Sarah O’Connell

Sarah O’Connell, 35, lives mostly in the cinema and emerges occasionally for snacks and to say hi to her lovely wife and daughter. Sarah is known to switch from third to first person when answering questions. I hope you don’t mind, she said.

Tell us about your job

I host a (multi-award-avoiding) entertainment show at www.youtube.com/SarahOConnellShow, which features interviews, entertainment and more. I also work to raise awareness for the Trans and wider LGBT community.

Career history

A lifelong fan of movies and entertainment; I studied film, art and media studies in college, before getting a degree in animation. After graduating, I worked at a local TV station in a variety of roles, including presenter, producer and editor.

In 2004, I got offered a job as a producer at a videogames company in Los Angeles. It was a fantastic experience with the added bonus of essentially being on holiday every weekend in California. After returning to the UK, I spent 5 years at a SEGA studio as PR manager. The role took me on press tours all over Europe, the United States, Russia and Australia to promote various BAFTA-winning games. I later went on to work on all of Koch Media’s film releases (theatrical and home entertainment) and game titles, before joining Microsoft in 2014.

Since 2003, I’ve also worked as a film critic on various radio shows, in print and online. I’ve always had a passion for interviewing people and had the opportunity to speak to Quentin Tarantino, Will Smith and many other creatives. Additionally, I’ve been invited to host panels at film festivals, interviewing actors and filmmakers on stage.

A dream has always been to host a chat show, so in early 2016 I launched The Sarah O’Connell Show. Support for it has been overwhelming and I’ve got a lot planned for the coming year. If you enjoy it, please consider subscribing and sharing, and I’ll love you forever.

While spare time is a rare commodity these days, I still enjoy drawing and doing caricatures too, and have been asked to do them for comedians Jack Dee and Katherine Ryan.

How do you spend a typical day?

I spend a lot of time planning, writing, arranging and filming interviews for my Youtube show. Once complete, I also edit and promote them. Recent highlights include interviewing comedian Joe Lycett and Tom Cruise. I also attend press junkets, screenings and film premieres, so spend quite a bit of time at events. For the past several months, I’ve been working on a series of videos to raise awareness and educate people about issues faced by the trans community. The first of which will hopefully be released before Christmas on my Youtube channel.

My most memorable work moment…

While there’s been countless special moments during interviews, and onstage, personally one of the most important happened recently. I was invited to speak at the Transforming Cinema Film Festival in Sheffield. The event was hosted on the weekend of Transgender Day of Remembrance (20th November). Filmmakers and the community gathered from around the UK and beyond, to celebrate their work and also remember those who have sadly been taken from us in the past year.

The best part of my job

I love the freedom of being able to work on creative projects that challenge and excite me. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing a lot of inspiring people, learning about their work and experiences, and sharing my passions with likeminded people.

The worst part of my job

I’m completely self-reliant so rarely allow myself much time to relax, even at weekends. As most opportunities and events involve travel, it can all be quite costly. But I ultimately look at it that I’m investing in myself and future.

If you could do it all again what would you do differently?

I think I always did the best I could at the time and in my circumstances. Also, I think that however bad life was, I wouldn’t risk changing a single thing before my daughter was born. If I could tell myself one thing, it would simply be “it will be ok”. I’m more about looking forward and steering life in the best possible direction, not only for myself , but also to help and improve the lives of others.

Either/Or…and please explain why!

  • Coffee or tea? Coffee’s too bitter for me. Needs cheering up! Tea please.
  • Jam or marmalade? Jam – more variety.
  • Madonna or Britney? I love 80s Madonna but listen to Britney more often. Plus she wasn’t in Swept Away.
  • Mac or PC? PC, but iPhone rather than Windows phone.
  • The Guardian or The Times? Guardian, online.
  • BBC or ITV? I’ve worked with BBC more so far, so BBC!
  • M&S or Waitrose? M&S – love their food.
  • Morning or night? I’m definitely more of a night owl.
  • Adidas or Nike? Nike. Adidas can’t possibly be the correct answer as it doesn’t get a tick.
  • Sweet or savoury? Savoury. *Insert joke about being sweet enough already*

Favourites…and please explain why!

  • App: Twitter – it’s a great way to engage, entertain, raise awareness and share content.
  • TV show: First Dates – love it!
  • Band: Taylor Swift and Michael Jackson (made my own band!)
  • Song: Love Story and Man in the Mirror
  • Book: Derren Brown’s Tricks of the Mind / Stephen King’s 11/22/63
  • Sports team: Does Hulk Hogan count? If not, I’ll go for the Mighty Ducks.
  • Thing to do on a Friday night: Cinema, restaurant and cocktails / dancing
  • Place to eat: Planet Hollywood
  • Holiday spot: Hawaii – always wanted to go!
  • Piece of advice you’ve been given: Be who you are. Those who matter won’t mind and those that mind don’t matter.