I speak with radio presenter, Lottie Ryan about women in the media, working in the States and how she will always be proud of being Gerry Ryan’s daughter.
Radio presenter, dancer, columnist, blogger and fearless fashionista. Over the years Lottie Ryan, has managed to clock up a rather colourful career, a remarkable feat considering she is still only 27. Having worked as a showbiz reporter in RTE for numerous years, the brunette now reigns supreme over her very own radio show, The Early Early Breakfast Show, which airs on 2fm each weekend. The show which she fondly refers to as her “little baby” has been a huge learning experience for Lottie as up until this point she had never been solely responsible for anchoring a programme.
“It’s a huge learning curve for me, to train because I’m in there by myself. A lot of the stuff I would have done in the years leading up to the show when I was doing contributor work meant I would never be running the desks or the technical side of things” says Lottie in her polished Dublin accent, contrasting hugely to my North County Cork murmurings.
While Lottie is now lucky enough to be at the helm of her own show, this can’t be said for all female broadcasters, with the radio business in Ireland generally being labelled as a “Men Only” club. However, while the figures may prove this theory true, Lottie believes that the tide is turning in favour of women in the industry.
“I think there used to be a stigma attached to it, but that’s beginning to change”, begins Lottie. “There are some incredible female broadcasters to admire. Claire Byrne is an incredible broadcaster, closer to home for me Jenny Greene, Marian Finnucane and Ciara King is a fantastic new talent. We are coming up in the ranks and there’s much more even distribution than there used to be”
Radio, although, it was something Lottie had admired, it was not always her prime passion in life. Training as a dancer throughout her childhood and teenage years, Lottie never considered working in the media as a viable career until commencing her college education.
“It was only really when I started in college in Coláiste Dúlaigh that I got into it. I spent three years there doing a media production course where you study television and radio and then I did two years in Griffith to finish out the degree, which was much more journalism based. Over the 5 years I developed a love and a passion for the industry. It all blossomed from there and it was really my college years that refined it for me I suppose”
However, while college may have provided Lottie with the knowledge to survive the rocky sea that is the world of the media, her work as an intern on the set of hit US series, The Goodwife, gave her the skills to thrive in the storm. The sheer difference in work ethic between Ireland and our Atlantic Ocean neighbours was a huge eye-opener for Lottie, as a budding journalist.
“I think I learned more in the months that I worked on The Good Wife than I did in my five years that I spent in college. They work very differently than to how we work over here. We’re a lot more lenient here, we have respectable working hours. But over there they eat sleep and breathe their work; it’s really intense. That is the only way to learn I suppose”
Considering Lottie is still so young and has conquered so much in her short career, I ask her would she ever move abroad to work again? Reflecting on the question for a mere moment, Lottie is practical in her approach.
“I’d never say no, I’m very very happy at the moment. I’m not silly though if the opportunity presents itself, you should never close doors. I don’t know what the future will hold, but I’ll always be open to travel, I’m still in my 20s, but for the moment I’m very happy where I am”
Satisfied with her amiable answer, the conversation shifts towards the inevitable subject that is her deceased father, and former broadcaster Gerry Ryan. According to Lottie, her father “never encouraged or discouraged” her decision to enter the fickle world of broadcasting, preferring to support whatever made his children happy. With many critics constantly referring to Lottie’s famous paternity, I ask Lottie does this ever come as a burden to her own broadcasting work?
“No, it doesn’t annoy me, I am who I am. I’m incredibly proud of my dad and I’m blessed to share his name and it will never be something that I’ll want to shy away from, but obviously, I mean at this stage in my career, I first, and foremost want to be recognised for the work that I do and the broadcaster I am. While I am incredibly proud of him and in awe of his work, I’d like to be recognised for myself”
While Lottie’s famous father was and is still a huge inspiration for the 27 year old, her mother, Morah Brennan, is also a huge role model for Lottie, especially when it comes to the style stakes. Her mother’s “unique sense of self” is obviously something that Lottie herself has inherited. Shying away from trends and catwalk conventions, Lottie moves on to giving me her most trusted beauty tip.“Always, no matter how late it is, or how many drinks you’ve had, take your make-up off!”
Finally, while Lottie lets us in on her top beauty secret, she concludes our interview with some goldust advice on how to succeed in the media or in any walk of life.
“You have to really need to do it, it can’t just be a want .You have to really feel like it’s something you need to fulfil yourself. It has to be something you need to do for yourself, a passion inside of you” states Lottie “You have to fee like it’s your calling in life because there is 100 people who will want your job. It’s a tough job, but once you believe in yourself and have perseverance and keep going at it, anything is possible and anybody can achieve what they want”