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From midwife to radio presenter – For Alumni, By Alumni

Lizzie Romain (BMid 2014) is a midwife at a private maternity hospital in London, but she’s always battled to balance her midwifery career with her more creative side. Just before lockdown in March 2020, she joined her local community radio station in West London and is taking the leap in 2022 and transitioning into a full-time career in broadcast.

I’ve lost count of the times over the past ten years I’ve been asked: “Did you always want to be a midwife?” My earliest memory was wanting to be a hairdresser! Then age 16, after ‘that’ assembly about the scary prospect of trying to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life, we all spent many a lunch break perusing UCAS and trying to decide what to do. I came across midwifery, and thought, that sounds like a rewarding job! The idea of making childbirth a special occasion for new parents was really enticing. Plus, with a vocational degree, you felt like you were working towards a qualification that would lead you directly into a job after graduation. Perfect!

I started at Cardiff University in 2011, and by December, I had already assisted in my first birth (at the Royal Gwent Hospital). I was 18 at the time, and it was daunting, thrilling, and all felt very grown up. I learnt a lot, and I was extremely passionate about my course. There were many fantastic lecturers teaching Midwifery, and our little cohort of 30 felt more like a family than a class.

Alongside midwifery, I wanted to partake in a society. With a background of 15 years in dance and missing it terribly, I decided to try out for the University Cheerleading Team and spent three very happy years as a cheerleader for Cardiff Snakecharmers. There are so many happy memories attached to practice sessions in the dojo, international and regional cheerleading competitions, and group socials with The Cardiff Cobras American Football team.

After working at University Hospital of Wales for two years, I moved to London. Again, feeling the loss of a creative hobby in my life, I applied to a couple of agencies to do ‘Extras’ work alongside my full-time job. Five years later, I’ve been involved in over 70 TV/film productions and have loved every minute! The best experience was being on set for the film ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ but I’ve also been in the Queen Vic on Eastenders, a visitor in Holby City, an elf in ‘The Witcher,’ a midwife-advisor on set more times than I can remember, and I currently appear as a midwife on the NHS recruitment advert on TV – 1000 lives.

The creative itch struck again at the end of 2019 and after attending a TV Presenter course, I applied for a radio presenter position with Hayes FM 91.8. The difficult thing is that every time you try something ‘new,’ you have to fully step outside your comfort zone and get tested to your limits. And radio has been my most scary but rewarding endeavour to date. A month after I started, the pandemic hit, and the studios closed. I made myself a home studio and taught myself how to use Adobe Audition and Premiere Pro to record and edit, and Photoshop for promotion. I am so proud of my multi-genre ‘+ve New Music Releases’ show which has naturally evolved over time, mostly from listening back and critiquing my own voice, mic technique and production skills.

Twelve months into my radio journey, I broke my foot somehow whilst crossing my living room, and I stumbled (pun intended) across an International Radio Competition- called Radio Star. I was rather emotional when Nails Mahoney and Tracey Lee from On Air Coach Presenter Training contacted me and said that I had made the Top 25 (out of 350 applicants!) They believed in me! Eight months and five gruelling audio/video challenges later, I found myself in the Final 5. The absolute icing on the cake is I’ve just accepted another radio position with Radio Cardiff! After all those years running around Cathays in various fancy-dress outfits, and listening to Radio Cardiff en-route to cheerleading practice, I really feel as though I am coming home.

It’s weird when you try and change career, not only because you go down to peg one again, but because everyone knows the ‘other’ you. I feel as though midwifery has been the enigma in my life and not my most defining characteristic. In a way, I wish I could see myself being a midwife until a retire, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m only going to be really happy and satisfied in my career if I can be creative, in a creative industry, and continue to seek new and exciting opportunities for professional development. I’ve always been a bit of a fidget after a while of sitting still for too long!

One of my very first shows started playing accidentally on Mixcloud the other day, and my initial reaction was to cringe and delete it. Then I stopped. I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t plucked up the courage to step outside my comfort zone and record that first show. My only regret is that I didn’t find it sooner!

So, here’s some Monday motivation. If you want to do something ‘unconventional’ but are scared about getting started – please don’t be! If the passion is there, you will learn, grow and surprise yourself with your achievements. Then you’ll never sit there wondering what could have been. Just get started, the rest will follow.

Have you been inspired by Lizzie’s story? You can follow her career on her website, and reach out to her on Cardiff Connected.

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