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Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Samantha Jade

22nd April, 2018

Catching up with Samantha Jade at Sydney’s China Doll

From winning The X-Factor in 2012 to a stint on Home and Away, playing Kylie Minogue in the television mini-series INXS: Never Tear Us Apart and touring with One Direction, Samantha Jade certainly knows how to excel in multiple artistic endeavours. Having already released two albums, Samantha Jade and Nine, the singer, songwriter and actress’s third record titled Best of My Love has just dropped. An album filled with disco anthems, Samantha Jade says it’s a “tribute to amazing, powerful women who in the disco era became really comfortable with their sexuality”. Here she chats to me about writing songs, dealing with crazy rumours and the strangest thing she’s ever read about herself.

What are you up to at the moment?

It’s funny with music because you make the record and you’re behind the scenes completely [in the]. studio and you’re writing. You don’t have to think about anything because you’re just in this emotional place. So now I’m in that zone of promoting and publicity and performing and actually learning the words properly, learning how to sing it, and learning choreography. So it’s really fun.

Tell me about your new album.

It’s my third album, which is pretty cool to say that I made it to three. The first one obviously was X-Factor, and it was a bit of a postcard from the show. And then the second one I wrote every song, and it was really deep and about my mum [who passed away]. And then this one now is fun. It’s all disco classics that we’ve remade. It’s a bit of a tribute to amazing, powerful women who in the disco era, became really comfortable with their sexuality and being a solo female artist.

So the album’s called Best of My Love. Where did the name come from?

So basically, Best of My Love is that song, “Got the best of my love,” which I’ve always loved. You see it in so many movies and a lot of people have remade it. There are so many disco love songs so you have to pick and choose and that one was my favourite. And to me, it’s the sentiment of the record. You know, giving you the best of my love and being happy.

What a fun album! So what’s a typical day for you?

Lately it’s been insane. We are finishing up all the things with the record, all the ads that we’ve done for TV, and we’re making music videos and obviously all the promo going along with it. A typical day is probably flying in or flying out, and then going straight to rehearsals…along with other side projects that we have going on.

What is the best part about what you do?

I think the travelling is amazing. I get to see the world, which is so great. It’s never for a long time…but I try and extend a little so I can see a bit [of the place I’m visiting]. And meeting great people. Even the ladies I’ve just been working with, Kate Ceberano and the Veronicas and Dami [Im] and Amy Shark and so many great people that I get to talk to about music.

What’s the worst part about what you have to do?

It’s very rare to have time off. I think the weird hours too. If you are writing a song you can be there for like three days and haven’t gotten it yet, so you stay there trying to get it. Especially with choreography, that is hours and hours of time. My family are in Perth, so it’s hard not seeing them.

Do you get a feeling when you know you’ve got the song right?

Yes, there’s a feeling. When we wrote “Firestarter,” which is one of my songs from ages ago, we wrote it, and we knew. And we wrote that in like an hour so it was a pretty fast one which is really rare.

Really? That is amazing. What is the process when you’re writing a song?

I always try to write from personal experience, so it depends what you are doing through at the time. If you are really in love and everything’s going great, you are going to write really happy music. If you are going through break-up, it’s going to be really sad. But, at the same time, it depends on the track, because chords make you feel different things. Minor chords make you feel sad and moody and then major chords make you feel happy, and so, it’s very dependent on the track.

If you had never gone down this career path, what would you be doing?

I love doing make up, so I have a make-up range and I would probably do something [with makeup]. But then I love children, so I would probably love to teach music or singing, maybe have my own little singing school.

Seeing as you have a love of makeup, what are your top beauty products that we need to know about?

Well, I think it’s really important to have a good moisturiser. I think that is something people forget.

Our delicious meal

What do you use?

It’s a French moisturiser [I found] when I was in Paris and I was obsessed with it. It’s Embryolisse and they’ve got a mattifying one and just a moisturising one. On the T-zone I use the mattifying one. It’s never oily and your makeup goes on beautifully over it.

And I have actually found this amazing thing by a brand called The Ordinary. It is cheap, it is easy to get, it is called Caffeine Solution and I dab it under my eyes.

What is your number one fashion tip?

My mum gave me this advice and she used to say that Coco Chanel said, “Always take one thing off before you leave the house”. And I agree…I love simplicity.

Then what would be your wardrobe essentials?

