Steph McGovern: Ex BBC star admits why people believed her accent would ‘hold her back’

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Steph McGovern, 38, is launching her new lunchtime show Packed Lunch today, but before it’s big debut she wanted to send a word of encouragement to her fans. In an emotional message, she addressed her upbringing in Middlesbrough and revealed she was once told that it was “statistically” one of the “worst places to grow as a girl”. But to Steph, it didn’t matter as it’s apart of who she is and she’s proud of her her heritage, even though her peers believed the strong Teesside accent would “hold her back” on her journey to TV stardom.

Middlesbrough might statistically be the ‘worst place to grow up as a girl’ but it made me who I am

Steph McGovern

But her sweet motivational sentiment went misunderstood by one fan, which led to her having to address the remark.

The northern lass made sure to clarify her message of “it doesn’t matter where you come from”, you can still succeed if you work for it.

Taking to Twitter to announce the news that the studio they would be broadcasting from wouldn’t be far from where she grew up, she encouraged fans to follow their ambition.

“On the eve of launching a new TV show from a studio not far from where I grew up, I just want to say: Middlesbrough might statistically be the ‘worst place to grow up as a girl’ but it made me who I am.

“Don’t let statistics/background stop your ambition. #proudBorolass.”

The user in question urged the presenter not to add Middlesbrough to the “worst place list, adding: “I’m sure there’s far worse places Steph.”

Clearing up any confusion, the BBC Breakfast star replied: “You’re missing my point. I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t grow up there,” she explained.

“And I didn’t say it was the worst — growing up I was told it was. I do a lot of work in the area with kids trying to move them past these stats!”

Realising the mistake, the user responded: “I know and you’re a great ambassador. It just gets my goat. I’m proud to be from the boro. We have the Cleveland hills, coastline and a strong heritage.”

The BBC star insisted her background is the reason behind her success.

“It gets my goat too. That’s why I’m saying it,” she said.

“The school I went to, the kids I grew up with, the accent I have are actually the reasons I have done well….they haven’t held me back….even though lots of people think they would have held me back.”

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Steph has previously revealed that she had been told in the past her accent and dress sense might hinder her presenting career.

The flamboyant Yorkshire telly star admitted that once she joined BBC Breakfast in 2010, she was asked to “tone down” her clothing choices before heading on-screen.

In an interview with The Telegraph’s Stella Magazine, Steph recalled arriving on her first day in a “lairy” brightly coloured dress and heels.

“I turned up in a bright Topshop dress with big New Look heels, and was taken to one side by Alison and asked just to take it down a notch or two,” she admitted.

“I guess a lairy outfit combined with my accent would have meant I’d have been hard to take seriously.”

But she explained she wasn’t asked to alter her accent in any way on the show, just her choice of outfits.

Once the confusion was put to bed, Steph thanked others who wished her well on the big launch.

Among those was her co-star Dan Walker, who said: “All the best with it Steph. I’m sure you’ll be brilliant… as ever,” his sweet message read.

Steph’s Packed Lunch begins today on Channel 4 at 12:30pm.

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