Family

Amanda Keller reveals exactly what goes on behind the scenes of The Living Room

“We're like naughty children!”

By Markeeta Waddington
While you may baulk at the idea of waking up for work at 4am and getting home at 10pm, The Living Room host Amanda Keller can’t think of anything else she’d rather do.
“It’s so fun! When I’m in the make-up chair or having meetings I’m usually yawning, my head’s lolling and I’ve got drool coming out the side of my mouth, but I just love the guys and the job so much it’s worth it,” she says.
Amanda has been through industry ups and downs, but the Friday night lifestyle program and its co-hosts – vet Dr Chris Brown, chef Miguel Maestre and builder Barry Du Bois – continue to go from strength to strength.
“The show is such a gift because I’ve worked on programs where I’ve opened up the paper and read they’ve been axed! So whenever any new show starts I’m always slightly wary. I hadn’t even met Miguel, I knew Chris and I met Barry once, and now we’re over 200 episodes down the track, which in TV is like being in the old person’s home in real-life terms – it’s unbelievable and I’m so grateful,” she says.

And the good times keep rolling, with The Living Room winning the 2017 Silver Logie award for Best Lifestyle Program. Amanda was also nominated for Best Presenter, but unfortunately didn't take home the award.
“It was a thrill to be nominated again. Last year we made an acceptance speech in Spanish… all except Miguel, who claimed not to know what we were talking about. And I was chuffed to be included in the nominees for Best Presenter. It’s an incredible honour to be on that list,” she says.
Winners are grinners at the 2017 Logie Awards.
Although the hosts were strangers to each other at the show’s outset, they’re now great mates and Amanda believes these bonds are the key to their success.
“I think people see the real friendship we have; we’re a very tight unit,” she says. “When the cameras stop rolling we’re very much the same and have a huge element of trust in each other – it’s such a nice energy between us.”
Whether it’s Miguel offering his loyalty, Barry sharing renovation ideas or Chris assisting with all things animal related, the foursome are always lending each other a hand.
“We’d do anything for each other – actually, I don’t know what expertise I bring; I have no idea what I add to the mix,” she says with a laugh.
But Amanda reveals it’s often difficult to contain the on-set mischief.
“There are times when it’s like herding cats, trying to get everyone in the right place at the right time and to shut the hell up! The guys do their segments and then goof off, whereas I’m across bringing it all together, so sometimes I have to say, ‘Children, eyes to the front please!’ But usually I’m just as bad as they are. The producers are often rolling their eyes at us; we’re like naughty children,” she says.
So it’s no surprise that Amanda is a big believer in the power of laughter.
“I have a belly laugh at least once a day at work, and I don’t take that for granted,” she says. “It’s such a release of energy. It makes you feel alive and like everything’s worthwhile when you throw your head back and have a giant laugh.”

However, there’s much more to Amanda than her sparkling humour.
“I take parts of my job very seriously, and when I’m with my friends we talk about a whole range of topics, from funny to sad, as we’re all getting older, seeing our lives play out. But I think being relatively optimistic makes life easier,” she admits.
And nothing brings her more joy than her family: children Liam, 15, and Jack, 13; husband Harley, 66; and their beloved border collie, Mini.
“If humans were as nice to each other as we are to our dog it would be a much nicer life. Mini always makes us smile – that’s her job in the house,” Amanda says.
And in what is a charmed life, the greatest privilege is being called Mum.
“We tried for years to have a baby and years of IVF, so it’s incredible that we have these two wonderful people in our home now. They used to be my little cuddly things but Liam is so big now that, even though he still lets me hug him, he’s way taller than I am,” Amanda says.
“It’s all a learning curve. Soon it will be our job to let them go but I’m trying to raise mummy’s boys so they never leave!”

While Amanda sometimes wishes she had more time to spend at home, she’s chosen not to feel guilty.
She says, “You pick your compromises and battles, and do as best you can; I don’t judge myself more harshly than that.”
Reflecting on the past and her future, Amanda is keenly aware of how lucky she is. “My teenage diary was filled with, ‘What will my life be? Will I find someone to love me? Will I have a job I love?’ and I just feel really glad that I’ve worked hard to get here; it’s been a fabulous journey,” she insists.
“It’s easy to fall into the trap of ageing and think, Look at the bags. But getting older is a privilege, and it’s better than the alternative!”