Axle’s brat days
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.’’