Queen of Heart: Pandora Christie
Queen of Heart: Pandora Christie
Heart FM presenter Pandora Christie on her childhood, her Fulham life, and two causes close to her heart: Fostering Network & Battersea Dogs & Cats Home…
Pandora Christie has always been open about her tough upbringing. Homeless from a young age, she also had the horror of seeing her mother pass away in front of her, and Pandora was in and out of care.
But her past has spurred her on to succeed, and she credits the support of her foster family for helping to turn her life around. “I use my past as my motivation,” she says. “I love my foster parents, who I am still in contact with now. I remember them saying to me all those years ago, ‘don’t let your past determine your future’ and from that day on I saw every dream as a possibility.”
She was determined to succeed in something she loved, and put in the hard work to become a radio presenter. “Everyone told me that if I wanted to get on air I would need to gain experience so I found a community radio station in Southall and I landed myself a daytime show. I then had a Sunday request show and worked my way up, landing the breakfast slot. This then gave me the opportunity to compile demos which you need to pitch to big commercial radio stations. While I was doing this I also shadowed other DJs, producers, radio managers and engineers. I thought it was really important to gain knowledge of how each department worked.”
“I first worked for Heart FM on the ground patrol team – that is what they used to call it back then. It would involve handing out flyers in shopping centres and we even went to schools and hosted events to get everyone to tune into Heart. My break came when Capital XTRA got in touch as they were looking for a new female presenter. I jumped at the chance! Then after presenting daytime shows on Capital FM and KISS FM, I am now back at my dream station.”
She also gets to interview people from all walks of life but recalls with a cringe her encounter with The Rock (aka Dwayne Johnson). “I have been a big fan ever since his WWF days and have followed his career. I was lucky enough to interview him for a press junket when he was promoting the film Jumanji. When I walked in I gave him a big hug and instantly turned to mush.” Pandora still sounds like she can’t believe what she has achieved. “I feel so lucky to have the best job in the world. I love connecting with listeners and being that person that instantly brightens up their day.”
Her story is truly inspiring and she hopes that it might help other young people who are struggling. “I would love them to know that no matter how bad today seems, there is nothing stopping you from creating a better tomorrow. As long as you have sheer determination and positive thinking you will have a brighter future.”
Having been homeless, the fact that she has now been able to buy her own flat is not something she takes for granted. She describes enthusiastically how she has bought an apartment in the same block in which she rented for a few years. “I love it so much. We have beautiful communal gardens that all the residents get to use. Everyone is really friendly and we all feel like family. My apartment is my little sanctuary.”
She loves the parks, restaurants and shops around too, including Polish deli Prima, Andrew Martin for furniture and Maje for clothes. She also pops for breakfast at Local Hero, with her dog Henry.
Henry is a rescue from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, and she is a big supporter of the charity. “I try and help out at events as much as I can and spread the word about their incredible work,” she says.
She is also an ambassador for Fostering Network. “Naturally it is a charity very close to my heart and I am going to be helping push through legislation for them. I always try and donate as much as I can and help with their fostering awards.”
And she hopes to be able to make life easier for those in the care system. She stresses that it is so important for foster kids to be heard. “So many decisions are made without their knowledge or agreement so my message to young people in the system would be to speak up. Talk to your social worker. Tell them how you feel. Don’t feel like you don’t have a voice.”
Pandora is clearly using hers – both to stand up for the causes she believes in and in her dream job – and it hit home just how much of an impact it can have in tough times. “As a radio presenter, we can bring happiness, company and escapism. During the pandemic, I have realised just how important the relationship is between me and the listener.”
She’s working at Christmas and then looking forward to some relaxation. “I feel honoured to be working throughout Christmas and helping spread the festive cheer to the nation. Then after work I am looking forward to going home and having a traditional Christmas dinner.”
Catch Pandora weekdays 10am – 1pm and follow Pandora on Instagram at: pandorapresenter
Photo: (c) Rachell Smith
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