The Fold Woman: Francesca Cumani

The Fold Woman: Francesca Cumani
September 21, 2015 The Fold
Francesca Cumani

Tell us a little bit about your career background and how you came to your present role:

I had always hoped to have a career in horse racing but it took me a few years to find the right one.  After graduating from Bristol university with a degree in French and Spanish, I worked in the family business – my father, Luca Cumani, trains race horses and my mother breeds them.  It was after travelling horses to Australia to race in their biggest race, the Melbourne Cup, that I was offered an opportunity to be a guest presenter on Channel 7’s horse racing broadcast.  That turned into a more permanent role and then the job with CNN presenting their Winning Post show came a couple of years later and I am very lucky to be able to do both, dividing my time between the UK and Australia.

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Francesca wears The Russell Dress in navy

You received your amateur jockey license at the age of 18. Do you still find time to ride and compete whilst working as a racing news anchor?  

Unfortunately I don’t have time to ride in races anymore but I had a great time doing it between the age of 18 and 28.  I still ride horses as often as I can, wherever I am and can’t go too long out of the saddle without losing the plot!

Traditionally, the racing media is a male-dominated field. Has this posed any challenges in your career?   

Yes and no.  I think I have been very lucky to have been given the opportunities I have and sometimes it has helped to be a woman. I do still feel however that in the racing world women still need to prove themselves more than men which can be frustrating at times.

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Francesca wears The Camelot Dress in winter white tweed

Do you have a mentor? How important have they been in your career? 

Yes, I do.  His name is Terry Henderson and I met him about 8 years ago.  He has a huge amount of experience in an array of businesses but his real passion is horse racing. We do some work together buying racehorses all over the world to send to race in Australia but more than that he is a great sounding board and gives great advice in all departments. He also introduced me to my manager James Henderson (no relation) who has also been hugely influential in my career.

Your job takes you around the world, how do achieve a work-life balance with such a busy schedule?

I have a very understanding and supportive husband!  Well, I am actually very lucky in that I have a range of jobs with varying schedules and I can chose whether or not to take on extra work in between.  While I can have very busy periods with a lot of long haul trips I equally can have some more relaxed times of the year so it works well overall.

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Francesca wears The Russell Dress in navy

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

I’m not sure where it comes from but I saw a good quote not long ago that I thought was very good advice.  The quote is as follows: ‘Build a good name.  Keep your name clean.  Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful.  Be concerned about doing good work and if you build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency.’

Attending races all year round, you must have learnt a thing or two about occasionwear. Do you have any tips for event dressing?

Rightly or wrongly I have never been someone who follows the latest trends.  I think I was inspired by my Italian grandmother who only ever wore one brand – Giorgio Armani –  and she was an incredibly elegant lady.  I think finding clothes that work for you is the most important thing and for me that’s well tailored clothes that I feel good in.

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Francesca wears The Camelot Dress in winter white tweed

And finally, what is your favourite piece in the current Fold London collection?

Without doubt the Camelot.  Incredibly comfortable to wear, chic, sophisticated and flattering!

Pictures by David Nyanzi

Hair by our partner salon, Easton Regal

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