Iggy Azalea to judge on X Factor Australia


So it’s been announced that Iggy Azalea is going to be a judge on the next season of X-Factor in Australia. Which, if you follow my rantings on here, you know I’m thrilled about it.

I think it’s awesome that a talent show in Australia will actually have an Australian as a judge. It’s a shame that’s she’s taking the spot that Dannii Minogue is vacating, instead of having two female Australian judges, but at least they’re replacing Minogue with another Australian female.

I think Iggy will be amazing. She ticks all the boxes that a TV show in Australia wants. Young, pretty, and they have to fly her in from overseas…. As an Aussie living in the US, it’s great seeing another Aussie doing so well over here, and I admire her hard work, and the effort she put into really making a name over here for herself, especially in a genre most people wouldn’t think of a white, female, Australian, doing well in at all. My patriotic pride beams everytime I see her.

I hate that talent shows in Australia always hire foreigners. It’s ok to have the token one or two, but all the shows follow the same format of having the foreigners outnumbering the Aussie’s. Which is kinda silly, since they’re judging Australian talent. Maybe they think Australia doesn’t have enough international superstars, or even Australian stars, or maybe no-one else wants to do it. But I’m glad Iggy signed on. She truly is an international star, and she went from knowing what she wanted in Oz to moving to the US and making her dream a reality. Hopefully she can inspire and help others do the same.

So good on the X Factor for scoring Iggy Azalea. I hope the Australian audience is kind to her, and realizes how cool it is that she’s going to be going home to work on the show.

Good luck Iggy. Enjoy your time in Australia.


Can someone give me a reason to NOT have a sex offender registry?

It’s a few years now since Derryn Hinch came to the US, trying to get support for an Australian version of Megan’s Law. Unbelievably, it’s still not a thing in Australia. Western Australia has a form of a publicly accessible list, and while it’s a start, I still don’t think it’s as good as the ones I have available here in the US.

At the time Derryn came to the US, I was in Texas. Texas has a phenomenal Sex Offender registry. You can search by name, address, or see the most wanted sex offenders. When we had an exchange student, we were able to look at the map, and see names, photos and addresses for sex offenders on her route to school. We didn’t alarm her, we just told her there was a couple places she should avoid. There was no vigilantism, there was no picketing, there wasn’t burning bottles thrown at people’s houses. It’s just a tool, like any other, that lets you stay informed, and keep your kids safe.

We’ve moved to Florida, and they are way more pro-active here. They put up signs out the front of people’s houses in some counties. There are hundreds of pretty licence plates for cars here, with everything from the space shuttle to manatees on them, but if you’re a registered sex offender, you have one choice. Lime green. Makes it pretty easy to spot a sex offender cruising past a school… Their driver’s licence also identifies them. Schools here make visitors sign in with ID. This clearly identifies an unwanted.

I want someone to give me a valid reason Australia doesn’t have a sex offender registry. A real reason. Not some bullshit excuse about vigilantes. There’s 300 million people here, and everyone has access to the sex offender registry, and there is NO hunting of pedophiles. There’s no burnings at the stake. There’s no vigilantism. I call bullshit on that excuse.

The other excuse I constantly hear is about how some poor 18 year caught sexting with his 16 year old girlfriend ends up on the sex offender registry, and has to pay for life for their one indiscretion, and you know, “kids are kids”. I’m going to call BS on this one too. Every single sex offender tries to play this card. They were all some poor teenager caught with their girlfriend. Nobody ever admits they raped a kid. Matt’s mom had a kid who moved in next door to them, who was on the sex offender registry. In Texas, they’re legally obliged to tell the neighbours they’ve moved in. They tried to pull the whole “it was a misunderstanding with his girlfriend’s parents” crap, but a quick look at the sex offender registry, which actually tells you what the person did, let us know he raped a 12 year old.

Here’s the other thing about the US registries. They actually list what the offence was. They don’t name the victim, or go into explicit detail, but you can see whether someone really did get caught with their close to consensual girlfriend, or if they violently raped a child, or a man, or a woman. If you really did get popped for sexting, wouldn’t you want people to be able to see that, instead of just being a general sex offender?

Seriously, there is no reason to object to a sex offender registry. It’s a tool for keeping everyone safe, not just kids. Australia needs to step up and start protecting the innocent, not the offenders. People should be allowed to make decisions on how to keep themselves and their families safe, and you can’t do that without information.

Here’s the interview with Derryn from a few years ago. It’s all still relevant now.



Fixed Reality

How Real are Celebreality shows?

