Twitter kept at arm’s length
Project Runway host Megan Gale has found the main rule for avoiding social media’s dark side is to handle it with care, writes Daniel Hoy
‘‘Thanks everyone for your well wishes. My wife and I are having another child. It’s due around Easter. Too early to call it Jesus?’’ @FitzySA AKA radio host Ryan Fitzgerald reveals an unexpected potential second coming.
ON face value, Twitter seems a great way for celebrities to connect with their fans. But as the Charlotte Dawson online storm proved, it can have a downside, allowing people to abuse, bully and harass others using a keyboard as a weapon.
Project Runway host Megan Gale says she learnt her lesson early on.
‘‘ Sometimes it is not always fans that follow you. Sometimes it’s people following you because they can’t stand you, and are fascinated by their dislike of you,’’ she says.
‘‘ I think you have to be very careful how you execute any comments because with text or email or anything in written form, you can’t really gauge the emotion or the tone that is behind it.
‘‘ You can read it in a multitude of ways, so you have to be careful. It leaves you a bit vulnerable and a bit open.’’
Gale admits she’s had to force herself not to hit back.
‘‘ I have at times wanted to tweet something and I’ve had to stop myself, breathe and go ‘ It’s not worth it; it’s not worth the potential backlash’. It takes a lot more strength to rise above it.’’
Gale isn’t trying to play the victim here — she’s a big girl and can handle all the good and bad that being in the public eye throws at her. But try to see things from her perspective: think back to the last time you went through a relationship break-up and ask yourself how you’d react if a stranger shoved a camera in your face and tried to take your photo.
It’s fair to say that Gale went through just such an
You have to be careful. It leaves you a bit vulnerable
experience during her breakup with comedian Andy Lee.
‘‘ I’ve had times when I have gone through a really upsetting, public break-up and you’ve got paps following you, out the front of your house, and it’s the last thing you need because you are already feeling very vulnerable,’’ she says.
Gale is speaking with Switched On on the eve of the season four launch of Project Runway Australia. She’s not only the host but also the executive producer of the show in which 12 of the country’s up-and-coming designers stitch and bitch their way through a series of challenges. Alex Perry returns to mentor the contestants, and the judges who decide who’s in and who’s out are the designer and entrepreneur Peter Morrissey, fashion consultant Claudia Navone and Gale herself.
The local version of the show has proved popular, drawing half again as many viewers as US episodes, and the first show of last season became Arena’s highest-rating series launch yet. Much of the appeal of season three was Gale, returning to television after previous stints on Getaway, What A Year, Bodyworks and red carpet duties at the Logies.
Given she’s consciously put herself in a prominent public position some would argue Gale (and others like her) can hardly object when the public turn out to be fascinated with her life. But she sees things differently.
‘‘ I know a lot of people are of the view that you chose that job, you chose to have that in your life, and I kind of disagree to a point, because my goal was to be a model initially and then hopefully expand into other areas, which I am lucky to have been able to do,’’ she says. ‘‘ But I didn’t expect to become famous. It just happened because of choices I’ve made in my career; it is not something that I expected or chased.’’
Gale says fame was a big adjustment.
‘‘ No one gives you a manual to teach you how to deal with it emotionally and you just learn as you go.’’
While she’s grown to accept the attention as part of the job, she fires up when it’s her loved ones caught in the crossfire.
‘‘ When it starts to affect the other people in my life, who have not done anything or chosen a job that has this attention, that’s when I get a bit protective or weary of it,’’ she says. Project Runway Australia, Arena Monday, 8.30pm DOUBLE DENIM Was a trend not too long ago, and if done the right way it can look pretty cool. Done the wrong way it can go rather pear-shaped, and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen denim on denim on denim done really well. HIGH PANTS Women can at times wear a high-waisted pant, and it can look cool and sexy, but on a guy high-waisted is a no. There is a grey area with guys in terms of waistband placement and it can either be too high or way too low. LADY JEANS That is a specific type of jean too. I remember one episode of the show where a couple of contestants have a go at making jeans and Alex Perry comes in as a mentor and says, ’’If you are going to do jeans they need to be current, on trend and cool. These look like they are jeans that yourmummakes.’’ THONGSANDSOCKS The only time you can wear thongs and socks is if you’re 75-plus. You have earned the right to say, ‘‘I’ll do what I want.’’
Megan Gale has learned to accept that she’ll be the object of attention.