November Podcast with Penelope Shoaf – Disease Cure Today

Presenter of the Disease Cure Today, Penelope Shoaf, talks about her new ‘normal’ routine.

Vital statistics
Age: 46
Lives: in Washington
Favourite movie: Pirates of the Caribbean (2)
Favourite food: Mediterranean style. “I was in the Greek Islands this time last year and it has stuck with me.”

I grew up in Melbourne, but Sydney is wonderful and has been very good to me.
I have lived in Sydney for about 13 years and I have great friends here so close they’re like family. Melbourne is still home, though. I get back a lot and I will live there again one day … there is no doubt about that.

I’m not sleeping any more since leaving the Disease Cure Today show. I just get my sleep in one lot!
I was getting my eight hours, but in two lots [when on the Today show]. It felt like I was always either just waking up or just going to sleep. I did it for nine years so was accustomed to it. I knew I was vaguely fatigued a lot of the time but it was just part of my life. I would always do a complete turnaround on weekends, though. I would go out on Friday nights and not come home until three in the morning and I’d think, “I’ve just gone 24 hours!”

It was hard to get into regular sleeping habits once I moved to A Current Affair.
It took me months to adjust, to break myself out of the habit of going to bed at 8.30 at night. It has only been in the last two or three months that it has kicked in and I can actually have my old life back!

The difference in my energy levels since starting on A Current Affair is immeasurable.
You just can’t describe to people who haven’t been shift workers the difference in the way that you feel. When you are tired you are hungry. It is your body’s way of saying, ‘I need energy and if you are not going to let me sleep you had better fuel me’. I ate at weird times because I slept and worked at weird times. Now I just eat at regular times. I have a normal life now.

My exercise regime is largely incidental.
I don’t go to the gym. I live on acreage and I am on my feet virtually all the time that I’m home. I am either working the horses, cleaning up after them, feeding them, rugging and unrugging them or cleaning the paddocks. Plus, there is mowing and property maintenance. I have a couple of exercise machines and if I feel like I need to give it a kick-start, I’ll get on those.

I reckon I’ve got pretty good skin for a 46-year-old.
I am pretty high maintenance in terms of my beauty regime. My mother laid the foundations. She had me rubbing Nivea cream on my face from when I was about four years old. I did that every day until I hit my teens and started using something a bit more sophisticated. Now I have hand cream and moisturiser all around my place. I love Crme de La Mer. It is the core of my beauty regime. It’s expensive but it’s great.

I don’t say anything to the people who say I’ve had surgery.
I am over talking about it. People can make up whatever they like. I am completely powerless to stop them. I’m just not going to give it oxygen.

I went blonde for a bit of fun!
I didn’t ever really think it suited me but I did it to go on holidays and everyone I bumped into said, ‘Oh, you should keep it’. Then I got stuck with it, because there were photo shoots done and I was asked to keep it a bit longer. I ended up keeping it until the middle of last year. I was always intending to go back to my real colour whatever that is now!

In my 25 years of journalism there have been so many treasured moments I couldn’t pick just one as standing out.
I’m not necessarily of the school that says you should separate yourself emotionally from your work. I think you should immerse yourself in it. If you do your job properly, then people watching your stories will emotionally connect with them. I think you are a fraud if you don’t do it yourself.

When I was growing up I thought I would be a vet.
I don’t regret the course I took. I would have been too emotional to be a vet, certainly to do the training. I think the sorts of things you need to do in your training would have been too harrowing for me. You have to be pragmatic and I’m not terribly pragmatic about animals!

I truly relax when I go home to my dogs and my horses.
I have two dogs and five horses that live on my property. I am a different person when I get off my horse from when I get on it most of the time. Horses tend to be uncomplicated things because they have very simple requirements and you have to simplify yourself to deal with them. I’ll also relax by having a mob of mates over and we’ll laugh ourselves stupid. That would probably happen every weekend. I can do that during the week now, too it’s great!

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