CBeebies Star Gemma Hunt Wants To Be The ‘Light In the Dark Media’

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If you don’t know who Gemma Hunt is, then ask your children or your grandchildren! The CBeebies presenter explains how she was given a prophetic word about being salt and light in the media

Entertaining children day in day out may be in her job description, but CBeebies star Gemma Hunt is also determined to shine a light in the media industry. Gemma has found CBeebies fame through numerous characters, but as she turned 33 on April Fool’s this year, she is expecting this to be her ‘Jesus Year’.

“It was a hugely significant year for Jesus’ ministry, so I’m hoping for big things this year too,” she explains.

Gemma Hunt has become a popular face on children's TV

Gemma Hunt has become a popular face on children’s TV

While you might not be familiar with Gemma Hunt if you haven’t been around young children over the past 12 years, she’s now one of the big stars of the BBC’s pre-school channel CBeebies, having cut her teeth on the primary school equivalent CBBC.

She’s enjoyed entertaining people from an early age, but when she was 16 she had an experience at the Soul Survivor Christian festival that confirmed the direction she was meant to take.

“Someone said they had a prophetic word for me that I would be salt and light in the dark place of the media,” she recalls.

“I really felt it was what I was meant to do. I was so excited at 16 to receive that message. It gave me something to hold on to and helped shape my choices.”

Gemma dressed as a pirate in panto

Gemma dressed as a pirate in panto

There were only two universities in the country offering the course she wanted, and while her If you don’t know who Gemma Hunt is, then ask your children or your grandchildren!

The CBeebies presenter explains how she was given a prophetic word about being salt and light in the media heart was initially set on Salford, as it was the home of the World Wide Message Tribe, she went to Luton to study Media Performance at what is now the University of Bedfordshire.

“I definitely see God’s sense of humour in this as I now film Swashbuckle in Salford, even though I didn’t get offered a place at the university,” she says.

Following a month of mission work in Brazil after her A-levels, Gemma threw herself into university life, hosting a show on student radio station Luton FM and becoming president of the campus Christian Union.

‘My career has been blessed’ – Gemma Hunt

“I remember thinking, ‘OK God, I have done this degree,’” she recalls. “’Do you want me to stay here at the university or should I go home and invest in the relationship I was in at the time?’ And then the CBBC job came up.”

Gemma met a representative from Take 3 Management at the university and was offered a job on CBBC before she had finished her degree, which she passed with first class honours.

“They let me finish my course and I started work on Independence Day 2003,” she says. “My career has been so blessed.”

As well as children’s television, Gemma has also become a regular fixture on stage at Christian festivals like Soul Survivor, Spring Harvest and New Wine, and has also worked with Scripture Union on projects for young people.

Gemma grew up attending Bethesda Baptist Church in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, with her mother, after her parents separated when she was very young.

She gave her life to Christ when she was 11 at a church camp, and says her faith has ‘gone from strength to strength’ since then.

‘The media can be quite corrupt, with lots of backstabbing and bitchiness’

“It was a bit of a novelty for them at first that I was on television, but then they realised how I could serve in the church,” she explains.

“For example, I’ve interviewed our pastor to help him share his vision for the church, and I volunteer at the mums and toddler groups.”

Often a ruthless industry, Gemma is determined to bring light and the influence of Christ to the media.

“It can be quite corrupt, with lots of backstabbing and bitchiness,” she reflects.

“You are literally under the spotlight and people put a mask on for their job. Shining brightly in a wholesome way isn’t so common.

“I just wanted to be me – a bigger version of myself. I do find that people apologise if they blaspheme in front of me, and they’ll avoid discussing certain topics with me.

“Sometimes people want to get into big theological debates, but I don’t feel I need to convince them.

“I would like to influence people by just living out my life.

“Being someone who is different, you can stand out no matter where you are, in your office, at home or at school.”

Away from the cameras, Jesus remains at the centre of Gemma’s life and she believes he guides her every day.

“I don’t find it difficult to be a Christian in the media,” she insists. “I don’t know how I would have got this far without God.

“My faith has been my spine, and has kept me upright. God is so good, so faithful, so loving and so kind.

“He never gives me anything I can’t handle. Whenever I feel tested, I remind myself that God knows I can do this.”

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Read more inspiring stories of faith from star names  in the September 2016 issue of iBelieve Magazine.

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