Category Archives: Entertainment

THE RED CARPET ACADEMY

The Red Carpet Academy is the UK’s only TV Presenter and Public Speaking training led by mainstream and celebrity Experts! What makes us unique is that as a collective we’ve been in the TV game for almost 100 years combined and been seen by a collaborative audience of over 200 million viewers.

Combine the years of each of our TV and professional public speaking careers thus far + shows we’ve presented and been viewed in as many regions as the UK and Europe, USA, Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean and that should = an approximate total audience of well over 200 million viewers. To achieve all this certainly takes time. So yes, 100 years should just about do it. Although our “TV ages” would calculate a mere half of that!

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The TV industry is a tough game which takes grit, determination, creativity, and most importantly TALENT! If you’ve got genuine talent you’re halfway there, however we can help you towards getting the other half. How? Because for the first time, we are willing to share our secrets. Unlike many of our contemporaries, where else can you get tried and tested tips, tools and mentoring by a team of noted TV Presenters and Public Speakers who don’t claim to be “once this” and “once that” decades ago, but who continue to frequent many genres of television from kids telly, prime time entertainment, sport and even TV shopping. Not to mention public speaking assignments around the world.

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It may be likely some of you remember us presenting kids TV shows every afternoon on CBBC, CITV and The Disney Channel. Or as recurring regulars on ITV’s “This Morning” or the BBC’s flagship programme, “The One Show”. If you’re over 18 perhaps you night owls may have played some cheeky roulette games with you on Jackpot247 and Super Casino roulette (ITV, C5 and Freeview). Do you enjoy a little TV shopping? Ah, then you may have purchased some of our wares on BID TV, Price Drop TV or The Jewellery Channel. Or if celebs are more your thing you could’ve seen one of us strutting the red carpet interviewing the stars.

Our public speakers have won numerous international awards and have delivered impacting speeches worldwide alongside the likes of Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, members of parliament and more.

All the above is what makes us exclusive. We are a collective of professional TV Presenters and Public Speakers who have long standing experience in presentation skills. And our stories do not end there, but continue to grow. When we’re not on TV we’re on the radio, recording voiceovers, or doing corporate videos for major clients.

If you’ve got what it takes not only do we want to help you to “make it”, but we also hope to be working alongside you one day too!

Find out more of our TV Presenter courses and our all-inclusive program here!

 

Announcement: The Red Carpet Academy launch

Dear Friends,

Please excuse my tardiness in not posting any blogs in recent months, but I’ve been incredibly busy with a new venture. At the end of June this year, I launched The Red Carpet Academy. The UK’s first and only TV Presenter training led by current, mainstream and celebrity TV Presenters.

The Red carpet Academy logo leah charles-kingI’ve been holding on to this vision for the past 7 years and I feel that now is the perfect time to see it come into fruition.

You may be wondering “well after 7 years, why now?”. Well, to be honest with you, at the time of dreaming this dream I felt as though my career was in Intensive Care and thus limiting my right to advise others on how to create or sustain one for themselves. However, I’ve learned this is far from the truth. Whether it ended yesterday or in another 50 years, my many career achievements and the experience which comes with it speaks volumes and it’s definitely worth sharing with others, warts and all.

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Although I felt as if I’d faded into oblivion, despite only being out a work a mere few months, it was heartwarming to still get consistent requests from wannabe presenters asking my advice on how to get into the business.  I was struggling financially, faced with the reality that I potentially couldn’t pay my bills.  The last thing I wanted to do, was put on a brave face and encourage people to start a career in something I felt incredibly disillusioned with. My self-esteem was at a low point yet other’s view of me as a multi-faceted individual hadn’t wained. I hadn’t considered the value in still being respected by my peers and also by people who had taken a keen interest in me over the years. I felt my past achievements meant nowt when my life and career was in the hands of people in a cut-throat industry. Which is becoming more about celebrity without any reason to be celebrated.

leah charles-kingFast forward several years and as we can see I’m still here! This wasn’t the first and I doubt the last past dry spell of my career. It’s the “showbiz beast” I’ve simply become accustomed to over my 30 year career thus far. Most people in film, TV, music and the Arts all experience the same as I have at some point, whether they’re behind the scenes or at the forefront. One minute you’re “begging bread” to no avail, and the next you receive a phone call which can change your life for the better overnight. This is exactly what happened to me!

images-6An unexpected phone call, landed me on a flight to New York to conduct a series of interviews for a well known music channel. If you had asked me just 24 hours previously if I’d believe I’d be presenting again within 7 days, and doing it in America?! You would’ve heard my cackle whilst throwing you out the door. My life quickly turned around for the better. Suddenly, all of my hard work over the years no longer seemed a waste. In fact, I began to view it as a valuable life lesson.

