Celebrity Journalist, Myra Ali, has interviewed A-list actors, models and chefs, from Zendaya to Michael B. Jordan. Myra is known for her empathetic, entertaining and venerable interviews. Myra also lives with a rare skin condition, ‘butterfly skin’ (epidermolysis bullosa), a life-threatening skin condition that causes her body to blister and tear.
KEELY: Tell me about you and how you got started as a journalist?
MYRA: I was working with Debra U.K. charity a charity that helps people with Epidermolysis Bullosa – the skin condition I have. And in 2019 they asked me to interview a celebrity chef in London, for a charity appeal they were doing, while I was there Nikki Holland actor Tom Holland’s mum was the photographer. After the event she commented that I was really good at interviewing and she she asked if I wanted to interview Tom Holland and Zendaya for the new Spider-Man movie of course I said, yes! That was my first press junket and it got a huge response. After that I reached out to magazines and I was able to interview more A-list actors for the London film Festival- like Timothy Chalamet, Lily Rose Depp – then Marie Claire asked me to write a piece for them about my health condition and career since then it’s been non-stop.
KEELY: You live with a rare skin condition, what benefit do you think this lived experience brings to your work?
MYRA: My skin condition is very visible most people think it’s burns, it’s a painful unpredictable condition- however the benefit it brings me in my work is that actors trust me from the get go, they know I’m not just looking for a story, it’s almost like there is instant trust between us and they can tell I’ve gone through something so they [celebrities] are more willing to share their story with me. Also most actors and publicists are happy to give me an interview, this happened recently in November where I was interviewing on the red carpet and Colin Farrell’s publicist had told the all the journalists he was not giving more interviews but with me she said he’s said he’ll give you an interview. They took me to a separate place and I interviewed him, I felt very lucky.
KEELY: You talk openly about your mental health, what is some advice you can give to young aspiring journalists on how they can protect theirs as they navigate this complex career choice?
MYRA: Aspiring journalists need to know this is not a easy career there is a lot of competition and lots of rejections. You really have to have thick skin in this industry – to protect your mental health it’s best never to take anything personally, rejections are a part of life. The key thing is to keep going and if so some says you can’t do something think of other ways or strategies to get what you want. If you want something bad enough, it will happen.
KEELY: What are some of your favourite interviews?
MYRA: My favourite interviews have been with Tom Holland as he’s always so kind and it always feels like chatting to a friend. Colin Farrell was also a gem in my interview video, he is so friendly and really goes out his way to make me feel at ease.
KEELY: What has been the most surprising thing you have learnt about someone during an interview
MYRA: That it doesn’t matter if you are famous or not we all have a story and we all on a journey to try reach certain goals. Even actors get many knock backs and have to pick themselves up, the media creates an illusion that they are separate from us but in actual fact when we look into someone’s story we are very similar – the only difference is they are on TV.
KEELY: Anything and everything you would like to add, no holding back!
MYRA: Being an entertainment journalist with a disability has for sure empowered me and I love my job, I love the fact I’m seen as an journalist first then someone with a skin condition after, disability never defines you, disability in fact can be an advantage as ur makes you stand out as you will make an impact on the person you interview and the viewer watching, other non disabled journalists do not have that advantage.