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Dancing With The Stars

EXCLUSIVE: Sunrise’s Sam Mac on fighting for his dreams while having a good laugh – even if it’s at his expense

''I'm unashamedly ambitious.''

By Tamara Cullen
At 12 years of age, Sam Mac created his own "formal" email address with the innocent intention of having a laugh with friends.
He was just a kid, unsure of who he wanted to become.
But serendipitously, his desire to entertain in that moment has become a critical reason for his success.
Upon joining Sunrise in 2016, Sam has uncovered his true talent – and it's not predicting the local forecast.
Sam uncovered his true talent upon joining Sunrise. (Image: Seven)
The jubilant weatherman has forged a genuine connection with the Australian public far and wide.
His past along with his passion for hearing stories and having a laugh recently collided when he placed an email address in his debut book Accidental Weatherman inviting feedback, criticism and conversation from readers.
The 12-year-old boy from Adelaide had come out to play.
"When I was young, I thought it would be cool to have a formal email name like "MrSamMacMillan" to make me sound like a businessman," Sam, 39, tells TV WEEK.
"Here I am, all these years later, using that for the same reason and it still works! I check that [reader] email every week.
"One thing I've learnt travelling around in this job is that you may only meet someone once and it should be a great experience for both of you. One of my joys is people coming up after the show and saying hello, telling me about themselves or simply asking me about my cats."
"I've learnt travelling around in this job is that you may only meet someone once." (Image: Seven)
Fans adoration for the presenter reached its crescendo in 2019 when he was nominated for the TV WEEK Gold Logie Award for Most Popular TV Personality.
The ceremony was the last one upheld before the pandemic outbreak and saw Tom Gleeson win the top honours.
Sam jokingly describes his extended reign as "one of the greatest injustices of our time."
"All of the scientists who are trying to find the cure or vaccine to end this pandemic, I think their motivation is to ensure that Tom doesn't go another year as champion!" he says.
As awards season rolls around, Sam could find himself among the nominees yet again – but this time, his resume is considerably larger and more impressive.
The self-boasted "quadruple threat" has become an author, tested his acting skills on Home and Away and even recorded music with The Wiggles – on top of his presenting gig.
The Sunrise weather man isn't afraid of being outwardly ambitious. (Image: Seven)
But Sam, who's "unashamedly ambitious" isn't finished yet and won't let anyone stand in his way.
"There's an Australian mentality to not talk yourself up or get ahead of yourself. When I chat to young people who ask me how they get into TV, I love that because I was that person," he says.
"I was on Home and Away last year and that's something I've always wanted to do. It might sound silly to some people but that was exciting. There are always people who are going to criticise. But the loudest ones are often those on the sidelines doing bugger all."
While his wish list includes hosting a primetime show and writing a children's book, Sam's next venture is set to be showstopper as he prepares to "revolutionize dance" on Dancing With The Stars: All Stars.
Sam, who joins as a wild card entry, joins the likes of singer Ricki-Lee Coulter, actress Bridie Carter and The Morning Show co-host Kylie Gillies.
But does Sam have what it takes to win the mirror ball trophy? He certainly thinks so – well, sort of.
"I may not be the best technical dancer and I rarely remember the choreography, but I will entertain!" he jokes. "Just by stepping onto the floor, I've won because I've shared my gift – yes, it's a gift – with the world [laughs]."
While Sam's enthusiasm is brighter than the sequinned costumes under a glimmering mirror ball, he admits the training regime was brutal.
"You're using muscles you didn't know existed," he says of the gruelling practice sessions.
"It's physically tough but also mentally challenging because there's so many steps to remember and you have to connect with your dance partner, the song and the audience, all in the space of 1 minute 30 seconds!"
"There's an Australian mentality to not talk yourself up or get ahead of yourself." (Image: Supplied)
But eventually, hard work does pay off. Sam says his mum Loretta is "probably more excited about me doing DWTS than anything else I've ever done in my career", and he's fighting fit.
Meanwhile his partner and stylist Rebecca James, whom he met via social media, is there for moral support.
"Bec said what I do made her feel something she hasn't felt before – I think it was nausea!" Sam says with a laugh. "
But I'm feeling good. I found one ab muscle – just one out of six - but you gotta start somewhere!"
As Sam, who will be dancing to raise awareness for Sydney Dogs and Cats Homes, continues to seek out the next adventure, he's acutely aware of how life has changed around the world.
Sam met his girlfriend on Instagram through a mutual friend. (Image: Instagram)
He believes we have to do what's right for our mental health and be there to start conversations and listen.
And as he always has, find good humour everyday.
"I've made some beautiful connections with people," he says. "There's so much more than what we see. Just talking to people you care about and who care about you is a great way to progress. Face-to-face is always the best option, but through the pandemic we've learnt that Facetimes and Zoom are helpful ways to connect. And then there's the old school phone call – who would've thought of that?"
Then again, there's always email…
Dancing With the Stars, Sunday, 7.30pm, Channel Seven and Sunrise, weekdays, 6am, Channel Seven.

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