Heading into the town on the ferry for this interview with Samantha Armytage, I get a name from my mum.
“Just don’t make it about her weight,” she suggests, which is humorous as a result of a number of months earlier, when Sam was on the telephone to her mum, Mrs (Elizabeth) Armytage suggested the precise reverse.
So right here we’re, at a restaurant close to the Seven Network’s studios in Sydney’s Martin Place, fortunately discussing Sam’s waistline, a nationwide obsession that the favored breakfast tv host has till now stewed, blued and even sued over.
“Wow. A newspaper bullying a woman about her weight – I thought those days were gone!” she tweeted in 2014, after The Daily Telegraph ran a selection on her vogue mishaps. Then, in fact, there was the time she set her attorneys onto The Daily Mail after their bullying, body-shaming jibe at her “granny panties”.
But as we speak the subject of Sam’s weight is very a lot on the desk (alongside a virtuous pot of peppermint tea) as a result of the Sunrise host is chatting completely to The Weekly about her new position as Australian ambassador for WW, or Weight Watchers, because it was recognized.
Sam, 42, is totally conscious that this surprising partnership may have naysayers accusing her of hypocrisy. Why tackle a task that may assure scrutiny of her weight after years of chastising the media for doing simply that?
“Do you know what? My weight is already scrutinised,” Sam says pragmatically.
“I understand there will be more scrutiny that comes with this … but the paparazzi are always already trying to take pictures of [me] where there is a fat roll showing. My mother said to me, ‘Darling, for Godsake, if they are already sitting outside your house taking pictures of you putting the bins out, why not just talk about it?'”
Sam, in fact, is not the primary star to fly the flag for WW.
But one of many dangers concerned with this form of position is of elevated trolling, the place an ambassador is derided for wanting too skinny as we speak, too fats tomorrow.
“I don’t want to get caught up in silly social media trolling because it’s hateful and in my job I’ve learned to just ignore that crap,” she says.
“This is about living [my] best life and being strong. People know inside whether they feel good or not. Losing a few kilos is part of that – and it’s only part of it. I’ve gone back to the gym, I’ve got a trainer, I box twice a week, I walk the dog every day. I don’t think that’s giving in to body shamers. This is about me feeling good and going into this next phase of my life, my forties, feeling strong and having energy.”
It’s an advanced time to be within the weight-loss recreation. People do not eating regimen anymore – they eat clear, cleanse, go vegan or gluten-free, do a juice quick, an F45 class or they begin following an Instagram wellness warrior like Kayla Itsines. It’s not cool to aspire to thinness; you are purported to wish to be sturdy.
“Healthy is the new skinny,” WW president and CEO Mindy Grossman declared in 2017, as she shifted the corporate’s focus from pure weight-reduction plan to a extra holistic method to wellness.
The transfer resonated with Sam, who prior to now has turned down presents from different weight-loss firms.
“I have said it before and I will say it again: I don’t want to be skinny. I have boobs, I have a bum, I have curves. I like being a woman with a womanly figure, so I don’t want to be skinny-skinny,” she says.
Her shut pal and long-term colleague, Adene Cassidy, agrees.
“Sam’s got one of the best body images of anyone I know. She’s very happy in herself,” she says.
“I have never heard her complain about the way she looks and you can’t say that about a lot of other women. She’s a great role model. I would love my girls to be like that.”
Sam is wanting, because you ask, trim and wholesome, having shed 10kg (and counting) with WW since January.
After years of yo-yoing, she believes the WW SmartPoints system – which assigns factors to meals and drinks based mostly on vitality, sugar, saturated fats and protein content material – presents a practical and sustainable path ahead for these like her who cannot go with out completely.
“I like cheese and biscuits in the afternoon. I like to have a wine. If I deprive myself of those things – I’ve tried before – I end up bingeing and being worse off than I was before,” she admits.
“I’ve never been terribly disciplined with weight loss. Like everyone, you get tired, run down, you go for the carbohydrates, drink too much coffee, too much wine, you put on a few kilos and start to get bogged down. I didn’t want to do that anymore so I made some choices.”
There is an easiness to Sam, little question borne of her heat, nation upbringing, that invitations a commerce in confidences.
