Some women have done it all, changing the course of history while doing so. In the world of law and politics, the names Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Kamala Harris are forever immortalized as trailblazers; in Hollywood, meanwhile, we hear about actresses and directors like Blake Lively, Patty Jenkins, and Emma Watson, three women who have used their platforms to advocate for a better world.
However, there have been plenty of other trailblazing women in a range of industries, from medicine and technology to sports and gaming. In this article, we will celebrate these women by looking at the life of Victoria Coren Mitchell. The British native has had many successes in her life in various industries, including writing, television/radio presenting, and even gambling.
Who Is Victoria Coren Mitchell?
Victoria Coren Mitchell hails from Hammersmith, London, in 1972. She is the daughter of English writer and humorist Alan Coren and related to Canadian journalist Michael Coren, best known for his biographies on H.G. Wells, J.R.R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis. As her ancestry demonstrates, writing is in Coren Mitchell’s blood, though it must be said that Coren Mitchell amassed her large following entirely by herself and not on the basis of her family’s reputation.
In her formative years, Coren Mitchell was a published writer in The Daily Telegraph, one of Britain’s biggest daily broadsheet newspapers, founded in 1855. She also had a short story published in J-17 magazine, which was particularly impressive as this franchise was establishing itself as a reputable publication at the time. J-17 quickly became one of the UK’s leading magazines before circulation stopped in April 2004.
A few years later, Coren Mitchell’s debut book Love 16 was published, documenting the embarrassments and anxieties of a girl in love.
Less than fifteen years later, at the age of 28, Coren Mitchell would see her first commercial success as a playwright, with her play called A Lump in my Throat running at the Edinburgh Festival and London’s New End Theatre. One year later, Coren Mitchell adapted A Lump in my Throat into a BBC Two docu-drama with British actor Neil Pearson. The play was originally an adaption of British journalist John Diamond’s newspaper columns in The Times, which documented his diagnosis with throat cancer.
A Poker Player
As the years passed, Coren Mitchell continued to write and publish. In 2008, Coren Mitchell and her brother, Giles Coren, edited an anthology honoring their father’s best work, Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks. They also wrote the introduction for the book, published by Canongate. However, at this time, Coren Mitchell was also honing her skills in an area vastly different than writing: poker playing. In fact, she wasn’t just practicing her poker skills — she was using them to break records.
In 2006, five years after Coren Mitchell adapted her play into a BBC Two docu-drama, she became the first woman to win an event on the European Poker Tour (EPT), earning a prize of £500,000. She would do the same in 2014, winning the main event of the EPT San Remo and securing the title of the first player to win two EPT titles. Today, Coren Mitchell is regarded as one of the most successful female poker players ever by casino review sites. Her fellow women in casino professions include Vanessa Selbst and Annette Obrestad, who won her first major event at 18-years-old.
Of course, it’s not just Coren Mitchell’s titles that have seen her develop a reputation in the poker community, but also her 2009 book For Richer, For Poorer, which documents her love for poker. The Guardian website described the book as ‘superb,’ and ‘another order altogether,’ while The Globe And Mail declared For Richer, For Poorer is the best-written book since Alvarez’s The Biggest Game In Town.
A TV Presenter
Since the release of For Richer, For Poorer, Coren Mitchell has been inducted into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame, gotten married to British comedian and actor David Mitchell, and become the game show host for British television quiz show Only Connect. This series, in which teams compete in a tournament to try and connect unrelated clues, has been on the air since 2008 and is where Coren Mitchell’s focus has been in the last few years. She has, however, been a guest panelist on several other shows, such as Question Time in 2010, 2013, and 2015. Coren Mitchell was also a guest host on Have I Got News for You from 2014 to 2021.
Victoria Coren Mitchell takes the idea of diversifying one’s skill set to a new extreme. She is a writer, a television and radio presenter, and a record-breaking poker player who never let fear get in the way of her early life passions. We all have something to learn from Coren Mitchell about determination and hard work, and there’s no doubt in our mind that we will hear more from the British native in 2022.