What better way to reinvent yourself in midlife than by setting up your own radio show? We talk to Josephine Pembroke (founder) and Donna Freed (literary editor) of Radio Gorgeous, the online radio show created in 2011 for bold, intelligent and vibrant women who want talk radio. On the Radio Gorgeous website Josephine is described as bossy and enthusiastic, Donna as loud and a smartypants. Perfect! And yes they are as gorgeous in real life as they are on the radio (whatever Donna says).
An interview with the ladies of Radio Gorgeous
What made you decide to do what you do?
Josephine: I lay in the bath and tried to ask my spirit/soul what would make me happy…I loved working at the BBC in radio and I truly believe that women should be given a voice. So the idea and the name Radio Gorgeous evolved there and then. 6 years ago.
Donna: This was my year of saying yes to everything except a full time job.
Why did you wait until you did to make the change?
Josephine: I had moved from Dorset back to London, I was a singer at the time and I thought the stage would be a lonely place. I wanted to meet people and be nosey!
Donna: I have always been a late bloomer but this opportunity answered a long held love and passion for radio that was deep in me but that I had not yet articulated and certainly would not have pursued had Josephine not made it so easy.
How did you make the change? What or who helped you?
Josephine: I had already worked in radio which helped, but I needed more training. So I signed myself up for Lambeth College – Radio Production Course for one year…it was such fun.
Donna: It seemed such a perfect opportunity so I took Josephine’s straightforward enthusiasm and belief at face value and plunged in.
How did your family and friends react?
Josephine: They loved the idea of RADIO GORGEOUS – so you Josephine!
Donna: In the same way that I did: why didn’t I think of this before; how perfect! And my brother insists that I have a face for radio.
How has your life changed having gone down this path?
Josephine: My confidence has really gone up, I can meet and talk to anyone now. I now enjoy public speaking, my writing has improved and I have to constantly keep up with technology which can’t be a bad thing.
Donna: I have been so incredibly inspired by the people that I have met. It has given me so much confidence and made me utterly indifferent to the idea of failure. Countless women have shown me that what is important is doing the thing you love, that is success.
What advice do you have for women considering a similar life change?
Josephine: You have everything to gain from trying out new things. Baby steps every day: feel the fear and do it anyway.
Donna: Fuck fear. Useless and worthless. So what if you suck at something. If you love doing it, do it.
What do you love most about being the age you are?
Josephine: Not caring so much about looks and parties. I care more about people and feeling good now.
Donna: I live very presently. At 48 I know myself but I also know I have no idea what the future brings, so suck the marrow out of life now.
What do you hate most about being the age you are?
Josephine: My shoulder has frozen recently and parents and pets are slowly dying.
Donna: The condition my condition is in.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known in your twenties?
Josephine: STICK AT IT GIRL !!!!
Donna: I wish I had been less judgemental and therefore limiting in my 20s.
What are the most important business and/or personal lessons you’ve learnt along the way?
Josephine: Women really want to support other women and they want to come on to Radio Gorgeous as they believe in it. WOMEN SUPPORT WOMEN.
Donna: Do what you say you’re going to do and be honest if you can’t.
Do you have a mantra that has guided you more than any other?
Josephine: She who dares wins!
Donna: 90% of life is showing up.
Which woman do you most admire and why?
Josephine: Not one woman, womanhood. We have had to fight so hard for our rights and we are still not equal to men, which really shocks me. Women have to put up with sexism, controlling men, controlling religions and we bear the children. But I do think it is the best time in history to be a woman now. We have so many choices, opportunities and different ways we can live our life without fear.
Donna: There is no one I like better than a gutsy old lady and I aspire to be one one day.
Is there anything people consistently misunderstand about you?
Josephine: I don’t care what people think about me.
Donna: My joking manner can belie my seriousness and just because I babble away doesn’t mean I’m not listening.
How can Mutton Club readers find out more about what you do?
Go to www.radiogorgeous.com and listen anywhere anytime. (TMC note – Do go listen. Seriously, it’s brilliant!