Sharon Mascarenhas: That face on TV
Sharon Mascarenhas is a popular face on television. From a news anchor to a presenter and compeer, Mascarenhas has matured today in the industry and has been recognized for that with an award at the Rupavahini State Awards.
How has the journey been as a TV presenter and Compeer?
It has been an incredible yet a challenging journey, I completed 10 years in anchoring the English News on Channel Eye, Rupavahini on the 16th of November, takes me back to all the memories on how I started made it on this journey thus far without quitting.
TV Presenting – has always provided me with an opportunity to host and bring live updates from various government and state functions. Election times are my favourite and budget review is something I wouldn’t want to miss, we are extremely busy during that period. I must also confess that I have had the opportunity to meet and interview various heads of the state, Business Entrepreneurs and other artists, there is no other place where you can have it all.
On the constant day to day lives as a presenter you have to be cautious as always with the names, titles, diction, vocabulary, your facial expression and your vocal its an all in one game and I never seem to get tired of it.
Compering has been a challenge, to identify the audience and the keep a tab on styles and type of diction which should be used to the audience. It all depends on the compeers brief and if the institution or organisations fails to do it, we have to identify it ourselves. The downside about it is that institutions shares the agenda last minute, sharing incorrect information or content hence this can be a huge blunder where at times you just feel like walking off stage and hiding. Your audience is ever ready to see the best of you or see you fall. Which is why you must be prepared for absolutely everything.
What was your reaction like when you heard you won the State TV award this year again?
So far I have successfully won four awards for TV presenting and news reading. Won the award as Best News Reader for two consecutive years (2014-2015) and the other was as Best TV Presenter of the year in 2011 at the Rupavahini State Awards. The other award was for TV Presenting which I received was at the Raigam Tele’ Awards in 2011. You know you are a winner when you are nominated for every award however the challenge lies when your competing against other station readers and presenters. On the day of the event, you are dressed best, not in your News Uniform but something simple or glamorous as it’s the only night we meet together, that feeling when they announce your name as the nominee and when they are about to announce the final results, for the first few years, I always had goose bumps, butterflies, heart ache, you name the list your fingers are super cold when you hear the results. And then you go YES!!! There have been many times when you walk out with nothing, sad feeling down but that’s when you create an interest to work hard next year not only to win awards but for sure to improve on what you do and that’s how your years of work is proved.
Is it tough to maintain that image everyone expects from you?
Yes it is. It is not easy, things have changed from the time I’ve started, everyone’s eyes are on you waiting to see what your next big event or what sort of event you do, what kind of introduction, what is the style, the clothes, from hair to make up, its really tough. Especially when you are working full time. Social media plays a huge game as well, with live newsfeed and constant video updates, today the world can see what you are talking about and hence you have to be super careful in everything you do. I don’t fake it, I am myself on onscreen and off-screen.
So its not the point of been famous, today everyone thinks you can be famous by showing your face on TV. To me TV presenting is just another job like what everyone else does, and it’s a process where people start liking your work and the appreciating what you do when you deliver quality and a clear message where they can take to build their day to day lives. The more followers you have, the more you are concern about your image. Specially in a country like Sri Lanka where people are very conscious about all the things you do whenever you step out.
Looking back, do you ever regret being who you are today?
No regrets, I love what I do, I am where I am today is because the people I work with, they have supported me on this journey, they have encouraged me and assisted me throughout. My fans are my biggest critics and without them I wouldn’t have made it this far. I only regret not having a law degree, which may have been a huge plus point in my area of work, but hey, who would want to do a mic drop so quick, the lights the stage, its my life now.
Who are the people you would pick as the ones who made you that person you are today in your career?
Anoma Wattaladeniya, she was the one who wanted me to join the Kids News of Rupavahini, then Sanjeewa Batuwatta who was a producer in 2006 who wanted me to join the main news team, I owe it to them. There onwards I worked along side with various producers and event managers who brought me this far. My mother is my biggest critic and friend without my family I wouldn’t have made it.
Do you prefer news presenting or compering?
Tough one – Can I say Both, I love news, I hope someday that I could be apart of TLC or CNN. Cause I love travelling and like to do TV programmes related to that subject.
Compering- I love the stage and every moment when you are on stage you want to do things to keep your audience awake. The fame, the glamour of meeting people is another plus, learning about every product is another advantage…you get first hand information and it’s the best job, You get to be the queen of the show, but at the same time you have to be super prepared for anything to fall on you. You are the emcee and the master of ceremonies and you can make a break or save an event and definitely bring a different in all the things you do.
Anyone you like to be like someday or anyone you try to emulate as a presenter?
News Presenting – Christana Amanpour, her dynamic interviews, I love it.
TV Presenting – Ellen De generous and Steve Harvey – They share a great sense of humour and they really know to keep an audience awake.
I read articles related to public speaking and that helps me improve on styles and new formalities.
What does it take to be a good TV presenter?
To be a good TV presenter you need to study and practice, Homework is important, you need to understand the subject matter and open your mouth and talk, some presenters fail to bring in their true sense by bringing in fake accents. You have to know and understand how to present and most of all love what you do. Respect the people you work with, a lot of people think TV presenting is the best way to get famous, but let me tell you that its not only that you have to come prepared and respect the craft you work for. Have a good sense of humour, share the stage with your co host, don’t be selfish, its not a competition or a race to see who compering better than the rest. You have to create a liking to yourself and see as to whether your audience loves what your saying, like leave a mark so that they remember something about you, that makes a difference of being a presenter. It is extremely important to be multi skilled. At times you will be un-noticed but you have to find a way in breaking the ice.
What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I am a spontaneous person, completed ten years and now im ready to move and do things different it may be at home or abroad but for sure something different. As I always say Sky is the limit and I will go where ever the road takes me. I will not give up and I am ever so grateful to all the people who supported me throughout my journey. (Colombo Gazette)