Amelia Dimoldenberg is the poker-faced journalist that’s taking rappers on chicken shop dates. We sit down with Amelia as she opens up about the notoriety of her Chicken Shop Dates show, building a YouTube empire and her big jump into television.
Love at first bite. Journalist, producer and a little bit of a comedian Amelia Dimoldenberg is the brains behind and in front of the light-hearted comedic Youtube show, Chicken Shop Date. Born and bred in London, Amelia spent her teenage years like no other teenager, at sixth form college but for her, it came with a twist. With dreams of becoming a journalist and surprisingly studied at a college without a media department, Amelia felt as if there was no place to start. Low and below, Amelia refused to let her lack of resources get in the way of her dreams, so she signed up to a weekly youth-led magazine company called “The Cut” based in London who were keen to have her poker-face on board. After spending every Wednesday evening crafting her way into our TV screens, Amelia found her journalistic spark.
Completely 100% free range and self-made, Amelia found a crew ready to bring the Chicken Shop Date to life. Spending several more years dividing her time between filming and producing for her show and writing essay after essay for her Fashion Journalism degree at Central St.Martins, Amelia racked up hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and millions of views on her channel. With her youtube show increasingly growing daily after hilariously interviewing some of the UK’s top Grime and Rap artists such as Ghetts, Big Narstie, AJ Tracey, Maya Jama, Sean Paul and more, Amelia has also curated her own ‘Hot Sauce Tour’ partnered with VOXI taking her show on the road across the country. Using just the right amount of social media mixed with romance, Amelia took her quest to find love through chicken to three huge UK gigs joined by special guests Ms.Banks, Not3s and more.
With still no luck at romance, Amelia took her cheeky interview skills on the red carpet as she interviews top artists at some of the UK’s major award ceremonies like the MOBO Awards, GRM Rated awards and many many more. On a quest to take her show to the TV screen, Amelia has filmed her own short documentary with VICE called “The Alien Worshippers” as well as joining other celebrity guests on ITV show “Don’t Hate The Playaz” and filming another documentary for Channel 4.
Perfectly combining her love for chicken with finding true love, we couldn’t wait to hear more about where it all began and how our chicken shop lover is handling filming shows for Youtube and national television!
How did you come up with the concept for Chicken Shop Dates?
When I was in sixth form, I got an email from my teacher and he said there was a magazine company run by this youth group that met every Wednesday and it sounded perfect for me because I am really interested in media. We didn’t have any media classes at my school so I started going to this youth club every Wednesday after school and we made a magazine. Everyone there was super into rap and grime and I wasn’t, I just didn’t understand it. I knew about maybe Dizzee Rascal but that was it. So everyone there got me really into it and talking about music. That’s kind of how everything started. I thought a great way to introduce people to grime culture was through a date-format interview. Someone said that I should go on a date somewhere you would never want to go, like a chicken shop. Two years after that I decided it could be really great as a video format, but I didn’t know anybody who had a camera plus I was really shy so I didn’t know what to do. When I was recording everything it was super funny so I knew it would work. I decided to try and meet some camera operators so I went on set as a runner for SHY FX one day then I finally found the people to help. The first episode was 5 years ago with Ghetts and now I’m sitting here with my merch.
Was it difficult to convince people to come on the show at first?
When we first started, the format was a column. It was friends of friends coming on the show and then the magazine that I was a part of – “The Cut” – mainly for under 21-year-olds, had relationships with PR’s and managers so that set everything up for me too. People were coming through and some were interested to promote their music too. Also back then Grime and Rap were not as big as they are now, of course. It was huge for underground music but in terms of popular trends now it’s way bigger than it was back then. It was easier to get people on because those artists were smaller back then. It’s been a long time that I’ve been making this and I’m still not where I want to be but I definitely have come a long way.
Do you have a favourite Chicken Shop by now?
Every chicken shop has a completely different aesthetic and such an amazing way of displaying the food, absolutely perfect for a date. My favourite one is in Kingsland Rd, it’s so clean and it doesn’t smell. Usually, they smell so bad! I have to put a warning on the display sheet telling people not to wear their best clothes because it smells so bad with little ventilation.
Who were you most disappointed not to have on the show?
There are people who haven’t said no, but haven’t said yes either, so that’s really frustrating. Kano said no to me but that’s okay because he doesn’t do any press, but I usually don’t get a no just an “it’s not right”, so I transformed that into the mindset of “they didn’t say no, keep trying.” That’s my whole mindset which keeps me going.
Who’s been your favourite date?
I’d have to say without a doubt Big Narstie was my favourite date. I was trying to get him on the show for so long, the stars finally aligned and we had the best date ever and I was really happy with the episode because my supporters have wanted him on the show for so long. I was glad to give that to them.
Do you actually eat the chicken?
Yes! I love chicken nuggets and chicken so it’s amazing for me. We usually film in the morning so it does make me feel a little sick but you know, love chicken nuggets.
Was it a big jump for you to go from Youtube to broadcasting?
I’m a very ambitious person, so for me, it was the goal. I’m still in development for what I want to do. Television is something I really like so it wasn’t really a big jump. But in terms of having creative control for my show and then stepping back and not being in full creative control for these shows, it was a bit strange but exciting. Also, the way TV is viewed is so different from online, so adjusting to a different audience is difficult sometimes.
There’s a lot of noise on social media. Do you find it difficult to create content that breaks through?
To be able to put out content whenever I feel like there is quality to put out is something I like to do. I really do believe in quality over quantity because if you do it the other way around, that’s how you get lost in the sauce. I’m a multifaceted individual and I really like to just come up with loads of different ideas and put them on different platforms. Just create create create but without adding to the oversaturation at the moment. Trying to not go insane is really difficult because you are overthinking creatively. It’s something I’m currently getting over after just finishing non-stop creating for 6 months for the hot sauce Tour which I did all the creative content for, so having a month off now is like a relief, even though I’m supposed to be developing creative ideas right now.
After going on so many dates, what is your go-to relationship advice?
My advice is to be yourself because that’s my character in chicken shop date and that’s why it goes so well. You might as well be who you are because otherwise it just makes it long and awkward when they figure out you’re not like that. Don’t try to impress someone else.