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The X Factor

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Redfoo

6th April, 2015
lunch with Redfoo. Photo: Brianne Makin.

lunch with Redfoo. Photo: Brianne Makin.

Redfoo is an American singer, DJ and rapper who came to fame in the musical duo LMFAO. The pair released two studio albums before Redfoo – real name Stefan Kendal Gordy and the son of Motown record founder Berry Gordy – went solo in 2013 and became a judge on The X Factor Australia. Redfoo, 39, couldn’t confirm whether he would return to The X Factor this year and in the meantime joined another reality show, the US series of Dancing With The Stars. Last month he was the first to be eliminated. I caught up with Redfoo to talk about his distinctive look, being labelled misogynistic over a recent song, and his dreams of becoming a tennis pro.

What are you up to at the moment? 

I’m working on my new album, I’m promoting my new single, Juicy Wiggle, and [been] practicing for theDancing With the Stars.

Tell me about Dancing With the Stars. 

That [was] a dream come true… I [gave] it 100 per cent and letting my partner mould me and shape me, while keeping my personality and energy at the same time and learning the structure for keeping the “Redfooness” into the spirit.

Were you disappointed that you were first to leave the show? 

I was shocked I got voted off because I felt so much positivity from the crowd and my fans. I was still happy because I gave it 100 per cent, [I] loved the experience and I had the best partner in the world. Team Fooma forever!

You’ve always got a new set of glasses. How many pairs of glasses do you own? 

I think it’s like 200,000. Seriously.

You have your fashion line, La Freak. Are you really hands-on with your designing? 

Yeah, very hands-on. I have a cool team and I give them inspirations, sometimes via Google images. I can go shopping sometimes and say, “OK, this is a cut that I like. This is a style I like…” For my normal, everyday look I like to kind of play some kind of character but always maintain a Redfoo within the character.

You have a signature look. Are you always dressed as Redfoo or do you ever try to go incognito and dress a bit more low-key? 

It’s so funny because, to me, what I’m wearing now, this is low-key – because I grew up as a surfer, as a kid in the beach, so wearing prints on your shorts is normal .. But I get that all the time. People say to me every time I go in the elevator, “It’s not Halloween” … As a kid I thought I was going to wear sweatpants every day, until I got into real estate. Then they asked me the question, “Would you buy a house from a guy that was dressed in sweats and things with big afro?” And I actually said, “No, I wouldn’t.” Then I realised that whatever the character that you’re in, you want to dress appropriately to that. And that’s why I love music and I love creating my own world because it’s really I have no rules. I can wear anything I want.

When you were younger did you envisage your life the way it is today? 

Not when I was younger – I wanted to play sports. Well, I knew that I wanted to be rich and I wanted to be some kind of an entertainer, but I thought it was sports. Then it was music, but it wasn’t so much on being famous for music; it was just being known for making great music. That was the first thing. I did that with a couple of singles that I’ve done for some other artists as a producer – I had some great credits. And then one day I decided that I’ve done everything in my life: I had made music, I had done stand-up comedy, I experienced love and I said, “But what haven’t I experienced as a human living on this earth?” It was: “I never got famous.” Like, “What does that mean for people to know you? What does it mean to have paparazzi trying to follow you, for doing whatever you’re doing?” I just wanted to experience that. How can you incorporate that into your life? And so then I started doing everything with the vision of that and then it became much more external.

If you hadn’t gone down the road of performing and entertainment, what would you have done? 

Sports. I play tennis every day. I’ve kept that dream alive and I want to play on a professional level. I’ve been very consistent in training similar to a pro level. It takes six to eight hours a day: gym, stretching, ice bath. My fans may not really care that I got a better forehand, but that can make me a happier person.

There was controversy with your single Literally I Can’t being called offensive and misogynistic. Did you intend to offend?

[No]. Here it is…I’ve learnt that I can only, and people can only, control themselves, their actions and their thoughts. I am becoming a master at controlling my side of the court. So I can control what I do [but] when I put out music, I cannot control what people say about my music. I can’t control what they say about me. Anybody will just say what they want to see, be it positive or negative.

Will LMFAO ever get back together? 

I would think so. Sky [Blu] and I have a great relationship. I think that if that’s something that we both want to do passionately, then it will happen.

Do you enjoy being a solo artist?

Yeah, I enjoy being solo. I enjoy being in a group. I’m kind of easy to please. I enjoy whatever it is that makes me feel good. Right now solo is making me feel good.

What can we expect from the new album?

You can expect some amazingness with high-energy dance – [that’s] what you can expect from Redfoo’s personality –  and really just musical stuff, probably more ’50s and ’60s rock ‘n’ roll, like Juicy Wiggle. Experimental stuff. You will feel like, “Wow. This is a new feeling.”

Are you returning to The X Factor Australia as a judge this year?

That’s out of my control. Well, first I have to be asked. At this point I haven’t been asked to come back. And then after that takes place then I have a chance to respond.

What’s next in the pipeline? 

Next is the album. It’s interesting because the album is just the musical side but really, the next big-time thing for me is musicals – [creating] musical movies at the cinema.



