Sun­rise: Look on the bright­side

Sun­rise co-host Sa­man­tha Army­tage wants us to fo­cus less on fear and more on the lighter things in life, writes HOLLY BYRNES

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS -

AND now for some good news – Sa­man­tha Army­tage is the hap­pi­est she’s been in her life­time.

That’s no shame­less boast or cue to strike up the march­ing band, but at a time when the world has seemed just one hor­ror head­line after an­other – and some of them per­sonal at­tacks on the Sun­rise co-host – the break­fast TV pre­sen­ter and the show she’s helmed for four years are now de­ter­mined to cel­e­brate the good stuff, the joy, the sim­ple plea­sures.

After months of re­port­ing what has seemed to be un­re­lent­ing acts of ter­ror – from the Manch­ester con­cert bomb­ings to the Lon­don Bridge and Bor­ough Mar­ket at­tacks – shift­ing the mood from fear to the feel-good is both a pub­lic ser­vice by the show and a relief for the me­dia cov­er­ing it.

“I think as a com­mu­nity, ev­ery­body has got to the point where it’s like, ‘God, ev­ery­thing is so neg­a­tive’ ... so let’s look for the good in things,” Army­tage says.

View­ers have re­sponded pos­i­tively to the show’s pledge to bring more lev­ity and light in such a dark, heavy news age.

“Sun­rise is well known for its light and shade and we do cover some won­der­ful, in­spir­ing sto­ries and we just wanted to bring those to the fore a bit and not make it all about the hor­ror,” Army­tage says.

It has seen Army­tage and her co-host David Koch shake off the stu­dio shack­les and get out to tell the sto­ries of lo­cal he­roes or peo­ple who might just need a pick-me-up.

For the 41-year-old, who has been the un­for­tu­nate tar­get of in­va­sive pa­parazzi – from drones be­ing flown over her Syd­ney home to that “granny pants” scan­dal – the Sun­rise cam­paign is in par­al­lel with her own ef­forts to find a bet­ter bal­ance be­tween her work and per­sonal life.

She ad­mits the job, while still one she loves, has proved quite iso­lat­ing – both be­cause of the an­ti­so­cial hours she works and the neg­a­tive at­ten­tion be­ing a na­tional TV fig­ure has brought. “Look, I didn’t [cope] for years and had a tough time of it. Then some­thing came over me this year par­tic­u­larly, where I just went ... I sat my­self down and my self-talk is quite strong,” she says, “and I was like, ‘Enough! This is my life now and you’ve only got one and you need to en­joy it. Work with it, rather than against it.”

“You need to count who is on your team, who your friends are and who loves you and just stick with that. I can’t tell you why, be­cause I don’t know, but it just hap­pened that way and I haven’t looked back.

“It’s been an awak­en­ing at the ripe old age of 41,” she laughs.

A cheeky labrador called Banjo has been a ma­jor part of Army­tage “get­ting happy” and “a real re­minder that life is not all work”, she says.

“It’s nice to come home to some warmth in the house, so that’s been ter­rific and I’ve got my­self a lit­tle place in the coun­try [in the NSW south­ern high­lands], which for a long time I said I would do and I just love that. I do lots of gar­den­ing, I do lots of read­ing and just pot­ter­ing about and I could not be hap­pier.”

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