After an hour on the cafe we’re chatting like outdated associates – not nearly her weight battles (“I went on the leek soup eating regimen when that French Women Don’t Get Fat ebook got here out and I’ll by no means contact one other leek!”), but additionally about her childhood, her two-year-old pup Banjo, her idols, her Instagram “inspo” and the paparazzi.
Yet even Sam has her limits. She groans audibly once I ask about that different matter of tabloid fascination: her relationship standing. I inform her I’ve it on extraordinarily good authority she is again on with on-off boyfriend Paul O’Brien, the multi-millionaire managing director of plane constitution firm AVMIN.
“Don’t believe the rumours,” she laughs.
“But life is good. I do give of myself a lot through four hours a day of live TV. I’m happy to share my weight journey but feel I should keep some things private.”
Which, it needs to be famous, is not a denial.
Still it should be irritating that her glittering profession success – six years on the helm of the nation’s highest ranking breakfast present – is frequently overshadowed by speak of each her look and her standing as certainly one of Australia’s best-known singletons. Would this be the case if she had been a person?
“Not in the same way. I don’t think people would be as worried if a man was single, but I still think there is a great appetite for personal information,” she says.
She will need to have felt a tiny bit relieved, then, when former rival Karl Stefanovic assumed her mantle as most prized tabloid goal following his divorce and subsequent remarriage?
“No, I hope he is happy – that’s all you want for your friends,” she says.
“He is a good guy. I don’t like it when anyone’s private life becomes tabloid fodder. I don’t think anyone has the person’s best interest at heart – it all just becomes gossip.”
Sam has a famously frosty relationship with the paparazzi and gossip press, which has launched into a type of ‘imply ladies’ marketing campaign towards her, on and off, since 2013, when she first joined David Koch on the well-known Sunrise sofa.
Her weight, her look, each on and off-set, her boyfriends, and hurtful allegations of mistreatment of Seven make-up and wardrobe workers have all been dissected.
Friends and colleagues insist her therapy by the tabloids has been manifestly unfair. Unsurprisingly, she harbours resentment; surprisingly, her emotions seem to have been transmitted to Banjo.
“Banjo is the most shy, coy dog I have ever seen,” she laughs. “He now goes into bushes to do a poo in the park because we are always getting followed by men with cameras.”
Sam purchased Banjo two years in the past as a “deliberate” ploy to convey her life into stability.
“He’s my baby, my fur baby. I chose to get him at a time when I thought, ‘I need to calm down, I need to go home and feed something, I need to think about something that’s not me, and I need to quieten life down a little bit.'”
The plan seems to have labored. Acutely conscious of being in her forties (she references her age a number of instances throughout our chat), Sam now goes to mattress at 7.30pm on weeknights, retreats to her second residence within the Southern Highlands most weekends with associates, meditates, writes, workouts and gardens.
“I love gardening,” she enthuses. “I have a beautiful garden. It’s my antidote to my busy life and the news cycle, which can be very wearing!”
Although she paints a lifetime of quiet domesticity, I collect Sam is a hoot socially.
“She’s the person you want to sit next to at the dinner party,” confirms Sunrise newsreader Natalie Barr.
“She’s the fun person, the life of the party, the one you want with you on a night out. She’s got all the stories, she’s smart, she’s sassy and she’s hugely entertaining.”
So would Sam sooner or later like so as to add a human child to her “fur baby” brood?
“I can’t win with that question,” she says, faltering for the primary time in our interview.
“Look, how do I say this? I think for many years I’ve been saying I’d like to get my life in balance and I feel that’s actually happening now so anything else after that would be a blessing.” She has, nevertheless, dominated out embarking on motherhood alone.
In the meantime, she’s a loyal aunt and surrogate aunt to her nieces, nephews, and associates’ offspring. Adene says if she will get caught up at work, Sam will decide her youngsters up from college, and drop off eggs recent from her Southern Highlands retreat.
“She’s a real mother hen, a really caring country girl at heart. You don’t have to be a mum to have those qualities,” she says.
Breakfast TV has a approach of infiltrating our hearts. Its upbeat chattiness streams into our dwelling rooms at a time after we are in any other case battling sleep deprivation and child-induced stress.
