Wakefield journalist Amy Garcia who started off working with Holly Willoughby celebrates 10 years anchoring on BBC's Look North
and live on Freeview channel 276
Amy has become has become a very recognisable and much-loved face to many across Yorkshire since her anchor debut in 2013.
Born in Wakefield, Amy attended Kettlethorpe High School and Wakefield College alongside studying at the National Youth Music Theatre where she found a passion for musical theatre.
“I did lots of shows at Wakefield's Opera House during high school so I did originally want to go in to that field,” she said.
At 19, Amy moved to London where she secured her first TV job.
It was Amy’s performance background that she thanks for helping her “fall” into the presenting role.
“I really fell into presenting,” she said. “Being able to perform and express yourself gives you that presence on stage which you can transfer onto camera as well.
"Although it is a more natural version of being in the theater, it is still a performance - whether you're a news presenter or whether you're a kids presenter. The essence of what you're doing is the same - you're still telling the story.”
Four years later and Amy had worked as a presenter on numerous children’s television programmes across CBBC, CITV, and the Disney Channel.
Whilst living in London, alongside building an impressive resume, Amy met her husband Tim who is also originally from Yorkshire.
Following years as a presenter, Amy returned to education where she completed an MA in television journalism at Goldsmiths College.
Upon completing her degree, Amy immediately joined BBC Look North as a junior broadcast journalist in 2009.
Almost instantly, she found herself on TV with her first official appearance on Look North during a segment for Children in Need.
"I think probably the appeal for the editor at the time was that I had experience presenting, doing feature readings and I also had the journalism qualifications.” Amy said.
"I'd come from a different field, which is quite unusual really.
"I've got this piece of paper from my studies to say I was a qualified journalist but I've also got this wealth of TV experience. It was like a mutual understanding that it just works both ways.”
Alongside her role as a reporter and bulletin presenter, Amy also presented 60 Seconds on BBC Three but left in 2012 for BBC South Today to become a senior broadcast journalist.
A year later, and Amy returned to Look North, but as a co-anchor of the show alongside Harry Gration, who retired in 2020.
During that same year, Amy decided to move back to her home region of Yorkshire with her husband ahead of the birth of her first child.
Reflecting on her work to life balance and how it has changed over the past decade, Amy said: “I think when I first started, I feel like women had to choose between having a career and being a mum.
"But I feel like now I'm really lucky that the BBC offers flexible working and I'm seeing more women like me who are on screen who are fulfilling their aspirations in their career but also being good parents as well.”
During her decade on Look North, the broadcaster has worked on thousands of stories with one of her favourites being the Tour de France’s visit to Yorkshire in 2014.
“It was just a huge celebration of the region and it was so different,” she said. “So many people were coming to Yorkshire because of that race and then realising how wonderful it was.”
Despite interviewing many stars over the years, its regular people that Amy prefers to speak to.
She said: “It's been great to interview celebrities but, for me, I get far more satisfaction out of interviewing real people.
"Being a journalist and an anchor is about meeting people and telling their stories and it’s really touching to think I've made a difference to someone's life by sharing their story.”
Alongside her theatre background, Amy credits her time working on Wakefield Markets with her parents, as something that helped inspire her love for the role.
She said: “Working on Wakefield markets with my parents is where my love of talking to people and hearing their stories really started before even knowing it. You meet people from all walks of life and they are happy to share their stories.
“I never thought a Wakefield girl would end up working for the BBC let along anchoring a news programme. It’s a real privilege to be in people’s living rooms every night.”
Throughout Amy’s career there has been various changes to Look North, including the reduction of roles on the set following the global pandemic.
She said: “Before the pandemic, there were presenters, camera operators, the floor manager, we had the makeup artist and many more and then after the pandemic, it's two people on the floor and me.”
“However, hopefully to the audience, nothing's changed. It's still telling the stories that mattered to them and giving them a voice and celebrating our region.
"The role of the anchor is that you are with viewers.
"I absolutely love my job and I really look forward to come to work every day.
“You spend most of your life working, so do something that you really love and try to make a difference to people's lives.
"For me, it's taken years but it's certainly worth the wait to end up with a career that you love.”
Amy recently saw herself returning to her first ever TV job, in a full circle moment, by participating in this year’s Children in Need as part of their job swap week.
She spent time working on a crab and lobster boat, on a farm and working in a fish and chip shop, to name a few.
"I love doing all the fun things and trying things that are different and meeting people,” she said.
"When do you get chance to work on a farm and muck out the cows? That's not in my day-to-day working.
"So to be able to do that and meet those people has been incredibly fun.”