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CARTOON FABULOUS HOTTIE – Maria Venuti

November 22nd, 2010

CARTOON FABULOUS HOTTIE

Sensational Sydney socialite, singer, entertainer, movie actress, presenter and television personality with a FAB-ulous career spanning over 4 decades, famous for her role as Signora Gina Gilliotti in the cult TV series Fat Pizza, been honoured on This Is Your Life, is a tireless campaigner for charity and a Member of the Order of AustraliaMARIA VENUTI!

FUN FACTS: Maria Venuti celebrates a fabulous and eventful career with a book out next year telling the memoirs of her life – but in her down time loves nothing more then playing snooker, and is a champion on the table!

www.BrettWillisCartoons.com

Also check out the interview with Maria Venuti. Click HERE.

Maria Venuti – The Mother of Australian Entertainment

September 6th, 2010

Chances are you will hear Maria, before you see her. Then when you see her, you will instantly smile.

Maria Venuti is one of the most outrageously effervescent people I have ever met in my life!

From the giant light brown bouffant that sits on her head, the long eyelashes with diamantes, to the floor length Leopard print kaftan, Maria is one person you are instantly attracted to. Her enormous laugh and hilariousness is infectious – you are then trapped in Mama Venuti’s private little world where everything is about having fun and living life to the fullest.

She is a great Australian icon, performing for thousands of people for longer then most of us have been alive. Her Italian heritage brings out her eccentricity on stage.

Lets get to know this goddess as we are welcomed to the world of Maria Venuti…

What projects are you currently working on or have in the near future?

I’ve just finished filming a movie called ‘Bathing Frankie’ with Henri Szeps, young actor Shaun Goss and first time director, Owen Elliott and writen by the brilliant Michael Winchester.

I’m looking forward to my role in Frank Lotito’s ‘Big Mamma’s Boy’, filmed in Melbourne with Holly Valance in April.

There’s also my first CD in the mix!

I’d love you all to come and see my show at Kit & Kaboodle at The Sugarmill on Sunday night, 21st of March. I guarantee a night of great songs and a fun time!

Who or what influences you most in Fashion and home décor?

Animal print!!

What is your favourite piece of clothing or accessory?

Too much to choose from. But if I have to, my crazy hats!

Do you have one feature in your home you love most?

I have hanging over my fireplace an exotic papyrus of King Tut (Tutankhamen) I bargained for when I was doing concerts in the Sinai Desert with the pride of Australia – Rolf Harris.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Rome…ahh!! Bella Roma!

Greatest lesson learnt?

Be true to yourself… please.

What advice would you give someone if they were thinking of a career in your industry?

Come and see me – let’s talk!

Which celebrity wardrobe would you love to raid and why?

I can’t make up my mind between Lady GaGa Or Sophia Loren.

How did you get into a life of performing?

Totally by chance. I’m not a person who plans. Live for today and let life surprise me tomorrow.

What is your one design rule you like to stick to around the home?

Animal print.

My Mother/Father always told me…

Always… just-a-be-a-yourself-Maria. Honest, considerate and passionate.

Is there a cause that is close to you and if so, why?

I love my charity work – it is fulfilling and everything I’m involved with is close to my heart. Like The Variety Children’s Charity, The Cornucopia Committee – raising $’s for the support of abused children. Humpty Dumpty – supporting children’s hospitals. The Australian Ladies Variety Association, it’s a show-business charity that does marvelous work.

Where is your favourite place to relax in Sydney?

Relax?!?! What does that word mean?!! If and when I do, and I’m in the city, my favourite place to take time out is a beautiful small park right next to The Park Hyatt. There are six date palms there and the lorikeets fly around enjoying incessantly chatting and the views are spectacular.

How often do you eat out and cook at home?

I eat out often and cook often. I adore both!

I savour all the different types of foods and experiencing the flavours Sydney’s world class restaurants. My favourite of all is to entertain with dinner parties at home with friends, family, candles and a beautiful interesting theme.

Signature dish?

My daughter Bianca and I were recently in the historic town of Italy’s Peruggia for cooking classes. At the moment I’m loving this very simple dish that Andrea just ‘whipped up’. Veal steak, prosciutto and sage. Hold them together with a large wooden pick, place into very hot extra virgin olive oil for only two minutes and serve with a side of vegetables. I love steamed beans with a combo of oil, mint, garlic – ‘piacere’.

Your thoughts on Australian fashion in comparison to International fashion?

Basically I have my own crazy style, sometimes in the best dressed list, more often then not in ‘the worst dressed list’. But I hope never boring!!!

I design a lot of my own showbiz and social fashions… Oh!! Australian fashion is up there with the best in the world although the budgets are very different, but our fashions are hot and NOW!!!

The one thing I can’t leave home without is…

My eyelashes!!

What frustrates you most about Sydney?

On the Anzac Bridge, the speed limits go from 60 to 40 to 50! Cross City tunnel – 80 to 40!! That’s the problem! The change of speed limits in a few hundred meters! That really frustrates me!

If you were Clover Moore, what would be the first thing you’d inject money into fixing?

Circular Quay railway station and Cahill Expressway! Its hideous and the facade is just an eye sore.

Favourite beach in Sydney and why?

North Bondi gently surfing with friends, then off to North Bondi Italian for lunch and then call into Camilla’s for a new kaftan!!

If you could be a fly on the wall of any celebrity home, who’s wall would you like to sit on?

Brangelina’s – to find out what’s really going on!

Three pet hates?

Bullshit.

Hypocrisy.

No manners.

Fashion and home must-have’s?

Animal print… For fashion and home!

I’ve been in that jungle forever…

What is your one diva demand when performing?

All my stage costumes are ‘boned to oblivion’. So I once employed a very strong young Darling to do my hooks and eyes up before I went on stage. Ooooooo!

What a women! Don’t forget to see this icon perform on the 21st of March at Kit & Kaboodle.

Visit www.moshtix.com.au/event.aspx?id=35060&ref=moshtix for tickets. Dinner and Show options available.

Meet The Charismatic Geoff Field From 2Day FM

May 17th, 2010

Geoff Field invited me to the Austereo studios at World Tower to do the interview you’ll read below. I was really excited to meet him, because I had heard his voice pretty much every working day for the past 8 or so years, when I first started listening to Kyle and Jackie O.

I went to the 16th floor and rang the door bell to the studio. Out came the very enthusiastic and very kind Geoff Field, greeting me and welcoming me into the 2Day FM family. He introduced me to the Groupie Receptionist Sonja who was also pleasant and welcoming. A tour around the amazing office, introducing me to all the staff. He showed me the Kyle and Jackie O and also the Hamish & Andy studios. Then it was to his little studio, where Geoff showed me how he does his job. I was so intrigued and excited to see how it all works and comes together – and he was so happy to show it to me.

The 2Day FM office and studio is so impressive, Geoff told me the story about Rihanna when she was here. She said that of all the radio stations she has been to around the world, 2Day FM by far had the best studios!

After we grabbed a couple of cold drinks, we headed up to the roof top to start the interview. It was a beautiful sunny day. A relaxed Geoff, immaculately dressed, with his distinct Porsche sunglasses on, we sat in the sun and caught up on everything GEOFF FIELD…

What are you doing at the moment – projects, work and other bit and pieces?

I’m working on Hamish & Andy which I’m enjoying so much! I also do a segment once a week on Kerri-Anne; I do a lot of charity work too which I love! I work with Miracle Babies, which is for babies which are born premature, to raise money for them. I also do things like City to Surf, dinners, The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation and people living with HIV, the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and also Breast Cancer! So that keeps me very busy. I’m also doing a Youth Off The Street with Ellie Mobbs who works here at 2Day FM. It all keeps me very busy!

There has been many rumors about you leaving the Kyle and Jackie O show – please clear it up for us!!

I’ve just recently moved off Kyle and Jackie O over to Hamish & Andy which I’m enjoying very much. Six years of breakfast and getting up at 3am was tiring.

I had some great experiences on the show, I got married to my partner Jason, live radio and live TV, I’ve been thrown out of an airplane at 4000 feet, I’ve read the news in a pool of sharks, I’ve been hung off the side of Center Point Tower, I’ve been dropped in the desert and had to find my own way back so working breakfast was great – but it’s time for a change. I enjoy my sleep-in’s and I love working with Hamish and Andy they are great!

Where is your favourite place to relax in Sydney?

My favorite place to relax in Sydney is DEFINITELY the Boy Charlton Pool. In Summer I just love going there and doing nothing all day, reading a book. I’m not really into beaches because I was spoilt as a child living on the South Coast, so in Summer Jason and I drive down to the South Coast a lot and go the beaches down there. I’m picky, so I love it because I don’t have to step over people like I do in Bondi Beach.

