Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 612

10 11 AUGUST 202 2 NEWS&VI EWS Vick Hope can’t remember a time when she wasn’t busy. “At school, I used to get involved in every extra-curricular activity going,” she recalls. “The dance shows, the drama performances, cookery club, music, all the sports… I just love learning new things, going to new places, meeting new people. I guess that’s being busy, isn’t it?” It’s a pace of life that’s gathered speed as she’s got older. In the past two years alone – a period in which, in theory, the world ground to a halt – the DJ and presenter has hosted or guested onmore than 30 TV shows, on top of her ‘day job’ broadcasting on BBCRadio 1 for two-and-a-half hours, four afternoons a week. She’s also published her second children’s novel (co-written with her old Capital Radio pal Roman Kemp), been a judge on theWomen’s Literary Prize – for which she had to read a longlist of 74 books – and kept up a slate of charity commitments, including volunteering at a refugee project near her home in Dalston, East London. “Everything I do, I enjoy, and I believe in,” she says, when Weekend catches up with her in a raremoment of downtime. “Although I have been feeling quite tired recently, and I’ve started to realise the importance of rest and balance and boundaries. It’s something I’m trying to get better at.” Sunday lie-ins haven’t been an option lately, though, as she’s spent the summer hosting Vick Hope’s Breakfast Show on ITV. “It’s a happy, positive space,” says Vick of the programme’s feelgoodmix of inspirational stories and ideas, taking in everything from cocktail recipes to summer read recommendations. The idea is that, when you wake up on a Sunday, you can start the day feeling good, and try to eke that bit more out of the weekend.” It’s a show that’s verymuch built around the 32-year-old’s personality, from the set (“it’s all little bits of me”) to a regular slot called GiveMe Hope, in which celebrity guests o er up something that has made them feel more positive this week. She didn’t just get the gig on the strength of her name, of course. But it is a perfect fit for the show, suggests Weekend. “Yeah,” says Vick. “Althoughmy full name is Victoria NwayawuNwosu-Hope, because I’mhalf-Nigerian, andmy mumand dad wanted to keep a piece of my Nigerian heritage inmy name. And, I’mnot gonna lie, it was a shame to drop Nwosu, when I first startedmy career. It was advice I was given, and had it been a few years later, I don’t think I would have dropped it. The reasoning was that people would find it di cult to pronounce, or spell. But actually, what I should have said is: ‘Well that’s not good enough – a name from another country shouldn’t really be a problem.’” Vick’s drive and determination is clearly something she’s inherited fromher mother, Ady. “I’m constantly in awe of her journey,” she says. “She grewup inNigeria during the civil war [of 1967-70] and came to England just afterwards. She started a life here, inNewcastle, with not a word of English – she and her four siblings, in this little one-bed flat on their own. So yeah, I guess this idea of making something of yourself does come from that.” Ady – whomarried Nigel, an English software engineer – was also, in her own words, “fierce about education”. Luckily, so was her daughter. “I loved school,” says Vick, who has three brothers. “I was a really precocious kid and I loved learning, I wanted to do everything. It sounds so geeky and nerdy, but I’mproud of that. There was a time when I wouldn’t have told you that, because I didn’t think it was what a ‘youth broadcaster’ should say. But now… if there are any kids who think being really academic isn’t cool, then I just want to tell you that it’s totally cool. It’s great to feed your mind.” At 18, she applied to readmodern languages at Cambridge. “I think themain reason I chose Cambridge is that people Queen Vick The Cambridge graduate Vick Hope is equally at home judging literary prizes and working with refugees as she is on BBC Radio 1 and Strictly. Paul Kirkley meets her