Konnie Huq has just released an important new book for children, but the media only seems to be interested in her marriage with Charlie Brooker.
Those of us who remember a childhood of Tamagotchis, dial-up internet connections and S Club 7 will no-doubt also keep Konnie Huq’s name in the memory box. She broke the record for being the longest-running female host of Blue Peter, which she presented for 11 years between 1997 and 2008.
Huq has since gone on to present various shows and co-write episodes of hit series Black Mirror, while also starting and raising a family with her husband Charlie Brooker. Most recently, she has written a children’s book, Cookie, about a young Bangladeshi girl who loves science. Jacqueline Wilson has hailed it as being “fresh and very funny…sure to be a big hit” which is all the convincing we need to know it is about to become a huge success.
As a Muslim woman raised by two Bangladeshi immigrant parents, Huq wrote in The Telegraph that “being a bit of an outsider of part of a minority shapes you” and revealed how “the books I write and illustrate are loosely based upon my childhood”.
Also, we are 100% here for anyone who champions young girls in STEM.
Huq was also part of the very low percentage of women-of-colour who attended Cambridge University. She broke away from her family’s traditional expectations for her to work as a doctor or an accountant, to go and pursue a successful career in entertainment. With a voice is that is usually under-represented in the media, her story is an essential - and incredibly interesting - one to listen to.
And yet, the fascination around her life story and career seems to fixate on her relationship with Brooker. You just need to read the headlines surrounding the promotion of her new book to see this.
“Konnie Huq on family life with Charlie Brooker,” read one. “Konnie Huq opens up in rare intimate chat about husband Charlie Brooker,” said another. “Wife Konnie Huq reveals their son accidentally called him [Brooker] ‘Alexa’ after tech took over the family home,” added another.
Huq has a successful career in her own right. She is not just “the wife” of a man. And the actual interviews are about her work. Although she seems happy enough to talk about her family, it would be refreshing to at least see the headlines run with something not so sexist, cliche and boring.
It’s 2019. And yet, Taylor Swift is still being asked about when she “plans to settle down” and women are still being judged for their decisions over surnames after marriage.
Jada Pinkett Smith recently discussed the importance of remaining independent in a marriage, which the media would do well to take note of.