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JAC BOWIE INTERVIEWS BESSIE BARDOT

Jac Bowie catches up with Best selling Author, TV Radio presenter, Speaker & media personality, Bessie Bardot.

JB: We were lucky enough to have you as our MC/Host for the 2006 Burlesque Ball. Can you tell me what you thought of the night?

BB: It was a decadent night of fun, frivolity with beautiful burlesque performances by world renowned acts. Everyone really got into the spirit of things, dressing up in stunning corsets and everything Burlesque.

JB: What is it you like about Burlesque?

BB: Looking through the history of Burlesque I honestly feel that it redefined a woman's role, at a time when women were only seen as weak creatures who could faint at a moments notice Burlesque gave women the chance to be truly powerful on stage, in many ways it was an entrée to women's liberation.

JB: One of the great, positive things about Burlesque, is it's celebration of women's beauty in all their shapes and sizes. The modelling world seems to be picking up their game, in Milan recently for example, there was a positive move in not hiring ridiculously thin models for their parades. And also there have been recent deaths in the modelling world relating to Anorexia. What are your thoughts on this?

BB: It's about bloody time they took a stand, my first business was a model agency focusing on women with real curves, yet still so many of my models were trying to diet and lose weight thinking it might get them more work. The reality is consumers are sick of only seeing fashion on women with hips like a teenage boy, don't get me wrong – all women are beautiful and there's loads of women who are naturally thin, but as a curvier gal I found it really frustrating never seeing a healthy image in magazines. I think it's healthiest to have models represent all the different shapes women's bodies come in: pear, rectangle and everything in between.

JB: I once read that you found it hard originally with modelling agencies due to your figure, but overcame this to become a very successful body model. Can you tell me about that?

BB: Yes, loads of agencies turned me down, they said I wasn't tall enough and they'd didn't know how to sell me with my curves. So I did some free lance model work and then decided to start an agency so that all the girls who had unusual shapes could get work as well.

JB: You even wrote a book about your experiences in the modelling world. Can you tell me a little about the book?

BB: Ahh yes. Casting Couch Confidential is a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of the modelling world. It's a collection of true stories from models all around the world, some named and some choose to stay anonymous – the stories are shocking, funny and sad. Ultimately it was good to get it all out there to break the fantasy of a model's life.

JB: Now let's talk about a mutual friend of ours, Mr Richard Branson. Is he your regular fishing partner or what?

BB: He he… I've known Richard for about 8 years. But it almost didn't happen. He was launching Virgin Mobile and was standing at the front door shaking every guests hand as they walked in. I was quite shy then and was going to walk past and it was my hubby Geoff who almost pushed me forward, it turned out that there had been an interview on me in his inflight mag that month and he remembered my name from the flight over. So we had a grand ol chat. You're right most recently we went fishing, culminating in a news piece about his new venture Virgin money… and Richard decided to help me cool off by pushing me into Sydney harbour. I'll get him back. Most important thing is I managed to save my shoes and sunglasses, its amazing how fast reflexes become when accessories are in jeopardy!

JB: I want to first of ask you about this hot new show you have debuting on Arena in March.. Erotic Star. Can you fill me in?

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BB: Sure, its an international reality show based around the hugely popular pole dancing phenomenon and the resurgence of burlesque. 10 performers live together and each day go through challenges and eliminations. One will become the Eroticstar and take home $25k cash, a car and a bundle of other prizes.

JB: I hear the show was a huge success in the UK. How do you think the Australian viewers will respond to it?

BB: Yes, they loved it so much they played it twice a week. It was actually made for the UK, they saw the pilot and said "we love it, we want it in 3 weeks" so we shot 8 episodes in 8 days, I also produced with Geoff so from a production point of view shooting in real time was fantastic – true reality tv! Now its coming to Arena on 24th March, I'm sure Aussie's will love it, it's a real fly on the wall look at what these girls go through to hone their craft, much like an elite athlete but with more glitter.

JB: Geoff and yourself have been making a good dent in the Australian entertainment industry for many years now. Tell me about your new venture, Movers & Shakers?

BB: Why thank you. We've opened Australia's first and only celebrity contact brokers service. It's a popular concept in the US – just one place that anyone can call to contact any celebrity. Whether its for a private party, a product launch or a corporate staff reward day we can get any celeb (nationally or internationally) for any event.

