AJ Odudu lives her life in the proverbial fast lane. With the sunniest of all dispositions, this fierce Brit relishes the challenge of keeping her energy level high – like, to the max – while keeping her day to day life evenly balanced. When she’s not hosting Trending Live! from 4Music studios or waking up at the crack of dawn to run along the River Thames, Odudu moonlights as a DJ and documents her escapades on her eponymous blog.
Odudu has a true gift of gab. After a chance encounter with Russell Brand left the comedian dazzled, she was connected with the celebrity’s agent who quickly signed her. Soon after, she had a skyrocketing TV presenting career. But for Odudu, being a well-known personality on British TV isn’t her only claim to fame. Armed with a 100-watt smile and a love for upbeat music, Odudu learned how to DJ and within months she was opening for Oliver Heldens and spinning records for brands like Adidas.
Out of the spotlight, we spoke with Odudu about everything from overcoming nerves, to keeping energized and the top fitness fads to avoid.
Kit and Ace: How did it feel to get your big break as a TV presenter at the BBC?
AO: With TV presenting, you’re only as good as your last job, so you have several big breaks throughout your career. The first time I was exposed to a massive channel with celebrities at BBC was a big deal. Then when I presented for Big Brother’s Bit on the Side,it was another giant break for me. And now, presenting on 4Music – it’s funny, I guess one big break just isn’t enough in this industry.
How do you conquer your nerves on camera?
AO: It’s always nerve-racking putting yourself out there. People think TV presenting is easy, but there’s a skill to it – someone is talking in my ear or technical issues are happening that [viewers] don’t even see. When I get nervous, I take a deep breath and pause, using that pause to dramatic effect. I tell myself to talk confidently, speak clearly and trust my instincts. You have to trust yourself that it’ll be absolutely fine.
Plus, you don’t seem like you take things too seriously all the time.
AO: Yes, the ability to laugh at myself really helps. I’m quite chill and calm mentally, so even if things do go wrong, oh well – I’m an idiot sometimes! I’ll be less idiotic tomorrow. And that ability to recover from whatever happens is important. I try to remember that I got into TV presenting because it’s fun. I love the adrenaline and I use it to spur me on. I try to turn any situation into something really positive.
Why did fitness become such a big part of your life?
AO: I have a big family with five brothers and two sisters. I’m the sixth, so growing up I always competed in sports and I kept it up after school. I love it and I find it very sociable. When I moved to London from Blackburn I didn’t know anyone – going to group exercise classes was not only a great way to stay healthy, but I also made friends. Last year I started documenting my regimes and my blog became a motivational tool. It’s a great way to keep me in check.
What are your personal tips for staying energized throughout the day?
AO: When I wake up I have a pint of water to get hydrated immediately – it also combats overeating – and I put on some music before doing 20 star jumps. Then I’m ready to go. I get up, get my blood rushing and usually do a morning workout too. I make sure I have a healthy breakfast afterwards like an apricot with a poached egg on rye bread. Nothing too sugary or else I’ll crash.
What is myth and what have you found actually works for healthy living?
AO: Don’t eat after 6 PM or in the evening is a myth. Your body doesn’t suddenly stop burning calories after a certain time. Just eat healthy! Carbohydrates have been vilified as the cause of weight gain and there’s a false perception that large meals at night can cause you to pile on the pounds since you’re not being active. Carbs can’t necessarily tell the time! They are a great way to fuel our bodies and provide us with a vital source of energy.
With such a full schedule, how do you maintain your balance?
AO: I surround myself with positive people and I get really organized. I give myself one day a week completely off from everything where I don’t stress out – usually it’s a Sunday. I meet up with friends for a run and a healthy brunch, and then I always call my family for a catch-up. Quality time, even if it’s only 10 minutes, is something to look forward to.