Category Archives: How Women Change The World

“WONDER WOMEN” – An evening of extraordinary talent for IWM

In the month of March​ ​TV and Radio Broadcaster,  Leah Charles-King hosted a successful Wonder Women inspirational evening at the swanky Primo Bar in Westminster Park Plaza hotel in honour of International Women’s Month.

The ​evening ​secured a ​fantastic line up of inspiring women who ​happily rallied around Leah in ​support​ of​ the even, starting with Claudine Reid MBE. Claudine was voted as one of Britain’s Top 100 Most Entrepreneurial Women by Real Business Magazine. Her track record is truly inspiring as a C.E.O, Coach, Mentor, Trainer, Radio & TV Presenter, Author & Social Entrepreneur, Wife & Mother, Claudine somehow managed to make time to speak at the event. Giving a motivating and inspirational speech about women in business.

Claudine was able to grab everyone’s attention with her words of wisdom, leaving the audience fired-up​ to ​take their careers to a whole new level.

Nairobi Thompson followed with a stunningly beautiful and ​powerful ​spoken word​ ​which​ kept the room ​hanging on her every word. Nairobi is a performance artist with a distinctive style and tone​ and ​writes and shares poetry that inspires, challenges and empathises​ with women and men alike.

After 2 inspirational speakers, it was time to get some speed networking underway. Jackie Groundsell, successful business woman, had the audience on their feet for 30 second networking session. ​A​ll participants had half a minute to ​deliver their pitch ​and make strong connections. This was networking like no other, and it was a ​great ​success.


To close what was already a successful evening, comedienne Melanie Gayle  showed the audience her uncanny impersonation of Missy Elliot and Jennifer Hudson. Melanie, a Beffta winner for best comedian in 2015, had the crowd in hysterics with her brilliant anecdotes and hilarious singing voice. There was no better way to end the perfect evening than with a room full of laughter.

​”Wonder Women – an evening of extraordinary talent” – which was sponsored by The Red Carpet Academy ​- definitely lived up to its name​. I​t was truly an evening of women inspiring other women​!​ ​Ending ​with ​some aspirational​​ words​, ​its founder Leah Charles-King, ​said ​’We need to empower each other more and help each other break that glass ceiling’. These words ​strongly ​struck ​a​ chord with the audience and it was safe to say that every ​woman present​ left ​with ​​a new sense of zeal whilst booming with ​a refreshed ​confidence and armed with a number of new ​business​ contacts and firm friends.

I’ve been nominated for an award!


We’ve been so busy at The Red Carpet Academy HQ that we totally forgot to publicly jump on our tables and sofas in celebration of our founder, Leah Charles-King being nominated for yet another award!

This Saturday 26th March is the annual “Divas of Colour” Awards, and Leah is nominated for “Best TV and Radio Presenter”.


Leah says…

“It’s always exciting yet very humbling to be recognised for any achievement in my chosen industry. I’m honoured to have been nominated for an award at such a fantastic event. The competition is stiff and to be honest everyone deserves the accolade for all the hard work they put in. Thanks to Divas of Colour for their support and I’m looking forward to donning my glad-rags and attending the event this Saturday!”

Leah Charles-King
Leah Charles-King

The Red Carpet Academy will be exhibiting at the Divas of Colour trade show during 12-5pm and then Leah will be attending the awards ceremony in the evening. We hope she wins!!


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After bringing a new face to Cuban media and journalism Yoani Sánchez has been awarded several journalism awards over the years, some of which have caused controversy within Cuban media, to now surpassing that with her greatest achievement to date, the launch of a new Cuban news outlet 14YMedio.

Born September 4th 1975 (aged 39) in Havana Cuba, Yoani was subjected to hardship from an early age. She attended primary school during a time that the Soviet Union was providing considerable aid to Cuba, however due to the collapse within the Soviet Union years later education experienced a detrimental hit to its finances, which left Yoani in a period of despair.

