Where Are All The Fat People on TV?

Stealing our characters and making them thin isn’t cute.

Pokémon Go Is Not The End Of Society As We Know It

You don’t have to like it, but there is something you do need to do…

How Netflix Is Destroying The Art Of Theatre And Community

Is it time we put down the remote and picked up some tickets?

A Day In The Life Of… Carissa Walford

Ever wanted to step into somebody else’s shoes for the day and see what life is like as a magazine editor, a professional sportsperson or corporate high-flyer..? Well, SHESAID is giving you the closest thing to your very own Freaky Friday experience with our A Day In The Life Of… series.

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Tell us a bit about what you do?

I write produce and present music/fashion/pop culture segments on channel V Australia. I’m also a host on Channel 10’s Movie Juice.

Give us a snapshot of your career journey. Did you always want to be where you are now?

My background is in performing arts as a trained singer, dancer and actress. I have wanted to be in the entertainment industry since I was 4 years old. My dad is a singer so I grew up around music. I went to NIDA and completed a 1-year acting course and 1-year presenting course, which helped me get to where I am today.

Where do you find your inspiration? Who has had the most impact on you and your career?

I think music is in my blood and I’ve always looked up to my dad in that department so I would say he’s had the most impact. My parents were very encouraging to follow my dreams and I never had a plan B – I just went for it.

What has been the highlight of your career so far? Is there a moment or person that has resonated with you?

I have to say meeting some of my favourite musicians and actors on a daily basis is a dream come true. Achieving great interviews by really connecting and getting a story out of people is very motivating. Most recently I interviewed Cara Delevingne. That has been my highlight this year as we connected and could have spoken for hours.

Inspirational Women, A Day In The Life Of, Television, TV Presenter, Career Development, Music, Fashion

Your workdays are much more exciting than the average 9 to 5. What does a day for you involve?

6:30am: I wake up early and eat breakfast- I never leave the house without eating…

7am: I spend an hour or so getting ready and then I play with my dog Romeo before leaving the house.

10am: On a shoot day it can get pretty hectic – I’m writing, learning scripts and interviewing artists so I’m very focused as things move and change very quickly and you need to be able to adapt. Fast!

3pm: In terms of outfits I do all my own styling and I really enjoy putting looks together. My audience loves to know my outfit choices for the shows, so I post Instagram photos after shooting to show the brands I like to wear.

6pm: I love ending the day with a hip hop dance class [if I’m not too tired] or just going home to relax, maybe a bit of meditation or a hot bath. Its important for me to chill out as I’m ‘on’ 24/7 and it can be draining.

Inspirational Women, Television, A Day In The Life Of, Music, Fashion, TV Presenter

What are your goals for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I have learnt that the world changes quickly, so as long as I’m happy that’s all that matters. Its cliché but I’ve realised it’s the simple things in life that are pretty special. Ill always be doing what I love and what I’m passionate about – that’s all I know.

What advice would you give to someone following the same path as you?

Have patience and learn from your mistakes – they make you stronger, wiser and prepare you for your next project.

Interview: Love Child Creator, Sarah Lambert

Fans of the Australian hit show, Love Child, are in for a treat aligning with the DVD release of season two. SHESAID had the wonderful opportunity to chat with creator and producer, Sarah Lambert, about main themes of the series, how becoming a mother changed her perception of the world and some of her favourite characters from the show.

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What was the initial inspiration behind Love Child?

People often ask where the idea for Love Child came from. If it came from a personal experience or something in my family. And the answer is yes, it does feel personal to me and I guess what drove me is Love Child is the kind of series I’ve always wanted to see on our screens. I’ve always felt the lack of female driven stories. Stories that looked at our history as women. Stories that illuminated our experiences as girls, sisters, mothers, aunts, friends, lovers, leaders, fighters…

I remember in terms of television the impact the miniseries Brides of Christ had on me as a teenager. Set in the 1960s, it told the story of a group of nuns in a fictitious inner city convent school in Sydney. Great writing and great female driven stories. And later films like Girl Interrupted– a film with Winona Ryder and a young Angelina Jolie about a girl entering a mental institution after suffering a breakdown in the 60s made a big impression. 

