Emma Freedman is an Australian television personality and radio presenter. She is also the daughter of five-time Melbourne Cup-winning horse trainer Lee Freedman. Emma, 26, talks to me about winning Dancing with the Stars this year, her new radio venture and, as an ambassador for David Jones, her love of fashion on the field during racing season.
What’s a day in the life of you?
At the moment, a day in the life would be getting up pretty early to exercise. So, yoga, run, Pilates, something like that, wanting to try and keep my dancer’s figure. And at the moment I’m going through the second edit of my young-adults novel called Turning Pointes. It’s about a ballet school and for nine- to 13-year-old girls.
What was it like to win Dancing with the Stars?
It was a big win and we weren’t expecting it. I had worked really hard. But I think the biggest thing that I got out of it was the incredible friends you make on the show, because you’re all going through this really weird ride together and having to kind of muster up the courage to get out there and … perform a dance you’ve learnt three days before.
You say you had to muster the courage … were you able to let go?
Totally. Everyone is used to seeing you in gumboots in the morning weather and there you are [dancing] … and it’s like, “Here’s my body, Australia” [laughs].
Are you enjoying your new radio role as host of The Scoopla Show and national drive news presenter on 2DayFM?
Radio is awesome because I can go in dressed mostly in whatever I want. It’s delivering news or entertainment news and you’ve got to make it a bit engaging. People want to be able to listen to you and have an image in their mind as to what you’re talking about. So I like that creative element.
Everyone was shocked when you left Channel 9.
Yes, everyone was very shocked, including myself! When everyone asks me still what happened, I can only kind of tell them what I know, which is that it was budget cuts and possibly a different direction for the couple of shows that I was working on.
Do you miss live TV?
I do, but I don’t at the same time. I get my live fix each night with radio because it’s an adrenalin rush.
You and your family are heavily involved with racing. What were your commitments during the Spring Carnival?
My big two projects were with David Jones on Caulfield Cup Day and then Lexus Design Pavilion on Derby and Cup.
Do you prefer the fashion or the racing side when it comes to races?
Oh, that’s like the hardest question in the world. It’s like choosing between children. I do love the racing side, to be honest. I love that kind of old-world feel, that kind of tradition that racing has around it as a sport – and particularly this time of year, I think. I’m so full of admiration for all the trainers and jockeys and owners and everyone who works at the stables across the country … I do love the fashion side of it as well though, obviously, and I think that’s only natural for a young woman to have a kind of fondness for that part of racing. But it would be by the shortest of like half-noses; racing as a sport would win over fashion.
You have done many interesting stories in your journalistic career. What’s the most memorable moment for you?
One of my most amazing was hosting a show last year with Usain Bolt. And then, one of the stories that I’m most proud of that I put to air was a profile piece on Tommy Berry, who I absolutely adore. If he has a winner on a big day, I still text him and he always replies back. He’s such a sweetheart. And then, in the last kind of eight or nine months, I guess, I’m just really proud that I was able to get back on the horse quickly with Jules [Lund, her co-host on The Scoopla Show]. I don’t often say I’m proud of myself because I’m so self-critical and I’m quite a big perfectionist. But I, honestly, can look back on that process and say, “I gave it everything”.
If you could have any job in media, what would be your dream role?
Honestly, I kind of think about things differently nowadays; I don’t think of like a one role that I would love. But I think of areas that I’d love to work in more. For me, whether it’s radio or television, like the live format is just, I want to keep doing it. Racing and sport, they’re both areas that I love and then I’ve developed knowledge and a keen interest in.
Who do you look up to and admire?
I think Edwina Bartholomew – her work, right at the moment, is through the roof. I’ve seen it first-hand and I think she’s just an amazing woman to do what she does. Bruce McAvaney – obviously he’s just the Dwayne of sport – I love how he stuck to his guns over the years. What he does works for him. He has become this figure of like eternal knowledge. He works so hard at it. In radio, I do look up to Jules. He’ll love me saying that. But he’ll also be embarrassed by that at the same time. Jules is like a hard worker. But he is a really kind soul.
What do you do in your spare time?
I’m so boring – I don’t have any weird hobbies. But, mostly, I exercise. I eat great food and cook great food – not always great in terms of quality, but in terms of nutritional value. I have a good glass of red, watch the footy, hang out with friends.
WE WENT TO The Boathouse, Balmoral Beach.
WE ATE Market fruit plate with yoghurt and honey; avocado and tomato on charred toast with goat’s curd and fresh basil; buttermilk scones.
WE DRANK Mixed fruit juices.
EMMA WORE A Camilla and Marc dress and Scanlan Theodore boots.
I WORE a Zara shirt and Skin and Threads jeans.