After her time in university Yoani acquired disgust for high culture and Philology (her chosen field of study), which subsequently led to her leaving Cuba for Switzerland where she acquired an interest in computer science. Upon Yoani’s return to Cuba with her newly acquired capabilities in computer technology, she went on to develop a web Blog called Generación Y in 2008.

Generación Y was a blog aimed to help her deal with the frustrations she felt with the situations occurring within Cuba. The Blog became a huge hit, which is one of the main reasons of her success to date; however the success came at a cost. Generación Y was available in 17 languages and was highly popular with some of the world’s most influential people. Obama in 2009 wrote that “her blog provides an unique insight to the reality in which is daily life in Cuba, and found it empowering to fellow Cuban’s to express themselves freely through the use of technology”. However, the blog was targeted by Cuban state security due to her ability to freely express Cuban situations which journalists were forbidden from. This eventually led to here blog being blocked by the Cuban government, which only lead to the ever-increasing popularity of her page.

In 2009 the page became available again and she continued to proceed with her posts. From her consistent hard work, determination and honesty, her blog has won her prestigious awards such as the Ortega and Gasset Journalism Award in Spain however; she was forbidden to travel to the ceremony, only under speculation that it was by the Cuban government. This didn’t stop her from continuing her work.

Later in her career Yoani and her husband were arrested in 2012 in an alleged attempt to prevent her to write about a controversial trial about a politician Angle Carromero, who was believed to of crashed a rental car killing a Cuban political activist.

After the release of her arrest despite all hardship Yoani again proceeded with her work, which brought the first independent digital media outlet in Cuba, 14YMedio. This, like all previous work by Yoani was subject to controversy from the start. 14YMedio focused on a variety of topics such as politics, culture and society, however within three hours after 14Ymedio published its first edition on the Internet, it was hacked. Internet technicians later on tested to reveal it was the Cuban Government that in fact hacked the page in an attempt to rid Yoani from the media light. The action from the Cuban Government provoked reactions from the international arena, which subsequently led to the re-opening of 14YMedio and has continued worldwide growth.

Yoani’s determination enhanced the power she had in the eye of Cuban civilisation, and clearly expressed the fear the Cuban government had for her and her ability to freely express. Yoani shows that no matter how big or how small, freedom to express  yourself is something everyone should have.  Yoani’s activism is to express the hardship that is circulating throughout Cuba. She is a strong, influential woman that emphasises empowerment and freedom. This is why I believe Yoani Sánchez should be included in my “How Women Change the World” series. 

How Women Changed the World: CILLA BLACK

One of the most successful loved and multi-talented women in showbiz, Cilla Black was a pioneer for women in media. From her early teens she always had a drive to make something of herself and she sure made it clear that she was determined not to be a girl best suited for office work, and how right she was.

Her career began when she was working part-time as a cloakroom attendant Cavern Club in Liverpool. The same club The Beatles would play at. After making her debut at the now famous Cavern Club, Cilla went on to release 15 studio albums, 37 singles and became the best-selling UK female artist of the 1960’s. On top of hosting some of the most well-known British television shows which included “Surprise Surprise”  and “Blind Date”, I think it’s safe to say she is an icon of our times, and although these words get thrown around far to often she really is a national treasure.

When I first started as a TV presenter 15 years ago Cilla was my first inspiration. I used to say tongue in cheek that I wanted to be “the black Cilla black”. She was a natural entertainer, who charmed the nation week after week on her TV shows. Cilla was no ordinary woman, she worked exceptionally hard over a 60 year career and also had a genuine passion about performing, which is what made her so special.

Born Priscilla White, Ms Black was also known for her famous catch phrases. A majority of them coming from her hugely successful show Blind Date, reaching audiences of over 18.2 million viewers on weekly on ITV in the 80s. “Lorra lorra laughs” and “What’
s your name and where d’ya come from?” are two of her most famous catch phrases which kept the audience glued to their sofas for 18 years.

