Axle’s brat days

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page - GE­OFF SHEARER

AXLE White­head ad­mits he wasn’t the best-be­haved teenager in school. In fact he was a down­right brat. Sus­pended sev­eral times for sev­eral rea­sons (‘‘I won’t go into the de­tails,’’ he says), he man­aged to get through to year 12 be­fore beginning a ca­reer in mu­sic.

He went to Mel­bourne’s Mu­sic Con­ser­va­to­rium, got his big break in 2003 mak­ing it to the top 20 on the first se­ries of Aus­tralian Idol, then hosted Ten’s mu­sic show Video Hits from 2004-06. His de­but sin­gle I Don’t Do Sur­prises went top 10 last year and he’s now a reg­u­lar cast mem­ber on Seven’s soapie Home And Away.

But those tear­away years as a teenager were all that was re­quired on his cur­ricu­lum vi­tae for his lat­est gig as pre­sen­ter on World’s Strictest Par­ents, which takes off-the-rails Aussie teens and lumps them with over­seas fam­i­lies who thrive on dis­ci­pline.

‘‘I was a bit of a trou­ble­maker at school,’’ says White­head (above), 28, who grew up in ru­ral Vic­to­ria.

‘‘I can re­late to some of th­ese kids’ down­falls and their re­bel­lious ways. But the beauty about this show is by the end, most of the kids you see gain con­fi­dence— not that sort of teen-knowit-all con­fi­dence, but a real con­fi­dence in them­selves and a sense of achieve­ment.’’

Ad­mit­ting that he put his par­ents through their ‘‘fair share of an­guish’’, White­head, who was this year’s Cleo Bach­e­lor of the Year and in­fa­mously ex­posed him­self on stage at the 2006 ARIAs, says one piece of ad­vice that his par­ents gave him stuck. There is no sub­sti­tute for hard work. ‘‘It took a while for me to work that out. I thought hard work meant tough­ing it out and there’s no fun in hard work— but there is,’’ he says. ‘‘I’ve had some lucky breaks for sure, but I have worked bloody hard at it and put a lot of hours in.’’

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