This is what it's really like to be the presenter of a gameshow app

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Hannah Keegan
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Stylist’s Work/Life column is a place for accomplished women to tell us about their professional routines. Sharon Carpenter, 36,
 is the presenter of the gameshow app HQ. She divides her time between London and New York.     

My alarm goes off…

At 6.40am. I reach for my phone to check my emails and look at the stories of the day. Then I grab my computer to go over the questions for the games I’ll be hosting that day. Only when I’m caught up 
do I get out of bed. I choose my outfit from a rack my stylist puts together in my lounge – I usually pick a bright dress. Then I jump into a car and go to the studio.

I’m responsible for…

Presenting the British version
of the gameshow app HQ. I ask 12 questions and the audience has 10 seconds to answer each
 of them. They can win hundreds
 of thousands of pounds. I’m also responsible for interacting with the audience live and making it fun.
It has to be enjoyable to play.

I got the job…

By auditioning. I was working as a presenter on BBC America when my agent called me about the audition. I thought, ‘OK, that sounds fun, I could do that’. I auditioned and just forgot about it, then two months later my agent called me saying I’d got the job.

My typical day…

Sees me arrive at the studio at 8.30am. I go into hair and make-up – we coordinate this with my outfit. If I’m in America, the first show is at 10am to broadcast in the UK at 3pm. I like to know the questions inside out and be certain of the facts. This helps make my commentary entertaining. Because we’re live, there’s a lot of ad-lib too.

I start to feel excited a few minutes before we go live, that’s when the in-app chat kicks off and I can feel our audience’s energy. 
I also have to stay on top of the day’s stories as we reference them on the show. For example, we went live just as England’s World Cup semi-final had gone into extra time, so we were glued to the TV.

After I finish the first show at 10.20am, I’ll have breakfast. 
I usually eat some fruit and 
a croissant. Then I’ll catch up with writers and producers to discuss any questions I have – if I need to speak to someone in the UK team then I’ll Skype them. My second show is at 4pm in New York to broadcast at 9pm in the UK. Sometimes, I go to the gym 
and grab lunch, usually a salad, between shows. Other times,
 I prepare for the next day or do more shows for the American HQ.

Every other week we have
 a meeting with founders, writers, producers and presenters to talk about the direction of the company and make sure we’re all on the same page. I finish at 5.30pm.

My most memorable moment…

Was when I was asked to appear on the show Empire. I played myself interviewing Jamal Lyon when his mum, Cookie, bursts into the room. It was the most surreal moment when Cookie said my name.

The worst part of my job…

Is seeing people get too invested in the game – they get so sad when they lose.

The best part of my job…

Is seeing how excited our audience gets.

After work…

I’m out at industry events, most nights. Otherwise, I’ll meet a friend for dinner – I love Cipriani and Nobu. I’m usually home by 8.30pm and I’ll catch up on emails. I tend to stay up late reading or watching TV. I try to be asleep by 12.30am.

My Plan B: Detective

Working in this industry, you’re always probing and investigating things anyway. That’s how your mind works. In that sense, I guess I’d make a good detective. 

Images: Liz Gregg