Sports presenter Erin Molan was born in Australia, raised in Jakarta and speaks fluent Bahasa Indonesian. In 2012 she joined The Footy Show as the first full-time female panellist and co-host in the show’s 22-year history, and she also works for Channel Nine News. Molan, 33, is set to join the crew of Anthony Bell’s supermaxi yacht the Perpetual Loyal or the 2015 Sydney to Hobart race on December 26. She talked to me about the race, the challenges faced in her career and her greatest strength.
What is your involvement in the Sydney to Hobart?
I am sailing as part of the “celebrity” contingent on Perpetual Loyal.
What made you do it?
I’m still asking myself this question… I want to do something that terrifies me, something that I’m not entirely sure I can do. I’m not the adventurous type normally. I will always push myself professionally when it comes to my career but never anything like this. Maybe I’m just crazy!
What makes you passionate about this cause?
I am so passionate about supporting charities … my big sister lost a little girl, Emily, before being diagnosed with bowel cancer. I will do anything I can to help raise money and awareness for something like the Humpty Dumpty Foundation.
Do you ever get seasick?
If I’d ever actually been out at sea I’d tell you… I got sea sick on the wharf just watching the boat bob up and down!
What is an average day in the life of you?
I’m a fairly early riser. I get into work about 7 am – usually go into hair and make-up – then I will present the midday and afternoon sport from the Channel Nine studio … Sometimes I will head out and file a story for the 6pm news too … During the footy season I will also be doing shoots or The Footy Show.
Did you always want to be journalist and TV sports presenter?
Mum and dad have videos of me as a little girl making all my siblings pretend to be news anchors and reporters. It’s all I wanted to do for as long as I can remember – except for the “start a farm teaching horses to do gymnastics” phase; it was very short! [Laughs.]
Have you always had an interest in sports?
I have always loved sport – I was a gymnast for 10 years, played netball and volleyball fairly well. But doing it professionally was never an option so, as they say, if you can’t do it, report on it. So I did … I also love domestic and international politics and have studied Bahasa Indonesia for over 15 years, so would love to do something in that field a bit later in life.
When you first started your career in sports journalism, did you ever face any challenges?
Yes, and I still do, daily! I don’t think I face any more challenges because I am female – but I think the nature of the challenges I face are unique to my sex … It’s gotten a lot less challenging over the years … but it still has its moments!
What is your greatest strength?
This is a hard one! I think my ability to relate to people at home … I’m certainly very aware of my flaws – I’m not perfect, not even close –and I’m OK with showing people the less-polished parts of myself. I think that keeps me pretty level headed and normal. My family is also a huge source of strength. I shudder to think where I would be without mum and dad’s love and support.
Who do you look up to and admire?
In a professional sense I look up to people like Ken Sutcliffe, Peter Overton, Lisa Wilkinson, Georgie Gardner, Karl Stefanovic … I admire them all for their resilience and ability to not only survive in this industry but to flourish. I admire anyone who’s faced incredibly difficult times and used that experience to help prevent others from going through the same – like my big sister, who spoke out about bowel cancer and raised more awareness in over a decade for a disease that people don’t want to talk about.
Being a presenter on live TV, does this confidence come naturally to you?
Definitely not – I learned very early on how to control my voice from shaking and to not appear terrified when I was. Confidence for me comes with ridiculous amounts of preparation – most of which I will never use, but if I’ve done the hard work it gives me confidence.
If you hadn’t gone down that career path, what would you have done?
The old horse farm with gymnastics classes! [Laughs.]
What has been your most memorable experience working on Channel Nine?
There are three. My first ever live cross on the Sunday Footy Show; my first time on The Footy Show panel; and my first time presenting 6pm sport.
What are you working towards in your career? Do you have a final goal?
I love what I’m doing, at this stage I just want to keep getting better at it. Next year I’m hosting the new reality show on Channel Nine – The Rookie – really excited for people to see this. I love writing too so I am always working on projects like that.
How do you define success for yourself?
If my family is healthy and happy, that’s enough. Professionally, I set very high standards for myself; if I cannot beat myself up as much and sometimes step back and appreciate how far I’ve come, that’s success!
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
With some very talented horses … Hopefully happy and healthy … and maybe with a baby or two – I love children!
What do you do for fun?
I read books; I watch my horse race – back-to-back wins this month; I love a nice wine or a glass of bubbles; I call mum, dad, aunty and siblings twice a day … I’m annoying but talking to them makes me happy so I persist!
WE WENT TO Catalina, Rose Bay
WE ATE Pan-fried organic chicken, carrot puree, sautéed spinach, asparagus with red sorrel; crispy-skin Mount Cook salmon fillet, kipfler potatoes, lemon shallot butter and salmon roe
WE DRANK Champagne Pommery Brut Royal
ERIN WORE By Johnny dress