Clara Amfo shares the five photos that have shaped her life

Clara Amfo | Soho House

The award-winning radio broadcaster and television presenter sat down with fellow radio personality Arielle Free for the latest instalment of ‘Picture Show'

Friday 15 July   By Soho House

Picture Show is our new member event series in which prominent leaders in the creative industries share five images that reflect key moments in their professional and personal journeys.

This week, radio royalty Clara Amfo stopped by 76 Dean Street to share her photos with Arielle Free. In their conversation, Amfo opened up about her close relationship with her late father, what it was like interviewing Jay Z for BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, and how she felt when Barbie made a doll in her image.

Clara Amfo | Soho House

‘My dad was a microbiologist and he came to the UK from Ghana in 1970. He worked between here and Saudi Arabia during the first 10 years of his marriage with my mum, so was away a lot but he always gave her something nice when he returned and he bought her this outfit – it’s fab! My dad was very well read, really smart, and super hard working. My mum has only just retired but if it wasn’t for Covid, she would have carried on working. We definitely inherited our work ethic from them. I’m fiercely proud of the fact that I’m a kid of immigrants. I’m really proud of them. I’m proud of their journey.’

Clara Amfo | Soho House

‘This picture is from the Paris Half Marathon in 2016. I did the race in honour of my father. He passed away in March 2015 and I found out he died when I was about to run the marathon the year before the one that I took this picture at. I didn’t end up running then but I made myself a promise that I’d go back and do it the next year. I actually made a documentary about it [on Radio 1] called Running with Grief. On the day of the race, my friend Sue made the banner in the picture and my friends Radha and Zainab ran alongside me. Towards the end we were all ugly crying. It was a mess but beautiful too. The marathon really bonded me with my friends and family in a very particular way that I’m not sure would have happened otherwise.’

Clara Amfo | Soho House

‘For this BBC Radio 1 interview with Jay Z, I was prepping for a month in advance. In the interview itself he was wicked. We actually chatted for about 45 minutes but it was cut down for YouTube. I was so nervous but he was really lovely and ended up laughing a lot.’

Clara Amfo | Soho House

‘I loved taking part in Strictly Come Dancing. People asked why I did it. I just think Strictly is f*cking cool – it’s creative, dramatic, silly, whilst being really wholesome. I’ve also got a very camp sense of humour and I love musical theatre; I love new music, I love singing. I love different aspects of the arts. The image pictured is when I did my favourite dance of the series. I loved getting to do the Josephine Baker hair. I love the Harlem Renaissance era. I loved that whole look.’

Clara Amfo | Soho House

‘I found out about the Barbie doll whilst I was doing Strictly. I received a message from a lovely woman, Jordan, who I work with and who told me that Barbie wanted to make me into a doll. They chose me for their ‘Shero’ doll series. I’m still speechless. It was a very surreal experience. The word representation is used a lot and not always in the best context, but it is important because everybody from whatever walk of life deserves to feel valued and humanised by the media. This includes the dolls you play with as a kid.’ 

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