HOW I MAKE IT WORK...
THE 55-YEAR-OLD TELEVISION AND RADIO PRESENTER IS DESCRIBED BY FRIENDS AND FAMILY AS BEING QUEEN OF THE DAGS. HERE, SHE TALKS ABOUT EMBRACING THE TITLE AND SUCCEEDING ON TV AS A “NORMAL” PERSON
TV star Amanda Keller on the joys of being a dag.
Itake being called a dag as a compliment. I mean, I don’t have much option but to take it that way. I’ve never hidden my roots. I grew up in Sydney’s Beecroft in the ’70s and I remember being intimidated that everyone else seemed more worldly than me. If you went through my wardrobe now, you’d still find a lot of daggy stuff. I’m wearing my Ugg boots as we speak…
I wonder if I started out in television now, would I actually be on camera? I was at the tail end of “normal” people being on TV. After that you had to be an Olympian or a model to get on a lifestyle show. When I stepped in front of the camera for the first time on Ray Martin’s Midday show, I was completely ungroomed. I was probably naive not to feel pressure to look a certain way. When I got my role on [science program] Beyond 2000, they said they liked everything except my hair and clothes. I thought, “Well, that’s pretty much it.”
I’m more socially confident now than when I was younger. But I still have times, like the night before the Logies each year, where I have social anxiety. It’s taken me a while to get a handle on that. I do find it easier now, but that has only come with age and having the confidence to step up and accept that you have to walk into a room and hold your own. It’s best not to dwell on the worst thing that can happen at an awards ceremony, as it’s probably happened to somebody. I don’t get wound up about holding my stomach in or how my hair looks. At some point, I just thought, “Stuff it, this will do.”
Part of my strength and my weakness is that I’m not given to self-analysis. I try not to get sucked into other people’s views of me, as one negative comment outweighs 1000 nice ones, and I’d rather separate myself from judgement either way. The biggest compliment I get is when someone says, “I feel like you’re my friend.” I live a very ordinary life and commonality is what people respond to.
The Living Room is in its sixth season and I’m proud to be a 55-year-old woman on TV. To be this age and busier than I’ve ever been in my career is extraordinary. When I was 20, I thought someone who was 50 would be in a brunch coat with an egg stain down the front, doing the ironing and living like a shut-in. Luckily, you can’t see the egg stain on the front of my shirt today.