Gi­aan hits play dirt

Gi­aan Rooney trades swim­ming for dig­ging in her new show Bat­tle­fronts, writes Siob­han Duck

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Your Say -

GI­AAN Rooney re­fused to let a lit­tle thing like a brown thumb stop her from host­ing a gar­den makeover show.

Af­ter cut­ting her teeth in TV as a con­tes­tant on Danc­ing on Ice, a fillin weather pre­sen­ter on To­day and guest re­porter on Get­away, the for­mer swim­mer is ex­cited to fi­nally be host­ing her own se­ries.

As with Jo­hanna Griggs be­fore her, Rooney hopes to forge a suc­cess­ful post-swim­ming ca­reer in tele­vi­sion, and be­lieves she’s found the right fit in Bat­tle­fronts.

The new Chan­nel 9 se­ries gives two teams $10,000 and eight hours to re­design neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties’ gar­dens.

Rooney ad­mits she is a ter­ri­ble gar­dener, but says she’s learned a lot dur­ing the three-month shoot.

‘‘I’m ter­ri­ble — I have a brown thumb,’’ she says with a laugh.

‘‘The only green­ery in my gar­den are the plants that grow over the neigh­bour’s fence. I’ve been learn­ing a lot as we go along.’’

De­spite her lack of tech­ni­cal abil­ity, Rooney hasn’t hes­i­tated to be part of the makeover process.

‘‘Eight hours goes re­ally quickly and we are of­ten work­ing right down to the fi­nal line,’’ she says.

‘‘Every­one gets stuck in to get it all done in time. I’m not go­ing to swan around and be a diva, I like to get my hands dirty. I think I’ve dug more holes in the past three months than I have ever done in my life.’’

Rooney is elated and daunted at the prospect of fronting her first se­ries.

‘‘I’ve been re­ally for­tu­nate that Nine has given me so many op­por­tu­ni­ties to try dif­fer­ent gen­res,’’ she says.

‘‘I’ve loved do­ing it ( Bat­tle­fronts) and it’s been re­ally chal­leng­ing.

‘‘But I’m not an ac­tor, I’m just be­ing me and I know there’s go­ing to be peo­ple out there that don’t ap­pre­ci­ate me or are in­ter­ested in what I do, and you can­not af­ford to take it per­son­ally.

‘‘If some­thing is go­ing to work, it’s go­ing to work and if it’s not, it’s not.’’

Rooney says, be­fore be­com­ing a com­pet­i­tive swim­mer, she flirted with the idea of be­ing a jour­nal­ist.

But with swim­ming tak­ing up so much of her time and en­ergy for so many years, Rooney says all other as­pi­ra­tions fell by the way­side un­til her re­tire­ment in 2006.

‘‘I would strug­gle a lit­tle bit do­ing news or A Cur­rent Af­fair re­port­ing be­cause I’m a nat­u­rally pos­i­tive per­son,’’ she says.

‘‘This sort of light-hearted pro­gram suits my per­son­al­ity more.’’

Though there is al­ready no short­age of life­style and home makeover shows on tele­vi­sion, Rooney says peo­ple’s ap­petite for the genre re­mains strong.

‘‘It’s a feel­good show,’’ she says.

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