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Khan in 60 seconds
In just a minute, she tells us everything we need to know about the world. here’s the news just in on Tasmin Lucia Khan. Interview by Sonia Ahmed.
She’s come a long way from her days fronting Bollywood shows on Zee TV. As the face of BBC Three’s nightly 60 Seconds news bulletins, as well as fronting E24 on the BBC News Channel, we see Tasmin Lucia Khan everyday, breaking major showbiz news stories including the deaths of Michael Jackson and Heath Ledger, covering important global issues such as the war in Afghanistan and the biggest oil spill in US history, interviewing the likes of Bill Clinton and Leonardo Dicaprio, and hosting high-profile events such as the Queen’s Baton Relay at Buckingham Palace for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Yet very little is known about Tasmin the person, other than she’s a bit of a brainbox, men find her hot, and of course the infamous ‘breathless on air’ story that had the boys drooling in their droves last year.
When she arrives for our photoshoot, we hear a very different story. Far from being an intimidating character who’s full of herself, we find Tasmin to be a sweet, super smart lady, who, far from throwing any diva strops, looks ill at ease with all the attention and, frankly, can’t seem to work out what all the fuss is about...
Being on TV was never my ambition. When I went to audition for Zee TV, all the girls looked like Bollywood actresses and I was, comparatively, the plainly dressed, odd one out, so I thought, maybe I’ll get the job because I’m different, and don’t take myself as seriously as this lot!
I became a presenter on Zee TV to make pocket money, really. Lots of my friends at university were doing part time jobs at libraries, pharmacies, department stores, all sorts really – standing in front of a camera for a few hours a week at the age of 19, broadcasting to millions was mine!
Maybe I stood out because I was blasé about being in front of the camera. I was noticeably different from the other girls at Zee TV. I wasn’t the crazy shouting type, I wasn’t doing kids’ TV, I wasn’t the sultry Bollywood heroine on TV – I just genuinely loved my music and film, and I think people could see that.
Once I had graduated from Oxford University, I was ready to pack it in. I thought: ‘I’ve done it for four years. I’d probably like to go into banking or consultancy now.’ I did an Economics and Politics degree after all, my dad was an accountant, it made perfect sense. But a year or so later I was itching to go back to TV, but this time behind the camera. I had learnt so much about producing and directing TV from my days at Zee, I ended up creating shows for Channel 5, Channel 4, Bravo and Zee TV.
I never worried about whether I’d make it big or not. I interviewed Amitabh Bachchan once and he said, ‘I knocked on 100 doors and the 101st door was my lucky break,’ and I always think back to that. There are people out there who knock on five doors and give up when they get no response. Failure’s just a part of the journey.
A lot of people think I’m a private person because they don’t see me in showbiz gossips magazines. I’m actually really open – I laugh and joke a lot, I have a normal social life. It’s just that I’m not an attention-seeker – celebrity bemuses me.
One of the biggest stories I broke was the death of Michael Jackson. Every other entertainment journalist was out covering the Glastonbury festival. We rolled on that story for a good five hours and everyone kept shouting ‘get Tasmin on Radio, get Tasmin on TV’ because there was no other correspondent in the building. So I was literally running around the newsroom doing hits for various BBC outlets. It was only when I got home at 4am, that it actually dawned on me how upset I was at his passing.