PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 June 2015
Archant Norfolk 2015
She has swapped London life for a return to her adopted home of Norwich, and ITV Anglia news presenter Sascha Williams could not be happier.
As she grapples with the dust and chaos of demolishing an old wattle and daub wall, ITV news presenter Sascha Williams laughs at the double life she currently leads.
“Obviously by day, I am in my best dress with a face full of make-up, telling people the news, then I am straight in from work, washing off the make-up, pulling on my old jeans and jumper and dismantling walls and painting.”
After spending the past six years working in London for ITV’s national news, in January she returned to Norwich where she began her career, and is loving every minute of being back.
“I loved working in London, I was lucky enough to cover some huge stories, such as the Royal wedding and the Olympics and it was a complete privilege but I felt the time had come to address my work/life balance. My partner Brian and I were living in Essex and he was commuting one way – he owns Brian Coombes hairdressers in Norwich – and I was commuting the other way and it felt like we never did anything other than work or travel to work... in opposite directions.
“Luckily, Anglia were kind enough to welcome me back and Brian and I had a house we were planning to gradually do up here, so we went for it. Even though it meant living on a building site for a while, it is the best decision I could ever have made. I love it here.”
Sascha was born in Essex and long harboured ambitions of working in news.
“I was so nosy as a child and never stopped talking, I think it was inevitable. I spent some time in my gap year teaching in Africa and did consider it as a career, but I think my heart was always in news.
“I love my job,” she smiles. “As a reporter you have to be Jack of all trades and learn fast. You could be doing a story on the X Factor, followed by a piece on the single currency, then a major incident, like the floods.”
One of the things which has surprised Sascha most since her return to Norfolk is the response from viewers about what she wears on screen.
“I think a lot of people assume we have a wardrobe and make-up department, but we have to do it all ourselves. People are really interested in where I shop and what I wear, and I have to say that’s one thing I love about being back - the shopping.
“For work, Jarrold’s is great but I also love all the independent shops, especially Aluna J in the Royal Arcade. I just bought a great dress in there for work, so it’s a new favourite. You have to learn what suits you and what looks good on screen; certain patterns are a real no-no and I am quite tall, so I always look for something below the knee. It can be really hard, so if I find a suitable dress I am ridiculously happy if I can buy it in different colours. I try not to wear the same thing too close together as people soon point it out.”
However, this attention does have its down side and Sascha is very vocal about the scrutiny women face about their appearance.
“I am never going to be a size eight, I am a healthy size 12. I am fit – I have run three marathons - and this is my natural shape. Yet there is that constant pressure to be skinny and to look a certain way. People feel if you are on television they can say whatever they want about you on Twitter or on email – in particular about your weight. Thankfully I can take it on the chin and am older and a little bit wiser, but if you are a young girl in the industry it can be very damaging and I am not sure I would cope with it if I was just starting out. I have worked hard to get where I am and did very well at university. I am not stupid, yet the focus is on whether I need to lose some weight.”
Despite spending much of her spare time doing DIY, she says she is making the most of living in the city. “I feel I can breathe again. I love Norwich but I also love Cromer, I love the space and the skies and I love the fact it is as perfect in the winter as it is in the summer. There are few places you can say that about.”
Read on for Sascha’s Styling: