Suprina Thapa recently finished university and has already landed on UK TV’s Sky Arts channel! The British-Nepali presenter joins a small but growing list of people of Nepali backgrounds on mainstream television in the UK. Suprina featured as a presenter in the Sky Arts show UNMUTED which explored arts and culture, with a focus on artists, comedians and spoken word performers. The first season aired in early December consisting of four episodes. Sky is a well known UK broadcaster with flagship channels such as Sky One and Sky Atlantic.
It has been great to see and spot people from Nepal on British TV from public heroes like Santosh Shah on Master Chef UK, the Nepali actors on BBC 1’s Black Narcissus, Amrita Acharia on The Good Karma Hospital to reporter Navin Singh Khadka on BBC News. Suprina, who is at the beginning of her media career has had quite a start already. I caught up with her for the blog to get to know her journey briefly.
LEX: Hi Suprina! Congrats on UNMUTED on Sky Arts! That’s quite a way to end 2020. How did that come about and what was it like to see yourself on TV?
SUPRINA: Hi Lex, Thank you! The opportunity actually came as a surprise to me, I was not expecting to have my TV debut in 2020 and I am so thankful for it. After I graduated from university in 2019, I made it my mission to get tons of presenting experience. I wanted to figure out what type of presenter I wanted to be so I joined a few online media platforms and presented for them and I joined a community radio station. My station manager loved my work and sent my showreel to an execute producer at Sky. He then invited me into the Sky studios and after keeping in contact, it resulted in me becoming one of the presenters for Unmuted!
It was very surreal seeing myself on TV. It’s something I wanted for a long-time so to finally see it happen, it was a special moment. The best part was seeing my name – I never expected to love that part most but seeing my full name on TV was a wow moment for me.
LEX: I understand that you were also active during your university years at University of Kent through KTV. What topics and things did you cover whilst working as a student presenter?
SUPRINA: Yes! I was only part of KTV during my last year of university because I was nervous to join but, I’m so glad I eventually did. I reported a few news bulletins and presented a Valentine’s day vox pop where I asked students about their best and worst dates. I also hosted a live student debate, which is probably still the most nerve-racking thing I’ve ever done! My favourite moment was winning Best Onscreen at the KIC Awards.
LEX: Well that certainly sounds like a busy final year and congrats on the award! Did you always want to be presenting on radio or TV?
SUPRINA: Throughout secondary school, I wanted to be an actress but I realised acting wasn’t the thing I was actually passionate about, it was talking, expressing myself and being in the media industry. That’s when I looked into presenting but because I didn’t know anything about it, I was still unsure. So for my birthday, my Sanu Mama and Maiju (auntie and uncle) gifted me a one-day TV presenting experience. I was trained by a Sky Sports presenter and was able to practice in front of a green screen and use a teleprompter. After that moment, I knew presenting is exactly what I wanted to do. My motivation definitely comes from my family and heritage, I’m really thankful to have a supportive family who truly believes in me and I’m passionate about getting more Nepali representation on mainstream media. There are so many talented Nepali people who don’t get the recognition they deserve and I want to contribute in changing that.
LEX: That’s such an amazing way to get a feeler for things! I think I also heard one of your VICE podcast! That’s pretty cool!! For many of us, we simply have no idea how to navigate the media or creative industry, I know it’s early days for you but how has it been so far?
SUPRINA: Navigating through the media industry is definitely not easy, especially since there’s no step by step guide on how to become a successful presenter. I still don’t have all the answers but what has helped me is networking and social media. If you want to get into presenting and have a great idea for a show, I’d say shoot it yourself and post it on social media. You never know who might see it, plus it’s part of having experience and something you can put on a showreel. Also when you’re starting off, join different online platforms. It’s a chance to network and find out what type of presenter you want to be (news reporter, sports presenter, children’s presenter etc.). Once you have a showreel, you can then send it to producers, who you can find on LinkedIn or even on twitter and Instagram. You also have to be prepared to hear a lot of no’s but if you’re really passionate about being a presenter, you have to keep going and eventually someone will say yes.
LEX: Love that! Visibility, hardwork and drive! You’ve got an IGTV series featuring Nepali inspirations as well, can you tell me a little about your connection to Nepal?
SUPRINA: My grandparents came to London, from Nepal in the early 70s to open up one of the first few Nepali restaurants in the UK. I was born in the UK and so was my mum and all my mama’s (uncles) so I grew up in a strong British-Nepali family. I regularly visit Nepal every 2 years and I’m still very connected with my Nepali heritage. My culture is part of who I am and I believe, me choosing to identify myself as British-Nepali does not make me any less Nepali. I love the festivals, the clothing, the food and so many other things. I am proud to be Nepali and I will always embrace this. My family are quite updated with what’s going on in Nepal so that’s how I generally stay connected! My grandad has also always been an active community member since the 70s and has co-founded many different Nepali organisations. Therefore, from a young age I have been attending numerous Nepali events.
LEX: That’s incredible how your grandparents moved to UK such a long long time ago! I guess there are so many stories within your own family. What type of show would you like to do one day?
SUPRINA: I love learning about new cultures so definitely a show that explores different cultural traditions and festivals.
LEX: Sweet! I am totally for that… that and travel shows have definitely helped me during this pandemic time. Any finals words before we wrap up?
SUPRINA: I just want to say thank you for the support I’ve received thus far, this is only the beginning and I’m very grateful! I also want to encourage people to pursue their creative passions. Anything is possible!