Renowned journalist Myra Ali interviewed top-notch actors, models and chefs, from Zendaya to Michael B. Jordan. Myra is known for her empathetic, fun and timeless interviews. Myra also has “butterfly skin” (epidermolysis bullosa), a rare skin condition. It is a life-threatening skin condition that causes blisters and lacerations on her body.
Keeley: Please tell us about yourself and how you became a journalist.
Myra: I was working with the Debra UK charity, a charity that helps people with epidermolysis bullosa – a skin condition I have. Nicky Holland actor Tom Holland’s mother was the photographer while I was there because of a charity appeal they were doing. commented that they were very good at it, and asked if they would like to interview Tom Holland and Zendaya for the new Spider-Man movie. That was my first press junket of her and it got a great response. After that, I reached out to the magazine and was able to interview more A-list actors for the London Film Festival, including Timothée Chalamet and Lily-Rose Depp. I was asked to write a piece about my health and subsequent career…and nonstop.
Keeley: You have a rare skin condition. How do you think this lived experience will benefit your work?
Myra: The condition of my skin is very noticeable. Most people think it’s a burn. It is a painful and unpredictable condition. But the advantage that my work gives me is that the actors trust me from the start. It’s not just that I’m looking for stories, but it’s like there’s an instant trust between us and they can tell me that I’ve been through something. [celebrities] More willing to share their stories with me. Also, most actors and publicists are happy to interview me. This recently happened when he was interviewing me on the red carpet in November. Colin Farrell’s publicist told all the journalists that she wasn’t going to give any more interviews, but she said she was with me. She will be interviewed. They took me to another place to interview him. I felt very lucky.
Keely: You’ve been candid about your mental health, but how can young journalists aspiring journalists protect their mental health as they navigate this complex career choice? Any advice?
Myra: Aspiring journalists should know that this is not an easy career as there is a lot of competition and a lot of rejection. To protect your mental health, it’s best not to take anything personally.Rejection is part of life.The important thing is to keep going. If so, think of other ways and strategies to get what you want. If you want bad enough, it will happen.
Keeley: What’s your favorite interview?
Myra: My favorite interview is Tom Holland. He is always very kind and he always feels like he is chatting with his friend. Colin Farrell was also a gem in my interview video. He’s super friendly and really goes out of his way to put me at ease.
Keely: What’s the most amazing thing you learned about someone during an interview?
Myra: It doesn’t matter if you are famous or not. Even actors take a lot of knockbacks and have to pick themselves up. The media creates the illusion that they are separate from us, but in reality, when we watch someone’s story, we are very similar. It means that it is out.
Keely: Feel free to add anything you want!
Myra: Being an entertainment journalist with a disability has certainly empowered me. i love my job I like the fact that I am seen first as a journalist and then as a person with a skin condition. Disability never defines you. It makes you stand out because it affects the people you interview and the viewers you watch, but other journalists without disabilities don’t have that advantage.