A good black blazer. That’s my uniform for myself every day, like I can wear a T-shirt, with a blazer and blue jeans. But a good blazer that fits on the arms, I think. Those big baggy ones I am not into. And a really good pair of jeans. A good pair of high waisted jeans. Never ever go with straight.

Where is your number one holiday destination?

Well it’s changed, ’cause I just did the whole Europe thing last year and I went to Santorini, and I loved it. I always suggest to stay at Sand de le Hierarch. It is known as crazy. Also I just love the Amalfi Coast. It is so beautiful.

Do you enjoy life in the spotlight?

I do and I don’t. I mean, it’s always hard to read things about yourself that aren’t true and not you have to defend yourself, but at the same time, I have learned to deal with that. If my dad is happy with me, and my brothers, and my important people then I’m doing OK.

What’s the funniest thing you have ever read about yourself?

Oh gosh, I read something about hair from a fan that I keep. That was funny, and then that I was dating Niall from One Direction, for like a year, on and off.

Always great chatting to this lovely lady

How did they get that?

Well, only ’cause I knew him, but I knew him because we did a tour together, and his cousin actually lives in Melbourne, who I know. He’s so young, he’s like my brother’s age, and I was no, god no!

You’ve been with your partner [music exec Pat Handlin] for awhile. How is it having a relationship when you’re in the spotlight?

I’m lucky, ’cause he totally gets it, and he’s totally supportive, so he’s just a dream. But it is hard, because it’s hard to see each other. I mean, he’s always working too, so we have to have date nights.

What’s the secret, do you think?

Making time, and going, “OK, we’re going to hang out now and not have our phones”. So at dinner but we put our phones away.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I hope I have a baby. I love kids. Love them. And my best friend, Julesy, she has two babies who I am obsessed with. I hope I still work in music, because these days it’s really a big accomplishment to still be in the music industry, so I hope that I’m still here.

Do you have a career highlight?

Winning an ARIA was a big one to be standing up there with a reward, that is voted by your peers. Probably that, and I think Nine coming out, ’cause I wrote that album for my mum, and I think that she would have, I never got to play it to her, but I did play her a lovely song while she was in hospital. So that coming out, knowing that she liked some of it.

Bite Size

We went to: China Doll

We drank: Cocktails – “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Mandarin & Kaffir Lime Spritz”

We ate: Cured Hiramasa Kingfish with Avocado & Jicama; Wontons – Pork Prawn & Shiitake with Black Vinegar & Soy; Corn & Zucchini Cakes with Coriander Chilli Sambal; Spicy Sour Assam Fish Curry with Pineapple & Tomato

SAMANTHA JADE WORE a Elliatt suit with a Tuchuzy Chosen top, Tony Bianco heels and Christie Nicolaides earrings

I WORE a Seed Top and Skirt

Photography & Videography: Ashleigh Larden

On the 9th of May, Head Chef Frank Shek at China Doll will head to restaurant China Lane and join Kristian Vale (Head Chef) to cook up an incredible banquet style dinner. Book here: 



Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Sheppard

11th June, 2017

Enjoy lunch with Amy and Emma from Sheppard


Siblings Amy and Emma Sheppard are in the indie pop band Sheppard, which also includes their brother George. The Brisbane-based six-piece’s 2014 debut album, Bombs, reached No. 2 on the ARIA chart and their single Geronimo spent three weeks at No. 1. Amy and Emma chat to me about the makings of Geronimo, the pressures in the “cut-throat” music industry and their current tour, which includes tonight’s Sydney gig at the Metro Theatre.

You have had so much success. How did it all start for you guys?

Amy: It really started when I was at TAFE and I had to do a music assignment and I got [my brother] George [Sheppard] to do harmonies on my track … It sort of snowballed from there … [and when] we met our guitarist Jason Bovino things really took off.

What was it like to win an ARIA award?

Amy: That was the best feeling ever, I think, because we had been working so hard for so long and we had been nominated for a few ARIAs before in previous years. So when we got to take that one ARIA home, it was just really special.

Geronimo was one of the biggest hits of the decade, what did that feel like?

Amy: It was a whirlwind, to be honest. It was huge; I couldn’t believe that people were still buying our single after so many weeks … It’s really a humbling feeling that we get to do this every day for a living. We don’t have other jobs and I think that’s rare for a musician to be able to say that.

