Clara Amfo's career is soaring. While her BBC Radio 1 show, "Future Sounds with Clara Amfo" is widely considered her day job, she has a fair few extra-curricular activities under belt, too. She was part of the BAFTA-award-winning team for the Earthshot Prize, has become a brand ambassador for Pantene Power Hair, and hosted the London premiere for "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" in November. Yet Amfo shows no sign of slowing down.
As the days get colder, the presenter is about to host a brand new dating show that is guaranteed to get temperatures rising. "Written in the Stars" puts a fresh new twist on the traditional dating format, pairing couples together based on their star signs. "I remember thinking 'this is the dating show for me'. I couldn't say no when I was offered," she tells POPSUGAR. "I do believe in astrology, it's so ingrained in our culture now."
"I think the biggest issue with modern dating is that we've become a product. We can shop online and everything is just a swipe or a click away."
The TV series will see 12 singles enter a luxury villa in a sun-soaked destination with a goal to find love. Sound familiar? Maybe so, but this is dating with a twist. Three astrologers - Francesca Oddie, Michele Knight, and Colin Bedell - who all specialise in birth charts and astrology are tasked with pairing them up using only their star charts. With Amfo at the helm, the participants will compete in challenges to assess their compatibility, and the host is super invested in the qualities they each bring.
"I'm a Gemini with a Pisces moon. Geminis are very chatty and good communicators. We get a bad rap when it comes to the rest of the signs and people think we're two-faced. We're not!" Amfo laughs. "You can be the most gregarious person in the room but equally also love to be alone."
The TV host is currently single, but would she date solely based on someone's sign? "No disrespect to Scorpios but they're not the greatest for Geminis," she says. "I once heard that Jennifer Lopez held a casting for dancers and specifically said no Virgos. I don't think I'd go that far, though!"
While there will undoubtedly be comparisons made between "Written in the Stars" and the ITV phenomenon that is "Love Island", Amfo thinks this astrology-based format could be the perfect remedy to today's modern dating woes where so much is based on looks. "I think the biggest issue with modern dating is that we've become a product. We can shop online and everything is just a swipe or a click away," she explains. "I'm not anti-dating apps. They've matched loads of my friends up, but we've lost our patience when it comes to forming an intimate connection. We can get the 'ick' so quickly. I got the 'ick' from a guy's profile once because he went to a music festival I didn't like!"
She'll be casting a watchful eye over the contestant's love lives, but Amfo is more private about her own. She says that she's even turned down offers to do celebrity versions of dating shows so she can keep her love life firmly out of the spotlight. "I love watching dating shows and hosting them, but I would never go on," she reveals. "I've had offers - I couldn't possibly comment on which shows - but I've always said no. I would rather eat a fresh plate of coriander, which I hate, than call paparazzi on me and my boyfriend!"
"I feel strongly that if I'd bent to the beauty standard, I wouldn't be where I am today. I would have loved to see women who looked like me on TV when I was little."
Amfo first broke into the industry as a marketing intern for Kiss FM, slowly working her way up to presenter before joining BBC Radio 1. Her job has seen her interview some incredible A-listers, but a couple have been particularly special for her. "I love Jay Z, he's such a chilled, nice guy. He was telling me about when he dressed up as a fairy princess for Blue Ivy's birthday party," she says. "I've interviewed Lizzo a few times now and she's just wicked. She wears her heart on her sleeve."
In June 2020, Amfo was widely praised for speaking candidly on her radio show about racism in the aftermath of George Floyd's death and how it had impacted her mental health. And she tells us that the significance of hosting a popular dating show as a dark-skinned Black woman is not lost on her. "I've definitely felt in my career that I could have been as accomplished as someone else, but I'll hit a stumbling block and I know for a fact that the stumbling block is the way I look," she says. "I feel strongly that if I'd bent to the beauty standard, I wouldn't be where I am today. I would have loved to see women who looked like me on TV when I was little."
She continues, "I'm not a light-skinned black woman and colourism is still a massive issue. For me to be a dark-skinned woman and fronting a dating show is massive."
"Written In The Stars" is available to stream from Sunday, 27 Nov. exclusively on Discovery+.