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Date with Kate

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Sheppard

11th June, 2017

Enjoy lunch with Amy and Emma from Sheppard

 

Siblings Amy and Emma Sheppard are in the indie pop band Sheppard, which also includes their brother George. The Brisbane-based six-piece’s 2014 debut album, Bombs, reached No. 2 on the ARIA chart and their single Geronimo spent three weeks at No. 1. Amy and Emma chat to me about the makings of Geronimo, the pressures in the “cut-throat” music industry and their current tour, which includes tonight’s Sydney gig at the Metro Theatre.

You have had so much success. How did it all start for you guys?

Amy: It really started when I was at TAFE and I had to do a music assignment and I got [my brother] George [Sheppard] to do harmonies on my track … It sort of snowballed from there … [and when] we met our guitarist Jason Bovino things really took off.

What was it like to win an ARIA award?

Amy: That was the best feeling ever, I think, because we had been working so hard for so long and we had been nominated for a few ARIAs before in previous years. So when we got to take that one ARIA home, it was just really special.

Geronimo was one of the biggest hits of the decade, what did that feel like?

Amy: It was a whirlwind, to be honest. It was huge; I couldn’t believe that people were still buying our single after so many weeks … It’s really a humbling feeling that we get to do this every day for a living. We don’t have other jobs and I think that’s rare for a musician to be able to say that.

Is there a pressure for the next album to have the same success?

Emma: Yes and no, just because we want to continue doing this for a living. But I guess we wrote Geronimo without any pressure, so we really were careful not to put the same amount of pressure on ourselves because there were so many eyes around, like, what we were going to do next. We’ve written the album now, we’re really proud with what we have.

What’s the writing process for you?

Amy: There are three writers in the band: myself, my brother George and Jason Bovino. So it really just depends on the day as to how collaborative we are. Sometimes I come to the band with a finished song and sometimes I just have a hook or a melody and then we all jump on board and finish each of the songs. With Geronimo, I think, it first started from scratch and we were all together. It started before a show in Melbourne and we were backstage and Jason had the little guitar part that you hear in the song … [We] forgot about it for three months and then we were all together one day thinking about doing some writing and we were like, “Oh, I remember this is really cool,” and within two hours we had written Geronimo around our kitchen table at home.

What is it like to work with your siblings?

Emma: It’s really good. Being in this industry that’s so cut-throat, it’s good to know and have people that you trust with you on tour. And we’re in this business as a family – like, Mum and Dad are involved … Mum comes on every tour.

With 400 million streams and top 10 chart placements globally, what has it been like to have such international success?

Emma: It’s pretty crazy, we just kind of followed the success around the world. We never really expected it and are still pinching ourselves today.

What is the biggest aspect in your life that has changed since you’ve had success?

Amy: Probably sleep deprivation. Before Geronimo, we could choose our hours and we would be pretty free with what we could do, but now I think we just work harder, which is a great thing. We’re really busy.

What is it like to work with your siblings?

Emma: It’s really good. Being in this industry that’s so cut-throat, it’s good to know and have people that you trust with you on tour. And we’re in this business as a family – like, Mum and Dad are involved … Mum comes on every tour.

With 400 million streams and top 10 chart placements globally, what has it been like to have such international success?

Emma: It’s pretty crazy, we just kind of followed the success around the world. We never really expected it and are still pinching ourselves today.

What is the biggest aspect in your life that has changed since you’ve had success?

Amy: Probably sleep deprivation. Before Geronimo, we could choose our hours and we would be pretty free with what we could do, but now I think we just work harder, which is a great thing. We’re really busy.

Where is the strangest place you’ve been recognised?

Amy: The craziest for me was in London. I think it was Emma and I who were just shopping and someone yelled across the street, like, “Sheppard. We love you, Sheppard”. Because it didn’t chart in the UK, I was not expecting to be recognised at all.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Amy: Never let success go to your head; never let failure go to your heart.

Emma: Stick with the people that pull the magic out of you and not the madness!

What advice would you give to someone wanting to make it big in this industry? 


Emma: Push yourself because no one else is going to do it for you. Also be confident in what you do and don’t let people bring you down!

What are you up to at the moment?

Emma: At the moment we have our Australian tour … Next month, we fly out to the UK and we have 13 shows with Little Mix.

Where has been your favourite performance?

Amy: Our favourite performance would have to be when we played Rock in Rio in Brazil. It’s hard to explain how overwhelmed you feel when 100,000 people are singing your song back to you.

How do you feel about security during big performances these days with recent attacks and bombings?

Amy: We were so shocked and saddened by what happened in Manchester. Our hearts are with those who lost a loved one. But crimes like this won’t shake our resolve to deliver live music to our fans, and we hope they will still come to our concerts. Together, we will get through this more resilient and stronger.

Sheppard perform on June 11 at the Metro Theatre, Sydney; $31.75.

 

BITESIZE                 

We went to Tokonoma By Toko, Sydney

We ate Hiramasa kingfish, truffle ponzu, pickled daikon; Moreton Bay bu tempura, yuzu koshu mayonnaise; Chicken polenta karaage, toko hot sauce; Jerusalem artichoke, 3 ways, teriaki ;Soft shell crab maki; Wagyu beef cheeks, bone marrow tempura

We drank Mineral water, 2015 Ros Ritchie Sauvignon Blanc; 2012 Chandon Vintage Altius

Amy wore: Aje  

Emma wore: Rollas

Photography: Fairfax

Date with Kate, Fashion & Beauty

Date with Kate: Jessica Kahawaty

4th June, 2017

Jessica Kahawaty and I at Catalina Rose Bay

Jessica Kahawaty was born and raised in Sydney and now lives in Dubai, where she is a model and was the host of Arabic TV show Project Runway Middle East, season one. She won Miss World Australia in 2012, has worked with luxury brands including Louis Vuitton and Rolls-Royce and has more than 300,000 followers on Instagram. Kahawaty, 28, talks to me about her rise to fame, her biggest  “pinch me” moment and what most people find surprising about her.

You grew up in Sydney. How would you describe your childhood?

I had a great childhood growing up in Castle Hill. I absolutely loved the suburbs because they were so relaxing and I went to a great school as well not too far. My parents always encouraged us to travel and practice the languages we speak so we found ourselves in Europe and Beirut a lot during our summer holidays.

You have such a striking look. What is your heritage?

My mother is olive skinned and has very light green eyes and brown hair. She is Lebanese. My father has white skin and black hair – his ancestors are a mix of Armenian, Lebanese and Syrian. A bit of a cocktail [mix]!