JB: So I could hire, for example, Hi 5 to come sing at my son's birthday. God he would love that. What would something like that cost? Can anyone hire a celebrity for their event – no matter how big or small?

BB: Yep Hi 5, any celeb you want we will contact them for you. Rates depend on who you want, how long for, and what you want them to do. Obviously its slightly pricier to get your favourite singer to perform, many book their fave celeb to come along and mingle with guests. But as a guide you're looking at $500 - $5,000 and beyond.

JB: You had a recent trip to Iraq. Can you tell me about your experiences there?

BB: Iraq was incredible. On my first trip there I was MCing concerts throughout 12 military bases in the middle east. We're talking flying in the middle of the night in chinock helicopters, flying into Baghdad in Hercules' coming down fast and flying just above rooftops to avoid missles locking on. Sleeping on stretchers inside tents with sands bags around the perimeter, staying in Saddam's palace. It was quite full on but the troops are so grateful to get a moments distraction from their lives over there – for one hour they can shut off the day and enjoy Angry Anderson sing and relax. I loved it so much I went back last Christmas, Geoff and I both hosted concerts over the holiday period, even bringing in the new year with a countdown in front of 6000 Aussie, US and British troops. I will never, ever forget it.

JB: It's so great to see someone getting out there doing such positive PR exercises. It's inspiring. You have also just released a book giving positive advice for girls and women who want to achieve their goals. Can you tell me about that?

BB: I wrote this book because I would have loved some career advice when I was leaving school, I ended up in a dead end job as a receptionist, then at 21 after a horrible divorce I realised that I hated my life and I had to make a change so I pieced together a formula to finally work out what to do with my life. It covers how to create a new career, persona and personal brand. How to rein in emotions and get past fears that hold you back. How to truly become confident with your body and finally how to present yourself in the best light to achieve what you want career wise through style and personal brand. Its for any woman who is stuck in a rut, starting out or starting over.

JB: I know a lot of the women and girls who read this book will be inspired to go and chase their dreams and career inspirations. What do you think about mentoring? Do you mentor anyone?

BB: Mentors can be incredibly useful, but I don't think you need to stick with one person. All the most successful business people say they're key to success is to surround themselves with experts in each field, so I have several people I turn to – based on the area I need advice on. After receiving lots of emails from girls wanting advice and mentoring I do make myself available to talk through issues on career, self worth/confidence, relationships, health and general dissatisfaction with life. I used to be a counsellor for a welfare agency so I guess there is still a big part of me that likes facilitating some kind of life change in those ready for it.

JB: You mention in the book there is a formula, "The Six Steps of Success". What are these steps and what do they entail?

BB: There are 8.

Step 1- Find your passion and make it work for you. This true key to mental & emotional success which usually leads to financial success. When you truly love what you do you'll happily work harder because the topic of your work is a breeze. With depression levels at an all time high its obvious, we cant just kill our soul for a buck and get by anymore. Find what you would do if no one paid you to do it and discover how to turn that into an income.

Step 2- Beat fear and your inner voice. We have up to 60,000 conversations in our head everyday. And many of them are negative – "I'm not good enough, smart enough, hot enough, successful enough"… blah, blah, blah. No wonder we feel deflated and unmotivated. The truth is scientists have discovered that our brains literally cannot tell the difference from what we THINK we are, and what we PHYSICALLY are, and do. So what we tell ourselves shapes our future and success. Its not positive thinking, it's just a matter of catching personally negative thoughts and changing them one at a time. And secondly fear is the highest factor holding us back from achieving more and enjoying life. When you think about it, fear is simply our body's automatic response to something out of our comfort zone. We're only afraid of fear! So put yourself in 'fearful' situations regularly and you wont have that instant charge every time your challenged.

Step 3- Plan your journey. Sit down and write down all the things you do each day – next to it put a value between 1-10 on how much you get from it (personal satisfaction, money etc) then work out what you can get rid of. Next write down a to do list of what you need to do to make your passion your career and redesign your life. Once its on paper its harder to lose track.

Step 4 – Create your personal brand. Everyone has a personal brand, it's the three or so words that people think of when they meet you for the first time, see or hear your name. It's made up of Visual, verbal and experiential clues. What you wear, what you say, the tone of your voice, whether they had a good experience last time they chatted with you, were you late…. Etc, etc. So find out what your brand is now, then take the power back by planning subtle changes which will help you pursue your dream career and life.

