Laura Trant is even more petite and immaculate in real life than she appears on television. We meet at a local farm shop with me fresh from a painting lesson. I apologise for smelling of turps, but no matter, Laura is effortlessly friendly and funny. Born in Dorset she lived on a beef farm for the first two years of her life. It was ”a really wonderful family life with three siblings”. Later she went to Aberystwyth University and did her postgraduate course at Falmouth University.
I wonder how she got into television journalism.
“After those four years I felt I needed some city life. I worked in Southampton at Radio Solent and then took the plunge and went to London. I knew at sixteen that I wanted to be journalist, so it was a question of doing voluntary work, then my degree, then once in London knocking on doors, working on my CV and being persistent. It paid off. I’ve had some fantastic experience working on the Jeremy Vine and Michael Parkinson radio shows. After two years I got the opportunity to work for BBC South Today and so moved back to Hampshire. I’ve been with South Today for ten years now.”
Laura appears as relaxed in front of the camera as she does in person. Does she get nervous?
“No not really. At the moment I work both in the studio at Southampton and in London reporting live on outside broadcasts. I’m often asked if I can get to a location quickly. I always yes. I love having to think on my feet – it can be very exciting! In the studio it may look effortless, but there is a production team speaking to your ear piece all the time and sometimes the autocue has been known to fail, plus there is a script to adhere too.”
There have been challenging moments for Laura during
“I remember reporting from the Grenfell Tower when a woman got between me and the camera. I was unsure how she was going to react, because she was understandably very angry and upset, but the camera kept rolling and I just had to keep going. Reporting on baby Charlie Gard was always hard.
My degree was in International Relations, with my dissertation on HIV and Aids in Africa, which interests me still. I visited Rwanda to report on life post-genocide. The stories I heard there, and the sights I saw seventeen years after the event, will stay with me forever. It was a horrific carnival of killing, the brutality of which you can’t come to terms with. Yet the people there are incredible and keep moving forward.
But of course, there have been some wonderful lighter moments. I drove the 007 Aston Martin DBS previously driven by Daniel Craig, and had the opportunity to cover CarFest and be driven around the track in a bright orange McLaren 650 Sport. I just love speed!”
Is Laura ambitious for promotion?
“Do you know, I really love my life the way it is now. I couldn’t be happier working part of the time in London and the rest of the time in Southampton, it’s a really good balance.”
Who would Laura interview given the chance?
“Oh easy, Dolly Parton! I just adore her! She is the ultimate contradiction – the way she looks contrasted with her values, beliefs and charity work. I would love to interview her. I have all of her records and have seen her in concert three times. She’s had an amazing and hard life but remains so positive. I love the stories she tells in her songs. Her personality and look are so upbeat, she’s just amazing. I sing along to her in the car – I don’t care if the windows are open or not!”
What’s it like being ‘Laura Trant’?
“I don’t think of myself as famous at all – I’m just me – I don’t mind being recognised as people are always so lovely.”
So how does Laura relax?
“I’m a split personality, I think. When I’m in the country I know I have the excitement of the city when I want it, and when in the city I love the idea of escaping to the countryside. I like to walk and cycle and practice my watercolour painting. I’m definitely a country girl at heart. I love Dorset and the New Forest, and I think we’re so lucky to have coast and forest in Hampshire. There’s nothing like being in the fresh air surrounded by natural beauty; I believe it’s really good for your soul to be away from constant communication and just be. I’ve recently taken up fly-fishing which enables me to enjoy the outdoors and completely focus. It’s so relaxing.
While in London I’ve started a six-week wine course with Berry Brothers in St. James’s. It’s fascinating but my friends find it hysterical because I’m such a lightweight. Two glasses and I’m done! But I do have a passion for Sauvignon Blanc and Hampshire Sparkling Wine, which is excellent and the only wine I take to friends.”
Laura combines all of this with her position as Vice President of The Wessex Cancer Trust.
“The Trust makes such a difference to those suffering, caring and living with cancer and to those who have lost loved ones to the disease. The work, research and support The Trust offers is absolutely invaluable. I’m very proud to be involved.”
What will Laura be doing this Christmas?
“I just adore Christmas and buying presents for people! I would happily be Mrs. Christmas in my next life! It will be at my parents’ house here in Hampshire with all the family. We still open our stockings on Mum and Dad’s bed like we did when were kids! Christmas is all about kids, isn’t it? We don’t have any TV on during Christmas but play lots of games with my nephew and two nieces. It’s all very traditional and we have the most amazing time. One day it will be wonderful to have my own kids, too. I’m really in awe of my sister and Mum for the way they are with their children.”
What would be Laura’s perfect gift?
“Chocolate! I’m well known at work for having chocolate biscuits under my desk and there is a certain shop in Winchester where I buy my peanut butter chocolate. I always get embarrassed when they say, ‘Hello Laura, your usual chocolate?’
Hair straighteners, I couldn’t live without them! My hair can go very curly! And the colour of a clear blue summer sky- you can’t beat it or paint it – such an amazing colour, I just love it.”
Here’s wishing Laura the perfect Christmas under a clear blue, frosty sky and a very happy 2018.