How did you get into modeling?

I started modeling when I was 14. My mother was a model and was rehearsing for a show when I got scouted. I had to stop for a few years because I had a very awkward period with braces and bad skin [laughs], then [I] started again at 18.

Jessica modeling pool vibes with @VogueArabia x @ToryBurch Captured by @MazenAbuSrour. Photo: @ jessicakahawaty

What did it mean to be crowned Miss World Australia in 2012 and how did winning impact your career?

I always saw Miss Australia’s role as an ambassador to her country as well as a spokesperson for regional and international philanthropic causes. I loved that their aim was always to choose someone well rounded who can speak and bring light issues that matter. It definitely impacted my career positively but the title lasts for a year so it definitely took a lot of hard work and perseverance to have a long lasting career [after].

You were born and raised in Sydney but have become a superstar in the Middle East, how did that come about?

News travels fast! The Middle East was very embracing of the fact that an Australian girl with part of her heritage being from there had won Miss Australia and was a runner up in Miss World. They were so proud of that fact and it was an opportunity for me to bridge a gap between East and West. I was pretty lucky that I spoke Arabic and English and was able to translate all my experience and upbringing into the Arabic culture and vice versa without a language barrier. I found Dubai to be such an amazing base for all the things I wanted to do in the Middle East, Paris, London and New York.

What was it like to land the prime-time role as host of Project Runway Middle East?

I had always looked up to Heidi Klum as a successful businesswoman and entrepreneur who was one of the first to combine the modeling, TV and fashion worlds together. The show was another point in my career that I am so proud of doing especially considering Arabic isn’t my first language and I had no TV experience at all. It was an incredible experience to have the likes of Carine Roitfeld, Toni Garrn, Milla Jovovich and many other international guests on the show and to hear their perspectives on emerging Middle Eastern talents.

Jessica in her first 6-page editorial in @voguearabia featuring empowering women, wearing @toryburch. Photo: @jessicakahawaty

How did that impact your career?

Television presents immense exposure and is such a traditional form of media that takes you into the living room and private spaces of people and families. Becoming a household name definitely presents new opportunities, as well as challenges!

How is life different in the Middle East?

Life is so dynamic and fast-paced there; I barely have [any] time to myself. There’s always something going on and Dubai is a melting pot for a lot of expats, tourists and visitors. There’s a lot more travel (almost every 2 weeks) and the activities differ a little from Sydney… You spend a lot of time outdoors in Australia whereas in Dubai it’s 50/50…

You’ve been touted as Dubai’s ‘It Girl’. What is that like?

It’s an honour every time I hear that. I think it’s just really important to present whatever country or region you are in, in the best light possible. I love that I was able to put a mark specifically in Dubai.

What are some of the perks of being a superstar in a place like Dubai?

I love flying in and out of Dubai… I’ve been to the most picturesque British countryside with Rolls-Royce but also experienced the hub of London with other brands. I’ve seen Paris during fashion week but I’ve also shot in a forest and on the side of lakes outside of Paris.

What has been your biggest “pinch-me” moment?

This would definitely be riding a bike with IWC watches for the Laureus event in the South of France with Olympic champions and athletes like Nico Rosberg, Fabian Cancellara and many others. We rode from Monaco to France and ended in Italy. The pinch-me part was the company I was with and the fact that I had never ridden a bike before (super overprotective parents who thought I was too clumsy [laughs] and [I] managed to cross borders!

What’s it like being recognised everywhere you go in the Middle East?

… It’s humbling and grounding when they come up with such loving words especially when it’s from young girls.

What’s the most exciting campaign you have ever worked on?

There have been so many. I loved the mini IWC campaign earlier this year with Lewis Hamilton. I also loved the cover shoot I recently shot for Harper’s Bazaar Arabia in the desert. The most exciting and memorable I would say is shooting a campaign with Oscar winner Adrien Brody in Abu Dhabi where I was chasing the guy who stole his suitcase in a Rolls-Royce!

You are a superstar in the Middle East, yet you remain largely unknown in your home country. What is that like?

I put so much focus overseas in Europe and the Middle East in the last three years to create so much value to bring home. Geographically, Australia is quite far and you have to be physically present here. This is why I am aiming to spend a bit more time in Australia whilst continuing all my endeavours overseas.

What did you miss most about home?

I definitely miss the nature, people and food! All my close friends and family are in Australia and I love the outdoors so I miss the beach, the beautiful sky and definitely the best food in the world!

Do you have plans to spend more time here?

Definitely! I was coming back two to three times a year just to visit my family and friends – no work, just downtime. But I’m aiming to try and come back every three to four months – also for some chill time but to work with some of my favourite brands here.

You have a finance and law degree – is that helpful for the work you do?

I specialised in Human Rights Law and all the subjects I ever studied revolved around humans and international rights. I love that aspect of the law and I feel like it translates into the charity work I do. It’s definitely a great complement to the industry that I am in.

What human rights issues are you most passionate about?

We all have a soft spot for something. For me, it’s children’s rights and displaced children with no access to education. If only we can provide this basic human right and need to millions, we would be able to pave a golden path for the next generation.

You speak English, Arabic and French fluently; did you grow up being multilingual?

My parents sent us to a French school in Australia for a few years where we spoke English in the playground and Arabic at home! It wasn’t easy but they wanted us to be fluent so they refused to speak to us in any other language inside the house. Traveling abroad every year also helped because you were forced to speak the local language. I’m currently learning Italian and find that I improve drastically when I travel to Rome for work.

What do you do for fun?

We go out on the boat a lot in Dubai or I spend time with my friends at the beach or doing some sort of activity like wakeboarding. I like watching TV series and movies so we’ll do that as well if it’s too hot to go outside.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

I definitely see myself doing what I’m doing on an even bigger scale and creating a platform that can help bridge this industry together (it’s all I can say for now). I would also love to have a family of my own. I’m very close to my parents and would love to have that relationship with my children.

What is something people would find surprising to know about you?

I have never tried coffee in my life! In an industry that’s so fast-paced and extremely long working hours as well as international flights, people are usually shocked as to how I am full of energy. I would like to try it one day though as I’m usually left out when all my girlfriends are drinking coffee and I’m slowly sipping a juice.

BITESIZE

We went to Catalina Rosebay

We ate Pan fried snapper, garlic potato mash and lemon caper butter; Kumara tortellini, pine nuts and sage beurre noisette; Rocket and parmesan salad.

We drank Mineral water

Jessica wore Celine top and pants from David Jones.