WE WENT TO The Darling, Pyrmont.

WE ATE a Chicken salad and roasted chicken with vegetables.

WE DRANK coffee and sparkling water.

REDFOO WORE LaFreak from head to toe

I WORE a Carven dress

Photo: Brianne Makin

Photo: Brianne Makin

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Natalie Bassingthwaighte

29th March, 2015
lunch with Natalie

lunch with Natalie

Natalie Bassingthwaighte is known for her music, acting and as a judge on The X Factor Australia. Now the 39-year-old is adding designer to her list with her new line of clothing for kids, Chi Khi. She has also just signed on as the new judge on The X Factor New Zealand to fill the role left by judge Natalia Kills, who was dismissed after a tirade on air. I caught up with Bassingthwaighte to chat about her clothing range, returning to acting and being on a “spiritual journey”.

How did your new role on X Factor NZ come about? 

I was asked my interest [last week and] spoke to the producers, then discussed with my husband to see if we could even make it work. Negotiations took place and then … I found out it was happening and [flew straight to New Zealand]! One crazy week. My first live show [was on] Sunday! This week was a crazy one:Neighbours on Monday, meetings for … Chi Khi, kids swimming, gymnastics and music. And to top it off, a film audition on Wednesday. Not quite sure it’s all really sunk in yet but I think that’s how I roll. I have had less than 24 hours to get a vibe for my category but they are so brilliant. I can’t wait!

Did you think X Factor judge Natalia Kills crossed the line with her recent outburst? 

I don’t  agree with bullying in any way shape or form by anyone. It’s inappropriate, unnecessary and just hurtful.

What else are you up to?  

At the moment it’s almost 24 hours’ a day Chi Khi, quite literally. I’ve never done anything like it before. It has been about 18 months from the idea to it actually coming to life. I’ve been doing a few screen tests as well for shows, and back in the classroom for some acting.

What inspired you to start a children’s range? 

My husband and I have always had the mindset that it’s good to do things outside of your industry. Especially in the entertainment industry; you never know how long your time is and I just thought it was important to have something that is ours. My kids both have sensitive skin – dry and eczema. So I did a bit of research on that and found that bamboo was really good for kids with sensitive skin and there was nothing that was really cool that was made out of bamboo.

Are you hands-on in the design process? 

Yes – I’m not the designer but I’m pretty directional with how I want the whole brand to look. But I still let the people who have the skills do what they do.

You’re a singer, actor, TV personality and have a new kids’ range. Of all your things you do, what’s most important to you? 

My kids. My family. I think since having kids my whole world has been shaped by them, but in a good way … I don’t define myself as a singer or any of those things any more. I just feel like a working mum. I like to create, I like to be challenged, I like to be inspired.  But I think the one that suits me most is probably just mum.

How do you juggle it all?

Oh my god, it’s difficult. For any working mum I think it’s exactly the same, but my daughter goes to daycare twice a week and we have someone to help us twice a week. My husband and I just juggle. It’s just how we work. We both are in an industry that is flexible. So that’s a good thing about it. But it’s also the hard thing about it because you can’t really stick to, “OK, Monday to Friday I’ll go here and do that”.

Will your kids follow in your footsteps? 

My son is pretty obsessed with music. He has definitely got something musical in his body. My daughter is always just putting on a little crazy show. She does funny accents, characters. You name it. So, maybe, it might just happen.

You mentioned that you’re back in the screen room – are you getting back into acting? 

Yeah – I don’t know. Last year I’ve been bit more on a spiritual journey. I want to do things that make me smile and make me happy and I felt like, “OK, I’m going to go and do this workshop with this amazing woman who has taught De Niro and Bradley Cooper”. It was a week-long intensive workshop. I’ve been doing a few screen tests since then and dipping my toes back in.

Are you going to get back into singing as well? 

No, I’ve kind of stepped back from that a little bit. I was thinking at the beginning of last year that it’s something that I wanted to do and then last year was a bit tough for me. I had a lot of personal things. I just felt that it was all happening and then I just felt I couldn’t do it any more.

What’s your biggest career highlight? 

Well, there are so many and they’re all so different, so it’s really hard. We did do No.3 in the UK for [her band] Rogue Traders. That was pretty mind blowing. I have sung the anthem at almost every sporting event in Australia. So being in the big grounds performing in front of 100,000 people, that’s pretty amazing. They are both music things but … such “pinch me” moments.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? 

Hopefully, Chi Khi will have grown. I’ve got big plans for it: Chi Khi Mini, Chi Khi Kids, Chi Khi Skin … Chi Khi lots of things! Enjoying my kids because they’re young. Maybe doing some acting. Having a few holidays. Putting my feet up. I don’t know. Having a good time. Enjoying life.


WE WENT TO Catalina Restaurant, Rose Bay

WE ATE Freshly shucked Sydney rock oysters, Sushi & sashimi; salad of organic & baby heirloom tomatoes and fresh burrata; summer vegetable tart with Persian fetta, baba ganoush, salsa verde and dukkah.