Going inside these hidden, secretive places, watching the unlikely friendships that happen when girls from all backgrounds are brought together, shining a light on female friendships and different roles that we play over our lifetimes has always drawn me in as a viewer and a reader.

There’s another common denominator with those pieces is the 60s.  I’ve always had a fascination for the period. Maybe because my elder brother and sister, fifteen years my senior, went through their teens in the 60s and early 70s. They’d regale my brother and I with stories of the Yellow house up in the Cross, parties and rallies.

It was the era that saw the birth of the civil rights movement, the rise of feminism – the amazing shifts in music, fashion and culture. Everything was being challenged and reinvented. In a world which is increasingly more conservative and rule bound, I guess part of me wanted to make a show about the 60s that would remind us all the revolution is sexy.  To fight for what you believe in and fight for the rights of people, for peace, for the environment for those worse off than ourselves…

Beyond that the story of Love Child comes from something more profound. A moment from my childhood that had haunted me and that made me aware of a secret history of women in this country that was never discussed. 

Interview: Love Child Creator Sarah Lambert

One Christmas when I was about eleven, we were at a close family friend’s house and there was a knock at the door. I opened it to find a woman in her late 20s outside. She introduced herself as the women we were staying with’s daughter, given up at birth. She’d been looking for her for years and finally tracked her down.

I’ll never forget my mother’s friend’s face. She went so pale. Her knees gave out from under her and she collapsed. No one, not her children or my mother or any of her friends knew anything about this lost daughter she’d had at 16. Sent away from Brisbane to Sydney to an unwed mother’s home in Darlinghurst – all alone at the most vulnerable moment in your life. 

Their reunion was troubled and hard. So many incriminations, so much guilt and shame. Over the months that followed, I found out little snippets about what happened to her at the Unwed Mother’s Home and at the hospital. And it was a story that was repeated to me again when I started researching Love Child. It was harrowing to say the least. I was utterly horrified and scared by the stories. My mother said it was just what happened back then if you got yourself into trouble. Even at 11 I knew it was something that shouldn’t be talked about. It was too painful, too dangerous somehow.

So after that year, we never talked about it anymore. So cut to thirty years later when I read about the NSW inquiry into forced adoptions I was deeply interested. The report that came out from that inquiry was a staggering reading: 250,000 women had gone through this system from the late 50s to the early 80s. The experience of our family friend was replicated over and over on its pages. I knew then I wanted to tell this story.

How would you describe the second season for our readers?

The second season sees the original girls who were brought together at Stanton House, a home for Unwed mothers, finally all have their babies and have to deal with life after Stanton House. Can they go back to their old lives after everything they’ve been through? Or has the experience changed them forever? 

It’s about finding chosen family – the sisterhood of these women bonded through such extremity and loss. It’s about all the characters forging new futures as they step into the 1970s when Australia was a cultural cross roads. The series also follows Joan’s new role as a resident at Kings Cross hospital facing the hurdles of being the only female resident in a very male dominated medical establishment.

The series explores the rise of feminism and the civil rights movement in Australia. Is this a topic you personally feel passionate about?

I do feel passionate about feminism and civil rights. It’s part of my attraction to the era of the late 60s and early 70s. You only have to look at the issues facing women in particular back in the late 60s and see how far we’ve come, and how much we take for granted as modern women.

You could only get the pill if you were married. There was no sex education to speak of.  You were still expected to leave your job when you got hitched. Having a real career was challenging to say the least. Getting a loan from a bank as a single woman was impossible. Equal rights and pay were just slogans (still are really!) and single parents were pariahs who had no support. We’ve come a long way but there’s still a way to go.

Interview: Love Child Creator Sarah Lambert

Even in my lifetime so much has changed in society. My family split up when I was about four and my mother became a single mother of four children, moving back to Australia from the Phillipines. I remember her feeling very ashamed about leaving our Dad and how hard that was for even when it was the right thing to do. The only thing to do. We rented in house in Balmain and started again. It was the early 70s and I watched her struggle and ultimately forge a future for us.

