a lot!

If you could be a big cat, which would you be and why?
I have always been completely obsessed with tigers. First of all, they’re extraordinarily beautiful and magical. If there was such a thing as a magical, mystical creature on the planet, I think tigers pretty much fit the bill. And all of the habitats they live in are just stunning; the forests in India have a magical quality and the Russian far east just looks like Narnia! Tigers are incredibly independent, they’re very resilient, really strong, but with their families, with their cubs, they’re incredibly gentle and caring and they’re incredibly intelligent, how they teach their young. So, everything about them is just really amazing to me.

What is the most important thing your parents taught you?
To be true to myself.

 

LIZ BONNIN was interviewed by Clarrie in issue 6.

Konnie Huq

photo: Ed Miller

Author and TV presenter

Growing up, what was your ambition?
At different points in my life, I have wanted to do different things. At one point I wanted to be an astronaut, and then I wanted to be a doctor, then I wanted to be an architect. And then I wanted to be on TV. I was a junior reporter on BBC’s Newsround and in 1992, I had to interview Neil Kinnock who was trying to be prime minister at the time. That gave me a bit of a taste for being on TV. But I have wanted to do and be many things in my time. I wanted to be anything and everything.

What did you like to do at the weekends when you were 10?
I loved making things and I still do. I loved crafting things, little picture frames or little notebooks with ribbons and buttons and stuff. That’s quite a Blue Peter thing!

Do you have a secret talent?
I can do a really good Bart Simpson impression. Kowabunga dude!

 

KONNIE HUQ was interviewed by Eleni, Mahsin and Cathy in issue 8.

Liz Pichon

Age 9

Best-selling children’s author and illustrator

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I had absolutely no idea. I didn’t know that writing and drawing pictures was a job. If I had known, I would probably have said I wanted to be a writer or an artist. For a short period of time, I thought I wanted to be a makeup artist on films. The BBC ran a course and I found out that you had to have A Level history to go on it and that was never going to happen!

What would you like to learn how to do?
I’d really like to be able to speak another language. I’m dyslexic so I find it really hard to remember some things and languages is one of them. It takes me a long time to remember. It would great if I could sing as well!

What did you like to do when you were 10?
I loved reading comics, I loved swimming all the time. I did lots of drawing, playing games, making things. I didn’t like maths and spelling. I wasn’t very good at spelling — I’m still not. Don’t let that put you off writing (there’s always someone who’s good at spelling who can help you out!)

LIZ PICHON was interviewed by Hana and Kenzie in issue 3.

Marita Cheng

Engineer and founder of robogals

What was your favourite thing to do on the weekends as a kid?
I really liked to read books. I’m a bit of a bookworm.

What advice would you give kids who want to get into robotics and coding?
It’s okay to start from wherever you are. So don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t be shy. If you’re interested in it, ask really stupid questions until you understand things, and that’s how you learn.

What’s your secret talent?
Listening. I think I work really hard to be a good listener, but again I think it’s something you have to keep working on and keep developing. It’s something that I am and something that I keep trying to get better at.

MARITA CHENG was interviewed by Ella and Hiromi in issue 5.

Anya Shrubsole

England cricketer

What advice would you give to your 11-year-old self?
When I was 11, I was a bit more petulant. I used to get very frustrated when things went wrong. I hated doing things wrong so if I thought I wasn’t able to do something I just wouldn’t do it. So, I would advise my 11-year-old-self to be a bit more free and just try things a bit more.

What is something important your parents taught you?
To stay humble and keep my feet on the ground. It’s quite easy when you play sport to kind of get caught up in everything and think you’re this amazing person and you’re really great and whatever, but thankfully that’s something I like to think I’ve never done and that’s down my mum and dad. They’re the first people to take the mickey out of me, which is great because it keeps you normal!

How did it feel to win the World Cup Final in 2017?
Amazing. It was the best day of my life so far… it’s quite hard to put into words. To be able to win the World Cup is pretty special and to be able to win it at home, at Lords, in front of 26,000 people was a day I will definitely never forget!

 

ANYA SHRUBSOLE was interviewed by Poppy and India in issue 7.

Anne-Marie Imafidon

 

Co-founder of STEMettes

What were you like in school?
I was very loud, I was quite naughty and I was quite funny. I wasn’t one of the quiet people. Everyone knew when I was in the room!

When you were younger, what did you want to be?
I used to want to be a weather lady on TV. I watch a lot of television!

What did you do on weekends when you were 10?
We went to church a lot and birthday parties almost every weekend. We knew a lot of people. My family is from Nigeria and Nigerians like to party! Every weekend someone was celebrating.

ANNE-MARIE IMAFIDON was interviewed by Mayesha, Miriam and Yusra in issue 1

Jessica Watson

photo: Kate Dyer

Round-the-world sailor

What advice would you give to young girls with big dreams?
I like to say be audacious, challenge yourself. I wasn’t naturally talented at anything, and I used to be really scared of the water. So, if an untalented, scared little girl can sail around the world on her own, doesn’t that say anyone could do anything?

What advice would you give your tween-age self?
I was always really serious. If I could go back, I’d probably tell myself to have a bit more fun. I’d also say, jump at the opportunity to make more friends. You can learn so much from other people.

Who inspires you?
My heroes are anyone who gives something a go, who doesn’t just sit there and do things because that’s the way they’ve always been done — anyone who tries something new and different.

 

 

JESSICA WATSON, OAM, was interviewed by Maya and Molly in issue 2.