TAK­ING

THE REINS

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Front Page - I you

mma Freed­man’s alarm goes off early – 4.15am kind of early. She does her makeup in pre­cisely eight min­utes, throws her hair into a pony­tail and makes a ther­mos of tea to take to the of­fice, which she reaches at 5am. An hour later, she’s live on the radio, pro­vid­ing a perky foil for Gus Wor­land, Matty Johns and Chris Page on Triple M’s break­fast show The Grill Team. “I like to go in with a bit of a face on; it’s a pro­fes­sional thing, to make sure I’m well put-to­gether,” Freed­man tells Stel­lar from the Syd­ney home she shares with new hus­band Char­lie Run­dle.

It’s not hard to see where her work ethic – and those early starts – orig­i­nated. She’s from rac­ing roy­alty; her fa­ther is Lee Freed­man, the Mel­bourne Cup-win­ning trainer, and she comes from a long line of pow­er­houses within the equestrian world. “I am a hard worker. My dad was up at 3.30am, 4am to train horses,” she says. “And I don’t re­mem­ber my mum ever stop­ping. I’ve al­ways been a fairly de­ter­mined young lady, as my dad would put it.”

From the start, Freed­man was set on carv­ing a name for her­self out­side the fam­ily busi­ness, tar­get­ing her laser­like fo­cus on the me­dia. She made her de­but as a weather pre­sen­ter for the Nine Net­work’s To­day show in 2010. Next came her foray into the male­dom­i­nated sports arena – she ap­peared on Wide World Of Sports and is a reg­u­lar on Fox Sports – and then radio, with stints on the Hit Net­work. She’s now been be­hind the mic on Triple M for about two years. “Ini­tially, I would come in and do sports news and seg­ments, and pro­duce a bit as well,” Freed­man says. She’s some­how also found the time to write a com­ing-of-age novel, Turn­ing Pointes, and win a se­ries of Danc­ing With The Stars (in 2015 she be­came the first fe­male celebrity to win since 2007).

per­son­ally,” she says. “I think a lot of peo­ple would take it to heart and it would eat them up for a while – and it did for me. But you’ve got to go, ‘There are big­ger things in the world.’ And take it as a les­son. Take some­thing from it, im­prove on it. At that time in my life, that was hard – but you’ve got to turn it into a pos­i­tive.”

She also faced back­lash last year when she sug­gested, dur­ing a seg­ment with Peter Fitzsi­mons on Nine’s Sports Sun­day, that the vic­tim of a nude photo scan­dal in­volv­ing Rich­mond’s premier­ship team was in part re­spon­si­ble. (“My opin­ion on it, Peter, is don’t take your clothes off, to be hon­est,” she said dur­ing the panel dis­cus­sion.) De­spite a year filled with con­ver­sa­tions around the ways women are of­ten blamed for men’s bad be­hav­iour in Hol­ly­wood and beyond, she stands by her com­ments. “I have no regrets about say­ing it,” Freed­man says. “I was hav­ing an opin­ion.” The fall­out prompted her to tem­po­rar­ily leave Twit­ter, and clearly caused some angst. But she sees the sil­ver lin­ing. “It started a con­ver­sa­tion with par­ents and their kids about that is­sue, and it maybe taught a few young peo­ple that [the] dig­i­tal world is a dan­ger­ous place some­times.”

ince turn­ing 30 in April, Freed­man has been in sel­f­re­flec­tive mode. She cel­e­brated the mile­stone – in true form – at the race­track. “I think I was prob­a­bly ready to turn 30,” Freed­man tells Stel­lar. “Part of the rea­son is I look so young; in a way I wanted to turn 30 be­cause peo­ple still thought I was 22. You’re taken a bit more se­ri­ously when you’re 30.”

The self-con­fessed “over-pre­parer” is com­mit­ted to find­ing time to go eas­ier as she en­ters the next chap­ter of her life. “My 20s prob­a­bly taught me to re­lax a bit more and take the speed down,” she says. “I was a mil­lion miles an hour and… when things were dif­fi­cult, I prob­a­bly stressed my­self out a bit

too much. I think go­ing into my 30s, my out­look on life will be more re­laxed and tak­ing time to smell the roses.”

By her side will be fi­nance worker Run­dle, whom she mar­ried in June. Mar­ried life, Freed­man jokes, is “ex­actly the same” as be­fore he put a ring on it. “There’s def­i­nitely an el­e­ment of com­fort know­ing we have made a big prom­ise to each other. We’re re­ally ex­cited for the fu­ture,” Freed­man says. “But in terms of home life, we’ve lived to­gether for like three years, there are no sur­prises. I know he leaves his dirty socks at the end of the bed.”

Ba­bies are on the hori­zon. “I don’t think we’ll wait very long to try,” she says. “There’s no rush, but why wait? We want kids. This time is re­ally pre­cious, it’s fun and ex­cit­ing, and if kids come with that soon-ish, that’s amaz­ing. We don’t mind.”

Their wed­ding fea­tured a nod to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s royal nup­tials, with a smaller ver­sion of the cou­ple’s flo­ral arch around the church door fea­tur­ing at their re­cep­tion venue. Freed­man now pre­dicts the roy­als – specif­i­cally, the trend­set­ting Duchess of Sus­sex – will be a huge source of out­fit inspiration for the up­com­ing spring rac­ing sea­son, which is Freed­man’s favourite time of the year.

“Those clean lines, that navy three-quar­ter sleeve [dress] with a navy hat. I think peo­ple will take the sim­plic­ity from that,” she says. “Amal Clooney’s [royal wed­ding] out­fit, that yel­low mus­tard colour – I think there’ll be stacks of that. In terms of where you can wear a hat – Caulfield, Flem­ing­ton, Rose­hill, Rand­wick – you dress up, you frock up, but other than that, there’s not many places you can do it if you’re not go­ing to a royal wed­ding.”

She’s an am­bas­sador for Lexus, which hosts an A-list mar­quee at Flem­ing­ton dur­ing the Mel­bourne Cup Car­ni­val (the lux­ury car brand is now the nam­ing rights part­ner of the Mel­bourne Cup). “I’m host­ing clients in the mar­quee, giv­ing tips, mak­ing sure I do the re­search to give the tips. It go­ing to shy away from stand­ing out. “I’m go­ing for hats this year, not small head­pieces,” she says. “After the royal wed­ding there’s a push for big millinery again. The hat the Duchess of Sus­sex has been wear­ing, the tilted side-dish hat, she looked so stylish and chic. I think peo­ple get scared to wear a hat. I’m 5’3. If can wear a big hat, can wear a big hat.”

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