SAM’S FIGHT­ING BACK Sun­rise star Sa­man­tha Army­tage talks can­didly about life, love and her crit­ics.

The ‘Sun­rise’ star is set­ting the record straight about be­ing ‘ high-main­te­nance,’ her love life and why she won’t be body-shamed into di­et­ing

WHO - - Contents - Pho­tographed for WHO by PETER BREW-BE­VAN

Pre­sent­ing Sun­rise is one of TV’S tough­est gigs. Be­sides the ob­vi­ous down­sides—the early starts, the com­pet­i­tive nature of morn­ing tele­vi­sion, the need to know some­thing about pretty much ev­ery­thing—break­fast-tv stars come un­der in­tense scru­tiny from the me­dia and pub­lic alike.

Sa­man­tha Army­tage, 41, knows that bet­ter than most. In her five years co-host­ing Chan­nel Seven’s flag­ship break­fast show, she has be­come one of Aus­tralia’s most talked about peo­ple. From what she says on-air to what she looks like in her time off, seem­ingly no topic is off-lim­its.

While Army­tage is first to ac­knowl­edge that be­ing in the pub­lic eye comes at a price, she’s not about to put up with it, es­pe­cially when what is writ­ten about her isn’t al­ways true. “I have had years of false re­ports around me,” she tells WHO. “And I am fed up with them. Now I take them on.”

In our candid in­ter­view, Army­tage dis­cusses the sto­ries that frus­trate her, how she deals with life in the spot­light, her at­ti­tude to di­et­ing and ex­er­cise, and the sta­tus of her love life.

How hard is it to cope with false items in the me­dia? One that con­tin­ues to rear its head is that you and your Sun­rise col­league Ed­wina Bartholomew don’t get along ...

When you are in the spot­light, peo­ple are go­ing to make things up about you. It does sur­prise me in this era, where women are get­ting it to­gether and sup­port­ing each other, that still, gos­sip writ­ers want to pit women against each other. They don’t do it to men. I know men in this in­dus­try who have ap­palling fall­ing-outs with other men over pro­fes­sional jeal­ousies. Yet they con­tin­u­ally make stuff up about the women. Most of us women get along re­ally well.

Where do you think all that neg­a­tiv­ity comes from?

I don’t un­der­stand the neg­a­tiv­ity. I un­der­stand mod­ern me­dia and there is a huge cy­cle to fill. And I un­der­stand there are gos­sip writ­ers who have to make things up to fill their pages. It’s a priv­i­lege to be in the me­dia and I think peo­ple who write con­tent should take that a bit more se­ri­ously. You can’t just make stuff up. And I’m not go­ing to put up with it any­more.

What about when it’s the pub­lic them­selves be­ing vi­cious? How do you con­tend with in­ter­net trolls and the like?

How I get through it is I turn my so­cial me­dia off and I ig­nore it. I talk to a lot of young girls at schools about

em­pow­er­ment and my No. 1 thing to them is don’t lis­ten to so­cial me­dia, shut it down, block the id­iots, so I had to take a note out of my own book on that one. But it’s good any­way for your men­tal health to take a break, other­wise it can get you down.

Do you feel more able to take things like this in your stride now you’re in your 40s?

Oh my God, yeah. I am so much braver now than I used to be. I was raised by coun­try par­ents who used to say, “You have got to rise above it if some­body is be­ing aw­ful.” So I did rise above a lot of things. And then I got to an age and stage where I thought, “Hang on. You have got to fight for your­self!” And I have. I have never had to act like a man to do that. And I re­ally pride my­self on re­tain­ing my au­then­tic­ity and keep­ing my fem­i­nin­ity in a world that has been very mas­cu­line and ag­gres­sive.

Have you ever ques­tioned your de­ci­sion to be so vis­i­ble and so pub­lic?

Oc­ca­sion­ally, I will think: “Is it worth it?” I look around the me­dia and think, “Who else gets the at­ten­tion I get and is ba­si­cally just a journo?” It is a bit un­usual. I have ques­tioned the job and my ca­reer choice. I never set out to do this job. It all kind of hap­pened, and it’s been a great ride. It’s an in­cred­i­ble job. I am not go­ing any­where right now, but I don’t want to do it for­ever. The hours are a grind and the at­ten­tion is still, some days, dif­fi­cult.

