Y254 presenter Phyline Jean is a woman on the rise!

Six years into her career, she is already a renowned figure and a household name among the youth who watch her on KBC’s youth channel. 

Channel 1

Her dedication and passion for her work have earned her recognition and admiration from her peers. Just this year, Phyline is the recipient of two nominations from South Africa’s Shining Stars Awards – Best Female TV Personality of the Year and Best Media Personality of the Year.

This comes a year after Jean was nominated Best Dressed Media Personality and Best Female TV Personality of the Year at the Zikomo Awards in Zambia.

In this interview, Phyline discusses her biggest inspiration, her sense of fashion and how it feels to be the recipient of high praise.

Phyline Jean

‘I can confidently say that I’m living the dream.’

Her inspiration to become a presenter

My dad served in the army and at the time, there was this late-night show on KBC Radio Taifa, where the soldiers could send shout-outs to their family, it was called “Salamu za Majeshi” and my dad, Laban Ochuka, would send us greetings all the time. 

That inspired me and I thought to myself that when I grow up, I’d love to be just like him, so I worked really hard in languages while in school and passed.

Throughout my high school years, I enthusiastically participated in the journalism club and indulged in my passion for poetry. It was during this time that I became certain of my path, knowing that I would undoubtedly fulfil my dream of becoming a journalist. Now, looking back, I can confidently say that I’m living the dream. Not so many people end up doing what they love.

On receiving awards and nominations

I can’t even say that I’m better than other people, I think it’s just God’s grace and the fact that I’m always myself, and when hosting my shows I give it my all.

On challenges at work and how to deal with them

I think the biggest challenge, as a presenter is that you’re not allowed to have bad days. For instance, you could be going through something but when you’re on air, the fans don’t need to know that, you have to keep smiling no matter the circumstances.

In my case, my boyfriend’s dad fell ill, he had been hospitalised for a while then we found out he had cancer. That was really hard to process, they had started treatment for him but just when we thought he was about to recover, he passed on. I got the news while at work but I didn’t have time to cry about it, since “the show must go on.”

Phyline Jean

‘When you look your best you’ll hear it even from the fans’

Advice to aspiring presenters/journalists

My advice would be, practice a lot. The problem with our industry is that, anyone can present whether they went to a journalism class or not, especially if they’re already celebrities. So, make sure that you’re always working on perfecting your craft so that when the opportunity comes, you’re ready. 

On being nominated for Best Dressed by Zikomo Awards

Honestly being nominated in this category shocked me as I wasn’t expecting it all. But I was still super grateful. I’d say my style is comfort chic. Because I love getting my face beat*, some nice human hair and all that but at the same time I love being comfortable, so, you’ll find me in rugged jeans, a two-piece and sneakers most of the time.

*Getting her make-up done.

Presentation v perception

When you look your best you’ll hear it even from the fans during the show, though most of the time I don’t wear anything super complicated, simplicity is key for me. I always say, comfort over style any day.

On her fashion inspiration

I don’t think I’m inspired by anyone in the world of fashion, I just wear what feels right in the moment.

‘I just want to be the best version of myself and do everything I said I’m gonna do’

Her inspiration career-wise

When it comes to my career, I’m inspired by Bonang Matheba of South Africa, she’s so eloquent. I also love Juliana Rancic because her story is very inspiring. She came to the US as an immigrant but managed to work hard enough to get to where she is. Plus she’s very resilient, having dealt with infertility, breast cancer, and all that.

About the Rancic/Zendaya controversy…

I think she did the best she could at the time, but she should have taken accountability. That said, I sort of understand where she was coming from since, E presenters follow scripts to the T, unlike us. Even the jokes are given to them.

I would have taken accountability and tried to apologize in person and not try to justify myself.

It didn’t change how I view her because, I started following her long ago, when her husband Bill and her had their own reality show. And we all have bad days at the office, I don’t think that statement was a true representation of who is she as a person.

Plans for the future

I just want to be the best version of myself and do everything I said I’m gonna do. I also want to venture into business, so I’m working towards that. But most importantly, I believe my future is in God’s hands.

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