Photography by Louise Kennerley

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Lisa Wilkinson

28th May, 2017

Lisa Wilkinson and I catching up at Bather’s Pavilion in celebration of her 10 year anniversary as co-host of channel 9’s TODAY show

 

Lisa Wilkinson today marks her 10th anniversary as co-host of Channel 9’s Today show. She began her career at Dolly and at 21 she became the magazine’s youngest editor. Kerry Packer appointed her editor of Cleo and she went on to be its international editor-in-chief. Her television career began in the late-’90s as a regular panellist on Ten’s Beauty and the Beast, during the 2000 Sydney Olympics she co-hosted Seven’s The Morning Shift and in 2005 began hosting its Weekend Sunrise. Wilkinson, 57, chatted to me about her biggest highlight, why she almost gave up television and how she defines success.

Congratulations on 10 years with the Today show. What does it feel like to have been in a prominent role on TV for a decade? 

Extraordinary … because at the beginning there I thought, “If I can last six months in this job I’ll be doing well”… So much has happened in 10 years … I mean we’ve just been there with such big stories and against that we have all the fun times and the amazing people that you get to interview. So when I look back over what we’ve covered in 10 years, I’m surprised I’m not exhausted.

What do you love most about your job?

The audience – the feedback that we get, the fact that we’re privileged enough that people actually want to make our show part of their morning; that’s the way that they want to wake up. And that they trust us, they want to have a laugh with us and hopefully we put a skip in their step as they head out to work or send the kids off to school or stay home, or whatever form their day takes. If we can make their start to the day just a little bit better, for me the payback is huge.

Lisa on the Today show. Image source: @lisa_wilkinson

What’s the most challenging aspect of your role? 

The hours, the lack of sleep. I’ve got a sleep debt, but I’ll be a long time paying back to my body!

If you had to pinpoint your biggest highlight in the last 10 years, what would it be? 

Interviewing the entire cast of children from The Sound of Music on their 50th anniversary. It was such a treat because I grew up watching The Sound of Music.

Who do you still hope to interview?

Michelle Obama, closely followed by Barack.

What is it about live TV that really excites you? 

Just the adrenaline rush of having a rough idea what’s coming up next, but invariably things go off the rails, particularly when you’re sitting next to Karl Stefanovic … Some mornings are very challenging, like the one particular morning after the Logies! [Laughs.] Watching it back, I do get offended sometimes when people say that they knew that Karl had had too much drink when he said 76 times that I was beautiful. It was just like, “Thanks a lot, he had to be really drunk to say that.” With Karl and me, we push each other and we know after all this time each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we celebrate them, but we also like to push each other as well. It’s like a marriage.

When something goes wrong live on air, what’s your secret to getting things back on track?

I think, first and foremost, you can’t take yourself too seriously. In the end our viewers will forgive a lot, as long as we’re honest with them, and if things are going wrong, we tell them. We screw up all the time …

Who do you look up to and admire?

I admire so many different women, I mean everyone from Gail Kelly, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett … Ellen DeGeneres, like wow, because she has got such a beautiful heart and the generosity that she imparts daily. I mean the fact that she finishes every show with, “Be kind to each other”, I think says everything about her and it’s such a positive program.

The early covers of Dolly magazine where Lisa’s career began. Image source: @lisa_wilkinson

 

You started your journalistic career in magazines. Did you always know that you would go into TV? 

Not in a million years, I couldn’t have ever imagined that this is where I would end up. In fact, I got that job at Dolly at the age of 19, after answering a three-line ad in the women and girls’ employment section of The Sydney Morning Herald. I still have the ad and remember the exact phone number … It’s the only job I’ve ever applied for.

How did you end up at Cleo?

I was planning to take a trip to Europe for four weeks … It was right then that I got a call from Kerry Packer because he was looking for an editor at Cleo … I just thought, “I’ll go to lunch because he is the legendary Kerry Packer and I just want to be able to one day tell my grandkids, ‘I met the great Kerry Packer and I said ‘no’ to his job offer …’ ”

Did you know he was going to ask you to be the editor of Cleo?

No, he just said, “I really want to meet you” … So I went to the pre-arranged address that his secretary gave me … It was just like this nothing address with no restaurant except for the Channel 9 helicopter, that was sitting there with the blades roaring, and there was Trevor Kennedy, who was Kerry Packer’s right-hand man, ushering me into the helicopter so that we could go up to the Palm Beach and have lunch with Kerry Packer … Needless to say, I was very impressed … He [Packer] just made me so excited about what I was going to be able to do with Cleo. So I was there for 10 years as well.

Having worked at Dolly and Cleo at such young age, what did you learn about yourself?

To listen to your gut instinct … I learnt it’s so important to communicate with the people that you work with and to keep the lines of communication open. For everybody to work together, for everybody to be supportive of each other – and that’s when you get the best out of people – and also being given that extraordinary opportunity at such a young age, I could never understand why I got that, why me.

How do you define success? 

To feel challenged by what I do. To work hard enough that I can feel satisfied that I’ve done a good job, but also to be able to combine that with family and to make sure that the space is there for my kids and for my marriage.

How do you juggle it all?

I’ve always made sure that the kids have been very involved, particularly during the last 10 years, that they’re comfortable with the hours that I’m doing and the ways in which it can impact their lives at times, when they really want me to be at a play performance or parent-teacher night or whatever things come along … I have to be honest, I’ve missed a few. Not a lot, but I’ve missed a few … Every time my contract has come up, it has been a big family meeting about checking in and making sure that no one feels like they’re missing out. There was one time there where I thought, “I think this is impacting too much on the family,” and Pete was doing breakfast radio at that time, but he volunteered to stop doing the same hours … There was a time a couple of years ago where I thought, “I’m not sure that I can keep doing these hours and everyone is going to be OK”, so … I said to the kids, “How would you feel if I gave up the Today show?” There was just like this resounding, “No, you can’t. No, Mum.”

Lisa and her husband Pete. Image source: @lisa_wilkinson

Being married to Peter FitzSimons – a fellow journalist – you must be a great support to one another? 

Pete and I never get enough time together and we just have such common interests …  It’s lovely being married to somebody whose work you’re really incredibly proud of because his main gig now is writing books and so it’s lovely that every six months or so he is onto a new project. I’m always fascinated by the work he is doing and he is probably the most enthusiastic viewer the Today show has … The phone in my dressing room goes at 10 past 9 every day, it’s always Pete, who gives me a critique of what he has seen, and he asks me how the ratings are.

