Getting to know: ‘Zumba Jess’

I caught up with Jessica Lutchmaya (my Zumba instructor!) for an interview, for altFit London. Check out the full chat below.

altFit London

She’s taking over the South East of the country with her energetic, lease-for-life classes, so altFit decided to catch-up for a quick chat with one of the best Zumba instructor’s around.

Name: Jessica Lutchmaya

Location: South East


What do you do?

I’m a Zumba Instructor as well as a professional dancer. I started dancing at the age of 5, in Mauritius where I grew up. I was surrounded by a lot of different cultures and so was able to experience a variety of dance styles.

When I discovered the Zumba dance craze – a dance inspired by aerobics, drawing from many different styles of dance, with the majority being Latin such as salsa, cha cha and samba etc – I fell in love with the whole concept of helping people become fit and healthy through dance and having fun.


How did you first discover it?

I first discovered Zumba whilst I was on…

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Meeting The Editors

Here’s the lowdown on the nation’s biggest and most influential news broadcasters – straight from the big dogs themselves.


Francesca Unsworth, BBC World Service Group Director 

Ms Unsworth has overall editorial and managerial responsibility for the BBC World Service, the BBC World News Television Channel and the BBC’s international facing online news services in English.

She ensures the output covers the BBC’s values of independence, impartiality and fairness in their international services, and is also the first female director in its 82-year history. Broadcasting in 28 languages, the BBC World Service attracts a weekly global audience of 191 million people who regard it as the most objective voice in international news. Ms Unsworth says that the World Service are currently developing their digital branch following the success of their WhatsApp news service during the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa. They are particularly interested in the rise of smartphones in Asia and Africa, and are attempting to find ways to provide content for China and North Korea.



Geoff Hill, Editor of ITV News 

Geoff Hill is the Editor of ITV Network News. He is responsible for all of ITV’s national news programmes, as well as the London News, Tonight and the website. As ITV is “free” from the pressure of 24-hour rolling news, the channel focuses on producing high quality, people-focused news packages. Mr Hill argues that long-form journalism is still “active and wanted” and a scheduled news programme such as ITV News, allows viewers to grasp more complex stories in a manageable 30-minute time slot. Flagship programme ITV News attracts six to ten million viewers per day. Their audience base is predominantly the over 50s, and is mostly female. They don’t aim to attract certain demographics, but do “stand up for the stories they believe in”. Their programmes focus on human-interest and are loaded with eyewitness accounts and case studies.



Ben de Pear, Editor of Channel 4 News

Mr de Pear oversees the running of the channel’s flagship news programme, which aims to appeal to “everyone in Britain”. The programme tries to not only provide a summary of the day’s top stories, but aims to have a “wider vision”, delivering in-depth reports and carrying out original investigative journalism. Channel 4 News also endeavours to hold public figures to account, particularly on incidents of injustice in public life. By his own admission, Mr de Pear admits that whilst their content is often very “bleak”, the channel does try to maintain a sense of “mischief” in their style. Mr de Pear says correspondents are “let off the leash” and are given the chance to be more opinionated than is typical. Mr de Pear feels “7pm is a rubbish time to be on” and thinks the ideal time for their programme and target audience would be 9 or 10pm.



Cristina Nicolotti Squires, Editor of Channel 5 News

ITN’s 5 News “reaches audiences that others don’t”. Broadcasting at 5pm, viewers are typically retired or not at work. The programme is aimed at people that typically “dislike the news”. Their audience is predominantly older, with 53% being female, and a high percentage of their demographic identifying as BME. Admittedly Ms Squires says 5 News are “distinctly lagging behind” in technology compared to other outlets. But despite having a zero budget for marketing and digital media, she still manages to keep their Facebook and Twitter feeds active. Being a small team, 5 News rely upon agency feeds for their core newsgathering, but the perks of being part of the ITN family, means they also have access to content from ITV’s lunchtime bulletins too. 5 News like to “have fun” with their programme, particularly by using a lighter story to end the show.



