IT IS easy to labour under the false impression that we know everything about Naga Munchetty, for the TV presenter is in many of our homes daily presenting BBC Breakfast.
But there’s much more to her than her serious on-air persona, and viewers got a glimpse of that when Munchetty decided to take part in Strictly Come Dancing in 2016.
However, agreeing to be on the show wasn’t an easy decision for Munchetty – her main worry was people wouldn’t take her seriously if they saw her in sequins. But she needn’t have worried – her four weeks on the show brought her thousands of fans who fell in love with her personality, and a good number of them were disappointed when she had to hang up her dancing shoes.
Munchetty, whose other talents include playing jazz trumpet and classical piano, is a name to reckon with in the world of broadcast media. After graduating from Leeds University, she worked on the Evening Standard before moving to television as a reporter for Reuters Financial Television. She went on to hold roles at CNBC Europe, Channel 4 News, and Bloomberg Television before becoming a mainstay at BBC Breakfast.
But journalism was not a part of Munchetty’s plans when she was young. She said her parents hoped she would become a lawyer or a doctor as it provided job security. When she expressed a desire to take up English literature at university, her mother wasn’t too pleased.
“My mum was like, ‘what are you going to do with that, become a poet?’ But today she’s my No 1 fan: she records the programme every time I present Breakfast, and she watches it, fast-forwarding through the bits that aren’t me. She gives me proper feedback. It’s really helpful,” she said.
Her parents come from different countries – her mother is from India and father from Mauritius – and this made their household different from the other Asian ones in their neighbourhood. Growing up in Streatham, London, Munchetty also had to deal with her unusual name. Born Subha Nagalakshmi Munchetty-Chendriah, her mother started calling her Naga (snake) from a young age because she had dreamed of snakes while pregnant. Munchetty hated the name so much that she had even considered changing it to Nadia.
While work keeps her busy, she also plays golf, a sport both she and her husband enjoy. Munchetty is an avid golfer with a handicap of 8, and has played in various tournaments. She also credits golf for giving her time with her husband James Haggar, a broadcast consultant at ITV.