Is there a pressure for the next album to have the same success?

Emma: Yes and no, just because we want to continue doing this for a living. But I guess we wrote Geronimo without any pressure, so we really were careful not to put the same amount of pressure on ourselves because there were so many eyes around, like, what we were going to do next. We’ve written the album now, we’re really proud with what we have.

What’s the writing process for you?

Amy: There are three writers in the band: myself, my brother George and Jason Bovino. So it really just depends on the day as to how collaborative we are. Sometimes I come to the band with a finished song and sometimes I just have a hook or a melody and then we all jump on board and finish each of the songs. With Geronimo, I think, it first started from scratch and we were all together. It started before a show in Melbourne and we were backstage and Jason had the little guitar part that you hear in the song … [We] forgot about it for three months and then we were all together one day thinking about doing some writing and we were like, “Oh, I remember this is really cool,” and within two hours we had written Geronimo around our kitchen table at home.

What is it like to work with your siblings?

Emma: It’s really good. Being in this industry that’s so cut-throat, it’s good to know and have people that you trust with you on tour. And we’re in this business as a family – like, Mum and Dad are involved … Mum comes on every tour.

With 400 million streams and top 10 chart placements globally, what has it been like to have such international success?

Emma: It’s pretty crazy, we just kind of followed the success around the world. We never really expected it and are still pinching ourselves today.

What is the biggest aspect in your life that has changed since you’ve had success?

Amy: Probably sleep deprivation. Before Geronimo, we could choose our hours and we would be pretty free with what we could do, but now I think we just work harder, which is a great thing. We’re really busy.

What is it like to work with your siblings?

Emma: It’s really good. Being in this industry that’s so cut-throat, it’s good to know and have people that you trust with you on tour. And we’re in this business as a family – like, Mum and Dad are involved … Mum comes on every tour.

With 400 million streams and top 10 chart placements globally, what has it been like to have such international success?

Emma: It’s pretty crazy, we just kind of followed the success around the world. We never really expected it and are still pinching ourselves today.

What is the biggest aspect in your life that has changed since you’ve had success?

Amy: Probably sleep deprivation. Before Geronimo, we could choose our hours and we would be pretty free with what we could do, but now I think we just work harder, which is a great thing. We’re really busy.

Where is the strangest place you’ve been recognised?

Amy: The craziest for me was in London. I think it was Emma and I who were just shopping and someone yelled across the street, like, “Sheppard. We love you, Sheppard”. Because it didn’t chart in the UK, I was not expecting to be recognised at all.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Amy: Never let success go to your head; never let failure go to your heart.

Emma: Stick with the people that pull the magic out of you and not the madness!

What advice would you give to someone wanting to make it big in this industry? 

Emma: Push yourself because no one else is going to do it for you. Also be confident in what you do and don’t let people bring you down!

What are you up to at the moment?

Emma: At the moment we have our Australian tour … Next month, we fly out to the UK and we have 13 shows with Little Mix.

Where has been your favourite performance?

Amy: Our favourite performance would have to be when we played Rock in Rio in Brazil. It’s hard to explain how overwhelmed you feel when 100,000 people are singing your song back to you.

How do you feel about security during big performances these days with recent attacks and bombings?

Amy: We were so shocked and saddened by what happened in Manchester. Our hearts are with those who lost a loved one. But crimes like this won’t shake our resolve to deliver live music to our fans, and we hope they will still come to our concerts. Together, we will get through this more resilient and stronger.

Sheppard perform on June 11 at the Metro Theatre, Sydney; $31.75.



We went to Tokonoma By Toko, Sydney

We ate Hiramasa kingfish, truffle ponzu, pickled daikon; Moreton Bay bu tempura, yuzu koshu mayonnaise; Chicken polenta karaage, toko hot sauce; Jerusalem artichoke, 3 ways, teriaki ;Soft shell crab maki; Wagyu beef cheeks, bone marrow tempura

We drank Mineral water, 2015 Ros Ritchie Sauvignon Blanc; 2012 Chandon Vintage Altius

Amy wore: Aje  

Emma wore: Rollas

Photography: Fairfax

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Guy Sebastian

4th December, 2016
Date with Kate: Kate Waterhouse and Guy Sebastian at The Bathers Pavillion in Balmoral, Sydney. 10th November 2016 Photo: Janie Barrett

Catching up with Guy Sebastian at The Bathers Pavilion at Balmoral Beach


Guy Sebastian has built on his Australian Idol win in 2003 to become an enduringly popular performer. He recently finished as a judge on television’s The X Factor and is now working on a new album. Sebastian, 35, chatted to me about fatherhood, the tragedy behind his latest single, and why he’s no longer trying to please everyone.

