Autocutie? Not with My Traq Record; Isla Traquair Tells MAUREEN SUGDEN She's Doing Well in TV Thanks to Sheer Hard Work

Daily Mail (London), December 28, 2013 | Go to article overview

Autocutie? Not with My Traq Record; Isla Traquair Tells MAUREEN SUGDEN She's Doing Well in TV Thanks to Sheer Hard Work


Byline: MAUREEN SUGDEN

ISLA Traquair is telling me about the day she baked chocolate brownies for Will Smith and dropped them off at his Hollywood mansion - because that's the kind of thing, I quickly learn, she does without batting an eyelid.

And it's the kind of thing - dropping in on global movie stars - that is a lot ng ot easier for the Scots broadcaster these days, as she is now a California girl, having upped sticks to Los Angeles where she is in the throes of launching her career Stateside.

Back in Scotland, where she is spending the festive season with her family, the 33-year-old, who was brought up in Westhill, near Aberdeen, talks excitedly about her career plans, saying she is on the cusp of signing a development deal for a show bound for a US network. is er as ar er he al It comes after a couple of years of living in Vancouver, where Miss Traquair presented her own lifestyle programme on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Now, though, the star - whose looks and husky voice have long earned her comparisons with fellow Scots presenter Kirsty Young - has her sights set on Hollywood, where she has been mingling with some of the world's biggest celebrities and counts heart-throbs George Clooney and Ryan Gosling as neighbours.

When she moved there in September, though, she was staying with a friend whose neighbour happened to be Men In Black star Smith.

'One afternoon, we just decided to go round with some brownies we'd baked to introduce ourselves,' she says.

It turned out that Smith wasn't at home and his security guards probably ate the brownies, but the anecdote illustrates her approach to life, which she describes as 'blindly going forth with absolute determination'.

Miss Traquair - who has interviewed big names such as Tom Hanks and Nicolas Cage - started her broadcasting career with Grampian TV, as a reporter and then presenter of North Tonight, where her rising profile began to attract a little bit too much attention at times.

One particularly dedicated admirer sailed from the Hebrides to Aberdeen to deliver to her a box of Milk Tray. She has always been adamant, however, that despite her blonde hair and striking big blue eyes, her looks have not landed her jobs.

'I have heard of the expression autocutie and I'm always going to face judgments like that, because I'm female for a start. Men don't generally get called autocuties,' she says.

'Yeah, there are many autocuties in this industry, but just look at my background. My understanding of an autocutie is a pretty woman who reads the news. The days have gone where people can present the news with no journalistic background.'

SHE went on to develop and present STV's Unsolved cold case crime investigation show, before making her name UK-wide five years ago when she was hired as Natasha Kaplinsky's maternity leave replacement on Five news.

It was a controversial appointment, as it sparked a bitter ageism row when she beat Selina Scott to the plum presenting job to front what was then the channel's flagship 7pm bulletin.

Miss Traquair had previously been working as a reporter and occasional presenter for the programme, but Miss Scott, who said she had been approached for the role, is thought to have received around [pounds sterling]250,000 after complaining of age discrimination when she didn't get it.

However, the time Miss Traquair looks back on as defining, in terms of helping her realise she was on the right career path, was while she was a rookie news reporter in Aberdeen.

She says: 'I was 16 and on my training course when I got sent to a big oil conference at a hotel.

'I was told I had to go in and come out with ten business cards which would be useful to me. That could be quite daunting for a 16-year-old, but I did it. Nothing held me back.

'And just the other day, I was at a screening of the new Hobbit movie and I am a massive Lord of the Rings fan. …

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