Will your children follow in both your and Peter’s footsteps? 

Well, we’ve got two that are heading for journalism … Our oldest son, Jake, has very strong opinions on things and he challenges us because Pete and I aren’t peas in a pod when it comes to our views on things, and so to now have a third one …

What do you do in your time off when you’re not working?

We’re just about to start some renovations at the house. I think, if I come back, next time around I think I will be an architect … I’m really passionate about photography as well. So they’re kind of the two things that really spark me up.

BITESIZE

We went to Bathers Pavilion, Balmoral Beach

We ate Scones with cream and jam; biscotti

We drank Earl Grey tea and cappuccino

Lisa wore Vitteroy trench

Kate wore Christopher Esber

Photography James Brickwood.

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Gladys Berejiklian

21st May, 2017

Gladys Berejiklian MP, Premier and I at Nola Smokehouse at Barangaroo

 

Gladys Berejiklian  became Premier and NSW Liberal Party leader after Mike Baird’s resignation in January. She had entered State Parliament in 2003 as the member for Willoughby. Berejiklian, 47, chats to me about her childhood, why she didn’t think she would make it in politics, and the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated arena.

What is a day in the life of you?

Well, with my job there is no such thing really as a day in the life. But I am someone who is very structured and organised, so I like to plan ahead as much as I can, because in this job the unexpected always crops up … Before I had this job, I used to count the hours I worked; now I count the hours I have off.

Did you always know you were going to go into politics when you were younger?

I always wanted to but I don’t think I always believed I would make it … I had this feeling that I would really be able to contribute something, but I never felt I would make it.

Why didn’t you think you would make it?

I had a different background, my long surname, just a whole bunch of things. I just thought I didn’t quite fit the mould. So my teachers and my parents used to always say: “Have a plan-B, Gladys.”

How would you describe your childhood? 

Oh, extremely happy, very, very loving environment and I just always felt completely supported. I was raised by my extended family, just not just my parents. It was quite “hands off” – I mean my parents were quite strict but they never told me to do my homework, they never told me to do anything … they just let us do things our own way, which was really encouraging.

What was the biggest challenge when you did go into politics?

I only got there by 144 votes [in my first election] … I think the challenges are ongoing. Politics is a kind of profession – as are lots of others – where you never stop having the challenges, and even if you are in different roles and you work your way up the tree, there are different and emerging challenges that come up. So you never feel that you’ve completely mastered anything … there is always something new to deal with.

Who do you look up to and admire?

… You come across amazing people who have really challenging circumstances and they just get on with their life and don’t complain – they’re the kind of people I really respect. They make the most of what they have, they try to be the best they could be for themselves and their families and that’s what really, really motivates and inspires me.

You always look well groomed – is that something important to you? 

Well, I love clothes and I love fashion and I just like to mix and match. I think it is important to always present well, and to make the most of what you have.

What do you enjoy doing during your time off?

I love catching up with family and friends. I love the arts, I love reading. I used to play golf but I just haven’t had time. I go to the gym – not as much as I used to. I’m only managing to do two workouts a week, so I’ve put on like a kilo, which I’m not happy about, so I’ve got to work that off.

What’s on your reading list at the moment? 

I normally have four or five books next to my bed … I’m reading a history book on NSW … I also like New Age books as well … I like to read what social commentators are saying around the world, as well just to pick up on what the mood is.

You have said you’re married to your job. What is that like?

I think anyone in my position would have to dedicate the time to the job that I am in. It is just part of your life, you just know that as long as you’ve got this job, this is your life and you’ve got to make the most of it, so that’s my attitude … I’ve just got to make the most of every day because not everybody has a chance to be in a role like mine leading Australia’s largest state, at a time when we’re doing so well.

What are your hopes for NSW while you’re Premier?

My focus is to build on the base we’ve got; we’re doing really well, but take it to the next level, and I want every person no matter where they live … to feel that they can be their best … If you provide good infrastructure, if you provide good schools, it doesn’t matter what your background is, you’ve got the chance to learn and be your best.

What is the biggest change you think people are looking for? 

I think people want to be part of government. They don’t just want to be listened to during elections, they want to know that you’re in constant communication with them, that you’re listening and in tune with what people need.

What is it like being in the public spotlight all the time? 

Well, I’ve kind of become a little bit used to it with my previous roles, but certainly this is a whole new level … I’m still quite new in the job, so I’m getting used to that side of it.

What would be your advice to young women wanting to go into politics?

I would say: be yourself, don’t try to be something you’re not … I’ve been quite stubborn, I guess, during the course of my career to say, “No, I want to do things differently,” including how I deal with the media. But I’ve said, “This is me, this is how I’m doing it.” I think just stay true to who you are and don’t let others around you try to tell you how to do your job.

Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years? 

It all depends on the good people of NSW. That’s the one thing in my line of work: you can work your hardest … but your future is really determined by how the public mark my government and myself.

About to enjoy our lunch at Nola Smokehouse

BITESIZE

WE WENT TO Nola Smokehouse, Barangaroo

WE ATE Crisp Hawkesbury Calamari & Pork Salad with grilled Spanish onion, chickpeas, chili, mint; Scallop Ceviche with Mexican cucumber salad, creme fraiche, avruga, chives; BBQ Yamba Shrimp with creamed grits, warrigal greens, abita ale and a selection of bread.

WE DRANK Coca cola and mineral water

GLADYS WORE  A Country Road dress and David Lawrence jacket

PHOTOGRAPHY SMH photographer Louie Douvis

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Nicole da Silva

7th May, 2017

Nicole da Silva and I at Eastside Grill, Chippendale

 

Nicole da Silva is an Australian actor who began on All Saints and now has an international cult following for her role as Franky Doyle in Wentworth, earning her a nomination for most outstanding new talent at last month’s Logies. Da Silva, 35, talks to me about losing her anonymity, the strangest place she has been recognised and the TV shows she is binge watching herself.

What is a day in the life of you? 

If I’m not working I like to get out and do some meditation and do some exercise … I’m [also] working on a few of my own projects.

Where are you based now? 

I’ve just come back from LA and am looking forward to settling down in Sydney for a while.

What has been the most demanding role you have ever played?

I would have to say Franky in Wentworth. [The show] just requires so much of us and all of the time. It requires a complete ability to go to the nth degree. We need to be so primal and vulnerable and there is no room for sidestepping around it.

What is it like to be part of the Wentworth phenomenon?

It is pretty huge, crazy and unexpected. Our fans are so loyal and dedicated to the show… They are constantly in contact.

