#TBB10 With Wonder Woman Ria Hebden

A brand new inspirational talk show, Wonder Women is set to launch online. The aim of the series is to inspire the next generation of talented, young female creatives.

Societal rhetoric and a lack of visible role models have powerful influence in shaping young people’s beliefs of what is possible. A report compiled by the Young Women’s Trust revealed that gendered career stereotypes are established in young girls between 7 – 10 years old. With few aspiring to be Scientists or Lawyers, viewing future careers as an Engineer or as an Architect as unattainable.

More worryingly, the report also revealed that of the young girls who apply to do apprenticeships in industries that are traditionally male-dominated such as Construction, IT or Engineering, very few actually complete them due to the unconscious bias and sexism they experience during their placements which ultimately, lead them to abandon the course.

#TBB10 spoke to the series creator and presenter, Ria Hebden to find out how Wonder Women will help turn this research on its head…

1# Tell us about your new show Wonder Women

Wonder Women is an inspirational online talk show which champions the stories of female trailblazers who work in Tech, Media and Music industries. The show aims to inspire, empower and inform viewers by sharing the real-life experiences of these women and mothers while also showcasing the breadth of roles available and vitally, the different avenues into the industries they work in.

2# Why was it important to launch something like this now?

Since Brexit and Trump’s inauguration, I’ve felt a genuine urgency to launch Wonder Women now more than ever. I think there’s been a general ‘awakening’ of social consciousness among the masses, whereby people are beginning to wake up to the fact that living in a patriarchal society is no longer working and so, it’s a matter of urgency to champion positive female stories.

3# What can the audience expect from each episode?

The first series of Wonder Women, comprises of 4 x 20 minute webisodes, discussing topical industry issues and everyday dilemmas asked by young people from selected youth charities and features words of wisdom from an array of talented and inspiring women. Each webisode offers insight, wisdom and helpful tips about getting into and succeeding in each industry.

4# Why the decision to release it online?

Digital is where our audience is. We consume content on the go, anywhere and at any time we want it, so making the series accessible online and watchable at any time made complete sense. I’m also excited by the fact that I made Wonder Women independently, without pursuing the conventional route of television commissioning. From my experience, I’ve found the commissioning process to be quite slow which took the joy out of the creative process, so launching the show independently and digitally was always the plan.

(l-r) Rebecca Judd, Ria Hebden, Arfa Butt & Melody Kane Photo Credit: Garry Carbon
(l-r) Rebecca Judd, Ria Hebden, Arfa Butt & Melody Kane Photo Credit: Garry Carbon

5# With so many female driven talk shows out there, what will make Wonder Women stand out from the rest?

Wonder Women is unique because each episode is industry-specific and it showcases three women who work within the same industry but in different roles, offering the viewer an insight into the different roles they could pursue. Wonder Women also supports Slenky, a social enterprise which offers work experience opportunities for young people in the industries we discuss on the show which aligns with our brands values in giving back and supporting the next generation.

6# As Wonder Women is your brainchild how did you go about putting the show together?

By wearing 15 hats simultaneously! Creating Wonder Women has been an incredibly fulfilling experience where all of my previous roles in television have come into play. From developing the show’s concept, researching panellists, pulling the crew together, creating and writing the promotional materials to presenting the show and project-managing the creation of the digital site – these are all an amalgamation of the skills I have acquired during my 13 years working in the Media industry.

7# What was the most important thing in your mind when pulling together your co-panellists?

The key importance of selecting the panellists in the show, was to ensure each episode had a diverse mix of guests. When I talk about diversity, I not only mean diversity in the job roles which we feature in each episode. I wanted diversity in the life experiences of the women, as well as diversity in their ages, ethnic background and class. I am passionate about championing diversity and I knew we could achieve universal appeal by securing guests who are uniquely different and representative of the viewing audience.

8# How did you find juggling being in front of and behind the camera?

I really enjoyed the creative process. Naturally, you have to let go of some elements of control and trust that the team you have put in place to deliver, which they absolutely did. I think whenever you are working on anything creative, you have to take risks and not be afraid to make mistakes. I’ve learnt so much from series one and am already bursting with new ideas for series two.

9# Name three Wonder Women who have made a difference in your life?

It’s so hard to name just three! Founder of the Music of Black Origin Awards, Kanya King gave me an amazing opportunity to host the red carpet interviews as the official MOBO presenter at the 2015 Awards in my home county of West Yorkshire, which is a career highlight. Author, Rebecca Campbell’s inspirational book Light is the New Black gave me the nudge to create Wonder Women and bring my passion project to life. Director and Commercial Affairs Manager, Lucy Stylianou encouraged me to believe in my idea and produce Wonder Women independently.

10# Who do you want to thank, big up, say hey to?

Angela Ferreira – a TV Executive Producer and long-time friend and mentor, who has supported me immensely throughout my career. Donna Taberer – a TV specialist, ex-commissioner and fabulous friend, who encouraged me to join with the Royal Television Society’s Futures Committee where I’ve had the privilege of hosting numerous industry events and the fantastic group of female mentees in the Women in Film and Network of which I’m super proud to be part of and who inspire me to keep creating.

Catch each episode of Wonder Women every Friday at www.wonderwomentv.com starting from Friday 28th April.

Every Wednesday Wonder Women will release short clips of #wednesdaywisdom from some of the women who feature in the series so make sure you subscribe to access their words of wisdom and industry insider tips.

To support the movement join Wonder Women on social media:
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