Lunch with Jesinta Campbell at Cured & Cultured Bar, Bennelong.
Jesinta Campbell is a model, television host and winner of the 2010 Miss Universe Australia title. The 24-year-old is engaged to Lance “Buddy” Franklin of the Sydney Swans. She talked to me about her wedding plans, the difficulties she and Franklin have faced in the past year amid reports he has been affected by mental-health issues, and her role as an ambassador for hair-product maker Joico’s “Joi of Giving” campaign.
I keep reading headlines that you’re getting married in December. Is that not true?
No. Not true at all! [Laughs] We’ve actually never set a date for the wedding. We weren’t ever going to get married this year. So, it’s quite funny that everyone thinks that we are. I remember getting off a plane and reading, “Jesinta gets married in six weeks.” I thought to myself, “Shit. I’ve got to get my dress. I’ve got to get guest list.” We always wanted a long engagement and to enjoy it. There has never been any rush for us. And it’s not really going to be a big affair anyway. It’s going to be quite intimate.
Can you give away any wedding plans?
Just something really small and intimate. We’re both really close with our families so; it’s going to be quite a small affair. I always keep reading everywhere that it’s going to be so lavish and glamorous and there’s going to be like an A list, like star-studded [event] and I’m like, “We don’t even have famous friends. What is this?” [Laughs]. It’s just going to be really, really simple and it’s just about celebrating us, our love and our families.
Buddy has had a tough year, how is he going?
He’s good. We just take each day as it comes. It has been really difficult. I’ve continued working throughout the entire process, which has taken its toll on me. I’m quite exhausted from it all. I think the hardest thing with all of it is that it’s being played out really publicly.
It must be hard having it all played out publicly.
Yes, that’s the hardest thing. This is something that has required a lot of privacy and unfortunately, we haven’t really been granted that. I think, looking back on it, yes, it has hindered his recovery and his well-being and my well-being too and it’s just really sad that we weren’t given the respect that was needed for it. I think what people fail to realise sometimes is, yes, he is a sports star and yes, I’m doing whatever it is that I’m doing, but we’re human beings and you’re playing with two people’s lives here. It’s really delicate and really fragile and I think people just need to be really wary of that… People have been a little bit nasty too. There have been some people in the media that have just said some really incredibly nasty and hurtful things that are just so left of field and so wrong in this day and age.
How do you keep strong while being such a pillar of support?
I think I’m probably stronger in the public eye than I am behind closed doors. It has definitely been really hard. But my family has definitely been a great thing for me to be able to lean on. I’ve been talking to lots of people and that’s really important as well, not to bottle it up. I’m definitely stronger in the public. There has been a lot of times that I’ve had my full hair and makeup done and I’ve had to go and get it touched up because I’ve been in tears on the way to work. But, you’ve just got to keep going. That’s unfortunately, the way that it is. You’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do and the best way you can as well. You can’t always choose the cards you’re dealt with in life and you’ve just got to do what you can with the cards that are in your hands.
Has Buddy decided to play next year?
Yes. Buddy is playing next year. He is back into training, which is fantastic. He is looking really fit and strong, which is great. We actually have been training a little bit together and I went for a run with him the other day. It was so hard because his one step is about five of mine! [Laughs]
How do you stay fit?
For me, fitness is about nutrition, your exercise and also to sleep and relaxation as well. So when I talk about fitness, I think, it’s a whole package. It’s my job at the end of the day.
What’s next for you?
I’m obviously continuing my relationship with David Jones next year, which is really exciting for me. I’m just taking every day as it comes and they’ve been an amazing company to work for. And then, I’m launching a shop on my website at the end of this year, which will be really exciting.
What are your plans for Christmas?
Christmas is all about family. We actually don’t give presents within our family. We donate whatever we would spend on each other for presents to charity.
Tell me about your role with Starlight and JOICO.
This is the second year I’ve signed up with JOICO. It’s all about granting wishes to kids over Christmas and it’s through the Starlight Foundation.
What makes you so passionate about the kids and this cause?
Children are so innocent. They’ve done nothing wrong. They don’t deserve to be [sick]. I think, especially for someone like me, who is in such a privileged position, it’s so important to give back to them and just to hear their stories.
How can people get involved?
They can just buy the Christmas gift packs online and a percentage of that goes towards the Starlight Foundation or you can make a direct donation.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
In five years’ time, I’d definitely like to be more in charge of my business and be seen as a businesswoman. At the moment, whenever I see my little bio it’s like TV presenter, model, personality, celebrity. But, I’m glad to be seen as a businesswoman. I think that’s really important. I’m still young. I’m only 24. I feel like I’ve got a long way to go.
WE WENT TO Cured & Cultured, Bennelong.
WE ATE Raw Mooloolaba yellow fin tuna with mushroom soy, pickled white radish and sesame oil; Roasted carrot salad with almonds, sherry caramel, feta and amaranth; Byron Bay pig culatello, barley toast, truffle butter and radishes
WE DRANK Wild Kombucha by Ballsy
JESINTA WORE a Dion Lee dress.
I WORE a Lover dress.
Photography: Edwina Pickles