Our series of interviews with role models in the dwarfism community is back! This time, we spoke with Matt Hepburn – ex-political hack, campaigner, and commentator. Think you know someone who is a great role model for people with dwarfism? Let us know…
Please introduce yourself: who are you and where are you from?
I’m Matt Hepburn – born in Beckenham, Greater London. I spent two years living in Sydney, Australia, and am now back in my hometown again.
And what do you do?
I am a Journalist, ex-political reporter; sometimes a press officer, and I write professionally in various capacities. Currently, I’m developing my own media consultancy business, working with a diverse set of clients – from campaign groups to creatives.
Do you enjoy it?
Absolutely. I’ve a passion for writing, politics, meeting new people, and helping to shape communications. My Journalism has also put me in the privileged position of being able to make a positive, proud impact for Restricted Growth, and raise awareness in newspapers and on national TV on occasions.
How did you end up doing it?
I studied Journalism at City University, London, and the first job I took was reporting live from the House of Lords and Commons. Since then I’ve worked within communications in various capacities and now write professionally and creatively, while working on my business.
If you were 21 again, would you do something different?
It’s important not to have regrets, but to have compassion and understanding for whatever came before. Every year my realisation strengthens that, while there can be societal negatives, they cannot be allowed to derail your goals or dilute your ambitions. Your actions can help shape the society you want for yourself and others.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?
Selling raffle tickets, over the phone, when living in Australia. I soon gave up trying to sell and spent the day talking to elderly people about their cats and grandchildren. I didn’t last long.
And the best?
I worked in Parliament as a reporter for almost a decade, which was an excellent, busy time. I got to cover debate from across the agenda and reported on leading thinkers, academics, and figures from around the globe.
What are the best and worst aspects about being small?
People with Restricted Growth growing up today do so in a much more tolerant, accepting, and educated environment than ever before. Unfortunately, there are a few practices – deemed ‘entertainment’ – which have not caught up yet, but these are looking increasingly outdated as acceptance and knowledge of Restricted Growth increases. A positive aspect is the compassion and tolerance the condition developed in me for others. It’s fuelled my politics, outlook, and allowed me to relate to our shared humanity.
If you could pass on one piece of advice to your teenage self what would that be?
That any of the negative societal experiences you had are utterly meaningless and will pale into insignificance through your own beliefs and actions.
Which living person do you most admire and why?
Right now, as we’re knee-deep in an election, it’s Jeremy Corbyn. He’s spent a lifetime in Parliament battling for ‘unfashionable causes,’ against a hostile media, and political establishment. He’s constantly championed the rights and freedoms of people across the world.
How do you like to pass the time, outside of work?
Travel – I just got back from several months in South East Asia. Also football, music, politics, pubs, bars and music festivals.
What’s your favourite book?
Down and Out in Paris and London – George Orwell .
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Speaking on Sky News was a proud moment, when I was able to reach millions with a positive message about Restricted Growth.
What future plans do you have professionally and personally?
Definitely more traveling, and to expand my media business. While continuing on my own path of professional and personal development, I also want to act as a positive example; countering stereotypes and showing that while a few remaining barriers might exist, they are there to be broken.