Claudia (ahem!) Sermbezis is our jet-setting go-getter; our shining star who has breached rarified echelons of journalism, acting and mirth. She has her own Wikipedia entry. We drop her name at parties.
Yet of all her inspirational talents, we are most in awe of Claudia's knack for taking a bunch of dry facts and whipping them into a vivid picture that's (mostly) accurate and (always) laced with quirky quips, delightful asides and outright non sequiturs.
Like a proper romance novel, Claudia's story began with love at first sight. English woman abroad meets handsome Greek man. On a shimmering Athens beach. Wedding bells and a few years later, the universe welcomes Claudia into her bosom. With a giggle and snort no doubt. She grew up between the verdant opulence of Royal Tunbridge Wells - where she still calls home - and the azurite joy of Greece - where she still goes every summer. As the saying goes, if it ain't broke...
Claudia went to Manchester University. With a degree in drama she proceeded directly to her first accolade: UK’s youngest ever national newsreader presenting for GMTV (renamed Good Morning Britain). Impressive, or what? She's now over at the Beeb presenting and reporting. And there's more...
Claudia has been on stage in London's West End. On the actual stage, acting, alongside Vanessa Redgrave, Googie Withers, Jack Davenport and Joely Richardson. From the West End it was a hop and a skip to big name theatres around the world. And she’s been on TV too: in the hilarious show Extras with Ricky Gervais and as Lema Eelyak in Star Wars, The Force Awakens. Methinks in Claudia, the force has been wide awake all along.
Claudia now specialises in wildlife and travel journalism. Breaking a story about India's dancing bear trade, she went on to write, produce and present Saving India's Bears, which aired nationwide on BBC. On Christmas Day and New Year's Eve no less. Prime time.
One fine day, Claudia, as is her wont, randomly chose Namibia as a suitably random place for a spot of random volunteering work. Call it random coincidence (we think not) she met Andree and Ian in Swakopmund. Two-week trip turns to three-month epic which turns into a lifetime friendship that meanders its way round to a steady stream of zany and somewhat informative articles to help you navigate this foreign land.
Self-diagnosed, she caught the Africa bug and, voila, a new pursuit; a new chapter in her seriously illustrious career. Hooray! Hooray! The chances of otherwise having Claudia on our team would have been nil.
Claudia, you might have guessed, is an adventurous free-spirited soul. Some of her fondest memories include hiking across the Namib Desert, climbing Lion’s Head with her best friends (Andree and Ian) in Cape Town and sleeping under the stars on a bedroll in Damaraland. Anything goes really, so long as there's plenty of brandy coffee and camembert on the fire with figs.
Wherever you find Claudia, she'll be in the company of good people, surrounded by laughter. That includes her two boys, delightful chaps they are both. Of course.