Active Citizen #6 – Belle Lupton
Active Citizens is a Journey City Guides series where we interview the people who participate in making their own city a vibrant and exciting place. With each new guide we ask questions to two personalities: an entrepreneur deeply rooted in its city and the owner of a business featured in our city guides.
Our second London interview is with Belle Lupton, a freelance broadcast journalist splitting her time between Paris and London. She has worked for Al Jazeera, ITV, London Live and Reuters. Her favourite things include travel, film, theatre, music and novels.
Hi Belle, could you tell us more about yourself?
I’m a TV news presenter and arts reporter, and I split my time between London (where I’m an arts correspondent for TRT World) and Paris (where I’m a news anchor for France 24 English). I’m half French, so living between my two home countries is probably the closest I can get to feeling ‘at home’…
My favourite thing about city life is the richness of the cultural landscape. I can be reviewing a fringe theatre show one evening, filming with a prominent artist the following morning, and enjoying a relaxed dinner somewhere new later on.
So how did you become a journalist?
I didn’t really know where my English degree would take me whilst I was studying at Oxford, but I knew I loved performing (I took part in several plays and set up a jazz band in which I sang). In my final year I lighted upon Radio as a place I wanted to be, and so applied to City University for a Masters in Broadcast Journalism. I was put on the TV and Current Affairs Journalism course, and began to love working with images.
The financial crisis had just taken hold when I left City University, and all I could find was piecemeal work (developing ideas for TV production companies). Eventually I found a job making short socially-minded films for young people with ITV Fixers, then on to BBC Radio 4, where I worked as a Producer on the Today programme. Since then, I’ve worked for Al Jazeera, ITV, London Live and Reuters.
What the future holds for you?
Happiness and success I hope! I’m ready to commit to one company and say goodbye to my freelance freedom, so I’m looking for that perfect job (shout-out to any Arts or News editors hiring…) I’d like to keep telling stories, so reporting and presenting gigs are what I’m looking for. I just got married, and am keen to explore more of London and the world with my husband.
Where do you live in London and what do you like about your neighborhood?
I live in Whitechapel, where the Kray twins ruled in the 1950s and 60s. Our flat is a few seconds from the infamous Blind Beggar pub, where Ronnie Kray shot dead George Cornell, a rival gang member. It’s also Jack the Ripper territory – so all the exciting stuff happened in the East End.
Nowadays Whitechapel is a noisy, vibrant mix of Bangladeshi families and fixed-wheel cycling hipsters. Brick Lane is round the corner but the best curry you’ll get in London is even closer, at Tayyabs on Fieldgate Street. The Whitechapel Gallery is worth the trip alone, this summer it curated Art Night, turning the area into an all-night cultural extravaganza.
Where do you go to escape the city for a weekend?
The South Coast because I love the sea; Hampshire, where I have family; or the north of England for the walking (in the Peak District and the Lake District). When I’m in need of sunshine it’s Mallorca, where the craggy mountains drop straight into the Mediterranean and you can feast on paella.
If you didn’t live in London, where would you like to live?
Toronto, Montreal, Buenos Aires, Barcelona – there’s still so much to explore!
What’s your favourite city to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
I don’t have a favourite city, but the city I remember with the most fondness is probably still Cusco in Peru’s Andes. I stayed there 13 years ago so I’m sure it’s changed, but back then it was a city with a village atmosphere, a place where horse and carts vie with cars, and where ancient Killke and Inca monuments rub shoulders with Spanish colonial architecture. Magic.
Our next trip will be our honeymoon. We haven’t decided where to go yet, but Bhutan or the Greek islands are high on the list. Any advice?
Our first London interview with Charles McDermott, owner of Augustus Harris, is available here.