A Magherafelt woman who never gave up on her dreams of becoming a radio presenter, has just landed a plum role with Cool FM.
Melissa Riddell says she never veered from her career goal despite years of “funny looks” when people asked her what she wanted to be.
And her determination has paid off, as she is now the voice of Cool Nights, which includes the iconic Cool Goes Quiet.
A past pupil of now closed Drumard Primary School and Rainey Endowed, the beauty and fashion blogger, told the Mail: “I am living the dream, so I am very happy about it.”
But, it was not an easy path for the 24-year-old, who said sheer hard work, persistence, family support and luck got her there. After studying drama at Liverpool John Moores, Melissa returned home, but said she did so with a plan to head for London in search of her big break.
“We live in a small area, and when you tell people that you want to be a presenter they sort of look at you funny,” she said. “But I was always so stubborn, and that’s the only thing that kept me going.”
However, while home she stumbled upon Cool Academy, an intensive 15-week training programme that gave her the in-roads to radio she needed.
“I spent five weeks with Cool FM working behind the scenes, finding out what goes on in radio and at the end of it you would make a radio show where you would go on air for one hour,” she explained.
“In my wildest dreams, I would get to be a presenter and they would hear my voice and think maybe I had potential.
“That is sort of what happened in a nutshell,” she added after getting her start on the show last November.
Now she is presenting the radio show she grew up listening to in her bedroom.
“Literally my dream show” she said.
Hear Melissa on Cool FM on weekdays from 10pm–1am.