John Ryley, Head of Sky News

John Ryley is responsible for “everything that you see, hear and read” at Sky News. As a 24-hour rolling news channel, the pressure to deliver high quality content is constant. Sky considers the BBC their biggest rivals, but Mr Ryley sees Sky as a “harder-news broadcaster”. They possess the ability to go into extraordinary depth on stories, and delve into complex issues in ways that other broadcasters are unable to do. They strive to be more distinct, different and “ambitious” in their output. For example, their most recent digital venture sees them taking on Snapchat for instantaneous, short, snappy news directly to smartphones. Whilst their Snapchat target audience is young teenagers, Sky’s 24-hour rolling news service and radio bulletins pull in a predominantly male, “well-educated”, over 45s spectatorship who are interested in current affairs.


“Fairer is better?”

Mr. Abdul Alim, owner of UK Skin Lightening brand Nur76 appeared on BBC 1Xtra back in 2012 for an interview with host Mike Anthony.

The interview set out to discuss and debate the concept of skin-bleaching – and answer questions about why people (particularly women) feel the need to do it, and why it’s a growing ideal in Black and Asian communities to be whiter and lighter.


Here are my thoughts:

One comment from Mr Alim stuck in my mind after listening to the discussion:

Most men, prefer fairer skinned Black and Asian women

What’s a listener meant to do with this information? Surely it’s damaging enough for an adult to hear it on the radio, but what about a young person hearing such a self-assured sentence?

It’s frustrating to hear such a ‘fact’ uttered in 21st Century Britain, the mentality behind these words is disturbing and distorted.

Backed up by what Mr. Alim deems as “his own research”. Interviewer, Mike Anthony admits he finds Mr. Alim’s words, “insulting‘.

Mr. Alim admits he is perhaps creating “more hatred”  by making these skin-lightening products, because it’s encouraging “more segregation”.

So if people are so worried and aware about the damages –  even if there’s a “market for it” – why do people feel the need to pump money into harmful practice?

Dangerous side effects from using the creams include: swelling or thinning of the skin, cataracts, osteoporosis, birth defects and neurological and kidney damage due to high level of mercury used in the creams – but it doesn’t stop there.

Mr Alim’s lightening creams and serums work by reducing the level of melanin* in the body.

But with melanin known as the biggest preventer of skin-cancer, why would they want to stop your body producing the polymer that could stop you developing skin cancer? His answer –

But obviously, you don’t need that much melanin to prevent skin cancer

This naive and astonishing utterance proves to me that as long as these mind-boggling ‘fairer is better’ ideals are in existance, we’re still no closer to solving the Shadeism enigma.

Do you agree with Mr. Alim?

Vote anonymously here:


*Melanin is the pigment that gives human skin, hair, and eyes their color. Dark-skinned people have more melanin in their skin than light-skinned people have.

Value everyone

Quote of the day.


‘Your network, is your net worth’


The Editor and Founder of Amor Magazine UK, Ruby Mae Moore, passed on this nugget of wisdom to me last month.

It reminded me that we shouldn’t be quick to shun away those who pass us by and those we might see as frivolous, “nobodies” or irrelevant in the moment.

We sometimes find we’ll get to places we want to be, through our networks.

Rumour has it, successful people make time to find and build networks, while everyone else is busy just finding work.

I guess you never know where your 8 year old bestie from Maths class could be in twenty years time. This quote reminds me that it’s always worth making the extra effort to stay in touch long after you’ve known someone.


Islington’s GP surgeries slammed for lack of translation services

My last radio report for City Vibe Radio.
Islington GP surgeries have been slammed for their lack of translation services.

I went to find out more..

City Vibe Radio

An undercover sting by voluntary medical watchdog Healthwatch Islington has revealed shocking results about language support services within Islington’s GP surgeries.

In a study by Healthwatch Islington, volunteers went to all 36 GP surgeries pretending to be new patients who did not speak English.

Just one – St Peter’s Street Medical Practice, in Islington – offered an interpreter.

The rest had no help, and 19 told them to go away and come back with a friend or relative who could speak English.

One resident told us how it made them feel:

‘They see us struggling to communicate – why don’t they use the telephone interpreting?’

Emma Whitby of Healthwatch Islington said: “Interpreting services are available to all GP practices in the borough, at no cost to individual practices”

So why are services so sparse?

With no medical providers willing to comment, City Vibe went to speak to local community support groups…

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