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Leanne Manas gets candid about the evolving media landscape and navigating the digital era

Leanne Manas is a seasoned broadcaster, businesswoman, and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. She has also added ICON Award Winner to her impressive resume after the honour was bestowed upon her at our GLAMOUR Women of the Year 2023 Awards powered by TRESemmé.

As a seasoned broadcaster, many may look at Leanne’s job as glamorous but she enlightens that it’s not an easy industry. “It's becoming more and more difficult, I must say.” Her longevity therefore speaks to her passion. “It’s a passion project, and it has to be something you really want to do, and want to pursue a cause within it.” Noting that traditional media as we know it, has changed completely. “I often wonder if there’ll be news bulletins 10 years or 20 years from now because this generation is not interested in television sets? They want to stream things on their devices, they don’t want to read physical magazines. They look at pictures on their phones. This is the generation that is here, that is now. Things are changing, and it's a very difficult industry.”

With this in mind, she assures those that wish to follow in her footsteps that it’s not completely dire, “there are always opportunities for change, and if this is what you love, then it's something you must do. But you need to be able to spot and note what the changes are, and ensure that you move with them when it comes to the world of media. It's an amazing world. It's one that I've enjoyed thoroughly and I hope to stay in it, and keep watching it change and evolve. It's been incredible.”

Considering that her name is synonymous with success, I’m curious about what this looks like to her. “Success is using your God-given talents to the best of your ability, nothing more and nothing less. It’s using them and ensuring that you don’t let them go to waste. It’s being privileged enough to recognize what you're good at, and pushing what you’re good at. That for me is very important especially coming from a young girl who was exceptionally shy and never had this confidence inside of her.”

Reflecting on her journey, she says she was a very shy individual, and never even thought she’d be able to achieve this level of success. Present to the magnitude of this feat, she adds that obtaining it despite the odds is even sweeter. “The taste is even better. It's for people to realize inside them that perhaps you may not recognize the good in you and others do. Listen to them, and that’s something I’m very good at. Actually if someone tells you that you’re good at something, listen to them, and think, well maybe, I am. Within yourself, work at the blessings you’ve been given. That’s how I define success, it’s not about anything else. If you can do this then I think you’ve been a success in life.”

Expanding on her approach to building a legacy, she asserts that keeping your name is all you have in this world. “You’re born with this name and it’s so easy to ruin it. There are things that will be given to you in life that will tempt you to perhaps move off the cause, and show you a different way but in your heart, if you think that you’re doing right, and that this is good and in line with your beliefs then do it! But if something inside of you says this doesn’t seem or feel right, don’t do it. Listen to your instincts or your inner voice.”

Admitting that it’s not always easy, she shares that she’s had many opportunities to fall off. “Things that have come my way where I thought that this sounds interesting. That it could be quite nice, and then I thought about it over and over again, and I’d realize that there’s not a chance! Actually, this is not good, and that voice inside of me was 100% right. It’s digging your heels and knowing that what is right is right, and what is wrong, is wrong. If something is too good to be true, it is! Integrity above all is what keeps you in good stead.”

We live in a digital era and we all engage with the space differently. Leanne shares that she’s watched social media evolve over the years, “you look at Twitter which is now called X, and it used to be a wonderful ground for debates, interesting views and commentary but I must say that I no longer enjoy that space. I find that it has the ability to become too vicious for me, I don’t enjoy it. I don’t enjoy people piling into someone and getting involved in the whole cancel culture. I don’t like it or what it stands for.” Considering that she’s a public figure, how does she navigate this space? “I think it’s really important for work, and showcasing what you do, and what you’re able to do. Some of these creatives are unbelievable in terms of how they use social media to get their names and messages out there, and what they’re doing. This is the future, this is the way things work and it’s absolutely amazing!”

Leanne shares that she tries to use social media to promote what she does in the world, specifically her travels. “I love documenting photography, it’s something I absolutely love! I try to keep my family out of my social media. If they want to be out there, then it’s something they’ll do on their platforms but it’s not for me to decide. I think it’s so important for them to have their own platforms. They’re too young to do that anyway, their privacy is very important for me.”

As a philanthropist, she says she also likes to talk about the work she does when she goes out into communities and travels to different countries and refugee camps. And just the beauty that surrounds her.

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