Childhood & Early Life
Mishal Husain was born on February 11, 1973, in Northampton, England, to parents of Pakistani origin. Syed Shahid Hamid, her grandfather, had served as the first director-general of the ‘Inter-Services Intelligence’ (ISI). He was a two-star general in the ‘Pakistan Army’ and was a close associate of President Ayub Khan.
At age 2, Mishal relocated with her family to the United Arab Emirates. Her father, a doctor, started practicing there. She attended ‘The British School Al Khubairat’ in Abu Dhabi. Her family also lived in Saudi Arabia for a while. At age 12, Mishal went back to England and joined the ‘Cobham Hall,’ an independent school. After studying law at ‘New Hall,’ Cambridge (presently ‘Murray Edwards College,’ Cambridge), Mishal attended the ‘European University Institute’ in Florence, Italy, from where she obtained a master's degree in international and comparative law.
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Mishal had a 3-month stint as a city reporter of the largest English language newspaper in Pakistan, ‘The News International,’ when she was 18, marking her first experience in journalism. Following this, she also bagged several short-term projects with the ‘BBC’ while attending university.
In 1996, she bagged her first job, at ‘Bloomberg Television’ in London. There, she contributed as a junior producer and an occasional presenter.
She joined the ‘BBC’ in 1998, initially contributing as a junior producer. Within a few months, Mishal began working in front of the camera, a role that she has been playing gracefully for many years now. Her initial contributions facing the camera included her appearances on ‘Breakfast’ and ‘Asia Business Report.’ She also presented business news on ‘BBC News’ and ‘BBC World News.’
She became the Washington correspondent of the corporation in September 2002 and worked as the main news anchor during the build-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and at the time of the Iraq War. Several imminent personalities, such as Emmerson Mnangagwa, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Paul Kagame, and Richard Armitage, were interviewed by her.
Since 2005, she is the Sunday presenter of ‘BBC Weekend News’ on ‘BBC One.’ The 2005 ‘BBC’ game show ‘Star Spell,’ a spin-off of ‘Hard Spell,’ was presented by Eamonn Holmes, while Mishal replaced Nina Hossain as a word pronouncer on the show. Mishal continued to be part of the second season of ‘Hard Spell.’ Mishal has also occasionally presented the ‘BBC Two’ current affairs program ‘Newsnight.’
Mishal chaired the judging panel of the ‘Orange Award for New Writers’ in 2009. That year, British daily national newspaper ‘The Times’ named her one of the five most influential Muslim women in the UK.
She ranked third in an episode of the British TV quiz show ‘Celebrity Mastermind.’ The episode was part of the eighth season of the show and was broadcast on ‘BBC One.’ Mishal’s subject on the show was the ‘Narnia’ series.
The news program ‘Impact’ that premiered on ‘BBC World News’ on February 1, 2010, also known as ‘Impact with Mishal Husain’ (2011–2014),’ has featured Mishal as a relief presenter since 2010. The show, now styled as ‘Impact with Yalda Hakim’ (2014–present), currently features Yalda Hakim (Monday–Thursday) and Lucy Hockings (Friday) as its main presenters.
Mishal wrote an essay on her nostalgic trip to the UAE and published it in ‘The Independent’ on May 8, 2010.
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Meanwhile, during the spring and the summer of 2011, Mishal made a documentary on the ‘Arab Spring, ‘an array of uprisings, anti-government protests, and armed insurgencies that took place in the Middle East in late 2010. On December 2, 2011, an announcement stated that the ‘Olympic’ presenting team of ‘BBC’ would include Mishal.
In March 2012, she appeared on a ‘BBC’ show named ‘Gandhi.’ That year, during the ‘Summer Olympics,’ Mishal contributed as the morning anchor on ‘BBC One.’
Mishal presented the final ‘News at Ten’ on March 17, 2013, that was aired from the ‘BBC Television Centre.’ Lord Hall, the ‘BBC’ director-general, declared on July 16 that year that Mishal would be inducted as a presenter on ‘BBC Radio 4's early-morning news and current-affairs program ‘Today’ that autumn. She started presenting the show from October 7 that year and continues to contribute to it to date.
On November 7, 2013, an announcement confirmed the inclusion of Mishal in the ‘Commonwealth Games’ presenting team of ‘BBC.’ Accordingly, she appeared as the morning anchor on ‘BBC One’ during the 2014 ‘Commonwealth Games’ in Glasgow. Meanwhile, she received the ‘Services to Media’ award at the ‘British Muslim Awards’ in January 2014.
In 2015, she received the ‘Broadcaster of the Year Award’ at the ‘London Press Club Awards.’
An interview of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle by Mishal was recorded on November 27, 2017.
Apart from presenting ‘BBC Radio 4's ‘Today’ and ‘BBC One’s Sunday evening editions of ‘BBC Weekend News,’ Mishal occasionally presents on ‘BBC News’ and ‘BBC World News.’ She also contributes as a relief presenter of ‘BBC News at Six’ and ‘BBC News at Ten.’
She is a judge of the ‘Amnesty International Media Awards.’ Mishal is also an ambassador of the ‘British Asian Trust,’ a charity. She has also been part of the non-profit medical service organization ‘Operation Smile’ and the charity ‘Mosaic.’ The latter was founded by the Prince of Wales and aims at inspiring and supporting young people from deprived communities in realizing their skills and talents.