Presenter Interview: Miranda Krestovnikoff

From Times Online
“It has been mentioned I have to glam up a bit,” laughs Miranda Krestovnikoff, a biologist by training and a presenter of Coast, her sea-tanned face beaming from across her kitchen table. “But I’m very much a jeans-and-wellies sort of person: you’d look slightly stupid if you were wading around in the undergrowth wearing a large pair of earrings.” Krestovnikoff, seven months pregnant with her second child, is on a mission to make us appreciate our native treasures. “I’m passionate about British countryside and the British coastline. To have an amazing experience, people think you’ve got to go somewhere wild and remote – they forget the diversity of wildlife we have in this country.”

Krestovnikoff was one of scores of young, eager and privately educated Bristol University biology graduates banging on the door of the BBC’s Bristol-based Natural History Unit.

“It was a slow start,” she admits, “but I got my break looking after frogs and toads for a cameraman who introduced me to people at the BBC. I started as a science researcher for wildlife programmes, and then became the resident zoologist and presenter for Fox Television’s World Gone Wild in 1998.” She has extensive knowledge of marine and other wildlife, a gung-ho attitude and an ability to encourage even the most tongue-tied field researchers to talk.

She credits her husband, Nick, as much of the reason that she can have a child and hold down the demanding schedules. “We’re a team, and having that sort of relationship is really critical in a job that’s so transient. One minute you’re working and the next your contract has come to an end.” And the future? “I’d like to do more green-based things on television. It’s not just conserving species, but getting the message out about our environment and the world we live in. It is such a fragile place, we are massive consumers and just don’t think about our actions enough. Somehow it’s going to have to change.”

Wildlife broadcasting, too, needs to evolve. “If you’ve got the right expertise, qualifications and you fit the bill, then I don’t think it’s any harder for women to get into wildlife presenting. But to stay and make a big name for yourself is difficult. As a woman, you might make it for a few years, but somebody younger or more glamorous than you is going to come in. Whereas with men, it’s the voice of authority. I’m prepared for the worst.”

For now, she is embracing what she has. “Every day that I work, I’m learning something. If I’m in the middle of Pembrokeshire on a boat looking at puffins, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world.” Not that she doesn’t sometimes question herself. “The weather in this country is so extreme, and there are frequent moments, when diving and filming with a big heavy mask on, when it’s hard to breathe. When I’m roped to a boat in murky, freezing-cold water, trying to work against the current, I do think, ‘What am I doing? I’m mad.’ ”

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