Interview with Rosie Tapner

Interviews

“I wanted to be Davina McCall when I was younger but the big one is Claire Balding. I used to watch her at Badminton and Burleigh and think I want to work with her one”.

 

The Journey From Student to Model Presenter

Rosie Tapner is a successful presenter and previous model with a love of home and the countryside. She has presented the After Hours show for Jockey Club Racecourses, worked for both Ascot and Goodwood TV as well as Sky Sports Racing. She has presented at Cheltenham, Aintree and Epsom as well as at racecourses in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kentucky. After gracing the front cover of Vogue at the age of 16, Rosie worked as a top model for 10 years travelling the runways of the world.

She adores children, animals and chocolate, has a penchant for tomato ketchup (Heinz of course) and is an accomplished flautist. Rosie has just finished the Longines Global Champions Tour. She happens to be marrying Toddy’s brother Ross this summer!

The Story So Far

Born in London, Rosie moved out to the Hertfordshire countryside when she was about five. She remembers her time in London through old family videos but is very much a country girl at heart. Although Ross likes to call this [her parents’ house] Watford, which I get very cross about!” Rosie now lives with Ross near Hungerford, next to a river where they swim daily in all weathers.

“I went to lots of different schools but started boarding at Downe House when I was 11. I loved every second of it. Anna [her sister] and, Freddie [her brother] had gone to boarding school, “so I  thought I need to go!”

Rosie has been riding since before she can remember, horses being a big part of family life. She would go home at every opportunity “I used to come home anytime that there was a social with a boys school,” she laughs. “Our teachers had dogs at school, and we had lots of house pets, but I would come home and ride and walk the dogs as many weekends as possible.

“When I was 15, the school took us to the clothes show in Birmingham for a weekend, it was a closed weekend so you couldn’t go home and I did not want to go. I went in my riding boots, dungarees and stripey top. It was a good look with tights as well! I got scouted by five different [modelling] agencies that day and ended up on one of the catwalks for an agency called Select. It was the most embarrassing thing ever!”

Rosie and her mother decided to go and meet with the agency Storm and two weeks later she was in New York on a shoot for Balenciaga. “It’s absolutely bonkers how that happened, the agency came to school and I had to walk up and down in heels in front of the whole house to send to Balenciaga. All the girls were on lunch breaks just hanging out the windows watching.”

She modelled for 10 years and on the back of this career she was asked to ride in the Magnolia Cup, a charity horse race. She signed the contract with Goodwood before checking with her modelling agency for fear they wouldn’t want her training and building muscle for the race. She was still at University at this point, getting up at 4am every morning to ride and go to the gym, which she did for seven months. Following the race she was asked to ride in another charity race at Ascot three months later. Knowing presenting was her ultimate goal she “spoke to everyone in the room and told them she was going to be a presenter one day”. With luck on her side the commercial director at the time, Juliette Slott, “tapped her on the shoulder to say they needed a fashion presenter for Royal Ascot. “And that’s how it started,.” she laughed.

She knew she didn’t want to work in fashion anymore so she learnt everything she could about racing – favourites and so on – and included her knowledge in her presenting. It did the trick and she got her first job the day after she graduated. “I did one day. I don’t think I was even paid for it.” The last few years have been busy and she is about to do her fifth Royal Ascot and get married this year.

Major Influencers

“As well as Juliette Slott there are so many people who have helped me. Liz my manager, Ed Chamberlain for his advice and support, Richard Hoyles, Nick Clark, Hailey Moore. They’ve been amazing at lifting me up and pushing me forwards”.

“I knew I always wanted to be in front of a camera and I remember there was an agent called Emma who said to me you should be in front of a moving camera, you need to be on TV. I love every second of the adrenaline of being on it. But Claire Balding is definitely the one that I aspire to be like, I have read all of her books and listened to all of her podcasts and her advice. I have now worked with her twice.”

“Everything in our house has a memory. I don’t need it to be the most perfect, nicest stuff in the world. We want it to be fun. We’ve got your grandfather’s rug in the house as well now. That means more to me than a certain look but I suppose we do like the sort of country farmhouse look”.

Life Away From Home

“I have never coped with it well. I think everyone thinks that it’s incredibly glamorous to be a model or a presenter. The reality is you fly in, you land, go straight to work so it’s shattering.”