What are you working on?

My new album. I finished part one just a few days ago and I’m kind of continuing to work on part two, which will be released after … I’m mainly writing, recording, building a home and working on my next tour – that’s pretty much my life.

What was your inspiration behind your new single Set In Stone?

It’s a bit of a sad one. I was in Bali and there was an accident right in front of me, and it was a fatal crash in the end. I ended up on the side of the road holding this kid’s hands as he took his last breath and it affected me quite a lot … Later on that night I started to process [it] and I started to write and that’s how the melody came about.

Did you see this song as a tribute to this person?

Not really. When I wrote it, it was actually about family, my kids, Jules [his wife] … It was basically saying the things “set in stone” – the people that are there forever.

Did you enjoy this season of The X Factor?

I always enjoy it; I always enjoy being part of something that affects lives. It does definitely give people a big boost … I look at Sammy [Samantha Jade] and she was doing stock take in a warehouse and she has this amazing voice; and Johnny Ruffo, who was a concreter in Perth and he’s become quite a personality now; and Reece Mastin, who’s touring all over the place and recording amazing music. Also the people like Dami [Im] and myself who went on a show like this and hopefully prove to people that we deserve a spot in the industry. It’s been a really, really good journey thus far.

What was it like to work with Iggy [Azalea]?

I’ve really, really enjoyed being on the panel with Adam [Lambert] and Mel B [Brown]. We’ve had a lot of fun and I will miss them.

How has reality TV changed since your time on Australian Idol?

It’s changed so much. When I did Idol, it was a first. We didn’t know what we were getting into. I was this weird-looking chubby guy with an afro – and all of a sudden, I had people camped outside my house with signs “I love Guy”. Now it’s an avenue to get into the industry; the “reality” has been taken away a little bit.

Who are your musical mentors and influences?

… Sam Cooke and definitely Otis Redding, who were probably the two reasons I got into music in the first place. In my teens I really got into the Beatles and I listened to a lot of gospel music as well.

How do you define success?

Knowing that what you’re doing at the moment is what you’re supposed to be doing. Not sitting wishing you were doing something else.

What has been the biggest challenge in your career?

I would say just learning that I can’t please everyone. In normal life you don’t have many people that are staunchly against you … Suddenly I became famous … and everyone was kind of at me. I came from a pretty sheltered background who went to church and then suddenly the church people were up at me and I wasn’t churchy enough, and then the industry was at me that I wasn’t wild enough. And so I was just in this mode of desperately trying not to offend anyone. I found after a while I was OK with being who I am and people don’t actually know me, and I think that was the best thing to do.

What else do you want to achieve in life?

I would love to do what I’m doing forever, whether it be in a studio writing or producing or touring.

What is the best part of your job?

You sit for so long and do such long hours in the studio, you stress about the sound and direction of youralbum. Then you finally release it and see your fans enjoying it and singing back to you, that’s the moment when all your hard work just pays off. I still never get used to it when people cry at my show; it just reminds me about music and the impact it can have on people and the memories it can invoke, and that’s really healing for me.

What is the worst part of your job?

Once again, I think everyone having an opinion on you and trying to please everyone – when not everyone is going to like you.

How do you deal with the negativity?

I’ve just realised that not everyone is going to like you. Also, after having kids, that changes your perspective. What they think of you is the only thing that matters.

How has fatherhood changed you?

It changes you in every way. It gives you a greater purpose in life. You not only worry about them but also the world around them – politically, environmentally, everything!

What do you love most about being a dad?

Cuddles! Doesn’t matter if you’ve had the worst day, everything is OK when you see them.

Will your children follow in your footsteps?

I think Hudson might … they both like to sing but Hudson has better pitch at the moment [laughs].

What have your learnt from your marriage with Jules?

So much. She is amazing, she is so understanding of everything I do.

What is the biggest misconception about what you do?

I think some people think musos are dumb [laughs]. I once had a girlfriend who broke up with me because I was a muso and her dad was convinced I was not going anywhere.

