Kind­ness in show’s wake

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Ali­son Bald­ing

LIFE af­ter Strug­gle Street has proven sur­pris­ingly pos­i­tive for Chris Wal­lace, whose new-found celebrity sta­tus has led to him be­ing given a car and find­ing love with a fan.

The SBS doc­u­men­tary fol­lowed Mr Wal­lace as he started a new job at the Pen­rith Pan­thers Club as a cleaner – where he is proud to say he still works – and delved into the tense re­la­tion­ships he shares with his mother and her twin sis­ter.

The 22-year-old is the first to ad­mit he was cho­sen to be the show’s pos­i­tive story.

“They said they were look­ing for peo­ple go­ing through hard­ship to show how they strug­gle to get through and make a dif­fer­ence,” Mr Wal­lace said.

“That’s pretty much how it worked out for me but I know it wasn’t the same for oth­ers on the show – I know they showed things of the oth­ers they said wouldn’t be shown, just as they didn’t show some of the re­ally silly things I did on cam­era.”

Mr Wal­lace said the show un­nec­es­sar­ily dis­played his aunt Michelle in a bad light by show­ing her “blow up” over the $2.15 he spent of her money on cor­dial.

“They took that out of con­text, yes, it was $2.15 but that was from the last $70, be­sides rent, she was go­ing to have for eight weeks,” Mr Wal­lace said. “They fol­lowed my aunty for a lot longer than they fol­lowed me, they even filmed her go­ing to work but none of that got shown.”

Over­all, Mr Wal­lace said he was grate­ful for the sup­port many had shown him since the show.

“One guy called me up and said I could have his Toy­ota Corolla. It’s now sit­ting in my drive­way and I just got my Ls. And I’ve had so many job of­fers from peo­ple who saw the show,” he said.

The show even led to him meet- ing his girl­friend. “She started out as a fan and asked me, through my cousin, if I’d like to grab a cof­fee,” Mr Wal­lace said. “Cof­fee turned into din­ner, then din­ner turned into a movie and now that’s it.”

Mr Wal­lace said he still couch-hopped be­tween the homes of his mother, aunt and cousin.

Af­ter be­ing made a ward of the state at age 5, he was sent to live with his grand­mother, away from his mother but near his fa­ther, in the ru­ral town of Yenda, which is near Grif­fith.

“My mum was just a voice on the other end of the phone ev­ery six months,” Mr Wal­lace said.

“But when I turned 18 and I was shown her file, I could un­der­stand why she wasn’t able to be a mum to me at the time. I wanted to come back here so I could get to know her and we get along re­ally well now.”

Mr Wal­lace said he was very an­gry for a long time about his sit­u­a­tion but cred­its men­tors such as Bid­will Unit­ing Church com­mu­nity min­is­ter John Dacey for help­ing him over­come his de­mons. Mr Dacey said he was dis­ap­pointed

Strug­gle Street was not ex­actly what he had been told it would be. But he hoped the sto­ries it told would be looked at with com­pas­sion.

“Chris could’ve easily fallen into the sce­nario where he just didn’t have work. He could’ve given up quite easily but he didn’t,” Mr Dacey said.

I know they showed things of the oth­ers they said wouldn’t be shown, just as they didn’t show some of the re­ally silly things I did on cam­era.

– CHRIS WAL­LACE

Pic­ture: MATT SUL­LI­VAN

Chris Wal­lace has had a pos­i­tive re­ac­tion af­ter

Strug­gle Street and (inset) with his fam­ily on the show.

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