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EXCLUSIVE: Julia Morris sits down with The Weekly and shares her thoughts on the new year ahead

Days ahead of a hesitant start to 2022, Julia Morris gives her thoughts on how to embrace an uncertain new year – and not get cancelled while doing it.

By Tiffany Dunk
How are you feeling as we prepare to head into a new calendar year?
I'm feeling … tentative. I'm excited to be out of lockdown after two years in Victoria but without wanting to sound negative, I don't hold great expectations for 2022. That's not to say that it won't be great, but the last two years have taught me that my expectations and hopes don't actually have anything to do with how a year unfolds. So, this will be the year I let lead me, rather than going full steam ahead with my agenda.
Do you usually make resolutions on December 31?
No, I'm not really a New Year's resolutions person. Every year I say, "Right, more money, less work." Only half of that wish came true in 2021 – and I'll leave you to figure out the mystery of which half. But I've definitely improved year-on-year as a human being, so maybe that's the best I can hope for.
Given you co-host I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! each January, we're guessing the first month of the year is a busy one for you?
Definitely! And it prepares me for the unknown because every day is a forever-changing landscape, whether we are in Australia or South Africa. It also prepares you for the year because it means any other job you take on is a complete pleasure because it won't be nearly as hard.
You have always been a bit of a grafter, though ...
I mean, I'm in an industry that is notoriously disposable of women. It's getting a lot more female-skewed these days but lasting has been its own challenge along with non-stop work. Every year at 70 per cent of the wage definitely takes its toll. Literally the last person standing with the least amount of bitterness wins. And I'm hanging in there, I'm clinging on for dear life now!
They say a year in a Hollywood marriage is like 10 for regular couples. It must be the same for women in TV?
I don't make that analogy as often as I should, but at 53 I am genuinely happy to have a job. You've also got to embrace the ebbs and flows. I know my days of being a romantic lead might be over, my years of being a sexy television compere might be over. Or did they ever start?
We're sure Dr Chris Brown would have something to say about that …
I mean, I'm not even kidding – he is still obsessed with me, eight years into working together. I don't know what to do about it. I've just got to give him a little snuggle and say, "I'm not for you." Really, he's a complete sweetheart who embraces any different flavoured joke. And he's always been such a wonderful and kind support.
"I'm in an industry that is notoriously disposable of women." (Image: Supplied)
Finding the funny side of things has been more important than ever over the last two years. How do you keep laughing through tough times?
There have been loads of moments where you just feel like crying. So, keeping the humour alive isn't even necessarily a choice – it's just trying to instinctively find where those funny moments are and hoping that those around you feel the same way. I am in a constant state of hyper-vigilance of being cancelled.
Obviously, it's great that we are now very openly calling out misogyny, racism, power imbalances and more. But with cancel culture now so prominent, does it make it hard to joke without fear?
It makes me very nervous. I made a passing comment that Dr Chris is obsessed with me. It's a long-running joke between us as people assume it's the other way around. But what ran through my mind even as the words formed was that gosh, in the past 12 months a lot of people have battled with obsessive partners. I'm not one of them, but is that joke appropriate now and is it time to move on? There's so much soul-searching to make sure that the humour you are hitting on is correct. Then you have to double-check it. Then maybe send it to someone else to ask if you are alright.
So how do you navigate that line?
My type of humour is that I make fun of myself. So, I feel that if I had to stand up for myself in a cancel culture moment, at least I would be speaking from the absolute essence of my truth. There's loads of stuff on the internet lately where I've thought, "Why?" Or "How did you not know?" What scares me is when my crossover moment comes, I'm not going to know. And it's coming, I know it is, because that's a generational thing. I'm going to have to be ready to let go.

How old are your girls?
My ladies are 13 and 15. And let me tell you, they know about cancel culture. They let me know within a four-second turnover if what I have said is no longer correct. So that definitely helps.
Should we all just surround ourselves with teenagers?
Unfortunately, there is no grey area in the teenage years. Whereas I feel like there has to be some grey area where intention can be fought for. I understand that it's a lot easier and cleaner just to not say some things at all, but then I also think, where is the room for grown-up discussion that is not saying things just to be inflammatory?
And it feels like the rules keep changing …
It's like sending out a tricky email where you have to go over it 900 times and then take the sting out and then take out the facts. It's a forever-changing landscape. And yet I know these changes will be positive for my girls when they start work. Just as it was better for me when I started in this industry – there had already been women who had fought the hard fight to allow me to be as open as I was.
So, would you say that leading with kindness is a rule of thumb? Both in humour and how we treat ourselves?
Yes, 100 per cent. No one that I have ever crossed paths with is nearly as hard on me as I am on myself. I wouldn't let anybody else treat me that way. So, I love that I let myself do it. What??!!
Are you getting better at being kinder to yourself as time goes on?
There's a tremendous expression which I will misquote which says, "In your 20s you are scared that everybody is talking about you and by the time you get to your 50s you realise that nobody was, they were only thinking about themselves."
And on that note, we'll sign off. Thanks for your time, Julia.
I just hope I've said the right thing. Obviously between now and when you go to print I'll be doing poos in my pants about cancellation. Can you imagine? Actually, it might end up being my dream in the next year or so to actually be cancelled, just so I can have a little bit of a break.
For the next little while, Julia Morris will be hard at work – and hopefully not cancelled – hosting I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! from Monday January 3, 7.30pm on Ten.
You can read this story and more in the January issue of The Australian Women's Weekly - on sale now!

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