Reality TV

EXCLUSIVE: Australia’s Got Talent judge Manu Feildel opens up about circus school

''I'd had enough of all of my friends calling me Dumbo!''
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From circus school to celebrity chef and talent show judge, Australia’s Got Talent star Manu Feildel likes to mix things up.

In an exclusive chat with Woman’s Day, the AGT judge reveals what drew him to the show plus who his favourite person on the panel is.

You’re a very busy man! What attracted you to working on Australia’s Got Talent?

To be honest, I was very pleased to be offered another show and something completely different to MKR. Variety is close to my heart. It’s the type of show that I like to watch with my family.

At 13 you went to circus school. What did that involve?

I was always wowed by acrobats, clowns and magicians. Being around artists like this is a lot of fun and so inspiring. But then I realised I needed a proper job that paid proper money – and I’d had enough of all of my friends calling me Dumbo!

“It’s the type of show that I like to watch with my family.”

(Image: Channel Seven)

How has your TV career and subsequent fame changed your life?

Dramatically, but in a good way. When I started my career in food I felt I’d left entertainment behind, but now I have the best of both worlds. Sometimes it would be nice not to be recognised when I’m doing the grocery shopping, but I can’t complain. It’s the life I dreamed of.

Would you ever discourage your kids – Jonti, 14, and Charlee, four – from getting into the crazy world of TV?

My kids will choose their own future, and whatever they decide I will help them get there. Funnily enough though, I think my little Charlee seems to have both the cooking and entertainment gene in her blood, so we will see….

Clowning around with his children Charlee and Jonti.

(Image: Instagram @manufeildelofficial)

If you had to pick your favourite AGT judge, who would it be?

I’m going to say Shane [Jacobson] as I have been hanging out with him for a few years now and he makes my belly hurt with laughter. We have more in common than most people would expect. Of course, I love hanging out with all the others, but he would be my BFF judge!

How have you, Shane and Lucy Durack welcomed Nicole Scherzinger Down Under?

Unfortunately, Nicole has had a very busy schedule flying back and forth to LA where she is filming another show, so there hasn’t been much of a chance to hang out off set. But we have all bonded very well on set, and she’s even picked up some Aussie slang. I’m sure we will get a night out before the grand final!

“I’m sure we will get a night out before the grand final!”

(Image: Instagram @manufeildelofficial)

You’ve recently lost a stack of weight and are looking better than ever. What inspired your slimdown?

Being fat! I didn’t like the way I looked and felt I needed to make some changes in my life. I feel a much better person all round now.

What is the Feildel family’s favourite comfort food? And are you cooking it?

[My wife] Clarissa does most of the cooking as she is an amazing home cook, but there is often a request for my tarragon roast chicken!

WATCH: Australia’s Got Talent: Pricasso paints Shane Jacobson.

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