What did you think when you first read the script?

I was really excited about Franky Doyle … I was excited about who she was and what was going on for her. I really connected with her, she was so strong on the outside but really quite vulnerable to what was going on in her life. It was a gift to bring [her] to life.

How do you prepare for role? 

I started training like she would train: I wanted to physically look really wiry and competitive. For the actual audition, I dressed down in a really ratty singlet. I covered my arms and neck in tattoos.

What is it like to be recognised around the world?

It is great and it has taken some getting used to. It is on Netflix now, so more and more people are catching wind of it. I don’t know how I feel about losing my anonymity, but it is just part of the package.

What is like to transfer from a dark character like Franky Doyle in Wentworth to Charlie in Doctor Doctor?

It was a relief, actually. It is so taxing to maintain that level of intensity required for Wentworth.

Is it hard to get out of character when you leave the set and go home? 

In my mind, I think I have quite a good grasp on it. I guess my family would have a different take on it. They would say I have a tendency to stay in that dark world during the period of shooting. Not to any extreme degree, but it is hard to shake it off after a full day.

How did you get into the industry? 

I graduated from drama school and started teaching speech and drama. I was going to a few auditions and the first gig I got was a semi-regular role on All Saints as an ambulance driver.

What was the best thing you learnt from All Saints? 

To not project my voice [laughs]. I had trained in theatre and it was all about expressing with your body and voice. However, on camera it is such an intimate medium with the camera only one metre away.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

The world can knock you down seven times, but you get back up eight.

If you hadn’t gone down the acting path, what would you have done? 

I don’t think there was any other path for me. I considered being an architect as I was really interested in building houses … It always came back to acting for me, though.

What would be your dream role? 

I’d love to do an action trilogy … maybe bring back Lara Croft.

What is next for you?

We are shooting season two of Doctor Doctor in a few weeks and I’m working on a few projects at the moment, too, which I have to keep under wraps.

Who do you look up to?

I like a lot of the unsung heroes of our industry. I think there is something really valid about an actor keeping some mystery to their life.

Is that something you consciously do?

Absolutely. I would hate people not to be able to engage with the story because of things they think they know about me.

What do you do for fun when you are not working?

I chill out. When I am working it is so intense and it requires every part of your life. I am really low-key. I binge watch television, I go for walks and do yoga.

What shows do you binge watch?

The Fall … Unreal … and The Night Of.

Have you noticed that TV has changed during your career?

When I was growing up, film was the pinnacle of storytelling. Now I feel we have moved into an age where television is the best way to tell a story over 10 episodes and five seasons. People really absorb themselves into the characters and we didn’t have that when I was growing up.

Have you noticed people are so invested in the characters? 

I get asked a lot if I have read Wentworth fan fiction… It is fiction about the characters which the fans write. There are whole online communities of our fans writing …

Where is the strangest place you have been recognised?

In bathrooms I find it confronting. I was in a supermarket in LA and I was asking for toilet paper because I couldn’t find where it was. She was like “Franky!?” so we had a photo in front of the toilet paper [laughs].

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully producing my own work in Australia … There is something really special about coming home and working here.

Do you prefer TV or theatre? 

I think in a lot of ways I prefer film. I prefer working with the camera in that respect and I know that is where I am right now. Theatre is so great as it requires a real physical and mental rigour; you rehearse and then open the show and still have five weeks of season to go. You really need to find the freshness each night … My preference is always shifting based on where I’m at.

BITE SIZE

Location: Eastside Grill in Chippendale

We drank: Eastside Bramble mocktail and Passionfruit & Lemonade mocktail

We ate: Mixed breads; Sustainable Tuna Poke with cucumber relish; Berkshire Pork Skewers with Rum Pickle Back; Salad of Autumn vegetables with Buffalo Mozzarella, Fig and Black garlic pesto.

Nicole wore: Kaliver dress, Samantha Wills Jewels, NineWest heels

Kate Wore: A TOME shirt and jeans.

Photo: Fairfax

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Sally Obermeder

30th April, 2017

Sally Obermeder and I catching up at Mr G’s

 

Television host, lifestyle blogger and cancer survivor Sally Obermeder welcomed her second child, Elyssa Rose, via surrogacy last December. Obermeder had been diagnosed with cancer during her pregnancy with her first child, Annabelle, and began chemotherapy after the 2012 birth, later learning she wouldn’t be able to safely have another child. Obermeder, 43, talks to me about her surrogacy journey and Australian attitudes around it, the thrill of live TV, and her new range of frozen smoothies.

Do you love being a mum the second time around? 

It’s so different this time. I said to [husband] Marcus, “I can’t remember Annabelle smiling, I can’t remember this, I can’t remember that” … It was so tough at that time with Annabelle. It’s almost like this is, not like becoming a mum for the first time, but this experience, this new-born experience, is my first experience of it in this way and it is heavenly.

What was your surrogacy journey like? 

It was really good. Rachel [the surrogate mother, who lives in the US] is amazing. I still speak to her all the time … I think we’ll have a very tight bond for life.

Sally with her two daughters, Annabelle and Elyssa. Photo: @sallyobermeder

 

Will [Rachel] be involved in your life going forward?

Yeah I think so. We FaceTime all the time … it feels very natural. It’s just like sending photos of your kids to your friends.

What were the biggest challenges you faced during your surrogacy journey? 

A long distance is definitely hard because you’re not going to the appointments, you can’t physically. I would get up at 2am to be on a call when she was at an ultrasound or whatever … I think it’s also a challenge with Annabelle, because even though we talked about the pregnancy all the time and that her sibling was coming, for her it wasn’t in her face every day … And then suddenly you take her overseas, you’re like, “Bang, here’s the baby.” She’s like, “What?”

How is Annabelle [aged five] adjusting to being a big sister to Elyssa? 

She is a lot better now … I think she [initially] thought she was getting a sibling she could play with [right away], so she was not happy at all … With Elyssa, I see how her face lights up when Annabelle looks at her. It is amazing to see that bond that is already there…

What advice would you give to someone going down the surrogacy path? 

I’d definitely say, “Do it … If you can afford to do it and you want to do it, do it.” I have not one bad thing to say about the experience.

What attitudes did you experience in response to surrogacy? 

I think people are really blown away, obviously, by Rachel’s kindness … You will always get people who say things like, “Oh, you just went and bought a baby” … There’s nothing you can do about it. For us and for our family, this is like an amazing dream come true … If I could have adopted, I would have, but … adoption laws need to change because they’re so backward. Surrogacy laws need to change, they are just as backward …  I would like to see it become legal and I would like to see paid surrogacy become legal.