Step 5 – Build specialised credibility. Whichever area you have chosen for your career path, you then need to build credibility to support that: volunteer, work experience, study, join clubs, read books & magazines about it, join clubs – immerse yourself in it and you're more likely to truly become it.

Step 6 – Get organised. Create a database of everyone you know, and collect different categories. Even if it's your Mum and uncle right now, do it and keep building. The more people you have in your 'network' the more success you will have. Imagine you've moved to a new city and need to start fresh and meet people. In a few years you may be of some help to them and they may be of some help to you, either way we need others to inspire and educate.

Step 7 – Advertise. Put simply, the more people that know what you do – the more success you will have. You don't need to constantly talk shop or shameless hand cards out, it's just a matter of people knowing which industry you're in so that when they have a need for X, Y or Z – they think of you. So get out there and meet new people, talk to strangers at a party, flex your conversational muscles because its almost impossible to make it business being a hermit.

Step 8 – Use the magic formula.

BEING – (or getting) good at what you do

OVERCOMING – your fears

MAKING – relevant contacts

ACTION – take the action to pick up the book, knock on the door, speak to the stranger and most importantly – do what you say you will do.

Look at life like a big waiting room, every second a new door appears with an exciting new world behind it, but you choose to sit safely in your seat as they close forever. You choose – they're your seconds for the taking.

JB: You and Geoff have had quite a few books published now, and they seem to compliment each other rather well. How closely do you work together on these?

BB: Geoff was the whole inspiration for me to begin writing, he's published six titles now with another four on the drawing board. It wasn't easy at first but we now have a system that works well for us. Each book we write we email chapters to each other for changes and proof reading. This is incredibly helpful when we get a little stuck with dreaded writers block and since we think so similarly anyway it makes sense to work this way. Geoff is truly incredible though, he could write a whole book in two weeks, and a brilliant article in two hours. I'm constantly in awe!

JB: And you both work from home, how does living together, working together work for you?

BB: Ridiculously well! We've been married 9 years now and never seem to tire of each others company. I think that comes down to being best buddies and having our own unique strengths instead of competing against each other. We work as a team, Geoff is the big picture guy, great with coming up with new concepts and thinking in headlines. What he doesn't know about PR isn't worth knowing, a really incredible mind. And I love making the plans happen. I'm all about details, to do lists, order etc. So we work closely with each other and our office manager brainstorming on ideas, delegating tasks and all working towards one goal, We get done in two hours collectively, what offices will spend up to a week on. I love it!

JB: What is a typical day for yourself & Geoff?

BB: Wake up between 6-7am, have a 45 minute walk around the botanic gardens and harbour, we chat about what we dreamt last night, what we've got on that day and plan & brainstorm on new ideas. Then breakfast on the balcony and reading daily papers. Morning meeting together with office manager – discussing what needs to be done on each project. Then the day is segmented up with a bit of writing time for both of us (on new books, speeches or columns) Some email time (1000+ emails daily) often some sort of radio/tv/mag interview or speaking job (Geoff and I speak on career, relationships, motivation, branding, media training etc) and working on projects for our PR clients and our Celebrity Contact Business. When we're being good we take a break at 6pm to go to the gym or have another walk. A light dinner, watch some current affair programs then back to work on the computer working on tasks that don't take up a lot of brainpower and can be done with a movie playing the background (for me that's usually database stuff or accounts, for Geoff that's creative work like logo designs & web layouts). Then to bed around 11.30, where we read (Geoff- New Scientist, Psychology today, Mind magazine. Me- the occasional trashy women's mag, then I read over Geoff's mags when he's finished) and off to sleep.

JB: Now I would also like you ask you some questions from the famous Proust Questionaire.

JB: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

BB: Living near the water with my boy and child or two, with that wonderful feeling that comes with knowing that it's completely up to you what you want to do that day. Being your own boss and having the power to choose whether to work or play.

JB: What is your greatest fear?

BB: Oooh I've had many. My first one was singing – I never sang, not in the shower, in the car, happy birthday, nothing. So I took my own advice from the book and worked out that the pain of getting past it was less than the pain of living with the fear so I learnt to sing and belted out Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby" for the troops in Iraq on Christmas Day. It wasn't perfect, but I did it and it was really quite liberating. Now I don't know if I really have a greatest fear, I'm open to change and even if my world collapsed, that would just mean I would need to adapt to a new life, that's not so bad. It keeps life interesting.

