Sara Cox: My Life In Media

'I drunkenly told Samantha Morton, who's been Oscar-nominated twice, that I've got an A-level in theatre studies'
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The Independent Online

Sara Cox, 31, has been a Radio 1 presenter for more than a decade. Throughout the 1990s she presented live events for Radio 1 from Ibiza and Glastonbury and was a tabloid favourite, frequently snapped outside the Met Bar in the early hours of the morning. Her marriage to the DJ Jon Carter ended last year and her hard partying days are now behind her. Instead, she spends her days looking after her one-year-old daughter Lola, going to the zoo and dreaming of buying a big house in the country.

What inspired you to start a career in the media?

I'm not very good at being told what to do and I knew I wanted to do a job I loved. My sister had been to university and shetell stories about eight of them sharing a jacket potato and how she had no shoes and I thought, "God, that sounds awful."

When you were 15, what was the family newspaper and did you read it?

My dad and my stepmum always got the Mail and my dad also got the Farmers' Guardian and that was my favourite. I loved the classifieds in the back and used to pick out my dream horse, imagining I had all the money in the world.

What were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

We didn't watch a great deal of telly - we were always playing out. But I was a fan of the Broom Cupboard on children's BBC even though I can't remember the programmes they were introducing. There was Phillip Schofield with Gordon the Gopher, Andi Peters and Andy Crane.

What media do you turn to first thing in the morning?

Radio 1. It was quite tricky before because my former partner wasn't a fan so for an easy life I wouldn't have it on, but now I can. I love Chris (Moyles), but I love Comedy Dave even more.

Do you consult any media sources during the working day?

If there's something that tickles my fancy I'll get The Guardian for G2. If I've got time to read the papers I'll grab The Sun and the Mirror. I'm doing a lot of university gigs which means a lot of travelling at night, so it's brilliant as I get to listen to Zane Lowe and Annie Mac.

What's the best thing about your job?

Being able to communicate, and with the radio it's an honour to be playing good music and to chat. My audience has grown up with me: the ones who were clubbin' it when I was out clubbin' it have now got a kid or two and it's nice to be still reaching that audience.

And the worst?

That nothing's guaranteed. Perhaps it's because of the security of my background that I need to know that I can feed and clothe and look after my baby and me. Even though I've done really well and I've been sensible with my money there's still that instinct to make sure that we'll be all right.

What is the proudest achievement in your working life?

Over eight million listeners on breakfast.

And your most embarrassing moment?

At one of Radio 1's huge events there were 80,000 people. I ran on and said: "There's some beautiful people in Ipswich today!" We were actually in Bristol.

At home, what do you tune in to?

I've grown up with Corrie and I love The Simpsons. I'm in love with Jeremy Vine on Radio 2.

What is your Sunday paper and do you have a favourite magazine?

I'm spoilt because I go into Radio 1 on a Sunday so I look through all the trashy papers there and steal all the magazines from the broadsheets. I love Private Eye and I've always really liked Marie Claire but The Observer Food Monthly is my absolute favourite. I read Heat but obviously I say that's part of my job.

Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire

To move into acting. To my shame I drunkenly told Samantha Morton, who's twice been nominated for an Oscar, that I've got an A-level in theatre studies. I understand that I can't just suddenly go, "Hi, I'm Sara Cox off the telly, give us a job." I need to learn the trade and see if it's for me. If Mike Leigh's reading this then he can give me a bell.

If you didn't work in the media, what would you do?

Something to do with animals. But there's not really an easy way to make money and to be involved with animals.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

I grew up loving Dawn French's brand of comedy and I met her at Live 8. She didn't burst my bubble; she was really sweet and friendly. I admire Ian Hislop hugely and I think he's hilarious.

Sara Cox will appear in Vorderman's Big Brain Game on 13 April, 8pm, Sky One

The cv

1990: Leaves school with four A-Levels starts a career in modelling.

1994: Presents The Girlie Show on Channel 4.

1998: Fills the shoes of her friend Zoe Ball as a Big Breakfast presenter.

1999: Moves to Radio 1 presenting the Saturday lunch-time show with Emma B and launching Sunday Surgery with Dr Mark Hamilton.

2000: Wins a Sony Gold Radio Award for Sunday Surgery and begins presenting Radio 1's breakfast show.

2002: Hired as the face of entertainment show Born Sloppy for Channel 4; also presents Top of the Pops.

2004: Moves to drivetime and then her current weekend slot