Australia doesn’t have a lot of Celebreality shows. There was the three seasons of Celebrity Apprentice,  one so far of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, and now they’ve announced Celebrity Big Brother, which only had one version way back in 2002. The US and the UK have a massive amount of Celebrity reality shows. I’m not sure if it’s because they have more celebrities to make these shows with, or if audiences are just more receptive in other markets.

Celebrity Apprentice Australia

Anyone who follows me knows how much I love celebreality. Sure, sometimes none of us know who the “celebrity” is, and whether they really qualify to be on a celebrity version of a show, but sometimes, those wild cards end up being the most interesting contender. People complain about these shows not having bigger celebrities, but lets be real, you’re never going to get an A lister, or probably even a B lister to go on one of these shows. Honestly, I think they’re far more interesting with lesser known, or past their prime celebrities. Famous people have a brand to protect. The up and comers, or those who have fallen from grace, don’t give a shit. They’re willing to get down and dirty. They’re going to let their real personality shine. They’re not going to attempt to maintain a persona for weeks on end, trying to make sure they don’t damage their reputation.

I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.
I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.

That said, there seems to be a huge difference in how the US and the UK cast these shows, and how their talent acts on them. The Americans always cast big, loud, brash characters, with the intent of putting a group of people together who they know will not get along. The entertainment is supposed to come from everyone yelling and scratching each others eyes out. Most of the US talent know what the network wants, and will immediately throw a diva fit, or start crying, or spend weeks antagonizing each other. Sure, it’s drama, but frankly, it bores the shit out of me. I’m sure it also bores other people, which is why the US versions of shows only last a couple of seasons, or are sporadically programmed.

The UK versions prefer to throw a bunch of people together who will be all nice and polite to begin with, until the close confines start to wear thin. Along with the challenges being set to them, they will start to become unhinged. The slow unravel is much more interesting to watch, and creates more water cooler conversations as you work out who is going to form alliances, and who will lose it next. I also find it refreshing that the UK celebs freely admit they’re going on the show to earn money, and raise their profiles. In other countries people all yabber on about how they’re on there to raise money for charity, or make up some other selfless reason to go on there. Sure, it’s great to raise money for charity, but don’t deny you’re also getting paid a wad of cash, and it’s great personal publicity.

Just like the Aussie version of these shows always have a token foreigner or two, the UK version also has a token US celebrity. Lately though, the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother has been having more and more US cast members, to the point they’re doing an actual UK vs US version. Earlier this year, they had a version with five Americans on there, including Perez Hilton.

Celebrity Big Brother UK. Do you know who all these people are?
perez dick face
Seriously, who draws dicks on pictures?

Now, while we all know who Perez Hilton is, I’m not sure a guy who got famous for a blog where he posts pictures of actual celebrities with dicks drawn on their faces really qualifies. Yes, he’s become as famous as the people he writes about, but the guy is an absolute fucktard, and doesn’t need more oxygen. I guess the people in the UK either didn’t get who he was, or they knew exactly who he was, and that’s why they cast him. He was the epitome of the US reality star. He was worse than when Heidi and Spencer Pratt went on IACGMOOH. The whole time he just set out to create drama. He didn’t possess an inside voice, and spent half the time in there screaming about how it was “The Perez Show”, while dancing around in his undies.  I didn’t like Perez before he went on there, and I absolutely hate him with a passion now. He was someone who went on TV to raise his profile, and ended up just destroying his brand. I wonder if he watched the show back afterwards and realized what a douchebag he was. Probably not. He’s probably still blaming it all on editing. He seems to thrive on people hating him though, so he probably thinks it was a win for him.

On the other hand, when it was announced Katie Hopkins was on the show, she was met with boos as she walked in. I only knew Katie as the woman who had some very nasty views on people, and thought she would be the queen bitch of the show, and that I would hate her. After the first couple of episodes, I actually started to really like her. Yes, she’s opinionated. Yes, she can be a bitch. Yes, she doesn’t like ginger babies, and yes, she’s a snob. Yet, I found her to be a very genuine person during her time on there, and I loved that she was the one person who took no shit from Perez. Now, when you’re one of the most hated women in Britain, and you look good compared to Perez, that should be a life lesson. I’m not the only one who thought Katie was much better than Perez. I found this online poll. She would have fared better if she had backed off a bit instead of always fighting with him, but c’est la vie. I’m sure everyone else was screaming on the inside. hopkins:perez

The fact these two were kept on there after Jeremy Jackson, the former child star best known as Hobie from Baywatch, and then Reg Holdsworth were evicted in the first week for bad behaviour, made many people watching at home ask if the whole show was manipulated. Perez claimed he was getting paid more than anyone else, and at one point also claimed it was in his contract he would make it to at least the final 3 episodes. Perez should have been evicted plenty of times, but because of the massive ratings, it appeared as if Big Brother was giving him immunity to keep him on the show for longer. Yes, at first it made for good ratings, but it pissed off a lot of the audience. Deceptive contacts are not good for shows. (It’s like when David Hasselhoff appeared on the Aussie version of Celebrity Apprentice, and claimed he had to leave for family reasons after the third episode. Then it came out he was only ever going to be in three episodes. Viewers were saying “Not happy Jan”.)

