Home truths

In­side Amanda Keller’s own liv­ing room

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

DIS­COV­ER­ING she’d lost a lu­cra­tive pre­sent­ing job by read­ing about it in the pa­per was a char­ac­ter- build­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for Amanda Keller.

The vet­eran tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity learnt that day, more than a decade ago, to never take any­thing for granted in this of­ten mer­ci­less busi­ness.

“You’d think some­one could’ve given me a heads up,” the 53- yearold laughs. “I had to read the pa­per to fi nd out my show Switch­ing Lives had been axed.”

She can laugh now, with a long list of achieve­ments notched up since that crush­ing mo­ment. As well as a top- rat­ing break­fast ra­dio show in Syd­ney, she’s one of four co- hosts on Net­work Ten’s hit lifestyle pro­gram The Liv­ing Room, along­side vet­eri­nar­ian Dr Chris Brown, builder ex­traor­di­naire Barry Du Bois and hy­per­ac­tive celebrity chef Miguel Maestre.

“This job is easy, be­cause it’s four friends en­joy­ing them­selves and hav­ing a laugh,” Keller says.

The laws of prob­a­bil­ity should mean at least one of “the four ami­gos” would clash with another in the group. But over the past few years Keller and the boys have only grown closer, she says.

“This ta­ble was de­signed by Barry, scrib­bled on the back of a nap­kin,” Keller smiles, run­ning her hand over the ce­ment- top struc­ture on the deck of her home in Syd­ney’s east.

“Miguel has been right here with his fam­ily, mak­ing a gi­ant paella on this very ta­ble.

“And Chris was over that day, play­ing with my sheep dog Min­nie.”

Keller’s home is a shrine to quirky and eclec­tic. Ev­ery cor­ner and avail­able sur­face is adorned with a trin­ket that she and hus­band Har­ley have col­lected over the years.

Her favourite keep­sake is a dis­played box of Far­rah Fawcett doll heads from the 1970s.

“Some­times I feel a bit over­whelmed by all my stuff ,” Keller ad­mits.

“If I stay in a ho­tel, I’ll come back and just want to get rid of it all. But I couldn’t.

“Ev­ery lit­tle thing has a story or a mem­ory.”

Her child­hood home was vastly diff er­ent. Her fam­ily didn’t have much stuff at all, with the ex­cep­tion of “a few nice things hid­den away in a cab­i­net”.

But that liv­ing room was still the heart of the home, the source of many happy mo­ments with her mum, dad and brother, who rel­ished the chance to make each other laugh. It was an unoffi cial stage, where a young Keller honed her unique brand of hu­mour – one she didn’t re­alise then could take her any­where. “I would’ve never been slated for a job in TV or ra­dio,” she refl ects. “No one would’ve recog­nised that sort of qual­ity be­cause I was quiet and a bit narky, I think.”

But take her places it did. Her road to star­dom be­gan with a TV re­search job, be­fore she made the leap to pre­sent­ing. Count­less small screen and ra­dio gigs fol­lowed.

Now ac­cord­ing to the Encore Score, which ranks Aus­tralian celebri­ties by pop­u­lar­ity, says she’s the eighth most- loved per­son­al­ity in the coun­try – a spot ahead of Ni­cole Kid­man.

“Where’s my Eti­had com­mer­cial?” Keller laughs on hear­ing this. “But wow, that’s quite nice.”

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