JB: Which historical figure do you most identify with?

BB: Probably Mae West, she was cheeky and frank but still had a mind for business. I think any woman has the struggle to maintain different sides of her personality when society seems determined to keep us in a box, clearly marked.

JB: Which living person do you most admire?

BB: I admire bits of people as opposed to just one whole person. No one is perfect and to idolise someone is to put them on a pedestal with yourself below, that's so destructive considering every single person has both good & evil traits deep down.

JB: What is your greatest extravagance?

BB: It used to be shopping but then I looked around and realised I'd spent much of my adult life buying things I didn't want or need so I held an intervention with myself and I've now almost become an anti-consumer. The search for the latest everything doesn't seem to make anyone happy. So now my greatest extravagance would be good food, cheesy romantic comedies and watching "Will & Grace" – which I have on a rotating basis dependant on my mood.

JB: Which talent would you most like to have?

BB: To be able to salsa dance. It looks like so much fun.

JB: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

BB: Everything in the last 9 years. I was a receptionist in a computer company with little education and no drive to speak of. I never would have guessed what the future would hold. Pulling myself out of that well worn rut and turning my situation of a broke, divorced, depressed, inexperienced and scared girl into something different required so much energy and gumption – I'm still surprised that I did it.

JB: Where would you like to live?

BB: I could live in many places, I love it in Sydney, I'd love it in New York or in the South of France, or Tuscany or Greece or Barbados or England…. I could go on. I like to keep my dreams flexible as life changes every day.

JB: What is your favourite occupation?

BB: I like having the freedom to be open and honest and express my thoughts and opinions. TV, radio, writing – all of those are vehicles for this. I honestly thank my lucky stars everyday that I chose that life instead of one in corporate mediocrity.

JB: What is the quality you most like in a man?

BB: Tenderness. The ability to have in depth conversations, cuddle up on the lounge, watch girly movies and truly care about the person you're with. Geoff has all that in spades and combined with his mental and physical strength I have a 'dirty Harry meets Sally'. The perfect combo.

JB: What do you most value in your friends?

BB: That we don't have to fill silences, we can be together and enjoy moments of quiet. That we don't have to be out partying to have fun together. That they just let me be me, and visa versa. And them understanding that I cant commit to dinner out in a months time and I won't be calling them everyday yet they know I couldn't live without them in my life.

JB: Who is your favourite hero of fiction?

BB: I loved Anne of Green Gables. She was so gutsy and opinionated and always getting into trouble. I watched it relentlessly as a kid and still remember how she was intensely creative and passionate even back then when women were seen and not heard.

JB: What is your motto?

BB: "Know thyself". You don't start driving without reading the map now do you?

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Interestingly – I went to school with Kelly.. I’ll be glued to this when it comes back on!

Loser’s hubby cops it

From Sydney Confidential

February 01, 2007 07:39am
Article from: The Daily Telegraph

A FAT-fighter on the upcoming series of The Biggest Loser will use the reality series to out her husband, a New South Wales police officer, for allegedly having an affair with a slimmer woman.

If revenge is sweet, Kelly Donaghy Lewis, 28, will never need to eat another doughnut again.

A detective from NSW Police, Kelly claims she was motivated to shed weight from her 117kg frame last year after discovering her husband of three years was having an affair with a “Paris Hilton lookalike”.

Painting herself as the pin-up for dumped wives across Australia, the mother of two says she intercepted “sex messages” from a “streamlined blonde” who she claims was sleeping with her husband.

Sean Lewis, a sergeant at the Surry Hills police station, firmly denied he cheated when contacted by Confidential yesterday – but will not be able to stop his wife’s bitter tale from being splashed across national TV when the show premieres on Channel 10 this Sunday night.

“I’m aware what she’s saying and I’m seeking legal advice because it’s not true but I’m not getting into a public slanging match,” Mr Lewis said.

“If I wanted to leave her because she was overweight then I would have done that 6½ years ago,” he said.

Including every tawdry detail in her revelations to the producers of the fat-busting series, Kelly even claims her husband’s new lover told her she brought on the affair by gaining so much weight during the marriage.

“Kelly has a single-minded determination to radically change her appearance, regain her formerly slim figure and thumb her nose at the couple who wrecked her family life,” a statement from the program said.

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