‘As a size 16, I never thought I’d work on TV’
After years of struggling with bad bosses and feeling like she would never get her big break in a field dominated by size 8 blondes, media personality Shelly Horton explains how she finally landed a job as a TV host.
I used to set New Year's resolutions... and break them within a month.
Most people set resolutions that are unrealistic - it's "I'm never going to eat chocolate again," or "I'm going to exercise seven days a week."
Breaking my resolutions made me feel like a bit of a failure and I realised I had to change the way I was thinking. A few years ago, a girlfriend of mine started using a guiding word or motto for the year, and so that's what I've done ever since.
This year my motto is Don't Wait To Be Picked. It's all about being a self-starter and these days, particularly in media, you don't need to wait for someone to pick you to host a show or work on a certain program - you can create the world you want yourself.
My husband and I have had a production company for four years and finally, just before Christmas, he turned to me and said, "Are we going to do this?"
This is going to make me so happy, and even if it is a passion project that won't go anywhere else, at least I have achieved my 20-year goal of actually making The Shelly Show, which will run online.
The longer I'm in the media industry, the more I realise it's restrictive. So if you do your own thing, you don't have a boss saying you can't swear, or you can't do that topic, or you can't do something else. You can just throw open the gates and go, "This is me - like it or lump it."
Ambition isn't a dirty word anymore. When you run your own business, the buck stops with you. These past four years I have never worked harder, and I've got to admit I do have workaholic tendencies.
I've reached burnout a couple of times because I'm grabbing, grabbing, grabbing. But I'm also more motivated when it's to better my company with my husband. I've had some pretty sh*tty bosses in my time.
Particularly in journalism, people get promoted to where they're in charge and, while they are a good journalist, they're not a good business manager.
I think a lot of women relate to me because I'm not the size-eight blonde who you normally see on TV. I'm a size 16, curvy redhead who is full of opinions. A lot of women go, "Well, if she can do it, I can do it." You can't be what you can't see.
When I started in the media, there was no-one over size eight, and it was terrifying. That's why I started on radio - I thought I didn't have the right look for TV.
I really wanted to be a television reporter, but it can be completely paralysing when you can't see someone achieving in your area of expertise who looks like you.
That's all changing now. I love that we have more diversity and different shapes and backgrounds.
Even the fact that I'm child-free by choice, that never used to be acceptable. Before, I would be criticised or pitied. Now people just go, "Hey, it's a choice. Let's celebrate choice." It's taken nearly a decade for attitudes to change.
I feel 2020 is an exciting time. You can make your own rules and do things your own way. If Meghan and Harry can leave the royals, and Brad and Jen can reunite at the SAGs, then you can do whatever you want this year. Anything is possible.
The Shelly Show launches online after Easter; shellshockedmedia.com