Sarah Murdoch is one of Australia’s most recognisable faces. As a supermodel-turned-television presenter, the 41-year-old has shifted her focus to philanthropy as patron of the National Breast Cancer Foundation Australia. I talked to the mum of three about juggling family life, the new season of Australia’s Next Top Model (ANTM) and whether she will return to television.
What is a typical day for you?
Oh, my goodness, three kids, two cats and new puppy! I try to squeeze everything between the school hours and work around the kids. It’s chaotic but I love it.
What is your secret to juggling it all?
Having a great mum who will drop everything to come over has been a lifesaver … I’m very organised; I have a laminating machine and I like to put things up. I have to know what’s happening and when … I can’t believe I just shared that with you! [Laughs]
Will you return to TV?
I feel like I’ve done everything I want to do on television, so unless something came along that really challenged me, then I don’t think so. I always try and find something I love as much as the Today show. Also, being able to produce and being able to be involved at that level with ANTM was really fantastic, so I feel like I’ve done it all.
Will you be watching the new season of ANTM?
Absolutely. I love the show and the fact that mothers and fathers come up to me and tell me they bonded with their daughter over this show. I haven’t contacted [new host] Jen [Hawkins] … I feel really bad, I should reach out to her, but then I think I should let her do her thing.
So you didn’t give Jennifer Hawkins any advice?
I was thinking about it but then I thought some people just want to make their own mark. I thought about going to the launch of it but it’s her thing now. I’ll let her enjoy it.
How do you cope with being in the spotlight?
I always find it weird; I don’t know. If I’m in a shop and they say, ”Thank you, Sarah,” I still can’t get my head around the fact that they would know who I am.
You are followed by paparazzi, so do you have to make a special effort every time you leave the house?
Every time I get paparazzi-ed, it’s when I’m looking my worst, and every time, I say to the photographer, ”Thanks, I’m in my trackies.” The other day I was in Woolies in my trackies, with shopping bags, and Aerin wouldn’t sit in the stroller so I was carrying her, trying to push the stroller, and I was like, ”Of course you’re here now! You weren’t here yesterday when I had my hair and make-up on.”
Do you have a career highlight?
It’s hard to say, there are so many. I remember when I got my Revlon contract to be the global face, it was a very big deal. And the Today show was a big turning point for me, and being on the board of the ballet is a highlight.
Has there ever been a career lowlight?
Yes! [Laughs] I’m not going to mention any names, but yes, I think we can easily make compromises and get talked into things, but your gut feeling is always right.
What do you do for fun?
Have a few wines, catch up with my girlfriends. I love wakeboarding and snowboarding. But I’m a bit of a homebody, so being with the kids, snuggled up on the couch, watching movies and eating popcorn is the ultimate.
Are you a good cook?
No, I’m a terrible cook. My kids love ”mummy’s special pasta” and they think it’s gourmet when it’s tinned tuna, tinned corn, a bit of pasta, white sauce and Bob’s your uncle.
You must be asked to be involved in so many charities. Why is the National Breast Cancer Foundation Australia so special to you?
I try to focus on the ones [in which] I can make the most difference, and when I first started with breast cancer, 30 per cent of women died, and now it’s 10 per cent, so it’s a big change in that short period of time. What keeps me motivated is that we are seeing results.
What did you think about actor Angelina Jolie’s recent admission that she underwent a preventive double mastectomy?
I think it’s fantastic. When a woman is going through a diagnosis, you feel like you’re the only one having to make that kind of tough decision, and for people to realise they are not alone is reassuring. It’s put breast cancer back on the map. We have been a victim of our own success … I worry that there was a bit of pink fatigue out there.
WE WENT TO Cafe Sydney, Circular Quay.
WE ATE Mini muffins and sweet hors d’oeuvres.
WE DRANK English breakfast tea.
I WORE Balmain blazer, Josh Goot top and Miu Miu leather pants.
SARAH WORE Collette Dinnigan dress and Christian Louboutin heels.