TV presenter Sally Obermeder is the co-host of Channel Seven’s afternoon show The Daily Edition, as well as author of best-selling book Never Stop Believing, in which she shares her courageous battle with cancer. Obermeder was announced as the new style ambassador for Westfield and is set to compete in this season’s series of Dancing with the Stars. I caught up with the 40-year-old to chat about how she juggles it all, how overcoming her cancer battle has changed her perspective on life, and how sharing her story has inspired others to never give up.
What are you up to?
I’m juggling so much at the moment: The Daily Edition, I have Dancing with the Stars training, my blog Swiish, I am the new style ambassador for Westfield, where my job is to guide women on trends and fashion tips and tricks, and of course [my daughter] Annabelle. Some days I feel like a rock star and feel I can do anything, but it’s short-lived when I realise that I’ve forgotten to get dinner (laughs).
You have a crazy schedule.
Yes, at the moment it’s busy. It was busy before but Dancing has taken it to another level because I have no rhythm – I’m out of my depth.
What attracted you to Dancing with the Stars?
I just wanted to push myself. I think after being sick I just wanted to challenge myself and see if I could do something physical again. It had been so long, my body has been through so much, and I wanted to see if my body could.
What made you start your lifestyle blog swiish.com.au?
When I was sick I really wanted to have my own blog about things that I love. I am the person who will be wearing a belt from Target, and as much as I love to have a Chanel bag, that’s an anomaly in my wardrobe. Everything else is Zara, Witchery and Portmans. That’s really what I am about: affordable, and having it still look great. So that’s why I started Swiish. It’s been almost nine months now and we are at almost 1 million impressions a month. My sister works on it full-time and then we have eight staff. It’s an amazing team.
How do you juggle it all?
I try to not beat myself up about things and go: ”Yes, you didn’t manage to make dinner; you had takeaway. Yes, you didn’t do your exercise. Yes, you were late to your appointments, but it’s OK. Has anyone died today? No, it’s all good!”
It’s fantastic to see you doing so well.
Yes, I feel really blessed and really grateful but mostly I’m grateful for good health. Every day I just go, ”Thank you.” It puts life into perspective. Suddenly, everything is very simple. It’s good that everything is going well, but you realise that these are just the bonuses in life; the cream on top. Everything could change in a second if you or your family were sick.
What sort of positive message would you give to someone who was about to embark on the same journey you had [to go on] with your illness?
I would say that there is no guidebook, there are no instructions. Just be kind to yourself and do whatever it is you need to do to get through each stage. It’s OK to lean on people, it’s OK to ask for help, it’s OK to break down. But the most important thing is to not give up. It’s never over until it’s over.
Have you found the response to your book to be overwhelming?
It blew me away. Especially because it’s not just a book for someone who had cancer. It’s a book for anyone who has ever struggled and about getting what you want in your life. Sometimes I walk down the street and people stop me and pull the book out of their bag, and it amazes me because you always think no one will read it – except your mum.
Does a particular story stand out about your book inspiring others to keep going?
We get hundred of letters every single day. I think my personal favourite is from people who plan to give up, people who say: ”I can’t do any more treatment; it’s too hard,” and then they read the book and they go, ”OK, don’t give up.” It was painful to write the book, but that makes it worth it.
What made you never give up?
Annabelle, I think. It’s hard to imagine having a brand-new baby and leaving her with no one, and that was the biggest motivator of all. And, of course, my family.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope we have another child. I hope Swiish will still be going and hopefully I’m still on TV. But as long as I am healthy, it’s all good.
WE WENT TO The Tea Salon, Westfield Sydney, the city.
WE ATE Classic high tea.
WE DRANK English breakfast tea and herbal tea.
SALLY WORE A Zara jacket, Willow top, Forever New pants and Tony Bianco heels.
Photo: Ben Rushton