Fields of dreams

Help­ing farm­ers meet their match has be­come a labour of love, writes Dianne But­ler

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Gaming -

HEN we first started I did not think I’d be get­ting wed­ding in­vi­ta­tions in the mail and there’d be farmer ba­bies,’’ Natalie Gru­zlewski is say­ing.

It’s deep into sea­son eight of The Farmer Wants a Wife and she’s talk­ing about a se­ries she has an en­dur­ing ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship with, one that be­gan dur­ing a se­vere drought and some­how sur­vived. Sur­vived and flour­ished, and went on to be­come the most fer­tile of all Farmer fran­chises in the world.

‘‘ And there’s love in this se­ries, too,’’ Gru­zlewski says, ‘‘ Not in­fat­u­a­tions; there’s the real deal. I know what’s hap­pened be­hind the scenes and who’s still to­gether and it’s look­ing re­ally promis­ing. I think one of our big­gest love sto­ries has come out of this se­ries.’’

She’s more than qual­i­fied to make this state­ment. And not just be­cause she’s been host since it be­gan in 2007.

Gru­zlewski is like a Farm­er­sa­vant when it comes to reel­ing off facts about this show. ‘‘ I know them (stats). There are five ba­bies,’’ she says in a flash. ‘‘ I re­mem­ber all of them (cou­ples) and I stay in touch with a lot of them as well.’’ You’re jok­ing. ‘‘ No.’’

How in touch? ‘‘ With Rob and Jo, they text me all the time, give me a call and send through im­ages of their lit­tle girl. I spoke to Damien from Tas­ma­nia a lit­tle while back. Chris and Kim from se­ries one, Devon and Kev . . . all of them, re­ally.’’

Has she been to any of the wed­dings? ‘‘ I have. Nathan

Wand Amanda in Perth and Chris and Kim’s. They’ve since had an­other lit­tle baby.’’

So, clearly, her role goes be­yond host now.

‘‘ I’m def­i­nitely like their mate,’’ she says. ‘‘ They see me as a bit of a men­tor. I’ve been in­volved from the very be­gin­ning, so we form a good friend­ship. I just of­fer them ad­vice where pos­si­ble. I don’t even know if I of­fer them the right ad­vice half the time.’’ She says the guys go to her be­hind the scenes a lot.

‘‘ Ab­so­lutely. It’s over­whelm­ing, es­pe­cially the first day with all the speed dates,’’ she says. ‘‘ It’s ex­cit­ing and they are ex­cep­tion­ally brave for be­ing part of the show.’’

They’re gen­uine guys, there for the right rea­sons

She has a lot of the­o­ries about why the show works (‘‘Love is some­thing we can all re­late to. It’s feel-good tele­vi­sion, it’s ther­apy. What you see is what you get’’) and for some­one work­ing on a dat­ing show and in tele­vi­sion, she is re­mark­ably un­cyn­i­cal about the process.

‘‘ There’s cer­tainly a few girls who’ve shown up for their five min­utes of fame but they don’t last,’’ she says. ‘‘ And I think a lot of the girls who end up on the farm are quite im­pressed with them­selves at how ca­pa­ble they are. They’re gen­uine guys, there for the right rea­sons, not play­ing games, in­vested in find­ing a wife. This is a huge op­por­tu­nity.’’

Gru­zlewski, in her mid-30s and with a 13-year ca­reer in tele­vi­sion, has been pub­licly linked to only two men — her for­mer hus­band, pro-surfer Luke Egan, and her cur­rent part­ner, Gold Coast prop­erty de­vel­oper Jack Ray. She at­tracted un­wel­come pub­lic­ity sev­eral months ago when Ray’s name be­came en­tan­gled with Lara Bin­gle’s, but Gru­zlewski, known for her re­laxed, coy na­ture, has been able to nav­i­gate the choppy wa­ters of a life of celebrity with a steady hand.

‘‘ I just choose to keep my pri­vate life just that, pri­vate, and I don’t think it’s nec­es­sary to share too much of my per­sonal life in pub­lic,’’ she says.

‘‘ There’s a level of in­ter­est be­cause I host a show about ro­mance and I’m com­pletely fine with that. It comes with the ter­ri­tory but there are cer­tain things I like to keep pri­vate.

‘‘ We at­tend pub­lic events all the time. I’ve of­ten spo­ken about the re­la­tion­ship, ev­ery­one knows we’re to­gether. We are fan­tas­tic. Ev­ery­thing’s great.

‘‘ Ques­tions about my per­sonal life . . . I’m ab­so­lutely fine with that. I’d cer­tainly rather fo­cus on the farm­ers’ love life than my own.’’

Maybe you’re just like most of us and your day-to-day life is quite or­di­nary.

‘‘ It’s not overly ex­cit­ing, I can tell you,’’ she says.

But it’s tempt­ing to won­der where Gru­zlewski, a pop­u­lar, tal­ented, beau­ti­ful TV pre­sen­ter, might be if she’d per­haps played the game a bit harder.

‘‘ I’m re­ally happy. Nine has pre­sented me with plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties over the years. I’m fil­ing life­style sto­ries for news, my weather re­ports for Na­tional Nine News in Sydney.

‘‘ I’m still on the road with Get­away and Farmer so I’m kept quite busy and I’m lov­ing where I am right now. I’m very for­tu­nate to be part of a suc­cess­ful show, not only in terms of the rat­ings and the longevity of it but also the love for it and the wed­dings, ba­bies.’’ The Farmer Wants a Wife, Wed­nes­day, Chan­nel 9,8pm

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.