Clara Amfo: ‘Don’t make me dim my light’

Clara Amfo: ‘Don’t make me dim my light’March 7, 2021

For Clara Amfo, success is nothing without honesty, integrity – and a pinch of impostor syndrome. Here, the broadcaster talks about race, relationships and becoming a Barbie doll

Clara Amfo makes me want to join in with life. When she talks about the new series of Drag Race UK, I itch to go and watch it. When she’s dancing on Strictly, I want to tune into a show that doesn’t usually hold my attention. And when she’s describing the party scene in her parents’ home country of Ghana, “fast becoming the Ibiza of West Africa – honestly I was last there in December 2019 and everyone was out there”, I find myself wondering about flights. Which is quite something, a year into a pandemic, when spirits are flagging and the will is so weak it might give up entirely. But she knows all about that too, which is why her daytime Radio 1 show, every weekday, works so well.

People text in saying they live alone, they work from home, they just needed to hear that tune she played, that friendly voice. Amfo physically gets up and goes in to work at Broadcasting House, speaking to the nation and meeting the skeleton crew who are still in the building, under endless Covid-testing regulations, “but I do live alone, and I get it,” she says. “I know I have definitely experienced loneliness in this thing. At the risk of sounding trite, well it’s been a time of gratitude, hasn’t it? – but I also believe that everybody, no matter what your life or what you do for a living, should be allowed to have a moan. I’m single and happily single but there have been a few nights where I’ve been like, you know what? Be nice to have a sofa buddy,” she explains, over video chat from the one-bedroom flat in Hackney that she got in a part-buy, part-rent housing scheme seven years ago and that she has grown out of, but not yet managed to leave. (It hasn’t always been thus – “Many memories were made in this flat, that’s for sure,” she says, with a dirty laugh.)

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