TV story: Kruger still sparkles.

Ahead of the new sea­son of The Voice, So­nia Kruger re­flects on her stun­ning quar­ter-cen­tury in show busi­ness. By AMELIA SAW

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS -

IT’S been 25 years since So­nia Kruger waltzed her way into our lives, wear­ing a glit­ter­ing Per­spex fruit bra.

And while she hasn’t pulled on that be­daz­zled, ba­nana-adorned bikini since her char­ac­ter Tina Sparkle wore it in Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ball­room, it was a fab­u­lous way to start what has proved a bril­liant ca­reer.

Un­like other home-grown stars, who would pre­fer their first show­biz steps were erased from liv­ing mem­ory, Kruger says she’s proud of her past – par­tic­u­larly be­cause it im­pressed no less than Sir El­ton John.

The Voice host and To­day Ex­tra pre­sen­ter re­calls fly­ing to Lon­don to in­ter­view the Bri­tish pop icon, when small talk be­tween her pro­ducer and the nowknighted su­per­star re­vealed him as a fan. “My pro­ducer said, ‘So­nia was in Strictly

Ball­room, she was Tina Sparkle’. And El­ton John was like, ‘Shut up! That’s what I nick­name my hair­dresser’.”

Mak­ing an im­pres­sion has been a trade­mark of Kruger’s ca­reer – from the out­rage which erupted last year over her re­gret­table call to ban Mus­lim im­mi­gra­tion to Australia; to the novel way she ap­plied for her first job on Won­der

World! (which re­launched Ten’s pop­u­lar Si­mon Townsend se­ries on Nine).

It was 1993 when the Toowoomba-born, 20-some­thing re­sponded to a news­pa­per ad­ver­tise­ment seek­ing a new re­cruit for the chil­dren’s va­ri­ety show. To stand out from the 7000 ap­pli­cants, she cut out let­ters from mag­a­zines and com­piled a “ran­som note”, which read: “We have Tina Sparkle, if you want her, call this num­ber.” And they did.

She fol­lowed Won­der World! with jobs on Seven, work­ing across Sun­rise, 11am and To­day Tonight, where she first worked with her now-part­ner and Seven News boss Craig McPher­son.

The cou­ple started dat­ing in 2008 and wel­comed daugh­ter Mag­gie two years ago. Learn­ing on the job as a ju­nior news and en­ter­tain­ment reporter had its mo­ments, with Kruger con­fess­ing to one blooper which al­most cer­tainly would have gone vi­ral if it aired to­day.

“The hosts crossed to me in what I thought was the com­mer­cial break to check comms [ear piece and mi­cro­phone],” she ex­plains.

“[They said] ‘Hi, are you there? How you go­ing? And I said, ‘Bloody hot’. And they said, ‘Oh … re­ally? Why, what’s hap­pen­ing?’. And I said, ‘Oh, I don’t know. It’s bloody … I’m schvitz­ing out here’.”

Within sec­onds the direc­tor was in her ear, scream­ing: “WE. ARE. LIVE.”

In 2004, she would com­bine her ball­room ex­pe­ri­ence with her first prime-time role, co-host­ing Seven’s live tal­ent se­ries Danc­ing with the Stars.

Switch­ing chan­nels back to Nine in 2012, she showed off her pol­ished in­stincts for live TV and com­edy as the host of Big Brother, while build­ing an easy rap­port with David Camp­bell on Morn­ings (later re­branded as To­day Ex­tra).

She is soon to re­turn to prime-time as an­chor of sea­son six of The Voice, work­ing along­side this year’s stel­lar line-up of coaches in­clud­ing Delta Goodrem, Seal, Kelly Row­land and Boy Ge­orge.

Prov­ing there’s still plenty of Tina Sparkle in Kruger’s wardrobe choices, she says her flam­boy­ant style re­cently caught the eye of Cul­ture Club singer Boy Ge­orge. In a good way – at least, she thinks so.

“He said to me the other night, ‘Can I com­pli­ment you on your [bright yel­low] dress?,’ she says. “And I said, ‘Sure’. Then he went, ‘Be­cause it’s a com­mit­ment … isn’t it?’.”


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