She went back to school to get an education – thanks to Gough Whitlam – and went on to have an amazing career. It was an exciting and complicated time and we were exposed to lots of different ideas, people from all different walks of life. There were always political discussions going on and varied people coming together around the dinner table. 

Watching her fight the battles she did for us and our future made me very aware of how incredibly lucky I was to born in an era where I could get an education, learn about my body, have choices about my reproductive future and plan to have a career in any field I could imagine. So much that we take for granted now was forged by ordinary women challenging the system and just going about trying to have a life. And that fight for basic rights and equality for all people goes on and we all need to be part of that struggle.

If you had to pick just one, who would be your favourite character and why?

That’s impossible question. It’s like picking a favourite out of your kids.  I think each of the characters is unique and flawed. They are all people I can relate to even when they do crazy things. Maybe especially when they do crazy things. You create these characters then the actors make them live and breathe. I feel so blessed to have the cast we have as they’ve brought such unique qualities to each role. It’s amazing to see these characters growing and changing over each season.

Interview: Love Child Creator Sarah Lambert

Congratulations on the birth of your second child! How has being a mum of two changed your perception of life?

I think having children changes you in so many ways. I love spending time with them and find them so fascinating. Tom was a huge surprise. After I had Tilly I was told the chances of us ever conceiving again were less than 4 per cent. I had accepted that we would have one child and had moved on. So getting pregnant while doing Love Child was not on the agenda. He really is a miracle baby. I love watching them both grow up. All the different stages, seeing who they are as they emerge into the world.

It’s so precious and I feel so lucky to have been able to have children at my age that it really makes me question every job I take as to whether it’s worth spending time away from them. I feel like this time is so precious that my work has to really mean something. It has to be something I can believe in and feel passionate about. Something that I can show my kids and feel proud to have been part of. 

So having children has changed how I approach everything. It’s given me a work test, I guess. If a project is going to take me away from these little beings I adore, I want it to be working with people I like, who inspire me; creating work that stretches me to be the best I can be and is work that has a truth and authenticity. Beyond that I think being a mother you get to play again – and that is a lot of fun. There’s a lot of daggy dancing and singing that goes on in our house and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Interview: Love Child Creator Sarah Lambert

Love Child Season 2, $39.95

The Reality Star Rich list

The world is firmly divided when the term ‘reality star’ is considered.

Take someone such as Joey Essex, one of the seemingly endless line of ‘stars’ in the TOWIE line-up. For every viewer who sees him as a loveable if simple rogue who has somehow muddled his way into our homes, there’s another person who regards him as an absolute numbskull who should be banished from our lives forever, or alternatively someone far smarter than his on-screen persona suggests who has cynically peddled an image for financial gain.

The term reality star is a mixed bag of admiration and contempt, and even a definition of the term is up for debate. Some have clawed their way into stardom through talent (Susan Boyle, Paul Potts), others appear to have found the magic elixir that allows them to convince people to vote for them more for their personality than any genuine talent.

For better or worse, the UK public is renowned for taking certain celebrities to their hearts. We love a rags to riches tale of an ‘Ordinary Joe’ being plucked from relative obscurity and catapulted to stardom.

The cult of the celebrity is nothing new, and many of us want to follow in the footsteps of reality stars by hitting the jackpot and experiencing our own overnight success story. It’s the reason hundreds of thousands of us audition for shows like the X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, and it’s why so many of us are pulled in by the likes of Mecca Bingo, who offer the possibility of fortunes at a cost of just a few pounds up front.

In making a list of the top earners, we should ask if there is a cut-off point in terms of time. For example, would the average fan consider Joe Pasquale, Lenny Henry or Jim Davidson reality TV stars? Almost certainly not, but the trio are among many who made their names in programs such as Opportunity Knocks – the 20th century version of Britain’s Got Talent. At a push we could even include Donald Trump, Alan Sugar and Ozzy Osbourne as reality stars, and if so they would stroll into the upper echelons of this list. But since their wealth was already in place before the cameras ever started we’ll take reality TV star to mean someone whose career has grown after an appearance, not before.