What else are you working on?

I’ve been working really hard with the Sebastian Foundation, which is doing some amazing things … much-needed work across women’s shelters in Sydney and looking to expand across Australia. Domestic violence is a huge ongoing problem [so we are working with a] lot of these [shelter] homes to give them what they need, make it a place that these women can go to feeling safe, loved.


We went to Bathers Pavilion, Balmoral Beach

We ate Caesar salad with garlic croutons and pancetta add grilled peppered chicken; Beetroot cured kingfish with coastal greens cucumber, almonds and caper berries

We drank Acqua Panna natural still mineral water; Apple and beetroot juice

Photo: Janie Barrett

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Megan Washington

6th March, 2016
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 15: Singer, Songwriter Megan Washington is seen at lunch with Kate Waterhouse for her 'Date With Kate' column at Bills, Surry Hills on February 15, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ben Rushton/Fairfax Media)

Megan Washington and I catch up for lunch at Bills, Surry Hills

Australian singer-songwriter Megan Washington reached the top five of Australia’s albums chart with her 2010 debut, I Believe You Liar, and her 2014 album There There, described in the Herald as “a huge leap in songwriting, production and depth”. The ARIA Award winner, 30, is also an ambassador for the Spectrum Now Festival presented by ANZ, which is on until March 16. She talked to me about her ambitions to be an actress, her love-hate relationship with fear, and what writing her new album involves.

What are you up to at the moment? 

I am writing for my new record. I was meant to make it last year but I didn’t write any songs. It feels great to be learning again as I’m scoring a short film and a feature film.

How did you get into that? 

The short film happened because a friend of mine is a new director. Another friend of mine was making a feature so I figured I had already said yes to the short, so why not!

Tell me about your involvements in the Spectrum Now Festival.

It’s very exciting to be part of one that’s starting up, especially in this climate, where lots of festivals are shutting down. It has a really good energy about it and I can’t wait to go and see all the stuff. My friend Les Rice has a pop-up tattoo studio, which I think is really awesome idea.

Is there something you’re most looking forward to?

Sleater-Kinney, Carrie Brownstein and Augie March.

When you were younger, did you always want to be a singer?

I always wanted to be a performer. I wanted to be an actress more than I wanted to be a singer. However, I audition for things and don’t get them so I’m probably just not that amazing at acting [laughs].

What have you auditioned for where you didn’t get the part? 

I’ve been to so many auditions, especially for musicals. I don’t want to tell you which ones, because you’ll be like ‘Well, that’s a lot of stuff’ [laughs].

What would be your dream role?

I’d love to be in Chicago – in musical theatre especially, or cabaret. I love that feeling of turning up and feeling like, ‘I have no idea how I’m going to do this’, and then at the end of the day going, ‘Wow, I did it.’

What are you fearful of?

I have a love-hate relationship with fear. If the thought of doing something fills me with a lot of dread and anxiety, I need to do it. I hate it while I’m doing it but I love the exhilaration afterwards.

How do you measure the success of an album?

Making an album is such a huge endeavour and such a difficult process. Just the fact that it gets released feels like a great success. Each of my albums has been a success in its own way. For example, Insomnia was an outlet for dark feelings. I made that record and sort of never listened to it and don’t really sing any of the songs from it.

You’ve had so much success in such a short time. What is your career highlight so far? 

Giving my TED talk was a really big milestone for me and a big personal achievement.

You spoke about your fluency difficulty at a TED-X conference. Were you surprised by the support you had? 

Yes I was. I didn’t even really think about the fact it was being filmed because I couldn’t see any of the cameras or anything. It was at the Opera House and I was on it, like 5 o’clock, so I went on stage and gave a speech and walked out to my friend’s birthday party. I wasn’t a part of the day or I wasn’t a part of the whole sort of thing. I just didn’t even think about it and I wasn’t really thinking about anybody else.

What was it like growing up with a stutter? 

I remember when I started to have a career and a musical profile; I would not sleep the night before [an interview]. Singing is something that I did to escape having a fluency problem. So the irony of singing then was bringing me into a space where I had to do interviews. I do have a kind of weird abusive relationship with fear. I find singing and song writing quite difficult and quite scary. But I feel quite compelled to do it, nonetheless. I feel like I have a lot to say and I have lots of opinions. But I don’t want to actually say them.