“In Miami two weeks ago, we stayed in the most disgusting hotel I’ve ever seen in my life. I didn’t want to touch anything. I didn’t want to be in the hotel. I had to change rooms immediately. But I am lucky because I get to stay in some lovely hotels.”

“The other thing that people don’t realise is that if you’re only in for three or four days each time, with a big time difference, the jetlag is really hard. I’d say I love the job, but I don’t enjoy the fact that I’m miles away from home.”

Home Comforts in Hotels

“I take my Teddy! I love walking in and you’ve just got the bed in the centre of the room. But the thing that makes all the difference is a good bathroom laid out nicely, clean and with a great shower. I don’t want a bath in a hotel. There’s something about that as a home comfort at the end of the day, being able to get into a shower, with clean white towels and then snuggle into bed. I prefer a wooden floor because it feels cleaner. Feeling safe is most important. Lights are always really complicated in hotels, it’s pathetic but there are so many lights switches for so many different options. I just want one light switch by my bed that can switch all the lights off. Yeah, I’m picky about it!”

A Memorable Trip

“I think my most memorable trip, because it was absolutely insane, was when I was 16. I went to Miami to shoot for Topshop for two days. I flew in the night before, worked the next two days and then I flew out at the end of that day and went back to school. I played my lacrosse match, then got on a plane that evening back to Miami to shoot for Vogue for a day. Arrived Sunday, shot on Monday and then flew back again and back in time for school. There was a photographer called Alistair McClellan, he is one of the world’s best, he shoots everything on a film camera so you can’t see any of the pictures. We went all the way to Miami to shoot against a white wall and I thought ‘you could be anywhere in the world – mars or in a studio’. The camera could only see the white wall and me. However, I could see Miami Beach with people naked on the beach, people walking past and taking photos. It was really fun. That same trip, they put fake tan all over me and spent 3-4 hours making it perfect. And then the first thing I did was run onto the beach and run straight into the sea for fun. The make-up artist was screaming at me!”

Home Interiors Style

“I would say we’re trying! It is a collection of things which we love. I like our house to be full of things that have a memory attached to them. We found our outdoor table broken on the side of the street and spent 3 1/2 hours sanding it together, chatting with music on, and Rossi fixed all the panels on it.”

They did the same with their farmhouse kitchen table, adding drawers to it too, having found it for £50 including the chairs.

I would like more colour, I like a colourful bathroom. It’s tricky when you are in a rental. I can’t wait to get our own house.”

Most Treasured Piece

“I would probably say your granny’s dresser because it’s so special, so beautiful and I love having that in there. We also have a memory box, filled with letters, boarding passes, that sort of thing.”

Advice For Someone Starting Out in Presenting

“The best advice I can give is to just start. Record yourself at home, put it on YouTube, stand in front of the mirror and practise. Get comfortable in front of a camera. Clare Balding gave me that advice and I really should have listened! Learn everything you can about what you are going in to. Preparation is key.

“There’s no pathway into it. It’s something that you fall into. Tell everyone that you’re going to be a presenter and someone might just know of someone who needs someone. And when you do it, just grab it with both hands. Don’t be worried about what you look like. Don’t be worried about anything.”

The Dream

“Liz, my manager, and I sit down every year and go through what we want to do for the coming year. I always say I want to rebook every job from the year before because it means that they definitely liked me!

The biggest dream is to be like Claire Balding who does everything. I don’t want to be in one sport. I would love to do the Olympics.” Rosie then says laughing “I also want to have babies! Family is the most important thing.”

Rosie’s other dream was to be on a main channel TV with her own earpiece and microphone that had either ITV, Sky or BBC on it. She did it for Sky a few years ago. Rossi was there with me and I said, ‘if I have to quit now, I’ve done it.’

Best Loved:

  • Wall Colour: Blue
  • Artist: Mark Gibbons
  • Hotel or bar for its interior: No 131 Cheltenham
  • Cocktail: Tequila Sunrise or a Strawberry Daquiri
  • Restaurant: Home Cooking
  • Cookbook:Prefers ‘lob it in’ as it is known in the Turner / Fleming family! Or a baking cookbook by Tanya Burr.
  • Film: I like Shrek or something ridiculous but you can’t put that down as my favourite film! Harry Potter.
  • Book: The Garbage Boy when I was little but I did try and google it the other day and I don’t think it’s actually called that!
  • Travel destination: Home
  • Fashion label: Suzannah
  • Hero/heroine: Claire Balding
  • Place for relaxation: Home 100% on a horse

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