Struggles and gems of the media: Q&A; with Myf Warhurst
DAILY Mercury's Lucy Smith spoke with media personality Myf Warhurst, who will be at Artspace for a one-off evening called Up Late with Myf Warhurst on Friday.
You've worked in so many different media - print, TV, radio. Do you have a favourite?
It's always so hard to know, they're so different. I started out writing, like you, in magazines and the local street press. I loved putting together a weekly publication. I adore writing. But then radio is so immediate, it's so exciting, you put it out there and it's done. There's so many different skills involved in all of them, I love them all.
Have you found any challenges as women working in the media?
It's always hard to break into a particularly male-dominated industry, like radio and TV. It pushed me to try hard to be involved. I want to hear women speaking on the radio, I want to see them on TV. I don't want to see all men all the time. It was important for me to break through that.
I'm a feminist, but it was never something that drove me completely. I just wanted to do the job, and I think there's generations of young women coming up now who have the mindset. We want to do the job but we don't want to be discriminated against.
I didn't have open struggles, but there is definitely a gender bias on TV and radio. And it's changing, it's great to see.
It's a slow change, but it's completely different to how it was 20 years ago.
You sound pretty optimistic about the future.
It's changing more, there's some great role models out there. Lisa Wilkinson… there's some very powerful women in the media now.
Early on in your career, did you have any role models?
There was always lots of figures, people that you wouldn't know, who were mentors. I had a great TV producer who would talk me through things. She encouraged me to take on the role in Spicks and Specks. Working with men who are into seeing women who are smart on their TV… a lot of the great jobs I've had have been with men. Adam (Hills) and Alan (Brough, both from Spicks and Specks) were always completely supportive. Alan was always really proud. There weren't many roles on TV when I started where women could be smart and be on equal footing with the men.
Have you ever struggled with confidence?
Luckily we started Spicks and Specks before things like Twitter and Facebook, so I didn't cop a whole lot at the start. Certainly through my career I have. You do lose your confidence at moments, but then you build it up again. You've got to think 'it doesn't matter what someone I've never met thinks about me'.
How do you stay positive and motivated?
I think I've been lucky to have some great jobs, and that helps. If you're happy to go to work every day, that helps you stay positive. (At Double J) I get to talk to really interesting and creative people every day. That helps. And always staying open to new ideas. There's a tendency to be really nostalgic in our culture. I think being open to new ideas and being open to fresh music and fresh art is really helpful. It means you're moving forward instead of staying in the same place.
Have you got any plans or goals for the future?
Nah. Never had those, never been that organised. I never knew what I was going to do, and I still don't know. The nature of what I do means you can have dreams but the media is changing every day. Jobs that exist today don't exist tomorrow. I feel like I should grow up and make very serious choices about my life, but I don't think about life like that.
Myf Warhurst will be at Artspace for a one-off evening called Up Late with Myf Warhurst on Friday. Limited seats are available. To book call the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre on 4961 9777 or book online at mackaytix.com.au.