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.”