Suzy Cato is a hugger. Does that really surprise you? The apparently ageless children’s broadcaster, famed for series such as Early Bird Show, 3pm, You & Me, Suzy’s World and Sing Something Simple, has been emitting kindness like a signal, through screens and across airwaves, for the better part of three decades.
“For me it’s always been about working with that inner child,” the 50-year-old tells Sunday. “One day I’ll grow up and get a real job, but until then I’m going to have a heck of a lot of fun.”
Her perkiness belies the fact she doesn’t drink coffee. The morning we meet on Auckland’s North Shore, she opts for a hot chocolate. “I was going to have a hot water...” she muses. “You’re so wholesome,” I say. Twinkling, she replies: “It’s too early for wine.”
This year, Cato, mum-of-two and host of early-morning, multi-station radio show Suzy & Friends as well as a YouTube channel, appeared on screens as we’d never seen her before: in skin-tight, backless, spangled ensembles, footloose and fancy-free on Dancing With The Stars. Now, she’s released a song, compiled an album, and has a book in the works, too – all aimed at kids. What is it about the demographic that she’s been passionate about all these years?
“There’s something very special about still seeing through a child’s eyes and providing happiness, and allowing that child to remain a child for as long as possible. We grow up way too quickly,” she says.
“If we can provide joy and an escape from the real world for as long as we can, I’m all for that.”
Far North / Deep South
Sing / Dance
Primary school memories / High school memories
Nineties / Noughties On stage / On set Night in / Night out Jacinda / Winston Coffee / Cocktails
The Totally Awesome Kiwi Kids Album, compiled by Suzy Cato, is out on Friday.