Emily Maitlis has everyone’s dream job

You know you’ve made it when you’re invited back to speak at the Union

bbc Cambridge Emily Maitlis speaker talk Union

Emily Maitlis is pretty awesome.

The Queens’ College alumna studied English before becoming one of the country’s most prominent TV journalists. (If you haven’t seen her before I’d question why you read the Tab but don’t watch any national news.)

emily maitlis union

Captivated by your speech

Annoyingly for us, it turns out Maitlis didn’t get involved in student journalism and only entered the profession when she realised she was a “failed actress”. She’s as engaging and sharp on TV as she is in real life, making an effort to remember your name.

Sexism in the media was a hot topic of conversation at the Union. This may be because if you type Emily’s name into Google, you’ll be barraged with articles about her latest “sexy” outfit and clothing mishap from a certain news outlet.

She jokes: “There seems to be only one newspaper that is a serial condemner of what women wear”.

Maitlis attributes the sheer volume of these types of articles to their “clever marketing ploy to make money”. But she does point out that such criticism isn’t solely directed at women. Instead, she points to the fact that Paxman’s beard and underpants “received more press attention” that any of her own outfits.

She argues that focus on looks is not what will get you far in this industry. Being “engaging” trumps superficial looks any day.

News at One

“I wear what I want.”

She tells the audience that her “looks have been as helpful and damaging as each other”: the fact there are fewer women in the media meant her talent “got noticed earlier”, but also had to face “bitchy and vitriolic” comments like “She can’t have a brain cell. She was wearing a cocktail dress”.

This bad publicity was unhelpful as it “contributed to people thinking I could do less”.

Any doubts about her abilities as a journalist should be put to rest after an interview in which she spoke with comedian Daniel O’Reilly, famous for his unfunny and completely terrible stage persona Dapper Laughs.

Maitlis was asked about this interview which went viral. She recounts the interview in which O’Reilly was squirming in his chair, apologising profusely for the harm the character Dapper Laughs caused. During one of his gigs, he told an audience member that she is “gagging for a rape” and says “I’m Dapper Laughs, go down the shops, get some rope, bit of duct tape, rape the bitch”.

Maitlis had “no mercy” for the “unfunny, offensive and obnoxious” comedian. Despite retiring his character during the interview on Newsnight, at the end of which Maitlis tells us O’Reilly was “crying into his black polo neck”, he decided to reincarnate Dapper Laughs in his new stand-up show “The Res’Erection”.

Dapper Laughs’ comedy is part of the culture which condemns people who stand up to this unoriginal form of “banter” as lacking a sense of humour. Maitlis calls bullshit on that and affirms that’s a “lazy and boring argument”. She tells us that “people liked the interview” before adding “apart from people who didn’t and wanted to rape me”.

emily maitlis union 2

Can I have your job plz?

She tells the chamber, “journalism has a duty to women because its visual”. The lack of females that have there own political shows matters, she insists. She clearly feels passionate about the subject but can also justify her argument with clear style and substance.

Maitlis is intelligent, funny and chic. And she certainly doesn’t let anyone tell her otherwise. Life goals.