The term itself is a misnomer, as many of them are a) not stars and b) representations of a lifestyle that is anything but reality. Does anyone seriously consider the life of Kim Kardashian to be realistic? Whatever, the generously-derriered (insert job title here) has amassed a fortune of nearly £40m through her various business interests and media work, and is regarded as the richest reality TV star in a recent list compiled by the Sun on Sunday.

Next up in the rich list is Paris Hilton, who, similarly to Mr Trump, got hold of her money (or her family’s money) in hospitality before the cameras ever gazed upon her petite form. Known for carrying dogs the size of hamsters in her handbag and a love of all things cute, Hilton is worth approximately £35m in her own right, before we delve into the family coffers.

The third name on the list is perhaps the most heart-warming, but is he a reality TV star? Levi Roots was a breath of fresh Caribbean air when he strolled into the Dragons’ Den in 2007 touting his Reggae Reggae Sauce. Since then, his career has blossomed from a tasty little idea into a £30m empire. Some would argue that a 15 minute TV appearance eight years ago, with no hint of a dreadful follow-up stint in Big Brother or X-Factor, does not constitute a reality TV star. Not everything is rosy in the Roots regime according to the Daily Mail, but his bank manager is probably not that bothered.

The remainder of the top 10 list is built of names such as Boyle, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, One Direction and Leona Lewis. Gareth Gates is still estimated to be worth £6.7m, while hairdresser Shaun Pulfrey’s idea for the Tangle Teezer hair implement was rejected by the entrepreneurs of Dragon’s Den but makes the list at 21 – he told the Guardian that refusing to give up was the key to his success.

But there may be some names missing from across the Atlantic. For example, did you know that NeNe Leakes is apparently paid $1m per season for her appearances in Real Housewives of Atlanta, and that Teresa Giudice makes $650,000 for the New Jersey equivalent? They’re just two of many ‘stars’ who have seemingly fluked their way into a program but pushed their cause to the max, forcing the notoriously fickle world of US TV producing to keep them on.

Another is Terry Fator, who might at least raise eyebrows if he walked down the average British high street with his puppet ‘co-stars’, unlike Leakes and Giudice. Fator’s is another story of rags to incredible riches. In May 2007, the Dallas native performed his ventriloquism show in front of one boy at a country fair. In August that year, he’d won America’s Got Talent. Fast forward seven years, throw in a $100m contract to perform in Las Vegas, a model girlfriend and a spot as the second highest earning comedian in the world and it’s been some journey, as told by Celebrity Net Worth.

We mentioned Trump, Sugar and others whose fame was already established before reality TV burst onto our screens in a big way in the early noughties. But there is one man who was barely known before the start of the 21st century, yet his profile has exploded in the intervening years without ever so much as singing a note.

Simon Cowell is the undisputed king of reality TV. Pop Idol, X Factor, American Idol and Britain’s Got Talent have overshadowed other lamentable efforts, such as Red or Black. And there are plenty of other shows with his influence, such as Food Glorious Food and the recent Bradley Walsh vehicle Keep It In The Family. He’s even got links to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Worth at least $650m, Cowell is a mainstay of all sides of the reality TV package of creator, consumer and celebrity.

The nature of reality TV is such that some of these names will be gone in a decade. Many will have gone in five years, or even 12 months. Maybe a star from China or India will top the rankings.

By then, TV reality as we know it will have significantly shifted, perhaps online. But you can bet that some people will know how to play the system – and others will be confined to the dustbin of viewing history.

Are You The Next ‘Real Housewife’?

Rumours are rife that The Real Housewives of Melbourne is looking for another cast member to join the ranks. With the first season wrapping up last week, talk of season two has started with speculation that the ‘reality’ series is set to return with a new line-up. It is unclear whether any of the socialites have been sacked or thrown in  the towel, but it has been confirmed that producers are hunting for new rich blood.

Gina Liano, 47, was a real polarising factor of the series. Often being the outcast and on the defensive, Gina (who is actually a barrister) copped a barrage from Janet Roach, 55, Lydia Schiavello, 45, and Andrea Moss, 45. Jackie Gillies, 33, (married to silverchair drummer, Ben Gillies) and Chyka Keenbaugh, 44, cemented their spots on the fence and have proved to become two of the most popular housewives.

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