Michelle Eagleton, AKA ‘Showbiz Shel’
A freelance TV/radio presenter and part-time lecturer in PR and journalism
I came out of the womb with jazz hands! As a child, I loved entertaining people – making them smile and playing different characters. Luckily, I had a mum who took me to drama classes. Having trained at Oldham Theatre Workshop, I got the breaks – including a featured role on ITV’s ‘Heartbeat’.
Being a jobbing actress is not the easiest career and, at the time, I juggled it with doing hospital radio and working as a tour guide at Granada Studios.
Then, when I was 19, I spotted a job for a showbiz reporter. I made a certificate that said: ‘I am Miss Showbiz’ for my interview, but it was my audio recording with comedian Steve Coogan that sealed the deal: two northerners having a good old chinwag! Based in London, I got to interview celebs including Cher, Sir Paul McCartney and Ewan McGregor, but I was homesick. Working 12-hour shifts, I had no mates – plus I missed gravy!
Returning to the North, I realised journalism could offer me a spotlight AND engage my brain, so I signed up for a Journalism & Broadcasting degree. Key 103 took me on full time when I graduated; then Channel M came knocking. I soon graduated from weathergirl to an anchor on the sofa – changing gears effortlessly between the serious talking points of the day and chatting sausages with James Martin!
When the channel collapsed, I initially freelanced; then I spent the next five years working in PR – putting my contacts to good use and dreaming up exciting stunts.
My last full-time job was with the BBC press team – leading the publicity campaigns for the Olympic Games, Wimbledon and ‘Sports Personality of the Year’. I even met Prince William and Harry!
I could have been set for life, but I missed Journalism. Freelancing was the only way to fuse my two passions together, so I went it alone; these days, I’ve got a ‘portfolio career’. On any given day I can be found interviewing a celebrity on camera, lecturing the journalism stars of the future at Salford University or even reviewing musical theatre.
If you want something badly enough, it’s on you to stay hungry and make it happen.