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Anita Rani

Anita RaniAnita Rani, born on October 25th, 1977 in Bradford, West Yorkshire is an English radio and television presenter, journalist and broadcaster.

Her mother is of Sikh origin, and her father is of Hindu descent. Whatever the mix of ethnic heritages were, they worked extremely well together and made Rani the very beautiful and talented woman she has become.

At an early age she developed an interest in journalism and hosted her first show at the age of only 14 on Sunrise Radio in Bradford. Rani was educated at Bradford Girls Grammar School, an independent school in the town of Bradford and later entered the University of Leeds, where she studied Broadcasting.

After leaving university, Rani worked as a researcher for the British Broadcast Corporation (BBC) and other organisations. In the year 2002, Rani presented The Edit, a live news and entertainment program on Channel Five in the UK.

With her passion for music and argument, Anita was a natural on air talent, and was made the face of Street Beat for UK Play. She has also presented a number of pop shows on Five including Spring Break Live, Party in the Park and Pop City Live, as well as being a freelance journalist for Five News.

In Spring 2003 she hosted The State We're In, a satirical current affairs program on BBC 3.

Anita RaniShe also presented the first Poetry Slam on that same channel and was nominated as Best On Screen Personality at the Royal Television Society Midlands awards in 2005. Rani joined the BBC Asian Network radio station in March 2005 where she became presenter of the weekend Hot Breakfast show.

From April 2006 to March 2007 she presented the weekday morning talk program Anita Rani on the BBC Asian Network. Since the 20th of May 2006, Rani has been a co-presenter of Desi DNA, an arts program on BBC 2.

She was also part of the launch team that presented Destination Three, a late night entertainment zone on BBC 3. In 2005 she was also a regular reporter on The Cricket Show on Channel 4.

In May 2006 she joined Sky Sports where she became co-presenter with Simon Thomas on the Cricket AM Show every Saturday morning. Rani presented My Generation Next, shown on BBC News 24 between the 2nd of December and the 9th of December 2006.

She covered for Anita Anand on the late evening weekday show on BBC Radio Five Live in March and September 2007 and has presented World Have Your Say on the BBC World Service and Weekend Breakfast on Five Live.

She has also covered on various shows for BBC 6 Music. In August 2008, she was the co-presenter of Rogue Restaurants on BBC 1 where she unearthed filthy conditions in local eateries, and Make Me White, a fascinating documentary which saw her investigating skin lightening within the Asian community.

Anita RaniThe market for skin lightening cosmetics is reported to be worth millions and Rani went on a journey to discover the facts behind this controversial phenomena.

She started in her own family acknowledging her own mother’s preference for lighter skin and went on to explore the pressures within the Asian community that have lead to a growing number of individuals choosing to lighten their skin.

Special skin lightening cosmetics are available both legally and illegally worldwide with many of these illegal creams containing banned chemicals which pose health risks and possible irreversible skin damage.

Anita went undercover to see how easily available they are and took a hard look at the cosmetic distributors and lifestyle magazines that promote and advertise skin lightening products.

She joined the team of roving reporters on The One Showreporting on heartless online dating scams, uncovering landlords who were cramming desperate tenants into cramped and dangerous properties, helped rally a mass street clean up project as well as reporting live from Liverpool where giant marionettes were roaming the city as part of the city Titanic centenary events.

As the current affairs correspondent for the show Anita tackled the latest issues affecting the nation - whether that is the life of victims of forced marriages or investigating the difficulties facing the over elderly people in the workplace. From the 2nd of March 2009 she appeared on the BBC 1 Watchdog as a new co-presenter, replacing Julia Bradbury.

Anita RaniIn 2011, Anita presented Four Rooms, a program where unique items are brought in to specialist dealers to see who offer the highest price for these items. The year 2011 also saw Anita land the much sought after role of presenting the Royal Wedding coverage for BBC 1.

She was given the prime spot outside the Goring Hotel where Kate along with the rest of Middleton family were staying and from where she left to go to Westminster Abbey.

Rani co-presented with Justin Rowlatt the two part documentary travelogue India on Four Wheels, a road trip around India sampling the changes and problems the increased auto usage has brought to the country in the last two decades.

She collaborated with Rowlatt on a follow up two-part documentary entitled China on Four Wheels, which aired on the 9th of September 2012 and on the 16th of September 2012.

In How Safe are Britain's Roads she and Justin Rowlatt explored how safe the roads and cars of Britain are and what can be done to cut casualties. They discovered that most accidents are caused by human error and what kinds of errors are the biggest killers on the roads.

They consider the dangers of mobile phones and how they compare to alcohol consumption or lack of sleep when driving. And whether some people are more prone to accidents than others.

Research suggests men and women crash in different ways, likewise the young and the old. Justin and Anita got the scientists out of the lab to carry out tests on the Great British public. They used what they found to examine current proposals: should there be re-testing of the elderly or a ban on the young from driving with friends?

Anita RaniThe program explored what's behind the statistics through access to unique video collection of drivers caught on camera during accidents and in near misses, showing their errors as they happen - including one of Justin and Anita's own errors. Also in 2012, Anita participated in the BBC Great Sport Relief Bake Off, and won the competition.