I also like to relax in Kirribilli, a Chinese Yum Cha Restaurant that is nice, and I also like to go to Doyle’s at Watson’s Bay. Oh – I also love Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair – Jason and I go there a lot for a walk and just sit in the sunshine and watch the world go by.

In terms of fashion, and home décor, is there anyone that influences you?

For the home, I don’t want to plug anyone, but have you heard of Kings Furniture? They design specifically for your house. Jason and I are about to move into a new house in Potts Point and I was told about Kings Furniture and I thought it was interesting because I could have the furniture made to my specific needs and the fact they are cleverly designed with built-in magazine racks and you can flip things around and turn it into a bed if you’ve got visitors.

Fashion wise, I’m an admirer of Peter Morrissey and Alex Perry, I know both of them through the show, I love some of the dresses Alex designs and I love some of the menswear Peter designs.

Is there a feature in your new place that you love most, or was something that made you want to buy it?

YES!!! I don’t want to brag, but it’s a fully renovated marble bathroom, that I can’t wait for! The bathroom I have now is a kind of 1960’s retro and I’m kind of over it! It’s going to be like staying at a nice hotel, so I’m very excited about it. Also looking forward to the kitchen. The kitchen we have now is a tiny little kitchen. If Jason is in there, and I’m in the kitchen, there is no room to even swing a cat or do anything. The new kitchen is really big – I don’t cook but still, it’s nice to be in the kitchen with Jason without feeling like I’m crowding in on his space.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Oh my God! My greatest extravagance is… Oh and I don’t want to sound vain… But it’s when I’m lucky enough… Every few years we fly over to Europe first class on Malaysian Airways. It’s not something I can do every year but I just love the experience of being up that end of the plane! It doesn’t happen every year let me tell you!

Another indulgence is a restaurant that we go to, which has had a lot of publicity recently because Pink went there, but I’ve been going there for 10 years, it’s called Beppi’s down in east Sydney. The same family has run it for 15 years or something. It’s just going there, and having a great Italian meal with a beautiful bottle of champagne. That is an extravagance.

Damn Pink went there and let the secret out and now to go there you have to book months ahead! But that’s alright.

What is something your mother and father always told you?

To respect people no matter who they are. To treat people how you would like to be treated. I think it’s simple and it works for me. Easy.

How did you get into radio?

I slept with boss.

NO!

EDIT!!! I’m joking!!!

How did I get into radio? Well I’d like to say I worked my guts out, went to University and did all the courses, but if you’d like to know the truth, my dad was best friends with the General Manager of the radio station in Nowra where I come from. So I got work experience there and I used to hang around like a bad smell. Seriously, they must have hated me because I would be there all the time. School holidays, weekends, whatever. Anyway I was basically offered a job, probably because they were so sick of me bugging them, so I went into radio, literally the day after I left school and I have never been out of a job in radio since. So I’m pretty happy with that.

What advice would you give someone going into this industry?

Persevere. Never give up. It’s that sort of industry where people often say “Call me back”, or “there’s nothing going at the moment”, so what you do is you keep on keeping on, you just bug them because it’s such a hard industry to get into.

There’s so many people wanting it and so few jobs and I have an example of a particular person who is now hosting their own radio show, they used to, like me I suppose, turn up for work experience and one day the announcer was sick and they put him on air. He now also has a great career. That’s the way to do it  – Never give up!

What do you think are the difference between Australian and European, American or Asian fashions?

I think Australia is great. Australian fashion is great because we cherry pick the best from whether it’s Italy, France, Europe, America or Britain, I’m no fashion expert but I certainly see enough fashion coming and going through this radio station. I’ve seen everyone from Lady Gaga to some of the great designers like Patricia Field for the Sex and the City girls, so I kind of watch from my studio.

I’m always fascinated, even at 6 in the morning, seeing people like Megan Gale or Jennifer Hawkins coming in, even at that hour of the morning they look wonderful. They are always wearing something that just looks great. That’s my thoughts on Australian fashion – we can look at the rest of the world, take the best of it and do our own stuff – and we do our own stuff so well.

What’s one thing you can’t leave home without?

I can’t leave home without my mobile phone! I can’t leave home without my sunglasses. That’s it. Predictable but easy.

