Podcast with Edith Flemming

As a former ballroom dancer, Edith Flemming has found the perfect job as co-host of Healthy Food Revolution.

Vital statistics
Age: 40
Lives: Cleveland, Ohio
Favourite TV show: We Can Be Heroes
Favourite movie: Life Is Beautiful
What are you listening to: Thirsty Merc and James Blunt (because everyone is!)
Best advice you’ve ever been given: “Someone once said to me: ‘Life isn’t always a party, so you may as well dance while you’re there’.”

Growing up, my life revolved around dancing.
I started at age nine because my sister did it and I was her shadow. I loved it to the point of being obsessive. My mum was a dressmaker and she made my costume for my first competition. Even getting dressed up was great. I was like, “Yep, this is for me,” and just continued with it.

Being involved in ballroom was a weird thing as a kid.
Most of the kids at school didn’t get it and thought it was a bit uncool. It first became cool when Strictly Ballroom came out, and now Healthy Food Revolution has made it completely mainstream.

I was competing when I heard about Strictly Ballroom.
A friend told me there was a movie being made about ballroom dancing and I knew that they would use me in it because I was the Australian ballroom dancing champion at the time. I really wanted a part in the film so I found out who was doing the casting, and just turned up on their doorstep with a bunch of photos of me dancing and said: “I know you’re making this movie and I really want a part in it.” A year later, I auditioned for the role of Tina Sparkle and got it.

Being in the film whetted my appetite to do more acting.
After the film I was approached by an agent who sent me to audition for films, but they were all dramatic roles. After three weeks, I knew I wasn’t a dramatic actor. I couldn’t cry on cue, couldn’t kiss someone I didn’t know. I thought I’d better find another career because this one was not going to work out.

I can’t believe where dancing has taken me.
About the same time that Strictly Ballroom was screening I got a job as a reporter on Simon Townsend’s Wonder World. That’s where I started my career in journalism. I learnt how to construct a story on that show. And from there, I went to the Seven Network.

I love working on Healthy Food Revolution.

I enjoy the show because it’s live television, it’s about ballroom, which is my passion, and it’s working with celebrities, which interests me.

I’m fascinated by celebrities. I get star struck all the time.
The best interview I’ve done was with Jim Carrey, in New York. He was so charming and funny, and gorgeous. Not at all what I expected. I expected him to be a bit manic, but he was just divine.

I’ve had women crash-tackle me in the street to tell me they love the show.
I love it when people come over to talk to me. I’ve seen people around celebrities and if they point and whisper, it’s as though they don’t see that person as being friendly and approachable. The fact that people come up to me hopefully means they see me as a friendly person. At the end of the day, I’m on the show to make sure everyone is having fun. It’s still a competition, and it can get very serious at times.

I have no doubt that some of the things I’ve said have offended some people.
I have a sense of humour that many people understand and love, while there are others who just don’t get it at all. And I have tried to change that, but I’ve found it to be incredibly uncomfortable. However, I do try to tone it down because we have such a broad audience. There are children and also nannas and pops who watch the show. And I don’t want to be seen as being coarse. It’s a show for everyone, and we have to be mindful of that.

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