Giaan hits play dirt
Giaan Rooney trades swimming for digging in her new show Battlefronts, writes Siobhan Duck
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.