Over the decades Cilla presented and acted in countless television programs such as The Moment of Truth, Benidorm and performed at the The Royal Variety in 2001, which arguably is one of the most memorable Royal Variety performances ever. She also got offered to appear on X-Factor as judge in 2006 by Simon Cowell, however Cilla declined as she said she would find it too hard to put down the less talented contestants. On top of X-Factor, Strictly Come Dancing were grasping to get their hands on her too as a contestant. However she declined by saying no ‘oldie’ had won Strictly and she didn’t want to participate by entering  something she didn’t win.

Although wanted by Simon Cowell and loved by a majority of the world, there was an exception to some including artist Gillian Wearing. Gillian designed on G2’s cover paper a picture that read ‘F**CK CILLA BLACK.’ The feature’s purpose was to instigate a boycott on Cilla’s brand of ‘nice television’ to a abrupt end. However although having an effect on her family, Cilla wasn’t bothered by the article and had a pretty cool-headed reaction by responding that she “wanted to buy a copy and hang it on her wall.” All in all Cilla was an outstanding woman. Appearing in an interview on ‘Loose Women’ she said she’d rather see young, attractive people when she switched on her TV rather than herself. She received a special award at the Arqiva British Academy Television Awards 2014 for marking her 50 years in showbiz which she truly deserved. Although she has sadly passed away at the age of just 72, throughout her life she has made a remarkable impact. Women of all ages can regard her legacy as an inspirational and formidable woman who has had such a huge impingement on the world of showbiz.

This is why I believe Cilla Black OBE should definitely have a place in my “How Women Changed the World” Hall of Fame.


Mia Farrow

It is such a shame that for so much of her life Mia Farrow gained publicity for negative aspects of her personal life when her accomplishments spans across five decades and she is continuously involved in campaigns to improve the lives of impoverished people.

Mia Farrow Tours Eastern Chad As Violence Continues

Born Maria De Lourdes Villies Farrow in Los Angeles in 1945, she later became known professionally as Mia Farrow. She is a world-renowned multi-award winning actress and a humanitarian activist. After a short-lived marriage to Frank Sinatra and a long term relationship with director Woody Allen, she is a mother of 14 children, 11 of whom she adopted. They range in age from 20 to 44, 2 of whom unfortunately pass away. She first gained recognition for an off-Broadway production of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, then gained status by starring as Alison MacKenzie in the popular soap opera Peyton Place. Since then she has starred in more than 40 high-profile films, including Rosemary’s Baby, for which she was nominated for a BAFTA and won a Golden Globe. With an acting career that has spanned across many generations; from 1964 until most recently in 2014, where she appeared on Broadway, Mia Farrow is very successful and respected in her field.

Mia Farrow In 'Miami Rhapsody'

There was a shift in focus from her acting career to activism, and in september 2000 was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador where she used the platform to promote rights for children in countries where it was not deemed a priority. She raised money for women and children whose lives had been impacted by violence in countries like Nigeria, Chad, Angola and Haiti to name a few. In 2007, she co-founded the ‘Olympic Dream for Darfur’ campaign which highlighted China’s support of the Sudan government, particularly with reference to the mass killings, with the end goal of forcing them to change their policy in the build-up to the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing. During the Olympics, she streamed a video from a refugee camp in Sudan to visualise the involvement of China. Since then, she has been involved in more than 20 activist campaigns, including testifying in the trial of Liberian President Charles Taylor in 2010. Farrow has received numerous awards for her work, including The Presidential Medal of Honour. Her hands-on and relentless approach to activism has led her to success and change in areas which need it.

Mia Farrow Visits Sudan

Mia Farrow has a long-standing career, both as an actress and activist. Her selfless dedication to the causes in which she supports makes her a huge inspiration to the capital-driven society in which we live in. Her relentless dedication to fight for communities in need is why I believe Ms Farrow should be included in my “How Women Change the World” series.

US actress and UNICEF ambassador Mia Far



Malala Yousafzai is an activist for female education from Swat in Pakistan. At only 16 years old, she is one of the most inspiring young role models in modern society. She first caught our attention with a reflective diary about her experience of the Taliban enforcing a ban on female education.