Where do you see yourselves in five years’ time? 

I don’t know, I think I’m still so obsessed with having a baby. I said to Marcus today, “I could have another one.” He was like, “Are you mental?”

Congratulations on your new frozen smoothie range, Super Green Smoothies. 

We’ve been working on that for about three years now … I had been doing smoothies for ages, and to really do them well, in a sense that you’re being efficient with your time and with your money, you need a prep day … I had this light bulb [moment]: I was like … why can’t you just buy it ready done? And then you can just add the liquid, like I would at home … We really agonised over making sure that everything is in there that you need, so that you’ve got this great big shot of health.

How do you juggle it all? 

There just always is someone unhappy. If you’re spending lots of time at home, then someone at work is unhappy. If you’re spending too much time at work, then someone at home is unhappy. And it’s very hard. For a long time, I drove myself crazy trying to make this perfect set routine … Now I’m like, “Oh, I give up” .. I really just roll with each day as best I can …

When do you head back to work [on Channel 7’s afternoon show The Daily Edition]? 

I go back at the end of August … I popped in a couple of weeks ago to introduce Elyssa to the team … The adrenaline rush comes back and it’s funny … that buzz of live TV, there’s nothing like it.

What do you love most about live TV? 

It’s not pre-recorded, and then if something happens, it’s just on. It’s unfolding as you speak … You realise there’s more to the world than the small little bubble that you live in, and that’s actually really quite exciting … To be a part of it and to be able to share it, it’s amazing.

What has been your biggest pinch-me moment in your TV career? 

In terms of celebs, definitely I would say Jon Bon Jovi, just because it’s like that was the era that I grew up in. I went to every Bon Jovi concert. The whole time the 13-year-old in me was like, “I cannot believe that this is happening”.

BITESIZE

We went to Mr G’s, Intercontinental Hotel Double Bay

We ate Fish Tacos with kingfish tartare, finger lime & flying fish roe; King Crab Sliders with Alaskan king crab, cucumber, celery & lemon aioli; French Beans with smoked bacon & herbs; BBQ Creamed Corn

We drank Still mineral water

Sally wore vintage Levis and a Swiish choker knit

Kate wore Skins and Threads 

Date with Kate, Lifestyle & Social

What really goes on on a Date with Kate

19th April, 2017

When my friends ask me about my Date with Kates I always say it’s like going on a blind date every single week. Sometimes I might be catching up with a good friend or someone I’ve known from being on the social circuit over the years to someone I’ve never met in my entire life. There are also times where I’m chatting to someone really famous and I will feel like I know them but the first time we’ll meet is on the day. I feel really privileged that I get to chat to so many interesting people and actually have the opportunity to sit down and have a full meal with them.

Before I go on a Date with Kate I’ll choose who I am going to meet. It has to be someone readers will be interested in and can be from different fields such as entertainment, fashion, the theatre and sport. As it’s for a newspaper I’ll try and peg it to something timely whether it be a launch, a new TV show or project that the person is working on – it’s important readers will be interested in reading about that person.

After I lock the “date” in I’ll choose where to go. Usually I pick the place but I’ll work around them. I’ll pick a nearby café or restaurant to where they live or work and if they’re staying in a certain hotel then I’ll do it in the hotel to make it easier. I organise the venue, the photographer, and the videographer, so all they have to do is turn up for a meal or coffee with me.

On the day I’ll go up to them and say hello if they’re already a friend or acquaintance or introduce myself if we’ve never met. We’ll sit down, look at the menu and order so we can chat uninterrupted. I also make sure that the we grab a photo of the two of us before we start eating so the food looks nice. Once we’ve got the shot or the video, I’ll start recording the interview on my phone. Sometimes the chat will only go for 20 minutes other times I’ll end up with a recording that goes for almost three hours. It just depends on how much time the person has. There have been times where I’ve just grabbed a quick coffee with someone as they’ve got such a tight schedule and other times where we’ve sat down for a meal for an entire afternoon.

I’ve become a pro at small talk and can keep the conversation going but sometimes I do have to deal with awkward moments between questions where there might be silence. This is why I always thoroughly research the person I’m meeting so I have a few talking points in my head. It’s important to be prepared and have something to discuss with the person should there be a lull in the conversation.

As I said I feel really lucky to be able to have a job that allows me to simply chat to people and have them tell their story. I’ve heard so many interesting stories over the years and have had so many lovely experiences meeting new people that I’m always really grateful for the opportunity to write about it. It’s probably one of the few times when blind dates go really, really well!

You can check out my Date with Kates past and present here.

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Brooke Satchwell

2nd April, 2017

Dining with Brooke Satchwell at Mercado 

 

Brooke Satchwell rose to attention playing Anne Wilkinson on Neighbours and most recently has been in the series Wonderland and a regular panellist on Dirty Laundry Live. The actor, 36, chatted to me about the virtual “mixed martial arts” of her latest role, chasing storms and some misconceptions from headlines about her.


What is a day in the life of you? 

I quite often attempt to achieve a lot and I write up my day in five-minute increments, including “Brush your teeth”… I call it high-functioning OCD [laughs] … Strangely, during the process of The Play That Goes Wrong, that has infected my planning … Literally within 10 minutes of what I had planned to do, it will be something bloody different. Like I said, then there are great exercises for adaptability and surrender, and it has done the job really beautifully.

What can the audience expect from The Play That Goes Wrong? 

They can expect a bloody good belly laugh … I have not loved the job like this for decades. This is one of those ones where I get so excited, no matter how battered and bruised and exhausted I am.

Why is the show so physically demanding? 

Well, with one of my new all-time-favourite humans, Tammy Weller, who plays Annie, in the production, our characters engage in what you could call essentially mixed martial arts for the last 15 minutes of the show …  We are rolling ourselves around at breakneck speed, every night, nine shows a week, four times over the weekend, and there is pretty much not a surface on me that hasn’t been tenderised at this point … I use arnica cream as body moisturiser at the moment.

Have you ever had such a physically demanding role? 

Not to this degree, no.

What do you love most about making people laugh? 

It feels so good. I mean, think of it like: anytime you are sitting with a mate and you just set each other off … how good does that feel, that connection, that joy? … It always comes back to that presence, being so present in the moment of being. That’s what makes us free, that’s what we are all chasing, no matter how we try to find it, whether we base jump, build computers, obsess over model trains, whatever it is that brings out joy.