The hosts appear at instances like the one cheerful members of our household, like they someway belong to us. Natalie says it is common for folks to return as much as her on the street and ask after her 14-year-old son, Hunter, as a result of they keep in mind when he was born. Relatability and continuity are key in breakfast TV.
This is one of many causes, trade insiders say, why Today is languishing after taking a brush to its total crew and why Sunrise is having fun with a purple patch.
Kochie and Natalie have been there for 16 years and, after six years of “calling a spade a shovel”, viewers know precisely what to anticipate from Sam.
“Authentic” and “what you see is what you get” are the phrases most frequently used to clarify Sam’s recognition with viewers.
“I’m a normal person people can relate to, particularly women, and I have a body a lot of other women have,” Sam says.
“My weight goes up and down and sometimes I fall off the wagon as far as going on diets, and sometimes life is stressful and sometimes life is easy and I show that. It’s been part of my success to be normal – who would have thought?”
Certainly not household and associates, lots of whom have recognized Sam from her boarding college days at Sydney’s prestigious Kincoppal-Rose Bay. Sam says they nonetheless tease her at any time when a narrative or pictures seem within the tabloids.
“They’re like, ‘Why? You’re not that interesting!’ and I’m like, ‘I know! I’m picking up dog poo in the park, go figure!'”
Sam had a “very run-of-the-mill country, happy, outdoorsy, well-loved” childhood in Adaminaby, a small city in New South Wales’ Snowy Mountains.
Her mom was a stay-at-home mum and “very good country cook” whereas her dad ran the household’s property. She and her siblings by no means thought of what they had been consuming; meals was merely gasoline.
So it was an enormous shock for Sam to step into the goldfish bowl of Sydney movie star, the place her each transfer and outfit is scrutinised.
“I wasn’t used to that; I wasn’t prepared and it’s been brutal, but I’ve got a handle on it now,” she admits.
“Luckily my self-esteem has always been very healthy and I thank my country upbringing for that. Of course I’ve had moments where I’ve thought, ‘I need to lose a few kilos’ but my self-esteem, my values and principles have never changed.”
WATCH BELOW: Meet Samantha Armytage’s attractive pet Banjo. Story continues after video.
Sam’s insistence on her consultant normality is honest, nevertheless it additionally masks the complexity concerned in making her job seem easy.
“It’s the grind of the 3am starts and stress of live TV every day,” explains Natalie.
“It’s not for a week or a month, it’s for year after year. It takes over your life. It’s the lack of sleep, it’s thinking about the job all day. Like most journalists, you have to keep across everything from Federal politics to entertainment. She does that so well.”
There have, prior to now, been recommendations from others – and Sam herself – that her gruelling work life and sleeping patterns have led her to neglect her non-public life.
But as we speak, Sam is shouldering all accountability for the place her life is at.
“Jane Fonda once said, ‘I am a slow learner and a late starter.’ And that is me to a T,'” she tells me. “I feel like I might just be working it all out in my forties. Your twenties are a nightmare. Your thirties you are sort of getting it together. I feel like in my forties I’m in control, I’m really happy.”
So what hadn’t she labored out earlier than? “The whole balance thing. I’ve made dating mistakes in the past.”
Indeed Sam additionally instructed Jules Sebastian: “My mum said to me one day, ‘Sam, you have worse taste in men than Princess Diana’. It’s true, it’s appalling. If there are 29 great guys in a room and one d—head, I will pick the d—head every single time.”
Yet she now feels she’s on a greater path. “I’ve a fairly young spirit, so I feel like there’s time for me, and life is heading in a very good direction.”
So, the place to from right here? Sam re-signed with Sunrise simply earlier than Christmas, which implies she and Kochie might be brightening our mornings for just a few years but. And when that chapter closes, there are her pursuits in inside design, structure, enterprise and writing to pursue.
She’s at present “playing around” with a sit-com as a result of she misses writing.
“It’s about a girl in television who conquers the world,” she says, then bursts out laughing. “No, but it is about a girl in television. You’ve got to write what you know.”
And after years of figuring it out, you get the sensation Sam now is aware of who ‘that lady’ actually is.
Sunrise screens weekdays from 5.30 am on the Seven Network.
The June situation of The Australian Women’s Weekly is on sale now.