Natural born Keller

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Anyone who said that age slows you down has never spoken to Amanda Keller.

An entire generation has grown up watching, listening and laughing with the girl who grew up in Annerley, and her new autobiography is full of ‘LOL’ moments as stories from her life are peppered with her own brand of humour.

Amanda started her career on the show that a whole generation remembers. ‘Simon Townsend’s Wonder World’.

She moved on to Beyond 2000 which took her around the world. She’s appeared on dozens of TV shows since those days including stints on The Midday Show, Talkin’ About Your Generation, Good News Week, Rove Live, Denton to name a few, and she’s still on TV every Friday night on Ten’s ‘The Living Room’. Yet the busy mum also manages to co-host the No.1 breakfast radio show in Sydney.

For someone with such a long career in the spotlight, her book was a long time in the making.

“I’ve been asked a couple of times before about writing a book, but I never felt the timing was right,” said Amanda. “But I think a lot of my friends like me, are in our early 50’s now.

We’ve done the baby thing, we’re dealing with our parents getting older and going into homes, so I felt the time was right to put down what had happened in my journey so far along with my thoughts on it all. It actually took a long time to write as you can imagine I really don’t have much spare time, and it took me ages to hand it in.

“I thought how do I write a book of my life to date and the editors suggested to break it up into the teen years, the beyond 2000 years…so I wrote it in little pods. I think a lot of my life has been lived with other people, and there’s a familiarity with my humour that I think we all have.”

Amanda’s first job in TV was as a researcher on Wonder World. Every single day she had to come up with two stories, and keep in mind this is the days before the internet. She remembers it one of the most manic, stressful jobs she’s ever had.

“It’s hard to tell if all TV was like that, as it was my first job so I’m not sure if I remember it that way due to that fact, and I’ve worked in other jobs that were also stressful…but on Wonder World I’d never had anything else to judge it by.

“I worked on the Midday Show and that never felt as stressful, but perhaps it was because I knew what I was doing by then. Some of the friends I made while on the set of Wonder World are still my best friends today. We had such an incredible worth ethic, but it wasn’t the easiest job.”

Amanda then went onto a role on the popular show ‘Beyond 2000’ (yes TV did exist back then kids), which took her around the world filming segments for the show which aired for a decade on our screens. Amanda spent six years travelling the world, spending six months of each year away from home. While it may sound glamorous, it wasn’t, but she came out of it with a list of incredible experiences. The nation started to see her sense of humour, and it was her good friend Andrew Denton we have to thank for getting her out of her shell.

“I’d worked on a science show, been a producer, researcher. A TV or studio audience sees you in a certain way, and here I was on the Denton show with someone who is a comic legend,” Amanda said. “Andrew wanted me to show a different side to my personality. I still see myself, even today as someone who is funny the same way my friends are, I’m sure it’s not unique, and it was hard in the beginning to accept myself, never mind expect an audience to see me as being appropriate for a comedy show.

“My passport says ‘Broadcaster’, because I don’t know which part of what I do to put on the form. People come up to me and say ‘I love your show’, but I don’t’ know which one they are referring to most of the time. It could be radio, it could be TV…but that’s a great thing. I’m in my fifties and involved in so many things. It’s such a privilege to be in that position.”

The life of a breakfast radio presenter begins at 3am, and Amanda describes what motivates her each morning.

“You never feel anything at 3am,” Amanda said. “What gets me out of bed changes every day, but I know that when my head is under that shower head, I feel like a human. I get to the office and the fun part of the day kicks in.

“But that alarm, no matter who you are is the saddest, hardest part of the day for everyone.”

The photos in her book are a trip through fashions of the 70’s through to today, something she finds hilarious.

“A few people have said I look better now than I did back then, but come on, the 80’s were SO unattractive! The shoulder pads, the big hair…EVERYONE looks better now than they did in the 1980’s!

“I feel sorry for young people now who have pressure on them to look good. I’m glad we never had to go through that, in the 80’s we all just did our own thing.”

Natural Born Keller is out now through Allen & Unwin