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In­ter­view by MEG MA­SON

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Front Page - Game Of Games pre­mieres 7.30pm, Sun­day Oc­to­ber 7, on Net­work Ten. For more on Ash’s med­i­ta­tion classes, visit kn­drdmed­i­ta­tion.com.

s a stu­dent of com­mu­ni­ca­tions in Mel­bourne, Ash Lon­don didn’t take the ra­dio sub­jects. “I just thought, ‘ Yep, that’s not for me…’ and now here I am,” laughs the 32-year-old who helms her own na­tional ra­dio show, Ash Lon­don Live, and has just made a high-pro­file break­fast ra­dio de­but. Lon­don be­gan her ca­reer on TV, win­ning a tal­ent-search com­pe­ti­tion for a host­ing gig on The Loop, be­fore grad­u­at­ing to host of the Top 40. What­ever the medium, mu­sic was al­ways her pas­sion, sus­tain­ing her through dif­fi­cult teenage years and, as she tells Stel­lar with sig­na­ture can­dour, a ful­lon 2017. But that has noth­ing on 2018: not only has Lon­don re­cently got­ten mar­ried and opened a med­i­ta­tion stu­dio, she’s also fill­ing in for Em Rus­ciano on Syd­ney break­fast ra­dio and will soon co-host Net­work Ten’s new show Game Of Games with Grant Denyer. You’ve made a ca­reer out of your love of mu­sic. Where did the pas­sion come from? I spent my for­ma­tive years in the Philip­pines, where there wasn’t a huge ex­pat com­mu­nity, so I watched a lot of ca­ble tele­vi­sion. MTV was my best friend; from 11,

I knew that’s what I wanted to do. When I was 16, my fa­ther passed away and we moved back to Aus­tralia, and I still had my mu­sic.i was lis­ten­ing to Sil­ver­chair’s Dio­rama the week he died and when­ever I hear that al­bum, I’m right back there. Mu­sic has been a con­stant in my life. Last year, on ra­dio, you made a pass­ing ref­er­ence to Louis Tom­lin­son’s fa­cial hair – de­scrib­ing it as “ratty” – and re­ceived death threats from mil­i­tant 1D fans. What is it like be­ing in the cen­tre of a so­cial-me­dia mael­strom? To be­gin with it seemed ridicu­lous but then it be­came so real and I re­alised, this is ac­tu­ally re­ally se­ri­ous. It was one of the hard­est weeks of my life. As per­form­ers we want peo­ple to like us, but we’re def­i­nitely putting our­selves on the line every day for peo­ple to judge and that was the first time things were be­ing said about me I knew weren’t true. Some were empty threats, but that was when I learnt what proper anx­i­ety and panic felt like. I shut down re­ally quickly, went off so­cial, and tried not to re­play it over and over in my mind. It’s not the real world, but we all know the in­ter­net brings out the worst in us. The anonymity lets us say things we would never say to any­one’s face. It was re­ally hor­ri­ble and I wouldn’t put it on any­one, but it was also a re­ally good les­son for me. Since then, you’ve be­come ac­tive in men­tal-health aware­ness, hav­ing first­hand ex­pe­ri­ence of anx­i­ety. Is it some­thing you’d strug­gled with all your life? No way, that’s the weird thing, I was never an anx­ious per­son. But that was a re­ally big year; I moved cities, bought a house, trav­elled con­stantly, and even though they were all won­der­ful things, it was a lot of change and it led to me not feel­ing like I had the same amount of con­trol I was used to. I had al­ways been re­ally aware of men­tal health, but I couldn’t stop beat­ing my­self up over it, feel­ing like I was be­ing so stupid, but when I stopped do­ing the things I en­joyed, that’s when I re­alised it was rob­bing me of the joy of life and I needed to ad­dress it. With so much on, how do you find time to fit it all in? I love to nap. Even in the of­fice, it’s like, “Oh, Ash is hav­ing her 4pm.” I refuse to feel bad about it. The best per­former I can be is a happy, rested, joy­ful per­former. But it’s not all per­fec­tion. I’m def­i­nitely not the queen of get­ting it right, but I’m mak­ing an ef­fort. If you can be on In­sta­gram for two hours, you can find 10 min­utes to breathe, med­i­tate, write in a jour­nal. In the mid­dle of it all, you got mar­ried to Adrian Brine in May. Where do you meet any­body when you work ra­dio hours? Through work! We saw each other at an event and it was like a movie. It was re­ally lame and now we’re that gross cou­ple who are so in love. Our friends are like, “Here we go…” but what­ever! The world needs more peo­ple who are in love with each other. You’ve al­ready started a busi­ness to­gether, a med­i­ta­tion space in down­town Mel­bourne. What’s it like work­ing side by side? We’re to­tally yin and yang. He’s the doer, so he’ll be on his hands and knees fill­ing holes in the floor or haul­ing plants up­stairs, and I’m the cre­ative thinker who has long lunches and does the so­cial me­dia. Mean­while, you’re also co-host­ing the new Game Of Games with Grant Denyer. Grant is an ab­so­lute leg­end and this show was a dirty, messy, glo­ri­ous ex­pe­ri­ence. I’m Grant’s side­kick, so he does all the heavy lift­ing and I get to do all the fun stuff – like danc­ing with au­di­ence mem­bers and throw­ing gi­ant lubed-up fit balls at peo­ple. How do you prep for this kind of role? I watched a lot of Ellen De­generes’s ver­sion on Youtube. I’m now also very good at fit­ting har­nesses and safety gog­gles, which might come in handy in the fu­ture. You seem un­usu­ally wise at 32. What do you put that down to? Los­ing my dad at a young age forced me to make a de­ci­sion early on. Was I go­ing to let it de­fine me as a vic­tim, or fuel me to have the best pos­si­ble life I could? My mum raised me to be­lieve that I could do any­thing. And I guess I’ve done a lot of hard work. I saw a psy­chol­o­gist for the bet­ter part of my 20s, sur­rounded my­self with good peo­ple who call me up on my bullsh*t. I’ve read a lot… and I lis­ten to what­ever Oprah says.

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