Chatting with Lisa Wilkinson is always a delight – it’s like having a natter with a dear friend. As we ponder anything and everything from her career and kids to her favourite scent and style sense, you can’t help but be enthused by her love for life. And the Today show co-host admits she has much to be thankful for.
Lisa landed her first job as a receptionist at Dolly magazine, before becoming the publication’s youngest-ever editor at the tender age of 21. She continued rocketing through the ranks in publishing before moving over to television in the late-1990s. Fast-forward a few decades and Lisa’s still at the top of her game, discussing topical issues every weekday on Today.
“I’ve loved every job I’ve ever had,” she says.
Not only has the 57-year-old presenter had a prosperous career, she’s also been blessed with excellent health and stunning looks. Undoubtedly, part of that is due to her youthful attitude and determination to make the most of every moment.
“I’ve had so much good fortune,” Lisa says.
Beauty and style
You have beautiful skin – what’s your secret?
I absolutely love Cetaphil moisturiser. I buy it in a huge pump pack – I use it all over, every single day. I’ve also hidden away from the sun all my life. When I was 16, I remember reading a piece in Dolly magazine on moisturisers and what you can do to ward off wrinkles. It said there’s no moisturiser in the world that can save you from wrinkles if you spend time in the sun. It’ll age you quicker than anything else. For some reason it hit home and I’ve always stayed out of the sun or worn hats and strong sunscreen. I’m lucky I still have fairly good skin.
And what about your hair?
I use Kérastase shampoo, but rule number-one is to have Beryl and Ray Wilkinson as your parents! I’ve never coloured my hair, and Mum didn’t go grey until she was in her late-sixties. When it comes to the gene pool, I certainly scored well there.
When it comes to wardrobe, what’s your go-to garment?
I love a pair of jeans, they’re an absolute staple, but in recent years I’ve fallen in love with dresses. In terms of style I like simplicity. I shy away from shiny fabrics; they tend to amplify anything you don’t want amplified. You’ll never find me in shiny satin – I go for matte, light wool fabrics and cotton. Again, I’m at a point in my life where I know the bits I want to show and the bits I want to hide. I tend to always go below the knee. I think there’s a point in a woman’s life when she decides, OK my knees aren’t my best point I’m going to put those away. I love a three-quarter sleeve and I love off-the-shoulder, too. I do that a lot for evening wear.
What’s it like to be a style icon?
It’s really nice. I try and dress for every woman, not a particular age, so the pieces that I choose anyone could wear; and outfits that are approachable, comfortable and not tricky.
Whose style do you admire?
I think Cate Blanchett is extraordinary. I love that she’s so brave and edgy, yet completely classic in what she wears. And I recently saw a photograph of Lauren Hutton at the 1975 Oscars and she was wearing a completely classic and simple dress. I don’t think there’s been a year since when she couldn’t have worn exactly the same. I love pieces that you can’t carbon-date to a particular time.
What’s your favourite Logies frock?
A beautiful white, off-the-shoulder Pallas Couture dress that I wore to the Logies in 2015 – it’s my absolute favourite. One thing I adore in dresses is when they have pockets, I love somewhere to put my hands. This is the most exquisite dress I’ve worn apart from the beautiful red Cappellazzo Couture dress that I wore for Carols by Candlelight last year. Choosing between the two is like being asked to choose between your children!
Health and guilty pleasures
Do you think how you look can affect how you feel?
For me, how I’m feeling on the inside is what shows on the outside. You need to be comfortable in your own skin, and I’m now old enough and have enough life experience to have worked out what makes me happy and what doesn’t. I think the older we get the more we become the life we’ve lived.
How do you stay healthy?
I’m a great believer in good gut health and I drink kombucha every day. My favourite is a brand called Remedy – the Ginger & Lemon and Apple Crisp flavours are the best. Also, every morning on the set of Today, I have a mug of boiling water with cut-up ginger, fresh lemon juice and lemon rind. It kickstarts my system. I’ve been drinking it for 10 years.
Any guilty pleasures?
I love chocolate – I just have to resist it as often as I can. KitKats are definitely my fallback but I try to eat healthily as I need enormous reserves of energy doing the show.
Wellbeing and happiness
You seem happier than ever – is the best yet to come?
I feel so incredibly blessed with the life I lived so far. I’m a kid from the western suburbs of Sydney, who was a magazine junkie, and to think my first job was as a receptionist on Dolly! I’ve loved every job I’ve ever had, and when you love what you do other people notice. I think that’s the same for anyone in any situation – you become attractive to people if you’re finding joy in every day. And I really do find joy in every day.
I was lucky enough to meet my husband (author Peter FitzSimons, now 55) when I did in my early-thirties. Then we were blessed by having three healthy kids (Billi, Louis and Jake). I think that’s why it’s so important to me to give back because I’m grateful every day that I get up. I’ve had so much good fortune and to not give back to charities that I’m an ambassador for – or finding causes in the stories that I come across on the Today show – would not make sense to me. My happiness comes from being able to do all of those things within the framework of my work and being a mum and wife.
Is this your best decade yet?
I still can’t believe the progression of my life over the years. Pete and I often check-in with each other at the end of every year and just say, “Well, that’s got to be the best year we’ve had and it’s never going to get any better!” Touch wood as I say this, but I have no complaints whatsoever. And if it all ended tomorrow I could honestly look everyone I know in the eye and say I’ve had an absolute ball, but I get up every day and I’m going to make the most of what lies ahead.
1. This body cream gives skin a boost. Cetaphil Daily Advance Lotion, $25.45
2. Keeps locks lush like Lisa’s. Kérastase Discipline Bain Fluidealiste shampoo, $40
3. Iris, spice and violet make a lasting impression. Le Labo Santal 33 EDP, $330, for 100ml
4. Guilt-free bubbles! Remedy Kombucha Ginger & Lemon, $4.50
See Lisa on Today, weekdays at 5.30am on Channel Nine