On the morning of her London Fashion Week modelling debut, TV host Anita Rani is contemplating walking the runway in a T-shirt screaming: “Stop F**king The Planet”.

When she was asked whether Countryfile viewers would switch off their televisions in droves? - she pondered about the BBC1 show she’s hosted for five years, before biting into the question. “I think I could get away with it and I kind of want to! I might come on and do something a bit outrageous.”

It seems as though the sustainable fashion label Vin + Omi that she is about to model for agrees with her.

“They did ask me if I fancied getting my boobs out, and I said I wouldn’t do that,” said Anita, 42. “No, that’s not happening. My parents would have a fit!”

Anita is a passionate environmentalist, something fuelled further by her fronting the hard-hitting BBC1 War On Plastic series with River Cottage star Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the next episode of which she was currently filming.

But if you think flashing boobs seems at odds with Anita’s wholesome professional image, you’d be right. A go-to presenter for the BBC, she’s hosted some of its biggest broadcasting events, including the One Love Manchester concert and Last Night Of The Proms, and she even presented from Harry and Meghan’s wedding.

Anita Rani“It’s funny that people have preconceived ideas about you. I just think you only see a certain aspect of everybody,” says Anita, who was raised with brother Kuldeep in Bradford, West Yorkshire, by her parents now in their 60s, who moved to the UK four decades ago to run a clothing business.

Forthright and free-spirited, Anita never felt pressured by them to conform. As a teen, she wore “black nail polish and purple Dr Martens, smelled of patchouli oil and listened to Nirvana”, and spent Friday nights in a local pub drinking cheap vodka and orange.

“To this day I still can’t drink it because I’ve thrown it up so many times,” she laughs. “I’m good fun. You want to be having a drink with me, definitely,” she says. Not that abstaining from alcohol changes her much.

“I’m quite a hyper person. I don’t need a pint of personality to get me going,” she explains.

Studying broadcasting at the University of Leeds and choosing to live in the dorms, rather than commute the 10 miles to and from Bradford, was another example of Anita doing things her way.

“Indian daughters don’t leave to go to university and they certainly don’t live 10 miles away. Now I look back and think it was not all that rebellious, I’ve just got my own mind and that’s the message I want to put out to girls. You’ve got a brain. Use it. That should be encouraged.”

“Never when growing up did I see Asian women – not on telly, not on magazine covers not even inside one. They were non-existent. There’s no way I could have predicted that I’d be one of the few brown faces on telly, making all these programmes like Countryfile, the heartland of BBC1, making documentaries and travelling the world, covering magazine.

Anita Rani“Walking down the street, Asian families come up to me, give me hugs and tell me they think I’m doing a great job. There’s an Indian word ‘beta’, which means ‘child’. Older women will say: ‘Beta, you’re making us feel proud, keep going’. Strangers!” She points to her eyes, which are glistening. “I am amazed at my own life. I don’t take it for granted.”

“I’m a woman but I’m also an Asian woman and I’m a northerner – that’s a triple whammy. I’ve got three things that are different to most people who work in TV. People make a judgement about you the minute they see you.”

“I’m a feminist, so anything about inequality p**ses me off, bigots p**s me off – I’m not going to name anyone. Racism p**ses me off and sexism p**ses me off. There are quite a few people in TV I’d take down. I’m like Arya Stark from Game Of Thrones, I’ve got my list of people!”

One change she refuses to make, though, is quitting air travel to reduce her carbon footprint. In fact, Anita expresses sympathy for Daisy Lowe, Dame Emma Thompson and other stars who were last year slammed for flying to global eco-summits or supporting climate activists Extinction Rebellion despite still jetting all over the world.

“How else are they meant to get there? Row themselves? I’m not going to give up flying. My job is to tell stories and it’s the biggest privilege, but it’s really important that we understand the world that we live in.

I’m about to make a series about India, I’m going to fly there and I feel alright about that. I don’t get people who choose to give other people a hard time when they’re trying to do some good. Anybody who shines a light on sustainability is doing sustainability well.”

Anita Rani

Then there was the time Anita got starry-eyed hosting a panel talk with Sir David Attenborough.

“He was absolutely magical,” she swoons. “He was in his 90s and the twinkle in his eyes was ageless.

There’s a youthfulness, vibrancy and passion that I hope I’ve got when I’m in my 90s.”

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Anita Rani can show you a thing or two on a dance floor...


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Anita Rani on BBC One

Beautiful and talented British radio and television presenter, journalist and broadcaster Anita Rani has her own program on BBC One. She has done numerous documentary pieces in the UK, India and China and can be seen on Four Rooms on BBC One... Click here to visit her profile on the BBC.


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Help advance the health, safety, and well being of women throughout Haiti in some of the poorest slums in all of the western hemisphere at Wharf Jeremy and Cit Soleil. We Advance directs assistance where security issues deter the work of most international NGOs - starting from the bottom because it is where your assistance is needed the most.
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Yabanci is a book by a Dutch woman who moved from Holland to Turkey to start a new life in a Turkish village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A great read for those who are considering a move abroad or have lived in a different culture. Available in English as an ebook or in Dutch in both print and popular ebook formats... take a look

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