LEAH CHARLES KING Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles BET

I’ve gone on to become a showbiz reporter on Hollywood red carpets to hosting more live TV and award shows, as well as covering behind the scenes moments at major events. Everyday, I continue to strive and never take my career in TV for granted, as I vowed to be grateful for each opportunity. Although I pride myself in being incredibly personable, I still consider what happened all those years ago to be extremely humbling.

Its unfortunate we live in a time of “reality TV” where Presenters are seen as irrelevant if not on some of the biggest TV shows in the country. My peers and I have compared stories with laughter, of times when we’ve witnessed the changes in people’s faces from excitement to learning they’re “in the presence of a TV Presenter”, to the sheer disappointment upon finding out they’ve never heard of or seen some of the shows we present. Despite if that show or TV network may be the biggest in another country to their own. Because some may never have heard of us, suddenly our years of achievements quickly become dismissed. But lest we forget, the UK is just a tiny island in a world full of millions. This means there are tons more TV presenting territories to capture worldwide, and this doesn’t even include the online and social media platforms.

leah charles-king citv

Many may say I’ve broken ground as the first black female CITV continuity presenter in it’s it 33 year history. I’ve gone on to have an amazing career of 15 years in television alone. But unfortunately the TV industry is fickle.  Therefore my new ambition is not solely based upon my own career aspirations but to empower others too. My aim is to give a new generation of budding TV Presenters and public speakers the tools of confidence, knowledge, technical and life skills, to continue to break down barriers and establish longevity within their careers.images-5

And that’s where The Red Carpet Academy is here to offer you a chance to shine in the spotlight. I’ve carefully considered the best team and resources I currently have on offer, to create a professional environment where you can learn from what I consider to be some of the best in the business. They are all extremely knowledgeable, heavily talented, and many-a-time not given enough kudos for their hard work and professional contributions to date.

The Red Carpet Academy Presenters

Some say “it’s not about what you know, but who you know”. And most of the time when I hear this phrase I’m inclined to agree. However in this instance I actually believe, “it’s not about who you know, but what you know“! In other words, if you have a dream of becoming a TV Presenter, a more confident public speaker or a greater sales person, I have a team of very switched on people with a ton of experience, who for the first time are willing to share their tips of the trade with you. Very few places provide an opportunity to learn up close and personal from professionals in the public eye . So I extend a personal invite to The Red Carpet Academy. Check out our website, have a little look around or consider one of our Taster Day training workshops.

My hope for The Red Carpet Academy to have even a small part of impacting your budding career to even greater success.

 

Onwards n’ upwards,

 

Leah x

http://www.theredcarpetacademy.com

 

 

 

Ant & Dec Saturday Night Takeaway On Tour!

With being an ITV presenter on Jackpot247, I was invited by the nice people at ITV to watch two of my fave Geordies, Ant and Dec with their Saturday Night Takeaway on Tour. I love the TV show but had no idea how it would transfer to a full live event at the o2 in London. I needn’t have wondered because as always, these two never fail to entertain.
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I decided to invite along fellow TV Presenter and The Red Carpet Academy compadre Cindy Humphrey, who like me absolutely loves these two cheeky chappies.

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After hanging out in the Lanson Champagne bar, we took our seats and eagerly anticipated the start of the show and it kicked off with a bang! It was a great surprise to see Peter Andre as the show announcer and he looked gorgeous as always.

 

Ant and Dec Saturday Night Takeaway

 

 

 

 

 

Ant and Dec provided all the elements we love from the TV show, including Little Ant and Dec, Win the Ads and The End of Show Show. Ashley Roberts from Dancing on Ice and The Pussycat Dolls, was also on hand to facilitate the ultimate challenge with Ants vs Dec.

Check out the vid below to see how excited we got during the challenge, with Cindy supporting Ant to win and with me going hoarse for Dec.

What I love about the lads is their ability to provide the best masterclass in TV presenting, comedy and interactivity with their audiences. Their audiences are as diverse in age as they are in demographic. Who doesn’t love Ant and Dec?! They even performed their classic 90’s hit, “Let’s get ready to rhumble!”

I think it’s safe to say that after a few glasses of bubbles, cheering at the top of my lungs, and belly-aching from laughter, a great night was had by all!

Are you interested in becoming a TV Presenter or hosting a live show? Check out my latest venture, The Red Carpet Academy. It’s the UK’s first and only TV Presenter training led by current, mainstream and celebrity TV Presenters. There are loads of tips and tricks of the trade via our blog, plus if you fancy a career in TV Presenting or to gain confidence and new skills, perhaps you’d like the sound of our One Day Bootcamp? Come and pay us a visit: www.TheRedCarpetAcademy.com

 

 

Throwback Thursday! Hanging out with Neyo

Its Throwback Thursday!

I’ve always had a lil soft spot for singer songwriter, Neyo ever since I was fortunate enough to watch him rehearsing exclusively behind the scenes for his performance for the 2007 BET Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

I think he always sounds great live and is a super nice guy. Watch this and tell me what you think? I’d love to read your comments below.

Enjoy!

Honeyz Big Reunion – The Truth

Wow.

The nostalgic reality show that is The Big Reunion on ITV2 kicked off with a bang two weeks ago and I have to admit that at first I was a bit cynical.
ITV2 Logo 2013I first heard the series had been commissioned early last year when Celena Cherry, lead singer of the Honeyz, told me that the producers of ITV2 had aporoached her for a new show in reuniting her 90’s girl band.

Naturally thrilled, I was so excited for “Cellie”, my first cousin and “Bestie”. I’ve known her all my life and knew firsthand what the Honeyz mean to her. I remember speaking with her in depth about it, and how we both voiced our concerns on how resurrecting the band may or may not affect her all these years on.
We both come from a very musical and talented family. Our parents, uncles and aunts are all very vibrant characters and when the whole family are together we can be a bit of a fun bunch to say the least! At one point growing up there were several teen bands in our family. You had the Honeyz, my own girl band Kleshay and two hot boys bands, Legato and Advance. Honeyz - Naima Belkhiati, Celena Cherry, Heavinli Abdi Honeyz – Naima Belkhiati, Celena Cherry, Heavinli Abdi
Kleshay Promo Pic, Alani Gibbon, Candy Cherry & Leah Charles-King Kleshay Promo Pic – Alani Gibbon, Candy Cherry & Leah Charles-King

What Celena didn’t mention in last night’s programme was that a hybrid of Honeyz and Kleshay actually started off way back in the 90’s as one whole band. But we had an entirely different name back then. I think it was something like “Girls with Harmony”, but I’ll have to ask Celena if she can remember!

‘Girls with Harmony’ were made up of Celena, her sister Candy, our other cousin Alani and myself. When we were kids I thought they were an obnoxious bunch but whenever we got together at our regular family gatherings we were always singing, dancing and making up plays to perform before the entire crowd. The other three girls went to stage school full time and although they were my cousins and we got along well, I always thought they were posh and stuck up. I only went to stage school part-time, and the running joke is that the girls viewed me a little like their “hillybilly cousin” who thought she was a “rude girl from the streets”. Cellie and I often have a little chuckle about this from time to time when we go down memory lane.
The "posh girls"  & the "rude girl" - Celena, Candy & Leah The “posh girls” Vs the “rude girl” – Celena, Candy & Leah

In the very early part of the 1990’s our original group got discovered by a family friend at our aunt’s party. We were singing in a corner entertaining ourselves as usual and I remember us making up four part harmonies to “Back to Life” by Soul to Soul. The family friend thought we were great and introduced us to a music producer who immediately put us into rehearsals every sunday. After a few months, Celena got a recording contract singing for Walt Disney and she left our band. The remaining three members Candy, Alani and myself formed “Kleshay“, We went on to get a record deal with Sony Music and enjoyed a couple of songs in the UK charts etc.

When the gig with Walt Disney ended Celena joined the Honeyz and the rest was history. They went on to sign a major record deal and to enjoy five top ten hit records in the UK charts.
Original line up: Heavenli, Celena, Naima Original line up: Heavenli, Celena, Naima

Despite the changes in line-up and the talk of bitchiness that Celena herself mentioned in last night’s show, the Honeyz did amazingly well, but just like my own band Kleshay, when the groups split up we all took it really badly in our own ways. As mentioned by both Celena and Adele from B*witched, being in a band for so long is like a marriage, and when it ends its one of the hardest things we have ever had to go through in our lives. It may sound OTT, but unless you’ve experienced it you may not understand. When you’re in a band, especially a band signed to a major label, your life is mapped out for you. You are caught up in a whirlwind machine which becomes you and you it. You believe your band is the greatest and will be around forever. Even through the sheer tiredness of your schedule and aggravation of living with your band mates 24 hours a day, the arguments, and the bitchiness, you cannot imagine yourself doing any thing else. Ever.

I understood what Celena went through because I went through the same thing myself, and know first hand how hard it was to get back up again after “my ten year marriage”. It was so difficult in the beginning to try and seek a purpose in a new career and start from scratch. We joined the entertainment business as young children and pretty much knew nothing else.

Whilst I’ve moved on and become successful within the media industry, Celena has gone on to do what I believe is the best and hardest job in the world, and that’s becoming a mother. She’s an awesome mum, but is still a frustrated performer who believes she hasn’t finished what she started all those years ago. Singing is what fullfils her and she openly spoke about it on The Big Reunion last night.