Do you think part of the in­trigue is be­cause peo­ple can see them­selves in you?

I am not sure what the in­trigue is. My girl­friends from school who have known me since I was 13 say, “Sam, we can’t work it out. You’re not that in­ter­est­ing.” And I am like, “I know! I’m not!” Maybe it’s be­cause I am an average girl. What you see is what you get. Maybe that con­nects with peo­ple.

You look fan­tas­tic in our photo shoot. Are you in the best shape of your life?

I have prob­a­bly been in bet­ter shape, to be hon­est. Like a lot of other women, my weight goes up and down de­pend­ing on my tired­ness level. In April, we spent two weeks in a ho­tel on the Gold Coast do­ing the Com­mon­wealth Games. Any­one who trav­els for work will tell you liv­ing out of a ho­tel is not con­ducive to weight loss. There are times where I think, “I could just sleep for a month and eat sal­ads,” and it prob­a­bly wouldn’t be a bad idea at the mo­ment. But I know how to hide it.

Are you try­ing to lose weight?

No, I am not try­ing to lose weight at all.

Are you an 80/20 kind of per­son?

I come and go. I try to be good dur­ing the week. It’s a lot sim­pler—i go to bed early, ex­er­cise most days and eat well most of the time. I have to—i just feel bet­ter if I do. [On the week­end] I eat well, I love a glass of wine, I still have fun.

You don’t find you eat more be­cause you are up so early?

I am ac­tu­ally quite dis­ci­plined as far as that goes. I have bad days, too. I am pretty rou­tine as far as what time we do break­fast here. For my dog, Banjo, 3.30 in the morn­ing is like a party. He lies on the floor of the bath­room while I have a shower, then he has his break­fast—he’s on my sched­ule, ’cause you have to be in my house. Then, I have an early lunch and early din­ner. I don’t drink dur­ing the week. I have dis­cov­ered Up­cy­cle, which is like Spin.

At a gym?

No, I hate gyms. It’s at a cy­cle stu­dio and it has a re­ally good en­ergy. I do a cou­ple of those a week be­cause I feel like I need to do a bit of car­dio. I like to spend time out­side be­cause we spend a lot of time in the stu­dio, so my af­ter­noons are spent out­side walk­ing the dog or catch­ing up with friends, but no gym— I can’t stand the gym.

Banjo must be great for get­ting you out and about ...

He’s great fun and keeps me mo­ti­vated for get­ting out. Don’t tell the pa­parazzi, but I’ve man­aged to find a whole lot of places in the East­ern Sub­urbs where they haven’t found me so I can swim in peace with Banjo!

Do you ever con­sider hav­ing a child or start­ing a fam­ily?

No, it’s not some­thing I think about.

What about ro­mance—are you see­ing any­one?

If I was, you would be the first to know. I re­ally don’t talk about that stuff, but I am fine and life is good. There are good things hap­pen­ing … I don’t talk about any­one be­fore I’m 100 per cent sure, be­cause you have got to keep some things pri­vate. I give a lot of my­self for four hours a day, so there has to be some stuff you keep pri­vate.

“I re­ally pride my­self on re­tain­ing my au­then­tic­ity and keep­ing my fem­i­nin­ity”

“I never would have thought in a mil­lion years that this is where I’d be,” Army­tage says of her job on Sun­rise. “This is the ul­ti­mate job for a woman in TV right now.”

“Eddy and I get on very well—we al­ways have,” Army­tage says of Ed­wina Bartholomew. “I have sup­ported her a lot, as has she to me.” In her down­time, Army­tage ex­er­cises her Labrador: “Banjo has be­come the best lit­tle poser. He is now used to be­ing fol­lowed down the road and pho­tographed while try­ing to do a poo.” “I used to hate do­ing photo shoots be­cause I was so bad at it,” Army­tage ad­mits. “I’m still not great at it, but I sort of re­lax into shoots now, be­cause it’s just dress-ups.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.