What is the biggest challenge in comedy?

There is such a rhythm and a tempo that is kind of so delicate that it is immensely tricky. But, again, it’s so awesome when you achieve it because it’s like a ballet of connection with the audience.

You have worked in TV, stage and film. What is your favourite medium to work in? 

I love them all. Television I love because there is that continuity of the work, you get to have a consistent engagement with a group of people, collaborating [over an] extended period … Obviously with theatre, the immediacy of reaction … and the wildly different responses that that can elicit from an audience is a really fascinating thing to play with.

Did you ever have a desire to work overseas? 

No, no, not at all. I wondered for a long time whether that was based in fear or not but – I mean really, yes, there possibly is a greater wealth of professional options, particularly I guess in the US market, or UK … You’re essentially going over for a lot more notoriety or greater financial gain, and neither of those things float my boat.

After 20 years in the industry, what do you get most recognised for? 

Traditionally it was Neighbours but strangely, lately, it’s Dirty Laundry.

What did you learn from working on a show like Neighbours? 

There is no other series on television that churns out that amount of minutes, screen time, per week … I learnt incredible professionalism, and that is something they don’t teach in drama schools.

What did you learn from your time on Play School? 

To be so open and so present is actually, as an adult, remarkably taxing because there are so many conditions and habits that fight against being that vulnerable.

You recently shared that you heard a Neighbours producer criticise your appearance at 17. How do you feel about this years later? 

Oh, bless the Daily Mail. He was lovely … The producers that I work with are fabulous and this is the fascinating thing that tends to occur with certain sentences that can be — that was a comment that was made. It was by no means shaming, it was a passing [comment] …

You have also spoken out about domestic violence. What would be your advice for someone suffering from a violent relationship? 

[The comments] get wholly misinterpreted, they get grabbed as soundbites and the true context or the integrity of what you are trying to say is lost, and I personally have never consciously gone out to make a statement about domestic violence, because for a very extensive period of time I’ve actually gone through the process of what that actually entails for an individual to come to terms with … One of the biggest issues is letting go of the potential or the perception of what would have been. I think the illusion is one of the most destructive things, that pull to constantly kind of go, “But what if?” That is part of a trap.

Do you hope to be acting for rest of your life? 

Yes, but I hope I’m doing a billion other things as well … I’m quite excited that some of the prospects are opportunities for me to go back to writing, which was something I did prior to getting into acting. I thought that was kind of my main focus.

If you hadn’t gone down the entertainment path, what would you be doing? 

I would really like to be a meteorologist. I’m a massive storm chaser. I really want to go to Tornado Alley one day.

 

WE WENT TO Mercado, Ash St, CBD

WE ATE 6 month aged jamon; Haloumi, fig & honey; Chickpea puree, flat bread; Cauliflower salad, pinenuts, pomegranates & labne; Soft shell crab bun, harissa & aioli; Roasted carrots, almond dukkah, tea soaked currants­­

WE DRANK Sprtiz De La Casa and La Mandarina

BROOKE WORE a Ginger & Smart dress

The Play that goes Wrong will be playing from the 5th of April in Sydney at the Roslyn Packer Theatre. http://theplaythatgoeswrong.com.au/tickets/

 

 

Date with Kate, Lifestyle

Date with Kate: Lee Watson

26th March, 2017

Lee Watson and I enjoying lunch at 1821

 

Lee Watson (nee Furlong) is a TV sports commentator who is married to Australian cricketer Shane Watson. Lee and Shane recently teamed up with the original Yellow Wiggle, Greg Page, to create Let’s Activate, a children’s program involving music to help them improve their motor skills. The 30-year-old talks to me about where her love of sport comes from, the challenges of touring and why her lifestyle is less glamorous than it may seem.

What’s a day in the life of you?

I’ve got two beautiful children, Will and Matilda, they feature heavily in my day … Now that we’ve launched Let’s Activate, I’m really busy with that … We’ve got five locations throughout Sydney and we’re hoping to expand really quickly. So by midyear we’re going to move interstate and then, the plan is, next year focus overseas.

Tell me about Let’s Activate. 

They are kids’ clinics teaching little ones [aged 2 to 6] the basic skills of sport through music, dance and movement… [Kids] learn so easily when there is music and repetition, so we’ve got the lovely Greg Page … as part of our team. He has written all the music for our program.

How did you get Greg involved? 

Shane just contacted [him] through LinkedIn and we knew that he was a [cricket] fan. Greg jumped at the opportunity. He is really passionate, like we are, about children and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. He has six kids … So between us there are eight … They’re guinea pigs for our program and they’ve been able to trial and test our program over the last couple of years.

What has been the biggest challenge with setting up the business? 

Finding the time for everything … And everything is new to me. I love learning along the way and every day is a new day.

Where did your sporting passion come from? 

A little girl, sitting on the lounge with my dad watching the rugby league … I’ve loved sport from an early age. I used to coach little kids …  I always knew I wanted to get into sport in one way or another.

What has been the biggest pinch-me moment in your career? 

It would be interviewing some of my favourite tennis players, such as Roger Federer. He is an absolute gentleman on and off the field, and an amazing athlete.

Will you ever go back to sports commentating? 

At the moment, no. I’m really comfortable. Probably two months before we launched Let’s Activate there was a job opportunity on TV and I thought about it for a couple of weeks. I realised that for us to get Let’s Activate up and running, we really needed to dedicate ourselves 24-7.

As a commentator, what was your favourite sport to cover? 

Definitely the tennis … I travelled to Wimbledon and the US Open … I absolutely loved what I did but now my life has changed … My husband is away for six months of the year … so I want to make sure that someone is home with the kids.

What is it like to be married to an international cricket star? 

The team seems to travel a lot. I would be lying if I said it was a really glamorous lifestyle … it’s not. Travelling with two kids in small hotel rooms [is hard] … However, we are welcomed everywhere we go … We can travel on the team bus and stay in the same hotel … We are on tour four months of the year and the kids love it.

Are you looking forward to Shane retiring? 

I am now, with Let’s Activate, so he can be more hands-on … He will be coming to the clinic and helping us out with the program …I’m really proud of what he has been able to do with playing at the top level … and hope it continues.

What is Shane like as a dad? 

He is incredible … The bond he has with his kids is amazing … I guess all athletes have a choice in how much they want to see their family on tour … From day one he has always wanted Will and Matilda there when they can be … He is perfectionist at cricket and as a dad, too.

What do you love the most about being a mum? 