You must have impacted a lot of people and helped them to overcome their own fears. 

There was a really overwhelming response from the community when the Australian story went to air. More specifically, older people, who have been disguising their fluency problem for most of their lives and also parents of young children, who are struggling with things. The most frustrating thing is that people either think that I’m really nervous, dumb or shy, which I’m not. Eloquence and articulation often goes hand-in-hand with a certain level of social intelligence.

Since finding success, what are the pros and cons of stardom?

The pros are that I don’t have to have a job. The cons are that I have to be really self-determined. If I don’t do it, it’s not going to get done. I have to keep finding ways to interest myself in things. I think that song writing is essentially a process of self-interrogation.

What would be your dream job?

A yoga teacher.

Is there a misconception about you?

Everybody always says, “I thought you were way taller.”

What’s next for you? 

I’m going to LA in March. And then I just have to press on with this record, really. I want it to happen.

What’s the process for you when you’re writing an album? 

Usually the music and words happen at the same time, except at the moment what I’m writing is quite verbally dense. I’m doing lyric writing and linguistic construction outside of the musical space and then I’m kind of like bringing that into the studio, which is a really new process for me.

When you write a song, do you have a feeling whether it will be a hit or not?

I know when a song is good. If it’s not, or if there’s something that’s a bit iffy or missing, it makes me feel really itchy. I just get annoyed when I hear it. But when I hear a song that sounds right, it’s like a deeply satisfying sensation.

Who do you admire?

Hugh Jackman because if I could do anything or have anyone’s life, I would have Hugh Jackman’s life. He gets to be in really fun things like blockbuster X-Men: Wolverine. But then he also does musical theatre. I would love to be him and the only thing I would add to his life would be to have a songwriting career.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Wherever I am, and whatever I’m doing, I’m probably going to have about three rescue dogs.

What do you do in your spare time?

I do a lot of exercise as I really enjoy training and being active. I read, watch Netflix and go to the theatre a lot. I’m just a normal person, just do normal stuff.



WE WENT TO Bills, Surry Hills

WE ATE Korean fried chicken with iceberg lettuce, spring onion and chili sesame; Bills chicken sandwich.

WE DRANK green juice and sparkling water.

MEGAN WORE: Gail Sorronda pants, vintage shirt and Adidas slides.

I WORE a Talulah dress.


Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Samantha Jade

24th January, 2016

My date with Samantha Jade at Sokyo, The Star.

Samantha Jade was the first female to win the Australian series of The X Factor Australia in 2012. She subsequently signed with Sony Music and released her winner’s single “What You’ve Done to Me” which reached number one on the ARIA Singles Charts. Jade has had a series of hits since and she released her second studio album, Nine, in November last year. Jade also starred as Kylie Minogue in the mini-series, INXS: Never Tear Us Apart in 2014 and this year, Jade has joined the cast of the long-running soap opera Home and Away. I chatted to the 28-year-old about her career, her plans to make it in the UK and how the death of her mother, Jacqueline Gibbs, impacted her music.

What are you up to, at the moment?

I am preparing for a bit of a big year. [My] deluxe record will be out this year… [I’m] a guest role in Home and Away, which is pretty exciting…  It was so fun to film — it was so different than the Kylie, INXS role. It’s so different from the real me so it was a really creative moment.

Do you enjoy acting?

I love it… A lot of people say acting and music are similar. It’s not! It’s actually really different. Music obviously, is self-expression because if you’re a writer and you’re writing about your experiences. With acting, you’re playing a character, you’re playing someone who is not you, who shouldn’t think like you, who hasn’t been through what you’ve been through — you’ve got to create a whole world for them. It’s really different and I really enjoy that side of it because it just is so creative.

How do you measure the success of an album?

I think that that’s something that comes with age, realising what success really is and I think that a few years ago if you would have asked me that I would have said, “Oh Top 10. It has to be Top 5 or it’s not good enough.” For me now, after everything I went through last two years with my mum [passing away]… success is such a different thing to me now and happiness has become my number one and just my whole idea of life has completely changed. So for me, getting an album out, was a really big deal and for people to actually listen to it and actually getting those messages that I wanted to write about across — that’s success to me. It has really changed for me, I just am happy it’s out and that my fans are happy with it … There’s a song called Nine on there about my mum and a lot of people have written and said, “That’s gotten me through… I lost my Grandfather. I lost my uncle or I lost my Dad” it’s such a positive spin on such a sad moment. It has really helped me and that’s success.