WE DRANK Sauvignon Blanc, Pascal Jolivet & Chardonnay, Domaine William Fevre.

NATALIE WORE Dion Lee top and Scanlan and Theodore skirt.

I WORE a Camilla and Marc top and Celine skirt.


photography: Christopher Pearce

lunch with Natalie

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Fifth Harmony

2nd March, 2015
Lunch with Fifth Harmony. Photo: Cole Bennetts

Lunch with Fifth Harmony. Photo: Cole Bennetts

American girl group Fifth Harmony were formed on The X Factor in the US and have quickly become a hit. As with One Direction, the five members were chosen by X Factor boss Simon Cowell to form a group. Since then, Ally Brooke Hernandez, Camila Cabello, Lauren Jauregui, Dinah Jane Hansen and Normani Kordei have spent the past 18 months working on their debut album, Reflection, which was recently released and went straight to No.1 on the US iTunes charts. I sat down with the girls to chat about fame, spending time together and the best advice Cowell ever gave them.

How has your life changed since finding fame?

Ally: Our lives have changed so much as we are constantly on the road and on the go; whether that’s preparing for an album, a tour or preparing for a promo. But it has been so awesome. We have amazingly dedicated loyal fans who just keep us going all the time. It’s just so exciting to be able to travel across the world.

Camila: I feel like we’ve changed a lot just as people. Since The X Factor when we were formed we’ve just grown so much as a group and individually. Just being in the music industry and kind of going from zero to a hundred, having nobody kind of know your name and then all of a sudden we were singing in front of the most important people in music and now debuting an album for the first time. I mean, it’s crazy. I feel like we’ve just grown a lot together.

You were put together by Simon Cowell to form a group. Have you had your ups and downs working together or has it been quite an organic experience?

Lauren: Yes, but I think the word “organic” is kind of hard to apply to five strangers being put together. Like, we didn’t choose each other. We didn’t choose to be in the group, but we are lucky that all five of us have, like, an organic nature so we were able to blend together really well. We had really great chemistry from the get-go and luckily it has been able to build and just grow. We spend more time with each other than we do with our own families and we’ve literally kind of developed a sisterhood in terms of we know each other’s thoughts and we know each other’s character.

What was it like to work with Simon Cowell? 

Normani: It was an incredible experience. People paint this picture of him being scary because that’s how he is perceived through TV. So I was really nervous to audition, but getting to work with him and getting to know him throughout the X Factor process, he is a big teddy bear. He is just very honest but he really cares about people.

What’s the best advice he has ever given you?

Camila: I think the best advice he has ever given us is to make sure that we have as much input as possible into our own project because, at the end of the day, it’s ours and it’s your record. You can have label people calling the shots for you but … it has to be representative of who you are. And if other people make the decisions, it’s not going to be, and it’s going to come across that way. That’s a lot coming from a head of a label.

Has it been all work during your visit to Australia or have you enjoyed downtime during your trip? 

Dinah-Jane: Yeah, we hung out with Stan Walker, we just had a good jam session.
Camila:  We also went to Bondi Beach, which was a lot of fun. There are very, very beautiful people out here. The boys are so beautiful!

Who are your favourite Australian artists? 

Ally: Iggy [Azalea]. I think she is sweet.
Dinah-Jane: I love Nathaniel’s [Willemse] voice. And I love Stan Walker.

Do you also hang out together when you’re not working? 

Ally: Not really [laughs].
Lauren: Think about it. If you’re around someone 24/7 it’s healthy to get breathers every once in a while. We are friends with each other and we will do stuff with each other. But, for the most part, when we have time off we tend to spend it alone.
Ally:  I think that’s healthy for any relationship. You don’t want to just exhaust it. This is an abnormal situation so you have to make it as normal as possible.

What’s next in the pipeline for you all? 

Normani: We go to LA and we prepare for our headlining Reflection tour. And we go on that for a month and we’re shooting a music video too.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Ally: We really want our music to be extremely successful and just us keep growing as a group. But one of the things that we really want is to gain the respect from other artists because we’re working really hard and of course we want to prove ourselves.

Because you shot to fame through X Factor, do you feel like you have to work harder to prove yourself in the industry?

Normani: It’s perceived that it kind of just happened overnight but that’s exactly the opposite because there is a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that a lot of people don’t see. But we’ve been through a lot within these two to three years.
Camila: I think there’s definitely some sceptics that will think that we’re just kind of completely puppeteered and that we just kind of go along with everything with a label or whoever the powers that be tell us to do, but we’re really loud in our opinions. I think for a girl group that came off of a show and was completely manufactured, we have a really good sense of who we are as a group and we have a really good sense of identity, which I think is really cool.


WE WENT TO Champagne Room, The Winery, Surry Hills.

WE ATE Sausage roll with veal and chorizo; cured meats with cornichons, toasted ciabatta; school prawns with old bay spice, aioli and lime; season beets, goat’s curd, red kale, sunflower, sorrel.

WE DRANK Strawberry Fizz mocktails.