New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) He is arguably one of the most animated anchors on TV, a boundless bundle of energy who anchors two daily business shows on weekdays and has just embarked on a travel offering. CNN’s Richard Quest says not only is his act natural, but balancing time is probably the biggest challenge he faces, particularly in a social media-driven world.
“I think balancing time is probably the biggest challenge that I face. I host the daily shows ‘Quest Means Business’ and ‘Quest Express’ plus the monthly programme ‘Quest’s World of Wonder’ — so to actually find time to myself, to go and have fun, to go and see things, is a constant challenge.
“Having said that, of course, I do love what I do, I do love where I go, I do love these sorts of experiences that I’m able to enjoy and, for that reason, it’s not totally work,” Quest, 56, told IANS in an email interview.
Does this mean there’s no time to let his hair down and just chill?
“I have to bear it all in mind that you have to have a balanced life. And I think that’s the difficulty that many people face today between the onslaught of social media, the tyranny of the urgency from email, the constant travel. It is difficult, there is no easy solution. Do I have time to chill? I try. I try and go to the beach, I try and lay in the sun, I try and read books… but it’s not easy,” the Liverpool-born Quest, who resides in New York, explained.
As for his rather unique anchoring style, which CNN itself says, “masterfully bridges the gap separating business news and entertaining television”, Quest described it as “natural”.
“The anchoring style is natural. If it wasn’t you would be able to tell. Now, is it maybe an exaggerated performance — perhaps. There has to be an element of performance in television. But that is not the same thing as saying it’s an act. You would be able to tell. The first words out of your mouth would be, ‘That’s fake, it’s false, it feels wrong, it’s not natural.’
“So, there’s an element of performance, there’s an element of projection because it is television, it is an entertainment media, it is an informative media, but it is me. I’d like to think over the last 20 years I have developed a style, a way of doing things that is perhaps unique to me but it is really up to others to determine whether or not I’ve succeeded,” Quest said.
How did the present series come about?
“We knew we wanted to make a different type of travel show that was not about telling people about cutesy restaurants or see this or see that exhibition. There’s plenty of people who do that extremely well.
“We wanted to tell people about the cities. ‘World of Wonder’ doesn’t mean grand and big. ‘Wonder’ can be just something interesting like Washington which is powerful or Berlin which is sexy. The ‘Wonder’ comes from seeing and experiencing, which is why we came up with the phrase ‘We’re going to interesting places to meet fascinating people’,” Quest explained.
How were the three cities that initially feature in the show selected — was there a criteria?
Underlying all the cities that have been chosen so far, “there is a reason, a modern-day reason where the city and the people have changed in the recent past”, Quest said.
Thus, Germany with its current questioning and immigration and issues of political difficulty; Washington because of Donald Trump; Athens because of the austerity that has wreaked havoc on so many people and changed society.
“So, we wanted to show these very famous cities, what their DNA is like and how that DNA might be affected today,” Quest explained, adding: “We are still deciding where to go.”
Quest’s “World of Wonder” can be summed up thus: “We’re going to interesting places to meet fascinating people…We’re not tourists, we’re travellers. It’s a show about meeting the people who reveal the heart of the city and help you understand what makes the place tick, leading you to that ‘wow’ moment when you realise you belong.”
(Vishnu Makhijani can be contacted at [email protected])