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Claire Irvin

Interview with Claire Irvin

As one of the UK’s leading content editors and brand specialists, Claire Irvin has been the driving force behind some of the most successful magazine launches and relaunches in British publishing history. In this interview with A-Speakers she discusses how culture contributes to the sexualisation of teens and reveals how living mindfully has improved her quality of life.

How much does humour factor into your talks and presentations?

I like to make my speeches fun (where appropriate), inclusive and entertaining and to pepper my speeches with funny anecdotes and levity. Some occasions offer up more opportunities than others, of course. Much is about reading my audience and having the confidence – and the content – to respond to them accordingly. If they are more appreciative of a serious approach, I will tailor it as such – but if they seem up for a laugh, let’s go with that too!


What do you gain personally from being a public speaker?

I just enjoy it! I like the feeling of holding an audience’s attention, of interacting with them and sharing experiences. I enjoyed being on stage and acting and dancing as a child, and public speaking/hosting awards are the closest thing to it that my chosen career offers – though please note I hung up my tap shoes a long time ago.


Who or what inspires you most?

I admire pioneers, Mavericks and strong women – people who are thought leaders and aren’t afraid of being an individual. I’m lucky that I get to meet a lot of all of these – from all walks of life – and am proud to call many of them friends.


Do you have a favourite experience from your speaking career?

I love it when as a speaker you get great chemistry between yourself and an audience – and co host of course. But my favourite moments often stem from when things go wrong – typos in the autocue, a no-show from an award winner, or a celebrity co host who turns up drunk, or late, or falls over then bursts into tears on stage, for example. You’ll have to book me to find out more!


What is the main message that you hope audiences take away from your talks on the sexualisation of teens?

We are all guilty of sexualising our teens via the culture we have created and live in. That’s the programmes we watch, the way we talk, and the expectations of gender roles, relationships and body image that we harbour. So therefore we need to equip young people to deal with this. One is never too young to know right from wrong. Knowledge is empowerment, and age should not be a barrier to knowledge. If a girl is old enough to be potentially pressured into something she doesn’t want to do, then she is old enough to be properly educated about sex and be able to openly talk about it with her peers and her influential grown ups.


What was the most eye-opening moment for you while researching mindfulness for your new book Mindfulness for Women?

My mindfulness journey was more a series of surprises than just one eye opening moment. With every week that I persevered with it there seemed to be a new benefit – more patience, better sleep, more head space, a calmer approach to life that meant firstly work became less stressful and then my relationships with family and friends improved. The best one has been my increasing self discipline in focusing on the moment – so important in appreciating the time I have with my children rather than being distracted by email and phone – and one that pays for itself over and over.


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