COVER STORY:

En­ter­tain­ment cor­re­spon­dent Richard Reid par­layed his unique qual­i­ties and in­ter­ests into a ca­reer

Life & Style Weekend - - WELCOME // INSIDE TODAY - Ka­rina East­way Ka­rina.East­way@sc­news.com.au

IT’S no won­der Richard Reid is loved Aus­tralia wide.

The ir­re­press­ible en­ter­tain­ment cor­re­spon­dent, who is one de­gree of sep­a­ra­tion from any A-list Hol­ly­wood celebrity you choose to men­tion, is de­light­fully charm­ing as he talks via the phone from Syd­ney. He’s chatty, just as you’d ex­pect, and high-en­ergy. But he’s also openly re­flec­tive, sur­pris­ingly down to earth and keeps a wicked sense of hu­mour close by at all times.

When he in­quires as to which tele­vi­sion soaps I watch and I con­fess to it be­ing none, he feigns hor­ror.

“Oh you poor thing,” he gasps.

“How did you get stuck in­ter­view­ing me?”

It ap­pears Richard knows no way of be­ing other than en­thu­si­as­tic, pos­i­tive and funny. He says de­spite the fact he some­times wants to be taken se­ri­ously, peo­ple just find what he says, or per­haps how he says it (with an­i­ma­tion, af­fec­ta­tion, Amer­i­can ac­cent and all), to be hu­mor­ous.

“I love that, be­cause there’s so many Deb­bie down­ers and neg­a­tiv­ity in this world. I think if we could all just have a laugh and not take our­selves so se­ri­ously, that’s the way to be,” he says.

Richard is vis­it­ing the Sun­shine Coast this week­end as part of The Sunny Coast Club – the Daily’s cor­po­rate en­gage­ment pro­gram that pro­vides net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties while rais­ing funds for lo­cal char­i­ties, com­mu­nity groups and not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions.

While he ad­mits to only hav­ing been to the Sun­shine Coast once be­fore (as in­ter­na­tional style guru for Nine Network’s Do­mes­tic Blitz), he re­mem­bers it fondly.

“We did a story up there and I just re­call it be­ing so pic­turesque and beau­ti­ful,” he says.

“It’s go­ing to be re­ally fun, I’m look­ing for­ward to it for sure.” Cur­rently spend­ing more time in Aus­tralia than Los An­ge­les – “which I adore!” – Richard is a reg­u­lar pan­el­list on Stu­dio 10 and says he some­times pinches him­self to be work­ing with le­gends of the broad­cast in­dus­try such as Ita But­trose, Denise Drys­dale and Jes­sica Rowe.

The irony that he’s be­come one of Aus­tralia’s most sought-after per­son­al­i­ties after spilling the beans on

Hol­ly­wood’s elite isn’t lost on him.

“Ab­so­lutely! You know, I had a hard time wrap­ping my head around the fact that any­one would con­sider me to be a celebrity at all,” he says.

“But then I re­ally thought about it and if you fig­ure celebri­ties are known be­cause they’re good at some­thing – and I tend to be very good at talk­ing to peo­ple and mak­ing peo­ple feel happy and com­fort­able – it’s a great rea­son to have peo­ple know who you are.”

Richard says he was raised in very hum­ble be­gin­nings in the small town of Salem, Ore­gon, and used to dream of some­day talk­ing to big celebri­ties. In pre-teen years, while his peers were play­ing base­ball or foot­ball, he was read­ing gos­sip mag­a­zines, which he de­scribes as hav­ing been his es­cape.

“For me to have ac­tu­ally achieved those goals, to me, it’s mind-bog­gling. Don’t be afraid to dream big in this life be­cause you can ac­tu­ally achieve what you want.”

In the early days as an en­ter­tain­ment re­porter, Richard looked to Amer­i­can broad­cast jour­nal­ist Bar­bara Wal­ters for in­spi­ra­tion, ask­ing him­self in any given sit­u­a­tion, “What would Bar­bara Wal­ters do?”

But nowa­days he be­lieves look­ing to other peo­ple rather than just be­ing your­self is a sure-fire recipe for fail­ure.

