News & Events

Alumnae spotlight: Farrah Jaufuraully

January 15, 2024

Farrah Jaufuraully, Class of 1996

Farrah is a Television Producer and Director with over 20 years of experience. She started as a researcher in Children’s TV and now works mainly across Factual Entertainment with credits for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Discovery, Sky and Channel 5. She has directed crews and self-shot throughout the UK, Europe, India, and the USA. As a tenacious and go-getting Location Director, she camped outside Westminster Abbey with a Royalist, charting their story during the Royal Wedding of William and Kate. She has secured interviews with the Indian Special Forces, dressed in scrubs to follow world-famous surgeons and developed good working relationships with well-known presenters.

Farrah has a strong track record as an Edit Producer, writing entertaining and factually engaging commentary (that is voiced by a presenter) and structuring narratives across multiple edits on fast turnaround projects including Love Island, I’m A Celebrity, Britain’s Best Woodworker, Junior Bake Off, Ibiza Weekender, Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas, Dinner Date, Dickinson’s Real Deal, The Only Way Is Essex and A Place in The Sun: Home Or Away. She is currently working on the heartwarming prime TV programme The Repair Shop.

Farrah is extremely well-travelled and has backpacked alone across six continents. Adventures include avoiding head-hunters in the Borneo jungle to meet an orangutan and climbing Chile’s knee-popping Torres del Paine.

Farrah is a great supporter of Croydon High School, having attended many career events and inspired countless pupils. During our lockdown version of Arts Week in 2020, Farrah gave our young reporters a crash course in journalism (whilst working on Grow Your Own with Alan Titchmarsh!), sharing her top ten reporting tips. She was the guest speaker at one of our Prize giving celebrations where she demonstrated the example of a Croydon High girl who has really gone places, showing that with hard work and resolve, as well as talent and the benefits of a good education, the world of work can be a fascinating place.

Farrah is also a Volunteer Responder for the British Red Cross.

We caught up with Farrah recently for a Q&A session:

What aspects of Croydon High School did you enjoy and find most rewarding?

School trips away were amazing bonding experiences, and I’m still friends now with girls I only really got to know on those field trips. We were really pushed to work hard and excel and although I wouldn’t say I liked school all the time, I received a brilliant educational discipline that, looking back, I can’t really fault. My GCSE and A Level teachers were also very nurturing and passionate about their subjects, which certainly rubbed off on our learning and enjoyment. I have absolutely no idea what Mrs Tiltman was on about during French Literature classes on ‘Le Château de Ma Mere’, but her chuckling and huge zeal made me embarrassed not to find out and apply myself more.

What did you aspire to whilst at school?

I didn’t believe I could produce TV shows until I started to delve into the industry while at university. But at school, I was a daydreamer and absolutely obsessed with the movies. I would bring VHS recordings of films that had been on TV late the night before to watch in the careers library at lunchtime – I remember Mr McVicar caught me watching the crime thriller, ‘Badlands’ once! I knew I wanted to tell stories and always wanted to write. Or act. However, I didn’t get far with Drama – I think I lacked confidence – but Mrs Sharpe, Mrs Shackel, Mrs Loewe and Mrs Duggan (I had to ask an old classmate her name!) instilled in me an unexpected love for Shakespeare and also fostered my enthusiasm for creative writing, which has helped in my career. I did end up dabbling in acting as an adult. I had a wonderful time working with Oliver Stone and Colin Farrell on the movie, ‘Alexander’, but I decided that my life was better played behind the camera. Getting paid to do what I do is a dream come true.

How did Croydon High School empower you for your future?

Wow, in more ways than I realise. All those essays and learning how to summarise (A Level English!) were definitely good grounding for finishing my degree and then for writing series and directorial treatments. I very much left school knowing not to accept anyone’s negativity. I think my tenacity does come from my time at Croydon High, and I’m certainly someone who will always find another way in and argue my case and keep pushing for answers. People I met after Croydon High always comment on my ‘good education’ and what a ‘high achiever’ I am, sometimes with jealousy but usually always in awe. I am often called a ‘strong’ woman, and I think a sense of ‘this girl CAN’ was birthed during those Croydon High years.

What has been your proudest moment?

At school, definitely being part of the School Magazine committee – I returned after sixth form to accept a prize for my involvement! Also, getting all those GCSEs and A Levels at grades A*-C. I didn’t think of myself as academic, so that was nice! Professionally, I’ve maintained a career that I absolutely love, and I never tire of seeing my name in the credits. I’ve worked on shows, such as ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ and ‘The Joy of Teen Sex’ where I have personally helped people make a real difference in their lives, and I love that I have been part of their journey. In my real life, there are so many moments I could tell you about, ranging from big things like overcoming trauma to small things like making a grumpy person smile today, but those are stories to regale you with another time!

What are your hopes for the future?

Where to begin? Can I hope for world peace? Career-wise, I hope to keep working in the face of an industry-wide slowdown and make engaging programmes that people want to watch. Personally, I hope to stay as healthy as I can for as long as I can. I suffered a perforated appendix only seven months ago, and the fallout – sepsis and kidney failure – nearly killed me. It was a massive blow to my health that nobody could have foreseen – Please never ignore a stomach ache! I’m incredibly lucky to have fully recovered and to be here. I was already in a place where I liked myself and my life, so I hope to keep living life and to be able to remember it all with a big smile!

What would you say to your younger self?

  • Freeze your eggs as soon as you are financially able to and really get those heavy periods looked at – I was almost 40 and on my first round of IVF before it was confirmed that I have Stage 3 adenomyosis and endometriosis, two debilitating conditions that have wrought havoc on a successful pregnancy outcome. It turns out I’m still fertile for my age, but there’s too much going on in my womb ever to grow my own child. Had my painful periods been taken seriously sooner in my life, things could have perhaps been different.
  • Speak up for yourself. I was shy at 15 and too scared to say things even when I knew I was right!
  • Don’t allow worry to create shadows in your life. Only in my early 30s did I learn mindfulness and how to stop worrying about things that would never happen. I think I always had a strong sense of sense and was always OK with people thinking I was weird, but I wasted so much time overthinking things.
  • Don’t get involved in anybody’s drama except Shakespeare’s!
  • All shall be well – it really will be.

Mrs Karen Roe
Alumnae Relations Manager