Your new album draws inspiration from dark moments in your life, including the death of your mother; in what way did the passing of your mother impact your music?

Yes [it impacted my album hugely] I took a lot of 2014 off because she got sick that January. Australia Day we found out she had cancer, which was the hardest day… I basically relocated back to Perth and I still had to work but I just would fly over and fly straight back. It was a full six months and it took a lot out of us. So once everything happened and she passed, we went on a holiday. I came back and started to rewrite the album because I felt like everything I had written didn’t make sense anymore for me.

How did you manage to get an album out? 

I kind of think that — I don’t have a partner, I don’t have a child. So, my work is my everything right now. So I threw myself into it. My mum said to me when she was sick, “you do not stop working — you’ve worked so hard for this, this is your love. I’m so proud of you,” and I knew for her, I had to keep working as well. My Dad kept reminding me of that. He was like, “You’ve got to do it. You love what you do.”

What do you do in your time off, when you’re not working?

I love to shop, I love to go to the movies, and I love to go to the beach. And I’m the ambassador for “Star Summer Hits” at The Star Sydney. It’s really exciting because I’m a Perth girl and Sunday sessions are huge thing in Perth and it’s really hard to find that out here in Sydney. So, Thursday through to Sunday on the Sky Terrace they’ve got a beautiful bar in the middle and there’s this really cool little area with grass and it’s just a nice way to let your hair down through summer and a very nice little Sunday session with champagne, brunch. It’s just lovely.

What are your plans for 2016?

I would love to go to the U.K. That’s a really big thing for me. I would love to go there and just feel it out [career wise] and see how it would go. So, that’s my goal this year. And the deluxe record and maybe a tour and just to stay in music.

What is the biggest impact winning X-Factor has had on your life?

My job is now music. I get to wake up every day and do what I love. That’s incredible to say, not many people can do that and say that. But I think the ability to inspire people is a really incredible feeling that I’ve only realised how powerful that is in the last year, because of my album and because of what I went through and when I went through what I went through with my mum and there’s so many people that go through that, and having a little bit of a profile — you are lucky because you can inspire people, I’m really like to have the ability to do that.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

I hopefully am married by then, and having a child because having a baby and being married is as much of a dream for me as music is… So, I’d love that and I’d love to still be in music.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

I always say Ed Sheeran because I think he is one of the best songwriters of our generation… There’s no facade with him.

WE WENT TO Sokyo, The Star, Pyrmont.

WE ATE a fruit platter and a selection of pastries.

WE DRANK coffee and juice.

I WORE Rebecca Vallance  Subtropical High Neck Midi Dress

Photography by Chris Pearce.

Date with Kate


6th December, 2015
A fun date with Carissa Walford at the Hotel Palisade, Millers Point

A fun date with Carissa Walford at the Hotel Palisade, Millers Point

Carissa Walford is a host of the Channel [V] music channel on pay TV and she writes and produces her segments. In October she started hosting her own show, [V] Trending. The 27-year-old Sydneysider was a nominee for favourite personality at the 2013 Astra Awards. She spoke candidly to me about her biggest regrets, her dream job on Channel [V] and how she became the personality she is.

Being a Channel [V] presenter seems like a dream job but I’m sure there is a lot of work behind the scenes. Tell me a bit about it. 

Yes, it’s definitely a one-man band … You’re not in front of the camera and just given a script. You don’t have autocue and it’s not this glamorous, easy kind of job. You really have to find your way in the media and work out what your voice is going to be, what are you going to be like, how are you going to be different to everyone else … But this job has been like going to uni for 4½  years and getting taught journalism, media and communications, because they teach you everything from scratch. It has been quite incredible, to be able to get paid and learn on the job.

How did you figure out “your voice” in front of the camera?

I didn’t say no to anything. At one point, I had this weird idea that you had to do something out there and crazy to get noticed and particularly with Channel [V] … I guess, it’s part of the Channel [V] brand because Yumi Stynes, she was notorious for doing some really crazy, outrageous interviews that would get her into trouble … So at the very beginning I tried to kiss one of the band members [from Bluejuice] in one of my interviews [laughs]. Now I just look at it as a learning curve.

Do you have any regrets?

