Amy Christophers. Journalist, Sports Presenter, Model, Referee and Influencer. Former glamour who went under the name of Brandy Brewer. Amy took the brave decision to leave that industry and pursue a career in Sports. Originally from Cornwall Amy now lives in London. We at Those London Chicks are pleased as punch she has taken the time out to chat with us.
You were part of the glamour model industry for 10 years under the name Brandy Brewer. Clearly successful. Why leave?
Ten years is a very long time, and although it flies when you’re having fun, the industry was changing. The magazines were starting to go bust; (excuse the pun). I felt I had reached as far as I could go in the industry and achieved everything I wanted to. I felt a little stagnant. It was beginning to feel like work, and I’ve always said to myself I never want to work a day in my life. So as soon as something starts to feel like work and I stop loving it, that’s when I’ll get out.
How did you make the transition into sports?
Glamour and sports will always be linked, sports fans are almost always fans of half-naked women too. So I made this work for me. My agent knew I loved my sports, so I specifically asked if there were any sports-related jobs. Such as football shoots for the papers, ring girl work for boxing, car shows, bike shows etc. I wanted l be put forward for them. I was working within the sports industry in modelling. Then I got a regular TV gig on football show talk of the terrace on ESPN and also on Sky one’s Soccer Am. Which then led me to read out the football results on Sports Tonight Live in 2011. I then started doing more shows with them. Then finally in 2014, I hung up my bra for one last time and went full time into sports media.
Have you faced any challenges along the way? If so, how have you overcome them?
How much time do we have? LOL – I have faced many challenges, but I never let any of that put me off the correct path I believe I’m meant to be on. In fact, the problems just make me push harder. I’ve had this dream since a little girl, and nothing or no one is going to stop me from getting there.
We at Those London Chicks are all about women supporting women. Have you found that you’ve come up against negative criticism from other women? If so, how did it make you feel, and how did you deal with it?
When I first went into sports media full time, I did, and it was horrific, probably the worst year of my life if I’m honest. That was when I first started, and although it’s sad I am still a little weary about ‘some’ women in sport; I have earned respect from top women in the Sports industry including Sky Sports presenters and female athletes – and made some amazing friendships with my fellow women in sports.
You come across as super confident, feminine and glamorous. A hindrance?
It depends on the situation I’m in, but most rooms I’m in it works for me haha other times I have to tone it down a little. I get overlooked and underestimated a lot – which I don’t mind, to be honest as I love to surprise people and prove them wrong.
Would you consider the sports industry to be sexist?
Listen, it’s a heavily male-dominated industry, I knew this coming into it. Some people are still stuck in the dark ages. I still face daily sexism, but it’s improving. We just have to power through and pull people up on inappropriate comments and actions. At some journo events, I still get an ‘oh what brings you here?’ and an ‘oh you actually like (insert sport here)’ which I find highly insulting and frustrating.
Any examples of this that you care to share?
I’d say the most prominent sexism moment I faced was last year, I was leaving the PFA Awards with a load of other journalists and Gordon Taylor, the Chief Executive of the PFA. I was singled out and papped with him, the paparazzi guy clearly had no idea I was now a journo/broadcaster in sport and sold the pictures to a popular tabloid. The headline read ‘Late night transfer with Topless model.’ I was there as a journalist reporting on the night and then after hours was relaxing with some drinks with everyone – not a crime! The fact that made a headline was ridiculous – if I were a bloke, it would have been a non-story.
What do you think can be done to change the perception of women in sports presenting?
Things are improving all the time, there have been great campaigns like this girl can, Women in Football did their #WhatIf campaign as well and new guidelines are being put in place, and now it’s more on ability rather than looks, so things are improving all the time – been a long time coming though.
What was your relationship with sports growing up?
My grandad founded a football club in Cornwall, Mawnan Smith Football Club; so growing up my childhood was focused around football. My dad and his 5 brothers were all at some point the manager or coach, and when my dad was in charge he put Kevin Miller in Goal, and he then went onto to be snapped up by crystal palace. I am still on the committee for the Club. Cricket and Rugby are massive sports in Cornwall too so pretty much all of my childhood memories revolve around these 3 sports.
What has been your professional highlight so far?
I have a few, having my weekly column with the Sun Newspaper has to be up there, along with winning Best Football Influencer judged by Sky Sports. Sports and Co-hosting on Talksport was a dream come true. Presenting the MMA world championships in Bahrain was something I will never forget though.
If you could cover any sporting event. What would it be and why?
Hands down the WORLD CUP or EUROS (men’s or women’s) – it would be such a buzz and to know you’re a part of it would just be a fantastic atmosphere!
Outside of work, do you do any sport yourself?
I love a visit to the driving range or a bit of tennis, but apart from that, I don’t actually like to participate in physical sports. I’m an armchair fan for sure! I recently filmed a batting master class with England Cricket vice-captain Jos Buttler and played in goal at Stamford bridge with Coca Cola and the premier league & I have a lot of improvements to make haha so I think I’ll just stick to the presenting and writing.
What do you do for downtime?
I love to go have a little day out, maybe visit a castle, or somewhere near water, I love being out in nature – I’m still a country girl at heart. I’ve recently got into painting as well to unwind as part of my spiritual practice.
What is your dream job?
Hosting Soccer Am, or another sports-related show I can bring my personality to. I also have some documentaries I want to make.
What advice would you give to other women hoping to enter the field of sports presenting?
If it’s your passion and all you think about then go for it, and don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do it, it’s tough, and there’s lots of competition, and you have to be prepared for numerous knockbacks but never give up on yourself.
Finally, what’s next for you?
I have some exciting things coming up over the summer, but I don’t want to jinx anything just yet.