Born and raised in Swat, Pakistan, where she lived with her parents and younger brothers. Malala, meaning ‘grief stricken’ was derived from Malalai of Maiwand, a poet from Afghanistan.


Growing up, Malala was always different from her peers. She had a keen interest in politics, which was unique for someone so young and she would stay up late talking about current affairs with her father after putting her younger brothers to bed. She had a dream of becoming a doctor, but her father thought she should be a politician.


Her path in activism began in September 2008, where she spoke about at the local press club against the Taliban taking away female rights to education. At the time, the BBC Urdu website were looking for interesting ways of covering the rule of the Taliban in Swat. They came up with the idea of getting a young schoolgirl to write anonymously, but it was too high a risk and understandably no one was up for the challenge. Malala’s father suggested her for the role and she was only 11 years old at the time. The Taliban militants were taking over and banned music, TV and girls education.


Under the pseudonym Gul Makai, Malala began to write emotional accounts of the horrors that occurred in Swat which took readers on a journey from the first battles in Swat to the absence of many girls from local schools which eventually shut down. This sparked her career as a female activist, as she began to do public appearances and interviews, finally revealing her identity in 2009. This gave Malala international popularity. Retired bishop and social activist, Desmond Tutu nominated her for the International Children’s Peace Award and she was the first to win Pakistan’s National Youth Peace prize. She made it clear that she did not belong to any particular political party but had plans to start her own that promoted education for women.


Malala has overcome many challenges and comes back fighting each time. As her international popularity increased so did the threat to her safety. She received numerous death threats both online and at her home, until eventually a member of the Taliban shot her on her way home from school, which put her in a coma. This sparked an international outpouring of support and anger towards the Taliban, and 2 million people signed the right to education campaign’s petition, which forced the Pakistani government to pass the Right to Education Bill.


Malala continues to promote education, particularly for young girls. She has been invited to speak at events worldwide. On her 16th birthday, she spoke at the UN to advocate for young people to have access to education globally. The UN renamed the event “Malala Day”. On 10 October 2014, she became the youngest Nobel Prize winner.


At 17 years old, Malala has written a memoir, spoken worldwide advocating for rights for education and received over 30 awards from different countries. She is an inspiration for women of all ages. If everyone had Malala’s courage, the world would be a very different place.


This is why I believe Malala Yousafzai must surely be honoured in my “How Women Changed The World” series.


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WONDER WOMEN: An evening of extraordinary talent

“Wonder Women”: an evening of extraordinary talent.

Multi-award winning TV Broadcaster and Producer, Leah Charles-King alongside 01-Zero One, invite you to
“Wonder Women”. An evening of inspirational insight into the world of business, media, fashion and entrepreneurialism delivered by women specifically within the BAME community. You are invited to share the trials and triumphs of a panel of four remarkable women who are successfully working within their fields to break through the “glass ceiling” most women face; and how by using their expertise they actively help others in reaching their goals.

Wonder Women flyer

imgres-3Leah Charles-King will kick off proceedings with a presentation on her first-hand experience in a competitive TV/Media industry. Leading with how she made her way into the business and her own personal story, Leah will share her inspirations and the drive which embarked her journey. Leah is now the founder and MD of The Red Carpet Academy. The UK’s only TV Presenter and Public Speaking training led by mainstream and celebrity TV Presenters and Experts!

imgres-2Julianne Ponan is a business entrepreneur who has a degree in Business Management and Finance. She is the owner and CEO of Creative Nature a superfood brand. Julianne speaks at Events, appearing as a Main Keynote Speaker alongside entrepreneurs such as Dragon’s Den, James Caan. Her numerous accolades include being the youngest winner in The National Artemis Every Woman award. Her aim is to inspire women to have the drive and determination to develop their businesses to the next level.