Oh, look, that is a regret … I’m like, “Why? Why did I decide to do that?” It wasn’t a good look. It was really bad … It’s that weird pressure or feeling of, “Well, you’re going to be boring and you’re going to be bland” and you don’t want to be compared to the likes of Yumi Stynes – it’s a lot to live up to. But I kind of found my place. I was like 23 years old at the time … I guess, there’s a part of me that is like that, but it’s not all of me! [Laughs.] I definitely wanted to be seen as a credible presenter on the channel.

Did you already have extensive knowledge of music history or is that something you have to work on?

Well, I had a musical background. My dad is a singer. He has played in bands around Sydney for years and years. He worked with Marcia Hines, John Farnham and local musos that kind of all know each other in the industry. So I used to sing with my dad. I went to a performing arts school called Australian College of Entertainment, where Delta Goodrem and Bec Cartwright went. So I’ve always had that in my blood – music, in particular.

You used to perform and sing all around Australia – what was that like?

Yes … I did everything at one point. I was a cheerleader for the Sydney Kings. I was a Harlequin dance girl. I was singing. I was jack-of-all-trades, master of none at that point… So, I went to NIDA and did a full-time, one-year presenting course and then I went back and did an acting course. I was pretty determined.

Did you always know you wanted to be a presenter on Channel [V]? 

Yes, I used to go on the website and look up all the presenter profiles. I was very determined to get to this point. My first kind of big job was on Fashion TV. So I started doing bits and pieces for them and then I got a job on Fuel TV, which I was on for quite some time as a Smokin’ Hottie. At the start, it was really cool. I was interviewing surfers on the beach and I was on a jet-ski in the water, chatting to them after each heat. And then, of course, it turned into this, “You’ve got to wear a bikini and be this hot [presenter]…”

Does confidence come naturally to you?

I feel like I have this I-don’t-really-give-a-shit attitude sometimes. I was a dancer, since I was four, so you’re getting changed in front of everyone. You’re running around in your little tighty-whities and I’ve always felt quite comfortable within myself and my body and having that kind of dancing background.

You were nominated for favourite personality at the 11th Astra Awards – what was that like? 

I was just really excited to kind of just get recognised in the TV industry. It’s a hard job. Award ceremonies, you never know what way they’re going to go. Obviously I didn’t win but it was just really cool to kind of be acknowledged and you kind of feel like, “OK, maybe my hard work has paid off.”

Who has been your favourite interview on Channel [V]? 

It’s really hard to pick between Chelsea Handler… She is one of my idols, more so in the fact that she just has gotten away with so much. This year, another great interview was with Cara Delevingne … She said that her biggest fan was Meryl Streep. So I thought, let’s do like a little skit from Devil Wears Prada … It’s just those moments where, “Oh my God, we’re doing something different.” Like no one has ever done that with her before. She really got into it and she didn’t want the interview to end … So, I guess, it’s those kind of moments where you do something risky and spontaneous that’s never been done before and the person you’re interviewing absolutely loves it and doesn’t want the interview to end.

Do you ever stay in contact with any of the people you interview? 

A lot of the Australian musicians that we’re getting all the time like your Jessica Mauboys and your Peking Duk and Guy Sebastian and Delta Goodrem. I feel like they’re friends of the family. We’re all kind of in contact at some point.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

I am the biggest hippie beach girl. I just love going to the beach and attempting to surf… [Also] I have a big beauty obsession. I love make-up. So I’ve had make-up with my friends. We do like make-up tutorials on the weekend and stuff. It’s really bizarre. I really love when my girlfriends come over and I’ll say, “OK, sit down. I’m going to do a make-up look. We’re going to film it and pretend we’re on a show,” as if I don’t work in television.

If you hadn’t gone down this career path, what would you have done? 

Well, I was supposed to go to uni and be a high school dance and sports teacher… There was a moment there where I thought, “I don’t know if I’m ever going to secure a well-paying, constant, secure job in this industry.” … But I ended up not having to go. Look, I was never the studying type at school. I was always queen of drama class, head of the sport class, music class.


WE WENT TO Hotel Palisade, Millers Point

WE ATE Burrata and Basil salad; potato and zucchini salad.

WE DRANK ‘Dark and Stormy’ cocktails.

CARISSA WORE a Camilla and Marc dress

I WORE Dion Lee top and Dion Lee for Target skirt.


Photography by Daniel Munoz.