Julia Stuart: sports and entertainment changemaker

As a former sportswriter and editor who has become one of the most sought-after sports presenters in the country, Julia Stuart has become a household name in the world of football, making waves in a male-dominated space. This year, as one of 16 Nedbank YouthX Changemakers, Julia’s been selected in the sports and entertainment category as an inspiration to young people interested in working in this field.

We spoke with Julia Stuart about her journey in sports media:

You’ve been in sports and entertainment for quite a while. Take us through how you’ve seen the industry evolve.

Well, I’ve been in live sports broadcasting at SuperSport since 2015 and I’ve noticed that the way people consume sport has changed. Given the increased use of social media and the way our viewing habits changed, perhaps given the pandemic too, there are a lot more ways to cover and consume sport.

The volume and creativity on display in some of the memes and funny videos we see daily is an example. The fact that we get our news first on Twitter is another – so is the way people, including athletes, are more accessible to fans thanks to social media.  I also love that there are more women covering sport – and not just to add something to look at either. Women are commentating on the premier league, anchoring the studio for rugby’s biggest matches, and the same goes for cricket.

Can you tell us a little bit more about your career journey and some top highlights?

In varsity, I started as a freelance rugby writer for a new tabloid newspaper in Cape Town. I could have never dreamt I’d be doing what I do today back then. It’s been an incredible journey and one I’m extremely grateful for.


The only thing you can control is how much work you put in


Being able to cover massive matches on some of the world’s biggest stages and still call it ‘work’ is an honour. Some of my most memorable highlights include hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup, CAF Africa Cup of Nations, and UEFA Euros, to name a few. Of course, getting to meet some of the players you loved watching growing up is brilliant too.

Which leaders or individuals in the industry inspire you and why?

Kass Naidoo is a major inspiration. She is a trailblazer in the sports broadcasting field who continues to show us that there are no limitations to what you can do as a South African on the global stage. The most inspiring thing, however, is that she is changing the culture from within. Through the Gsport4Girls Trust and Annual Awards, which recognise women across all areas of sport, Kass and her team are showing how powerful we are if we band together – something that is not always encouraged.

Looking back at how you built your career, would you have done things the same?

No. There are more tools available now, and it’s a lot easier with the platforms available. You just have to figure out what your unique voice or message is, and what you want your brand to be. Then as long as you have a phone and data, you are good to go.

How have you used social media to build your brand?

I’ve seen the benefits of using social media, particularly over the past 3 years – I was able to interview people like Jurgen Klopp, Sadio Mané, Bruno Fernandes, Cesc Fàbregas and many more online, and contact these big stars who wouldn’t be as accessible in the past. Because of Instagram Live and Zoom, etc, your location does not play a role in you connecting with people across the globe.

As for personal brand building, I think social media is a useful tool for sharing your life and showcasing your personality beyond what people can see on screen. It’s a great way to interact with people.

Unlocked.Me by Nedbank introduced the YouthX platform to give the youth more access to the resources and inspiration they need to unlock their potential. What excites you about being involved in the YouthX campaign?

This initiative is phenomenal! It’s so crucial for big corporations like Nedbank to be directly involved in creating a better future for the youth. I wish I had a platform like this when I was starting my career. There was so much I didn’t know, and I just had to dive into the deep end. The opportunity to learn from people who are currently leaders in their field is a huge bonus.

What advice would you give to those who want to pursue careers in sports and entertainment?

Be prepared to put in the work. I always say this, but you will be surprised by the number of people who show up unprepared. Live TV is unpredictable and ever-changing, so you have to be adaptable and roll with the punches. The only thing you can control is how much work you put in. If you are looking for ways to get started, use everything you have access to and make it work. Social media will always offer you a platform to make your name and get recognised by a big network.