imgres-1Denise Brown is a UK Fashion Stylist, Consultant and Tutor. In other words, she makes, creates and styles. In 2007 Denise launched her own fashion label ‘Don’t Judge Me’- a collection inspired by her struggles, accomplishments and life lessons. The collection won the hearts of many celebrities including Mariah Carey and Tulisa from N Dubz. Her international clientele include MTV, Polaroid, Nickelodeon and GMTV. And she has also styled some of the biggest names in entertainment such as Ed Sheeran, Kanye West, Rihanna and Tinie Tempah.

imgresSherry-Ann Dixon is well-known and highly respected in the ethnic community in Britain and has a large following for her health, beauty, lifestyle and relationship articles. Sherry-Ann is a journalist, PR guru, lecturer, public speaker and also the editor of Pride magazine where she has worked for over 10 years! She’s been featured on numerous TV networks as well as hosting her own radio show. Sherry-Ann has appeared on LK Today, London Tonight, BBC radio worldwide and BBC News to name a few. Ms Dixon is a veteran flying the flag for BAME women across the UK.

Each woman will showcase their expertise and share the challenges they’ve faced along the way. There will also be a chance for you to participate in a Q & A session, followed by networking alongside like-minded professionals with complimentary refreshments.

“Wonder Women”: an evening of extraordinary talent – is a FREE ticket event being held on Friday 30th January from 17:30-21:30 at 01-Zero One Studios, Hopkins Street, W1F 0HS. Get your Free ticket by clicking the Eventbrite button below:


The Kim K Effect

I’m so over it!! For the second time in less than a week I have seen images of women in the public eye ‘whoring’ themselves for fame, attention and money. Such images have made me groan with distain. So much so, I even fell out with a dear (male) friend over it! My question is, whatever happened to class?

Is this the message we should give our future generations? That it’s “cool”, even “the norm” to be scantily clad or even ‘butt’ (pardon the pun) naked on the cover of magazines?

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian, created controversy this week upon the release of an image for the front cover of New York fashion mag, Paper. The photo shoot, taken by noted photographer Jean-Paul Goude, included several shots of Kim K posing with her exposed derrière with the headline “Break The Internet”. And break it she did. Well almost. Just put it this way, everyone’s still talking about it!


Kim Kardashian on the cover of Paper magazine
Kim Kardashian on the cover of Paper magazine

Being as high profile as Kim Kardashian comes with a price. Fame to such extent means whether you accept it or not you’re a role model or at the very least an inspiration to for women or young girls. Part of this role should be behaving in such a way of which exudes integrity and class.

kkcover1(rgb)watermarkThe word “celebrity” used to mean being “celebrated” for your talents or achievements. And don’t you dare say that Kim K (wife of hip hop artist, Kanye West) has talent by balancing a glass on her bottom! How far will these self-named celebrities go for attention grabbing headlines? And is it worth #breakingtheinternet if reality is that you’re creating a series of what could be catastrophic events long continuing long after Kim  has cashed her check and spent her dough in a matter of months.

More disturbingly however is that Mrs Kardashian-West believes her self-exploitation is something to be proud of. The old adage ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ is being abused. Upon Paper magazine’s release, Kim quickly took to her own Twitter account to jokily post the following:


She was later quoted in the press saying:

“As a role model I’m not saying anyone else should do that, but for me it was an art project and it taught me to do what you want to do.”

The worldwide web cannot be underestimated. Within hours memes and parodies soon followed. Twitter user @KelKulus was one of the first to jump onto Photoshop when he saw the Paper magazine image, tweeting his own version with the caption: ‘Kim Kardashian looks so much like a centaur in Paper Magazine I figured I’d take it one step further.’


Is Kim’s latest publicity stunt a message we wish to send out to our young women? That “balancing a champagne glass on your ass” can land you a magazine cover?! That the use of over sexualised images are worth fame, and that working harder on your body rather than your nurturing your mind or talent is much more note worthy.

What damage does this do to women and young girls in the long run and what effect can messages like these have on youth culture? I have to question why some women in the public eye resort to pulling these stunts as a way to be acknowledged. With this said I feel the media and press have a lot to do in the way women are viewed by offering subliminal messages through articles and images. We should all be aware by now that these can do far more damage than good.

