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
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.”