Kimberley Bond is an entertainment correspondent who at the time of our interview was working for the Radio Times… and is now at the Standard. Kimberley is in charge of planning all the entertainment shows for the website. She spends her work time doing interviews but mostly writing, mingling with other people in a party like PRs, celebrities and the likes. And she will share with us her experience on handling shyness on the red carpet.
“I’m nervous actually. I burble a lot and I could hear myself speaking. There are times like “Oh no! I’m talking like absolute rubbish”. I think with my job, I’ve learned to kind of mask shyness. I’m really, really shy like naturally and embarrassingly so. When I know it’s like a work thing or I have to go out and talk to someone, I think I’ve kind of like got it down to a fine art now that I can just kind of mask it by just talking and not really caring what other people think of me. I’ve always come across shy, but I just masked over like loads of like talking really,
It sounds really strange doesn’t it? Like what you said most of shy people mask their shyness with lots of listening. I interview quite a lot of people and it’s nice to know you’re in control in that situation. I can guide the conversation and because I can prepare for every possible outcome and it helps me out a little bit. I know a lot of shy people are quite quiet and I do tend to take a step back. But when I’m in work mode and when I’m talking to someone new, I just talk and talk and talk. It kind of does mask it and by talkie I’d come across as more approachable. Like celebrities, they’re more willing to talk because I’m a bit more kind of open. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have moments where I’m really quiet. Like when it’s really a big group of people, whether I’m at work or not, I shut down a little bit and I get really quiet.
I’ve always been shy. I can’t remember a time where I wasn’t shy really. I was always told I was shy as well cause I was just naturally very, very quiet. I did not have the high pitch girly voice. So like people would struggle to hear me. I couldn’t look people in the eye. My grandmother would always say to me, “Oh, you should look people in the eye when you speak to them because they’re going to think you’re lying.” I wasn’t trying to be deceptive, it was just that I genuinely couldn’t look people in the eye because I was so embarrassed having people look at me and it’s something that I struggled with all throughout school. As I got a bit older, like class presentations. I’ve really struggled with doing that. It’s like couldn’t cope with standing up and talking in front of people. And it’s crazy cause now I do that basically for a living. But when I was younger I just couldn’t do it. But I eventually dealt with it or kind of found ways to get round that being shy.
I think it was not being liked or saying something silly. I mean I’m still like this now. I cite things without really thinking because my mind works. I can, my mind was really quickly and I can, I know I’m thinking, but my, I don’t always catch up with it like vocally. I think I was always afraid of saying something to upset someone or like saying something like may come across stupid. I think that was the thing. It was fear of not being liked. As a child I had a lot of confidence issues. I was always really down on myself. But, and even I do still have those to some extent. I’ve learned to deal with them a lot more and I’m kind of in a better place with myself. I think I’ve just accepted myself for who I am, quirks and all sort of thing.
Overcoming shyness as a Child
“Shyness: It can hold us back, but we can also learn ways of working around it. So I had quite a disruptive childhood. I moved, schooled a lot. I had to start from a fresh again and make new friends and things like that. So, I had to kind of learn to do that. And to do that I had to overcome shyness. Otherwise I’d be really lonely and really upset and not really enjoy things. So, I was just like, well I’ve got to kind of get a grip now sort of thing. I had to like kind of not care so much of what people thought and if people didn’t like me.
Surrounding yourself with people
When I first started, I fell into quite a nice crowd and it was quite a diverse group of people where some were really shy know, extroverted. My second school was much harder because it was private school and it was very, very small. It kind of like forced to be friends because it was like 10 of you in a class. So that’s how you all kind of got along and eventually kind of warmed up to each other. And then sixth form, you know, that’s when I got a boyfriend and like that kind of helps a little bit and that kind of brought me out my shell a bit. I’ve surrounded myself with to some extent people who are quite like minded that they all shy in new situations, but they kind of learned to adjust. So, I think kind of a bit of both really.
How shyness affects my work
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, like ever since as a little girl, always enjoyed writing. So, I was determined to make this happen. I had an absolutely no interest but then I was offered an internship straight out of my master’s degree and I was like, why not? I’ll give it a go. And it was for a showbiz magazine, which is something close, but I gave her it go and I loved it so much. Like I love that kind of excitement of going and doing these things and doing things and what else I’ve already got to do with meeting like famous faces. So, and what I did to kind of help me cope was I kind of had a mask, so it was very much, I’d put every scrap of my energy into having like this kind of showbiz persona. I’d go to these parties and I’d speak to other journalists. I’d speak to like PRs and I’d speak to the celebrities. I think what helped me was thinking that these celebrities, they know the game by now. So, I tried to think about it in a more optimistic sense, like if the worst happens and then they refuse to talk to you, then that’s just that whatever. Having like starting off in quite a really good encouraging celebrity magazine really helped me find my feet. And I then moved to the daily star, which was a lot more intense. It was building upon these baby steps that I set out when I was first intern.
Overcoming shyness becomes a routine
It got to a point where I know what I’m doing. I’ve got far enough in my career that in itself is a validation that I’m not doing that badly. It’s kind of like a boost once you’ve done it a few times, you know that you can do it. It happened like, one day I woke up, I went to an event and I just wasn’t nervous anymore. It just becomes a routine and it starts to come naturally. The more you keep doing it, then the more it becomes routine.
How shyness helped me excel at my work
Oh, it helped me definitely. I can always tell when someone’s nervous to speak to me and it’s quite clear when that’s the case because you as a shy person myself, it’s like a mirror. I recognise the traits I probably do and I am nervous and shy. If I’m doing a face to face interview and someone is clearly uncomfortable about certain topic, I will change the way I ask the questions in order for me to still get my story. I don’t think I would actually be able to do it so well if I wasn’t shy myself.”