Whilst many of us can see the ridiculousness and unrealistic body form within these photographs, the young and vulnerable cannot. Will ‘celebrity culture’ be taken so far that we’ll soon be branded on our body parts rather than our actual achievements? The Metro newspaper seem to think Kardashian’s latest stunt is acceptable. On their website today Sarah Musgrove writes,

Dare I say it; she can even do this slick, greased-up, naked magazine cover and be a feminist.  Because – as I feel we need to reiterate over and again – feminism is about having equality of choice.’ 

Is this Sarah Musgrove serious?! As far as I’m concerned Ms Musgrove is taking the word “feminism” and turning it on its head. This is exactly what I mean by the media having such great influence over public society that we’re all becoming a nation nodding dogs!

Here is a definition of feminism:

Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women. (Wiki)


Firstly, what has Kim Kardashian got to do with feminism or help in defining, establishing or defending equal rights for women? Sarah Musgrove’s statement is so random. Women have been exploited sexually and physically since the age of time and were once shooed in a corner to be seen and not heard, unless groaning in the bedroom or clanging pots and pans in the kitchen. Some women burned their bras in protest to gain social equality, for goodness sake! And yet the likes of Ms Musgrove is twisting this notion, as if feminism means women should now do whatever they wish simply to prove a point to society that we can now do whatever we like and that it’s ok. Even if it’s distasteful.

London riots 2011

Sadly this country has suffered riots, protests and even senseless murders which have stemmed from young people having zero direction and extreme low self-esteem. When questioned “why?” many have answered they haven’t had anyone to look up to or role models in their lives to tell them right from wrong. That state they look up to celebrities or those in the public eye who inspire them in the “get rich quick” culture at whatever cost. Affected young people often go about seeking (albeit) negative attention amongst their own peers as a way of gaining respect. This can often lead to devastating consequences which have effected countless across the UK alone.  To remedy this epidemic many are working earnestly in changing this mindset. People in the public domain such as Sarah Musgrove just do more damage to the greater good.

The Metro appear to celebrate the idea of being photographed naked as female empowerment. These selfish attitudes create a damaging effect which can ricochet long after many are saying “Kim, who?”. Kim may appear in control of the situation, but she is not in control of who the images reach. While some joke and others rage there are many fans that condone these photos and give them praise.

‘Im laughing at peoples reactions to @kimKardashian’s picture, if I’m that hot after a baby I’d totally do the same!’ a Twitter user replied.

Kim Kardashian is a smart business women, her ‘momager’ Kris Jenner is even shrewder. After all at least 20% of this photo-shoot said to be in access of $40M is hers. So why resort to this type of attention grabbing tactic? Oh yes! I forgot. Money! Well if that’s the case, Kimmy may as well go to her local strip joint and have men throw money at her whilst she shakes what her momma gave her.

Kim Kardashian with "mom-ager", Kris Jenner
Kim Kardashian with “mom-ager”, Kris Jenner

Kanye West’s new wife has succeeded greatly in making everyone talk about her. The Guardian laughed, Hollywood gossip columnist Perez Hilton debated, Vanity Fair seem indifferent, and the Metro supported. If the media appear so perplexed then what hope does that leave for the rest of us? How are we supposed to respond to these images?

These mindless campaigns by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian affect the blood, sweat and tears social enterprises, charities and individuals such as myself have been doing for years. Which is working tirelessly and passionately in mentoring and being a voice for invisible women across the world. We take one step forward and then knocked back five more by situations such as this.  I still believe there is hope for women of the future. We just have a lot of work to do. Let’s keep up the good fight.



Leah Charles Leather 2 Welcome to my new look website!

Take a look around… I have a brand new showreel and great new pics to show off.

Every Wednesday I’ll be highlighting a plethora of women from across the globe who have had or are having a major impact on society, with my “How Women change the World” blog series.

Come back often for news and updates, plus rare and exclusive videos  – with some famous faces you may recognise – from my early TV presenting days to present times. Share your comments and feel free to say hello!


Love n’ Light,
Leah x