Becoming a big fish
Once told by a boss she’d never make it in TV, Sarah Harris is proving the naysayers wrong, writes SHANNON MOLLOY
SHE’S one of TV’s rising stars, but not long ago Sarah Harris was told she didn’t have what it took to be a presenter.
That crushing assessment threw the now- 33- year- old newshound into a spiral of self- doubt.
Fast- forward a few years and Harris is the popular co- host of
Studio 10 and is about to step up as the face of new reality series Shark Tank, which puts inventors in front of potential investors.
“A few years back, I was told I didn’t have a future in presenting and that I should focus on something else,” she said.
“My confi dence really took a knock. In TV, you have to back yourself. After that, I didn’t. That caused more people to lose faith in me and so the cycle went on and on.”
Harris moved from Brisbane to Sydney in 2008 as the Today show’s national reporter, later anchoring Nine’s midmorning news bulletin.
That crippling doubt came as she struggled with the death of her father.
“Moving cities is tough enough. I left my home. It was a big new job and a massive challenge. Then I lost my father, which really threw me,” she said. “I was in this massive funk that lasted a couple of years. I no longer believed in myself.”
For years, Harris held on to her dream of being a foreign correspondent for Nine.
“I had my heart absolutely set on it. I was always in the mix but got turned down again and again,” she said. “Sometimes it takes not getting what you want to get what you need.
“All of a sudden, I realised there were all these other opportunities in front of me.”
Harris jumped ship to Ten to help launch Studio 10 alongside Jessica Rowe, Ita Buttrose and Joe Hildebrand. “When the time is right, you leap,” she said.
As the wife of a small- business owner, Harris was drawn to Shark
Tank’s self- starter philosophy – giving
ordinary, hardworking people the chance to live their dreams. “Similarly, the Sharks have each come from nothing, chased their dreams. I’m not rich and I’m certainly not an inventor, but I can sort of relate,” she said.
Harris was raised by a single mum who worked several jobs to make ends meet. She wanted a vastly diff erent life for herself, so she went and got it.
“I was in grade 12 and wanted to do work experience at Channel Seven, but we lived an hour from the studio,” she said. “I worked after school at McDonald’s to give Mum petrol money to drive me. That’s what you do. You juggle, make sacrifi ces and put your head down. When you start to have a few wins, they’re all the sweeter.”