AJ Odudu: People assume I'm 'thick' because of my northern accent

·2-min read
AJ Odudu reveals she's had to work much harder to be
AJ Odudu believes she's had to work much harder to be 'taken seriously'. (Getty Images)

AJ Odudu has revealed that some people think she is "thick" because of her northern accent.

The presenter, who grew up in Blackburn, claims she has had to work much harder to be "taken seriously" in TV.

The 34-year-old told the Sun on Sunday's Fabulous magazine: "Everyone just presumes that you’re thick and everything’s a joke – you’re desperately trying to be taken seriously.

“I remember telling someone I’ve got an English and politics degree and they were shocked: ‘Oh, you can read and write?’ People do judge a book by its cover – and the accent as well."

Odudu, who grew up in a working-class family to Nigerian parents, revealed how she would take 13-hour coach rides costing £2 to access media opportunities in the capital from the north of England.

She said: “Then there was figuring out how to stay in London to have work experience opportunities where you’re not getting paid.

"So before we even get to the accent, the colour of my skin, being female, it’s: ‘How do I get from A to B geographically?"

The former Strictly Come Dancing star – who recently presented the UK's results at the Eurovision Song Contest – began as a reporter at BBC Lancashire.

She then moved to London where she was told by a TV executive to soften her accent with elocution lessons, which she refused to do.

In 2013, Odudu got her big break on Big Brother’s Bit On The Side with Rylan Clark and Emma Willis, and will next front the revived The Big Breakfast.

She said that she never "doubted" herself and has "really grafted", meaning she now feels "like I deserve to be here".

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