THE NAKED TRUTH
Emerging after her public marriage split, Nadia Bartel bares all for charity, writes
NADIA Bartel was seven months pregnant with her second child and hobbling through her third trimester on crotches when her agent pitched an unlikely job offer – nuding up (well almost) on national TV.
A nerve condition affecting one side of Bartel’s body, triggered by a bulging disc in her back, meant walking was a struggle – let alone stripping off and dancing with abandon before a live theatre audience of 2000 strangers.
But after staring down her own breast cancer scare in her early 20s, the 34-year-old fashion designer and lifestyle blogger would eventually throw herself into Seven’s The All New Monty: Ladies’ Night Home
Just as she did then, the devoted mum remains committed to protecting her children and has made little comment, besides a telling statement to the Herald Sun which read: “Although I’m heartbroken, I don’t want to comment specifically on what’s been reported about Jim’s trip to the UK as I don’t think that is in anyone’s interests. My single focus now is to continue to protect, care and provide for my two beautiful boys as this is a personal matter.”
While she could be forgiven for wanting to avoid any media exposure whatsoever, Bartel spoke exclusively to Watch about her deep and personal connection to the cause and the confidence boost she gained from baring almost all on Ladies’ Night.
It was the death of her mother’s aunt, Maria Angela Curro, back in 1971 which first devastated her family and inspired Bartel; before her own scare would “terrify” her into regular self-checks and mammograms.
“I was 20 or 21 and it was quite a big lump,” Bartel recalls.
“I just thought it was nothing initially because I was so young but then I showed mum and she was a worried because of the family history.”
A biopsy “came back quite inconclusive and they just weren’t sure so I had to go into surgery and have the lump removed. I’ve still got a 3cm scar under my nipple because it was so big,” she explains.
While that lump proved benign, the experience encouraged Bartel to work with breast cancer charity Pink Hope and sign on for tonight’s Seven special as an example for other mums who might not prioritise their own health.
“I always want to instill in my boys that it’s good to work and it’s good to challenge yourself and I want them to be proud of me,” she says.
She says her own self-esteem was boosted by the experience as she overcame her back problems to shake her booty.
“I had physio and saw an osteo leading up to me doing the show, so it was amazing I could stand in heels, let alone dance without feeling any nerve pain,” she says.
“It was a good feeling.”
Not plagued by the same body insecurities of some new mums, Bartel instead found a welcome sisterhood with the other celebrities, who have proven a great comfort and support since her split.
“We’ve got a big group WhatsApp message going ... oh my god, it’s so funny. There’s some good stuff that goes on in that chat group, I can tell you,” she teases.
“I did find I had a close bond with Lisa but especially Simone and Ella [Hooper, of Killing Heidi fame]. I’ve seen Simone a few times since but Ella has been touring.
The strip itself was over before Bartel could be paralysed by nerves, but admits her burlesque days are over.
“I’m inspired by it and I love to watch but oh my goodness, no ... I’m not sexy enough. I’m so clumsy and so not sexy,” she protests, with a giggle.
“Some girls like Rachel [Finch] and Casey [Donovan], they’ve just got it but I’ve always been the sporty girl.”
Decked out in sequins and fishnets, with a smile to light up the stage, we think she’s got sexy back ... and how.
Stripped back: Nadia Bartel in Seven’s The All New Monty: Ladies’ Night; below, with sons Aston and Henley.