Brenda Emmanus OBEChair, Board of Trustees
Brenda has had a long and consistent career on national television, turning her skills to a broad range of subjects from news and current affairs, travel, consumer issues, fashion and interior design. She is equally at home interviewing international artists and A-list celebrities as she is with the general public.
A self-confessed ‘people person’ she relishes any opportunity to connect with creative and inspiring individuals for broadcast or live events or just socially.
Following years as a print journalist, Brenda hit the television spotlight as one of the main presenters of the BBC’s flagship fashion series ‘The Clothes Show with Jeff Banks and Caryn Franklin. This was followed by a role as Fashion and Entertainment expert on ITV’s ‘This Morning’ with Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan and the mid-week National Lottery live show.
Her warm and versatile style has seen her switch comfortably between genres and broadcasters – from lifestyle, interior design and arts for the BBC, to consumer and magazine shows on Sky, Channel 4 and ITV. Brenda’s list of interviewees has included A-list international stars - from Oprah Winfrey, Sir Elton John, Will Smith, Angelina Jolie, Daniel Craig and Clint Eastwood to artists and performers including David Hockney, Grayson Perry, Whitney Houston, Jean Paul Gaultier and Sir Steve McQueen.
Her documentary experience is extensive and includes the highly regarded ‘Charles I: Treasures Reunited,’ (BBC2) ‘New Tate Modern: Switched On’ co-presented with Andrew Marr (BBC2), ‘The Brits Who Designed the Modern World’ (BBC Four), ‘Diana: Designing a Princess’ (BBC2) and ‘Who Ever Heard of a Black Artist?’ (BBC Four). These and many of her other features have also been transmitted on BBC World – reaching audiences of over 200 million worldwide.
Brenda’s radio experience has seen her present ‘The Early Show’ for Radio 2 and ‘Megamix’ for the BBC World Service, as well as freelance contributions to BBC Radio 4, 5 Live and Choice FM. She has also presented the Cultural Frontline for BBC World.
Currently working as an Arts, Culture and Entertainment Correspondent most recently across BBC London and BBC Network news, Brenda also presents the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition Specials with Kirsty Wark, as well as hosting a broad range of screenings and promotional events for BBC publicity teams and Channel Executives.
Outside of broadcasting organisations, Brenda’s popularity as a presenter has also seen her in much demand as a host for live shows and events – working for the likes of Ernst and Young, The National Theatre, The British Film Institute, The WOW (Women of the World) Festival, The Art Fund, Frieze Art Fair, The Powerlist and Sadlers Wells Theatre to name a few.
The hard work has certainly paid off - Brenda was awarded an OBE for services to Broadcasting and Diversity in 2019, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Arts in 2020. She has also received a Community Honours Award at the House of Lords, a Baton Award for mentoring and inspiring other media professionals and a Legacy Community Award.
A keen supporter of the Arts, she is Vice Chair of Sir Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Dance Company; a founding member and Vice Chair of the Creative Industries Alliance, and was Vice Chair, then President of BBC Embrace while employed by the Corporation.
Brenda is also regularly called on to judge a wide range of competitions and prizes - most recently Museum of the Year, The Stroke Association’s Creative Arts Awards, The Visionary Honours Awards and The Jack Petchey Foundation’s Glee and Speak Out competitions.
Her passions and interests include the arts and anything creative, travel, food, working with young people, self development and supporting women in business and through self- empowerment.