“You have to be 100% au­then­tic in this busi­ness and that’s how you suc­ceed,” Richard says.

“If you’re not a lit­tle bit crazy in this world or, you know, march to a dif­fer­ent drum­mer, there’s no point. You have to play up to your strengths and if that’s be­ing a lit­tle bit crazy, then heh, play it up!”

Richard is the first to ad­mit most celebri­ties have a lit­tle bit of that in them.

His most awk­ward celebrity mo­ment? Be­ing caught star­ing at Mariah Carey’s chest.

“She looks at me and goes, ‘Hey, my eyes are up here!’ I said, ‘Oh I’m so sorry’ and she says, ‘Don’t worry, I’m used to it, they’re pretty great aren’t they?’ ”

Who would he still love to meet?

Jack Ni­chol­son, be­cause he doesn’t talk to any­body and doesn’t do in­ter­views. And Sofia Vergara.

“She’s so suc­cess­ful for just be­ing her­self,” he says.

“I would love to meet her – and she’s easy on the eye too.” At which point I re­mind him he could have an­other Mariah Carey-sized is­sue to deal with.

His next Hol­ly­wood celebrity break-up pre­dic­tion?

“I don’t think you need to be a brain sur­geon to see that Jen­nifer Lopez and Alex Ro­driguez, her cur­rent squeeze, they’re just hav­ing a good time but they won’t go the dis­tance,” he says.

“I would also keep an eye on Kim (Kar­dashian) and Kanye (West). Just sayin’.”

In the age of so­cial me­dia, I’m cu­ri­ous as to how Richard stays on top of Tin­sel Town’s go­ings-on.

He ad­mits so­cial me­dia has made it more dif­fi­cult to get the scoop on celebri­ties who self-pub­lish what they want you to know. But, as Richard points out, it’s what they don’t want us to know that makes for the in­ter­est­ing tit­bits.

Richard says he still tack­les his job the same way he al­ways

I had a hard time wrap­ping my head around the fact that any­one would con­sider me to be a celebrity at all.

If you’re not a lit­tle bit crazy in this world or, you know, march to a dif­fer­ent drum­mer, there’s no point.

has – he picks up the phone, calls his pa­parazzi friends and movie-stu­dio con­nec­tions or pub­li­cists and does his home­work.

The man who holds a de­gree in film and theatre lit­er­a­ture from New York City’s Hunter Col­lege of Arts and Sci­ences (grad­u­at­ing with hon­ours) has a few sur­prises on the hori­zon as well.

“I’m in Syd­ney right now work­ing with a friend of mine so that’s very ex­cit­ing,” he says.

“It’s early days but I’m de­vel­op­ing a pod­cast about Aus­tralian su­per­stars.

“And I’m just start­ing to work on a script for a TV pilot – it’s go­ing to be a com­edy.”

Well of course it is. And although I prob­a­bly won’t be tak­ing up day­time soaps any time soon, I as­sure Richard I’ll be watch­ing – and most def­i­nitely laugh­ing.

If you’d like more de­tails on The Sunny Coast Club mem­ber­ship, phone the Sun­shine Coast Daily on 07 5430 1032.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Richard Reid is bring­ing his funny, af­fa­ble, in­fec­tious per­son­al­ity to the Sun­shine Coast this week­end.

PHOTO: FACE­BOOK

Richard poses with me­dia per­son­al­ity Jo Casa­mento at an event in Syd­ney.

PHOTO: TREVOR VEALE

Richard was a hit at the C.ex Club in Coffs Har­bour in Fe­bru­ary this year.

PHOTO: TREVOR VEALE

The en­ter­tain­ment re­porter held a cap­tive au­di­ence at the Har­bour Club event in Coffs Har­bour.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

A-LIST AS­PI­RA­TIONS: Richard Reid has al­ways known the en­ter­tain­ment world was his call­ing. Richard Reid will visit the Sun­shine Coast this week­end as part of The Sunny Coast Club, a cor­po­rate net­work­ing and fundrais­ing pro­gram.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Richard be­lieves pos­i­tiv­ity and laugh­ter is vi­tal in this world.

PHOTO: TONY MARTIN

Richard speaks on stage at the Mackay Club.

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