I spoke to Cellie just moments before the show aired, telling her I was thinking of watching Crimewatch at 9pm instead. Afterall i could always catch up on ITV2 +1. She wasn’t best pleased to hear this and I won’t tell you what she called me in the nicest way possible. She told me she was mega nervous about watching the show and was already on the white wine, so I poured a glass of bubbles and opted to watch my cousin’s beautiful face instead.

I must say I was very proud to see her reclaiming her place in the band. She was so honest when she spoke about her past experiences and I appreciated that she didn’t hold back with the viewers. I know from her personal feedback that speaking on camera about it after all these years was very cathartic and cleansing for her as she had been holding on to so many things all this time.

But now it’s time for me to be honest. And Cellie, if you read this I hope you don’t cuss me too hard but you know I keep it real! As I was watching the programme two things came to mind:

  1. Naima was a prudish, untalented witch.
  2. Could Heavenli come across any more insincere if she tried?

I remember back in the day Naima thought she was all that and a bag of side fries. To me she was the “exotic” yet totally untalented “French one” who couldn’t sing and brought nothing to the table. She was extremely snooty and thought she was God’s gift to the world. Literally. Her mic was always turned off and she was a diva to boot. Okay, so I may not have been the “Whitney Houston” in Kleshay but at least I could hold a note, buss a solid harmony and bring a rap or two for the occassion. I was also the friendly and personable spokesperson (surprise!!!,) and we wrote and co-produced many of our own songs from the age of 15. Naima brought nothing to the Honeyz but Drama. With a capital D. And if you want my opinion Celena was always extremely patient with her, considering she was the one carrying her ass for the ride! Even when asked to do the Big Reunion, Naima was the one who showed the most resistance which came across to me as if she expected the show not to go ahead just because she wasn’t reuniting with the Honeyz. Each to their own and her loss.
Honeyz Big Reunion ITV2 Honeyz Big Reunion ITV2
3rd line up: Heavenli, Celena & Mariama

Honeyz were and are a great band, and I think this new line up for the Big Reunion is a great one despite Heavenli and Mariama never working within the group at the same time. I must say that Mariama is as sweet as I think she came across in the episode and I loved the way she tried not to laugh too hard as she told the story of how Naima’s attempts to flirt with her man lead to a fall from grace, quite literally! I knew there was so much more she could have said, however just the thought of Naima getting a little karma was satisfactory for her.
To me though, I thought when watching it that Heavenli was very insincere when “apologising” to Celena. Did you see the daggers she was giving her in the footage of one of their videos?! That cracked me up! But I didn’t get the impression that Heavenli truly understood and was sorry for how she left Celena in the lurch back then. Neither did she even have the respect as her friend – moreover, band member – to pick up the phone and provide her with closure. Unfortunately the music industry breeds selfish, narcissistic characters. I learned this first hand from my own band. But thats a while other story.

I cringed at the way Heavenli patronisingly got up from her chair as Celena broke down crying during their reunion by saying in a silly, girlie voice “Crying’s not good! We shouldn’t cry!”. Well, it’s all Celena could do at that moment Heavenli! Don’t you get it?! Bless the ever so sweet Mariama though as she looked on with an uncomfortable smile.

As Celena poured her heart and eyes out, all Heavenli could offer was a limp hug and and a weak promise of “making it up to her”. Whatever.

I’ll be honest, from what I saw on tonight’s Big Reunion show, I’m unsure what will be next for the Honeyz. I’d love for them to get back together and record new music. More than any thing else, I’d love for my cousin Celena to have a second chance at what she loves doing so much. She’s a mega talented singer, song writer and performer and she’s not finished with it just yet.
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The good news is that the Big Reunion live show this month at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, sold out in 5 minutes so they are taking the Honeyz, Liberty X, Atomic Kitten, 5ive, 911 and B*witched on an arena tour around the UK. Ker-ching!! ITV2 must be well pleased.

On the phone earlier I asked my dear cousin for an exclusive for this blog. All I can say is that that Broad is keeping me hanging!! All she said is to “keep watching, because the show is about to get more intense and juicier. There’s a big surprise in store!”.
Oh no. Please don’t bring back Naima!
Celena, I don’t know what this “juice” is but I’ll be watching… I’m hooked! And it seems that 1.1 million viewers are too.

Congratulations, my darling and well done! No matter what, you’re always a star in our family and you’re still yet to shine at your brightest. The best is just to come.

With their debut album hitting the top 100 in the iTunes chart, the Honeyz are now buzzing with sheer excitement. But what did YOU think of last night’s Big Reunion? Who was your favourite Honey and which tune was the best? And do you think Heavenli’s apology to Celena was from the heart or straight up fakery? Post your comments below.
Before I sign off I thought I’d share some photos of me and Cellie over the years. I hope she doesn’t kill me because of it, although I’ve already received a stern text! ENJOY!!!

Leah xxxx

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