The mornings, because I love the cuddles and kisses you get in the morning. I feel so lucky to be a mum. It has to be one of the toughest jobs in the world … but the most rewarding … They are always happy to see you. Sometimes your partner isn’t always happy to see you [laughs].

What was it like to be a mum second time around with the birth of your daughter Matilda? 

I’m more laid back; I know what I am doing and not sweating the small things.

Do you have plans to grow the family? 

If you asked me a year ago, I would have said yes, we are going to have a third … At the moment, though, probably just the two … With Will and Matilda we feel our family is complete … Touring with three kids would be very challenging.

What is next? 

Growing the business and expanding to Brisbane and Melbourne … We are even having some preliminary talks with people in India.

What is success to you? 

Being happy and looking forward to what you are doing … even the little things!

 

TERM 2 BEGINS APRIL 24 AND RUNS FOR 10 WEEKS

Two to three-year-olds = $11 per session

Three to four-year-olds, four to six-year-olds = $22 per session 

letsactivate.net

 

BITESIZE

We went to 1821, Sydney

We ate Sesame Crusted Haloumi – Hot quince syrup, confit cherry tomatoes, dried kalamta olvives; Ouzo Cured Salmon – Skordalia, paximadia crumb, toasted almonds, mulberry & pomegranate dressing; Greekslaw Salad – cabbage, carrot, currants, mind, toasted almonds, spiced corn, graviera, buttermilk aioli.

We drank Mineral water

Lee wore Rachel Gilbert

 

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Braith Anasta

19th March, 2017

Fox Sports Commentator, Braith Anasta and I enjoying lunch at Bistro Moncur, Mosman

Braith Anasta is a former rugby league player who has represented NSW and Australia and won a premiership with the Bulldogs in 2004. The 35-year-old chats to me about his new job as a sports commentator, how things are going with new girlfriend Rachael Lee following his split last year from Jodi Anasta (nee Gordon), and how he balances his busy schedule with his three-year-old daughter, Aleeia.

What’s a typical day for you?

In the off-season, a typical day is spent with Aleeia … I spend a lot of time with her, whether it’s going to the beach, the park … During the rugby season my weekend is consumed still with rugby league … either calling games or we’ve got a 24-hour channel this year at Fox … I’ve [also] got a show with Tara Rushton, which is called League 13-to-1.

Braith and daughter Aleeia. Picture: @braith_anasta

 

Did you always envisage that you would go into commentating after footy? 

I did … I thought I  had the potential and I enjoyed the media because I’ve had so much to do with the media … I had to do a lot of interviews when I was coming through the grades, so I got comfortable in front of the camera and then I really enjoyed it.

 

What do you love most about commentating? 

I love the challenge, the excitement of live TV – you need to get it right. I enjoy it a lot because it’s a job where you can improve a hell of a lot, and also I’d love to host one day.

What’s the secret of being a good commentator? 

Well, it’s a bit premature for me to say it because I’m only early days but, I think, it’s honesty … Tell it how it is without obviously being too harsh … [The audience] see straight through you if you’re being biased … Even if it’s one of your best mates who plays and he does the wrong thing, you’ve got to be critical of him.
Have you ever upset anyone by your commentary? 

I wouldn’t know, they haven’t told me! [Laughs] … We’re all young, we all play – I mean I’ve had some good games and some horrible games. The older you get, you understand that it’s part and part of the business you’re in. You’re going to be judged and you can’t really do anything about it.

 

Who do you look up to in the commentating arena?  

Growing up, I loved Gus [Phil Gould]. A lot of people have different opinions about Gus, but I actually think he is a great judge of the game. It’s unbelievable. Peter Sterling as well. I think he is so smart, got a lot of class the way he handles it all too … And Greg Alexander… he is fantastic and probably along the lines of where I would like to head down that track.

How is life after footy? Do you miss playing? 

I actually don’t. I know that sounds unusual, but I don’t because of the job I’ve got at Fox Sports … because I’ve made that move into a job that I’m still very much involved with the game. I still get a kick out of all I do … I think I was ready to retire.

 
So you don’t ever plan to come out of retirement? 

No way in the world [laughs]!

Braith and new girlfriend, Rachel Lee. Picture: @braith_anasta

 

How do you juggle your work commitments with Aleeia? 

It has been a bit of a challenge with the 50-50 [share]. The relationship [with Jodi] is all smooth, which has made it, I suppose, easier. But I have [Aleeia] a lot, which is unbelievable. I’m a lucky dad because a lot of dads in that situation miss out.

Living in separate cities, how do you make co-parenting work? 

Yeah it’s good … Jodi is very busy. She is in Melbourne a lot with Neighbours. So we’ve been making sure when she is back in Sydney, she is with Aleeia as much as she can be.

 

Braith and new girlfriend, Rachel Lee celebrating Aleeia’s birthday . Picture: @braith_anasta

Can you share anything about your new girlfriend Rachael Lee? 

I’m happy to but I don’t want to talk too much about it because I like to be as private as I can be.

How is the relationship going? 

It’s fantastic… It really is. It couldn’t be better, really … We’re really happy and life is good.

What do you do in your time off, when you’re not working? 

Aleeia – it’s pretty much the answer! I was coaching in my spare time last year. But because Fox is so busy …I can’t do the coaching any more, which I’m disappointed about. I still want to be able to coach if I can down the track, depending on how everything goes with the commentating.

In your footy career what was your biggest career highlight? 

Definitely winning the Premiership, 2004, with the Bulldogs, you can’t replace that no matter how many amazing times you have throughout your career, that’s the pinnacle. You can’t beat it. The Roosters, being captain; and one game, where I kicked a field goal in the semi-final. That doesn’t sound like much, but at the time it was.

What NRL team do you support? 

It’s funny, that. To be honest, I love the Roosters and Bulldogs and I always will. I’ve got a soft spot for both. I was coaching at the Roosters, last couple of years. So I find myself still involved in the club.

What would you be doing if you never went down the career path of football? 

Well, I wanted to be a fireman … Apart from that, my dad was a panel beater, so I could have been a panel beater, and we owned a restaurant, so I could have been working in a restaurant. So I think I picked the right avenue!

 

BITESIZE

WE WENT TO Bistro Moncur, Mosman
 
WE ATE Pan Fried Barramundi Fillet, Mashed Peas, Creme Fraiche & Confit Spring Onion, Sunflower Seed & Caper Beurre Noisette; Vine Ripened Tomato Salad

WE DRANK Mineral Water

BRAITH WORE Messini suit and shirt.