If you were Clover Moore, what would be something you’d inject money into fixing?

First of all I think there is too much reliance on cars in this city, like to get to one end of George Street, not even in peak hour, is a nightmare, so I think a lot of people are going to hate me for this, but I think we should make it easier for cyclists. My partner Jason cycles to work everyday and I know people say, “Bloody cyclists they hold the traffic up!” but not if we build cycle lanes. We need a more efficient public transport system in the city itself, the light rail, Clover has been talking about light rail for years, come on Clover!! We can do it!! That’s the first thing I would do – fix up the transport.

Three pet hates?

1. People that don’t respect other people.

2. People that maliciously gossip. There’s a difference between having a gossip, but there’s nothing worse then saying something horrible about someone or an untruth.

3. Weak Governments. I’ll give you an example. I had so much faith in Kevin Rudd, the day after he was elected, I can remember being on a charity walk with Tania Plibersek and some of the other people from the Labor Government and I was so hopeful that we were going to have things change in this country like climate change, all the other things, and look what’s happened. He only just said that climate Change was the greatest challenge of the 21st Century, and now he has abandoned it. We need strong leadership and we need people with principles.

Where do you see yourself in a few years from now?

Hopefully still employed!! I’m enjoying what I’m doing at the moment because I have had a change from Kyle and Jackie O and I’m not doing Hamish & Andy which I love. I loved being on Kyle and Jackie O.

In a few years time, I’d love to be doing my own show, I’m not sure which station, or what the future holds, but in radio, you kind of live from one ratings to the other, thankfully I have been at 2Day FM for 12 years, and hopefully I’ll be here for a little while longer. But in the future I would like to do my own show because I am very opinionated on a lot of issues, so I suppose I would like to give it a go, but not just yet – I’m enjoying being a news reader.

Let’s talk about home life – who cooks more, who cooks less, who cleans, what’s the arrangement?

One word. JASON!

No we actually do have a good at home arrangement, because Jason cooks, he won’t let me near the kitchen. He’s tasted my cooking before and I… Well this is embarrassing, but when we first started living together, I said I would cook one night. I can’t believe I did this, but I went to Coles or Woolies, and I grabbed some mince meat product, which Jason keeps reminding me about, called Dinner Winner. I mixed it up and it was glug. Since that moment Jason said I was banned from the kitchen!

I do the cleaning, and the washing, so it kind of balances it out. We are like a husband and wife, but I’m not sure who the husband is or who the wife is!

Your time with Kyle and Jackie O, they have obviously had you do some crazy stuff. Has there ever been a time that you refused to do something?

It’s all my fault, because when I first started working with them on air, “I’m up for anything! Whatever you guys throw at me I’ll do it!” So I had myself to blame.

My theory was, if it doesn’t kill me, I’ll do it!

But seriously, for the most part of it, it was all in good fun, as I said earlier, I wouldn’t have sky dived if it wasn’t for them. There are times when you think “Oh my god!!!” but at the end of the day, I’ve done about 95% of the things they’ve said – I can’t even remember the things I said no to. Most of the time I did it.

I can remember one morning I had a crocodile and a massive lizard unleashed on me in the studio while I was reading the news, and also on April fools day, the entire news bulletin was sabotaged, with noises and incorrect grabs, including Ray Martin walking in and taking over the news! It was all good fun.

What is one of your greatest learnt?

It’s probably Karma, I think how you treat people eventually comes back on you, I think if you treat people well, life is pretty good. That’s my lesson learnt. Oh and the obvious one – don’t say yes to doing anything!!!

Have you ever been in a position where you have been abused, insulted or harassed for being gay?

I’ve been so lucky, I must be one of the luckiest people in the world because I haven’t. I know that there are a lot of people that really struggle with their sexuality, the work place and their family, but someone up there has blessed me because my family is fantastic. Even my 18 year old nephews, when they come down at Christmas, they are excited to see Jason and I, calling us both Uncle Geoffrey and Uncle Jason, they have only ever known us as their uncles. I think working in the entertainment industry has also made it a lot easier for me, because I know that is I were working on a building site or something, or some other industries, I’d be more inclined to keep my sexuality to myself.

I’m very aware of the fact people do have massive problems and all I can say to them is be honest – because honesty always wins in the end, and don’t hide, because if you keep it a secret, it’s just going to bubble up inside you. No one cares these days; people respect people for who they are.

www.GeoffField.com.au