EXCLUSIVE: Amanda Keller says older women need to be represented more in the industry

Amanda Keller reflects on being among an elite group of Australian TV talent.
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The television industry can be a fickle beast, often on the lookout for the next hottest, youngest, up-and-comer.

However, entertainment industry stalwart Amanda Keller believes there is – and always will be – a place for women like herself.

“I think you’ll find with women like myself, Lisa Wilkinson and Sonia Kruger, we want to see ourselves represented in the media,” the 55-year-old says.

“There’ll always be a youth element to the industry – as there should be. There should be new people coming through who are the ground-breakers.

“But there’s also room for people hanging around long beyond what you might think – and luckily, I’ve never felt that I’m reaching the end.”

When Amanda began to carve out a career in television in the ’80s, the life span for women in front of the camera was limited.

“As far as career longevity… I didn’t have any role models,” the television and radio personality recalls.

“Growing up, Jana Wendt [then host of A Current Affair and 60 Minutes was everything to me – and she was probably only in her 20s at the time.”

Despite the lack of a role-model figure, Amanda has managed to pave her own path and maintain a thriving long-term career.

“To now have a job in the media at 55 and be as busy as I am, I just never take that for granted,” Amanda says.

“We’re much more relaxed now on Australian television. We’ve broken down some of those barriers and are just being ourselves – not this stiff version of what we think we should be.

“Now, I just sound like a radio bogan!”

If you ask Amanda’s WSFM 101.7 co-host Brendan “Jonesy” Jones, she brings plenty of laughs, but is also a true professional.

“Amanda’s success is largely because of her versatility,” Jonesy, 49, says.

“And she’s not a prima donna. There’s also something cheeky about her; she seems to get away with murder.

“She’s certainly no ‘slacky pants’ when it comes to work either. And that’s the most important part of surviving in this business for as long as she has. I love working with her. It’s like I have a front seat at her one-woman show every day.”

For the moment, Amanda’s work plate is very full. The Living Room continues to have a loyal following, a role she juggles alongside her morning radio show on WSFM. Amanda manages both these commitments as well as being a wife to artist and producer husband Harley and mother of sons Liam, 16, and Jack, 14.

While the hours are incredibly long, Amanda describes the enjoyment of working on The Living Room as a “bubble of bliss”.

“At the beginning of every episode, when the boys rush in and we sit on the couch, I think, ‘How good is this?’” she says. “Every time we film that, I’m aware of how grateful I am.”

That said, Amanda is also aware there will come a day when she’s no longer up for the hustle.

“There will be a time when I’d rather walk the dog every morning than wake up at 4am – or just have a week with nothing in the diary,” she says. “But I’m not there yet.”

And someone who hopes that day is a very long way off is Amanda’s TLR co-host Dr Chris Brown.

“There’s no quicker wit in television than Amanda,” Chris, 39, says.

“Just as she lulls you into the comfort of The Living Room sofa with her warmth, empathy and natural curiosity for life, she unleashes a one-liner that drops you to the floor.

“But above all else, she’s a true friend. And something tells me her friendships are what she treasures the most.”

Read the full story in this week’s issue of TV WEEK.

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