Television presenter, beauty expert and social media personality Gina Akers says determination has been the key to her success in life.

The Swindon-born social media influencer and public relations consultant has been appointed the head judge for the UK Blog and Influencer Awards. Gina hopes the experience will be an opportunity to give others a boost.

“Don’t let anything hold you back,” she says, “You can do anything you want to do. It hasn’t always been all about me, but about other people, and helping others reach their goals.”

The UK Blog Awards recognise digital content creators in both an individual capacity and in business. As part of her role of head judge, Gina will be making a keynote speech at the award ceremony on Friday, at the Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square, London.

“It’s all very inspirational,” she said. “I am a great believer in help others get on – that’s how I get a sense of achievement.”

Gina , 39, comes from what she describes as one of Swindon’s heritage families. The Akers owned land and farms in Haydon Wick and Purton, as well as businesses in the area. Perhaps this entrepreneurial spirit was passed on to Gina: she went to Swindon College after school and did a business studies A level as well as taking qualifications in beauty skills.

“I couldn’t decide what I wanted to. I was interested in business and marketing, I was creative, and I also loved the hair and beauty industry,” she said.

Gina gained an HND in business and marketing and went on to study for a degree in business and management at Oxford Brookes. But hard-working Gina worked while she studied, in a salon and for a taxi company. She also wrote articles for beauty trade magazines.

“I had a lot of late nights,” she smiled. “I was brought up to believe I could do anything from an early age, and I was always very interested in news and television presenting.”

An opportunity came up to do some local radio presenting and she worked with the GWR FM Black Thunder team. Later she became a beauty consultant for the ITV’s daytime show This Morning.

“I thought that it might be a once in a lifetime experience, but I went with the approach that at least I could do it.”

But more television opportunities did follow. She was a consultant for Channel 4’s reality television show The Salon in its first series, and played the role of the receptionist in the second. She enjoyed meeting the celebrities who visited the salon, including 1980s pop sensation Steve Strange. Gina opened her own salon in Swindon in 2004. She called it Aqua-G and ran it from the Brunel Centre.

“We did hair, beauty, nails, tanning – everything. I opened it from scratch and it’s one of the things I am most proud of – keeping people in jobs. I know how hard it is for small businesses that don’t have investments to fall back on in a recession. It was very difficult, but I did it.”

After a time, Gina says she had some health issues and working seven days a week was taking its toll. She sold the business, and decided to get more involved with community groups, in charity projects and public relations.

The future of Lydiard House and Park is one of the projects Gina feels passionate about. It was her great grandfather Francis Elliott Akers who gifted the house to the community back in 1943 – and she is determined the house and park should remain in the ownership of the people of Swindon.

Gina is also involved in wedding planning and has written for wedding magazines. Yet another string to her bow is work in the music industry, as press and bookings officer for hip hop reggae collective The Tribe.

“With my connections I’m able to help bands get on,” she explained. “I’m always keen to help other people. When I was a teacher in higher education, your reward was seeing others achieve. I have had an amazing career in all sorts of areas – but you have to believe you can do what you want, and you have to be really keen. Do not let other people tell you that you are not good enough.”

To find out more about Gina, visit