Hemel Hempstead teenager wins 2021 BAFTA Kids' Young Presenter Competition
England footballer Jesse Lingard surprised the 15-year-old with a virtual Q&A
A teenager from Hemel Hempstead has won the 2021 BAFTA Kids' Young Presenter Competition.
Samaira Iqbal, 15, kicked off a year of presenting opportunities and support as part of her BAFTA prize with a virtual Q&A with Manchester United and England footballer Jesse Lingard.
An expert BAFTA panel including presenters Elle Osili-Wood, Inel Tomlinson, Kerry Boyne, Nathan Connor and Naomi Wilkinson and First News editor-in-chief, Nicky Cox selected Samaira from over 200 outstanding entries from around the UK.
For her winning entry, Samaira used sign language to interview her sister which can be viewed at www.baftakids.org.
She is the fifth young presenter to win the prestigious award.
Previous winners such as Tianna Moore, Braydon Bent, Daniel McGovern and Gracie Gosling have interviewed stars at BAFTA events, including Tom Hiddleston and BAFTA President HRH The Duke of Cambridge.
Samaira now has the opportunity to present with BAFTA Kids for the next year as well as feature on popular Sky Kids’ news show, FYI.
She has already completed her first presenting opportunity, interviewing the BAFTA-winning creator and cast of CBBC’s new comedy, Lagging.
The show, which focuses on a group of close friends and their gaming community, premieres on CBBC and BBC iPlayer on 20 July. Her interview will be available to watch on BAFTA’s Kids and Teens YouTube channel soon.
Samaira, who attends Kings Langley Secondary School, said: "I am so excited, I have known for a few weeks and it has been hard not to tell anyone. I can't believe it, I am still in shock now.
"I started off at the age of 10 and I did a presenting job for Sky Kids and it went from there.
"I loved being in front of the camera and knew that this was what I wanted to do, I really enjoyed it.
“Coming from a British-Asian Deaf family, I never in a million years thought I would ever get an opportunity to work with a company as big as BAFTA.
"Being a kid myself, I was told that I was too young to start thinking about my career at such an early age but I’ve always been so passionate for TV presenting.
"It still hasn’t sunken in and I am constantly in shock when I remind myself that it has actually happened and I’m not dreaming.
"I am getting closer and closer to my dream of becoming a TV presenter and just the thought of it is getting me way too excited!
"I was told that my headteacher was going to put something in the school newsletter which is really exciting."
In a surprise interview this week, BAFTA arranged for Samaira to interview her football hero Jesse Lingard.
In the interview she asked him about his dream dinner party guests and had the chance to recreate Lingard’s viral meme with Marcus Rashford MBE.
Samaira, who is fluent in sign language, taught him how to sign his name. Visit BAFTA’s Kids and Teens YouTube channel to watch the full Q&A.
Samaira said: "I did the Q&A yesterday and it was so exciting, I really enjoyed it.
"He was so nice, the conversation just flowed so well and he is a really nice person.
"In the future I hope to do more presenting jobs and interview more celebrities - maybe one day I'll interview the England football team, or the Royal Family, you never know!"
Tim Hunter, Executive Director of Learning and New Talent, said: “We're very proud of the amazing talent we've found through our Young Presenter Competition and are so happy that Samaira has joined the ranks of our previous winners.
"For us, the Young Presenter Competition is important because trying your hand at speaking to camera is a chance to boost important life skills like confidence, speaking persuasively and team work. Samaira has these skills in bucket loads and we can't wait to see what she does next.”
To enter the competition, children who were between seven and 14 at the time were invited to create and submit a short video on how they express themselves.
The BAFTA Kids’ Young Presenter competition is part of BAFTA’s award-winning, year-round programme for families across the UK.
Open to the public, BAFTA Kids workshops, roadshows and masterclasses have moved online during the pandemic, offering young people the opportunity to discover some of the skills involved in making their favourite films, games and television programmes.