Q&A With The Face of Omaze UK – Award-Winning Voice Actor, Jo Pickard

Over the past year, we have done numerous interviews with inspirational business leaders, entrepreneurs and talents from across the county and shared their success stories with our readers.

Our latest interview was with Jo Pickard; an award-winning voice actor who is currently the face of Omaze UK.

Yorkshire lass, Jo, has had an exciting career that has included travelling the globe, interviewing celebrities and presenting the amazing London 2012 Olympics.

We wanted to find out what it takes to make it in such a competitive industry and learn more about the amazing work Jo does with Omaze UK.

Q&A With Jo Pickard…

Hi Jo, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. Firstly, could you introduce yourself for our readers? 

Sure thing! I’m Jo Pickard, an award-winning voice actor who works in all genres of the industry. From campaigns for Volvo, narration in Channel 5’s Old Wife New Wife, foreign language dubbing for Netflix’s The Girl from Oslo and character acting in ‘Props’ a fab radio play. You’ll probably know me best as the face of Omaze UK. 

When did you first discover your passion for performing? 

As soon as I could talk and walk, I was obsessed with performing. I would do little plays behind my dad’s back for the customers in the country pub they owned in North Yorkshire. I was like a chameleon taking on peoples accents and characters to try them out. I’ve never had my eye on fame only on creativity and performance. 

Is there anyone in the industry who particularly inspires you? 

Honestly, I have a list. Let’s start with the gods of animation Aardman, flying the flag for British talent. Alix Wilton Regan who is gaming’s queen of the mic with a heart of gold and Kate Harbour who is so generous with her talent and time. 

You’ve had an exciting career so far. What would you say have been your highlights? 

Presenting wise there are two, London 2012 – what a summer to be alive! I was working on the greatest sporting event seen in the UK for decades, really a once in a lifetime feeling. 

Secondly, I have the honour of revealing how much money Omaze has raised for each charity, so far in 2 years we have raised a whopping £6.75 million for 9 different charities. It’s a seriously emotional and moving part of each campaign and I love it. 

What have been your most difficult challenges during your career and how did you overcome them?

When I started work for Volvo Ocean Race, I hadn’t even stepped foot on a sailboat never mind knew the first thing about the race. It all happened so quickly, and I had a very steep learning curve in an industry that was dominated by sailing buffs.

I wasn’t accepted at first by some of the teams because of my lack of knowledge but I knew that getting paid to travel around the world doing what I loved was a real privilege. So I got my head down and worked, I constantly made mistakes and felt out of my depth but the more I learnt the more confident I became until one day, after a lot of blood, sweat and tears I was stood on the dock presenting live to a huge audience both in person and on tv channels around the world and I was flowing. I didn’t have to think or stress it was all just there. I gained respect from the teams and made some great friends along the way. 

As a presenter, you’ve interviewed numerous big names and talents including international sports stars and celebrity chefs. Which of your interviews did you enjoy the most and why? 

In the sports world it must be Chris Hoy. He was so together, kind and open. This was directly after just winning at London 2012 so many emotions were flying around but he made talking to him such a joy. 

Dame Penelope Wilton stands out in the film and TV world. I have to admit I was a little star struck which is not something I am prone to, but she is a National Treasure, she did not disappoint. I loved her sparkle and love of life. 

In the food industry it is Angela Hartnett. What a laugh we had every time I had the thrill of chatting to her. She is full of fun, hardworking and definitely says it how it is. As a Yorkshire lass that is something I respect. 

In recent years, you’ve become one of the UK’s most sought-after voice actresses. Which of your voice acting projects have you particularly enjoyed? 

I really loved performing one of the lead roles in a radio play called Merman in a series named Props for Documental Theatre, working with some seriously talented actors and a fab director Sarah Myott-Meadows. I got the chance to develop a detailed character, getting to play with such great people to tell an impactful story was so much fun, we spent all day recording and it just flew. 

The success of the Lionesses this summer highlighted the importance of inspiring young girls to believe in themselves. As a successful actress and presenter, you’re also an inspiration to young girls with big dreams. What advice would you give to a young girl hoping to break into the industry? 

I am still beaming with pride, I used to present at their away games a few years ago and they really got me hook line and sinker into women’s football. What role models they truly are!

My advice is get to know as many people in the industry as you can as early as you can. It’s connections that make this world go around and the more you have the further you will go.

Always be kind and nice to be around. If you can be funny throw that in too. Make sure everyone walks away singing your praises because they will never forget. Work on your acting, it’s a skill so hone it and it will be your biggest asset. 

Since 2020, you have been the face of Omaze UK. Could you tell us a little more about the organisation and your role within it? 

Omaze UK is an incredible business full of the hardest working, fabulous individuals who are focused on building a brand that has a huge heart at its core.

Yes, Omaze is a business, but we partner with charities and give 80% of the net profits to them, not to mention giving away prizes that will make your eyes water. 3 million pound houses, cars, holidays and cash. As the face of the brand, I pinch myself daily as I have a job to help spread joy and happiness and make a real difference. What more can you ask for. 

Obviously, you’ve done a fair bit of travelling over the years but you still live in God’s Own County. What do you love most about Yorkshire and what do you miss when you’re away?

I left at 18, travelled the world but moved home to Ryedale in North Yorkshire 7 years ago and I have never felt happier and more content. I love and miss walking down the beach with the dogs in Filey, exploring the vast and stunning landscapes of the Howardian Hills, sitting on the terrace and experiencing delights from the kitchen at the Pheasant Hotel and our local the fab The Grapes at Slingsby. 

Finally, one we ask everyone – if you only had one day to spend in Yorkshire, how would you spend it? Where would you go and what would you do?

I’d get up early and go out on my bike. Cycling around Ryedale is fab. You just can’t go wrong but I would end up for breakfast at Hovingham Bakery, an amazing Swedish Bakery with cinnamon buns and lattes to die for.

I’d then head for the coast and Robin Hood’s Bay. We got married there and it has such a big place in my heart. After a drink in The Victoria Hotel and a mooch around the cobbled town, I’d walk the cinder track to Whitby taking in the sea air and stunning views treating myself to some fish and chips and a nice bottle of red from The Star in the Harbour to finish off the day. Ahhh Yorkshire. 


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