Love, So­phie

So­phie Monk is ready to go off-script to host Love Is­land, writes Holly Byrnes

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Front Page -

So­phie Monk on heartbreak, her sin­gle life and who’s hot on Nine's Love Is­land

SO­PHIE Monk can do sexy, just don’t ask her to read a teleprompt­er.

The host of 9Go!’s siz­zling new re­al­ity dat­ing show Love

Is­land knows her lim­i­ta­tions and that in­cludes do­ing any­thing on TV that re­quires a de­gree of se­ri­ous­ness, or read­ing skills. But that’s OK, she tells TV

Guide – it’s what got her this gig. “They wanted some­one who wasn’t so straighty-180 ... it’s not like I’m go­ing to do the news, or what­ever,” she ex­plains.

“Imag­ine me do­ing that ... I would screw it up. I can’t read a teleprompt­er. I’m lucky I don’t have to do it, ’ cos I can’t. They have to write things out for me al­pha­net­i­cally [sic] ... is that how you say it?” the for­mer Bach­e­lorette asks, hys­ter­i­cally prov­ing her point.

Laugh­ing at her­self, she ad­mits: “I’m ter­ri­ble! They asked me to do this role, I can’t tell you what one, be­cause they gave the guy his job back. They go, ‘ You’ve got the role, you’re gonna host’ and so I went in to read for them. And you know when you can feel all their hearts break? The room just went quiet and I went, ‘Awww crap ...’ and they went, ‘ Ac­tu­ally, we’ve had a change of plans’ and got the guy back. I was like, ‘ F---, I can’t read a teleprompt­er’. For some rea­son, you pre-record me and I’ll stuff it up. Go live and I’m good to go,” she says con­fi­dently.

Good thing for all in­volved then that for the next six weeks of this raunchy show, the self­ef­fac­ing 38-year- old will be al­most en­tirely off- script and throw­ing her­self into the ac­tion.

Think Big Brother “for just hot peo­ple” is how Monk de­scribes the se­ries, which ini­tially sends 10 sin­gles into a pur­pose-built lux­ury villa, in Mal­lorca, Spain; hope­ful they’ll cou­ple up, be­fore oth­ers are sent in as temp­ta­tion.

The for­mat is a mon­ster hit in the UK, which – like the Aussie ver­sion – fea­tures Ir­ish ra­dio DJ Eoghan McDer­mott as the cheeky nar­ra­tor who keeps view­ers upto- date with who’s hook­ing up, who’s mis­be­hav­ing and what the cam­eras have caught in be­tween episodes.

Monk will play an ac­tive role, spend­ing some time in­ter­act­ing with the con­tes­tants in­side the villa, in­clud­ing coun­selling them through their re­al­ity ro­mances.

After her own search for love ended in dis­ap­point­ment – split­ting from Syd­ney pub­li­can Stu Laundy three months after they were matched on air – Monk says she’s bet­ter at dish­ing out re­la­tion­ship ad­vice than tak­ing it her­self.

“Noth­ing can ex­plain what it’s like in that en­vi­ron­ment be­cause you’re just so vul­ner­a­ble,” she says. “You’ve got to be hon­est and hope peo­ple like you as you.”

For that rea­son, her Chan­nel 10 ex­pe­ri­ence wasn’t a to­tal loss – re­vi­tal­is­ing Monk’s me­dia stocks after the pub­lic warmed to her raw hon­esty and softer side.

She ad­mits it’s not how she thought it would go: “I was re­ally sur­prised ... I thought it was go­ing to back­fire.”

Watch­ing the launch episode from the safe dis­tance of a ho­tel in Thai­land, she thought, “‘Oh no, ev­ery­one’s go­ing to hate me’, and when there was so much sup­port, I thought, ‘God, Aussies are good.’ They like hon­esty ... we can see through bull­shit.”

Her bold sense of hu­mour has long been worn as ar­mour, so drop­ping that guard in her own search for love forced her “to be strong,” she says.

“I’m not con­fronta­tional, but I had to be on that show. It taught me that you’re bet­ter off call­ing stuff out early and not be­ing walked over, in­stead of it be­ing a big mis­take in the end,” she of­fers.

“I’ve learnt now to say it in the mo­ment. You’re mov­ing so fast on those shows, you have to be hon­est and ask for what you want.”

Time at home with her fam­ily on the Gold Coast has helped heal her bro­ken heart, es­pe­cially around her No.1 guy – dad An­drew.

“It’s been the best. I keep think­ing, ‘ Do I look like a loser, hang­ing out with Dad?’ but he’s my best friend. He’s so funny, pas­sion­ate, in­tel­li­gent ... he’s just a leg­end. It’s so ground­ing.”

If there’s one thing she’s most look­ing for­ward to about Love

Is­land, she says, it’s get­ting her gear off in the Span­ish sun. “When I was film­ing

Bach­e­lorette, it was mi­nus two de­grees. I was bloody freez­ing ev­ery day. I’d ask to wear a jacket or a sweater and they’d say ‘no’. All I have to do is have fun, en­joy it and care about them ... which is easy be­cause that’s my na­ture any­way.”



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