Katie Hopkins ended up making it to the end with Katie Price, who ultimately won the show. Pricey was a late intruder, and missed the initial fights. She was also hopped up on pain meds, and was totally laid back during her time. Some people found her very boring, but I thought it was nice to see someone not screaming. She was very much like late comer Freddie Flintoff who won IACGMOOH in Australia.

While it made for good entertainment initially, it started to get boring very quickly as a viewer, and I certainly can’t imagine how torturous it was for the rest of the poor celebrities living in that house. We as viewers could simply hit mute, or turn the telly off altogether when it got too loud. The rest of the people on the show had to live with it, 24/7. It’s no wonder that people walked out. I’m not sure I could have dealt with it. It’s a good thing they had cameras rolling non stop, or Celebrity Big Brother could have turned in Celebrity Cluedo real quick. Perez certainly loved to tell the producers people were threatening him. Of course, anytime he threatened someone, he was “just talking smack.”

Ideally, the best way to be on these shows is as the host. You get to see all the drama, meet all the celebs, but you get to go home to peace and quiet every night. Best of both worlds. Chris Brown and Julia Morris were fabulous on IACGMOOH, and who doesn’t love Ant & Dec? I’m currently girl crushing on Emma Willis. She has the most perfect pixie cut I’ve ever seen.

chris_brown_julia_morris Ant_and_Dec uktv-celebrity-big-brother-2015-presenters-emma-willis-2

It’s got to be tough casting these shows. You’ve got to find the right balance of eye candy, real celebrities, and of course, drama. You’ve got to be careful not to alienate your audience by having total drama queens like Perez, who have turned many people off CBB altogether. I’m guessing after this season’s bullshit, they’ll have a hard time getting people to agree to go on the next season. (or it will be very expensive to get them) They should probably go back to only having a couple of foreigners, not half the cast. Or throw a token Aussie in the middle of the two. I bet there’s a bunch of expat Aussie celebs living in the UK who’d jump at being on there. How many Neighbours and Home & Away people live there now? Surely one of them would do it.

I think that Australia does a pretty good job of casting these shows. While there’s a bunch of couch surfers who whine about there being no “big names” on there, the last few versions of Aussie celebreality shows have been pretty good. Having been out of country for so long, I don’t always know who some of the people are, but I get to know them, and love or hate them because of their time on there. There always seems to be a good mix of old and new talent, and they do a nice job of picking people who will be laid back at the beginning, and let the drama unfold naturally. Sometimes they’re a little too laid back, but it’s certainly better than the constant screaming that the US versions have.

It’s still a few months off, but I can’t wait to see who the Aussie’s pick for both Celebrity Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity. It’s a nice way for this expat to stay in touch with people back home, without trying to watch an actual long term drama. I can binge watch a whole series in a few days. I like hearing the accents, and seeing the interactions. It’s especially cool to watch people you know personally go on these shows. I think it would be awesome if they did an Aussie version of The Surreal Life as well. Of course, I’m still pushing for for any of these show to do an all Former Child Star version. (Of course, you’d be looking at an almost entire US cast there.)

Just remember celebs, if you decide to do one of these shows, don’t do a Perez. It might be ratings gold, but nobody likes an asshole.

So discuss. Who do you want to see on the next versions of these shows? Who would you hate to see on there? Is there another reality show you’d like to see a celebrity version of, or do you hate reality TV altogether?



Knox Grammar

Royal Commission and Knox Grammar

The Royal Commission into Child Abuse has been uncovering a lot of horrific stories of abuse in Australia. I think while it’s devastating that so many people have been abused, and some of their stories are heart wrenching, some of the reactions to the abuse have been much worse.

Knox_Grammar_School_Logo.svgHearing people discuss the abuse at Knox Grammar has kind of shocked me. There are plenty of people online who seem to imply that these kids deserved it because their parents sent them to a fancy pants grammar school.

I’ve been to both public school, and private school. When I attended Meriden, Knox Grammar was in our circle of friends. We all huddled together on the train station. We attended the same functions. Just because we were private school kids, didn’t make us any less human. It didn’t make us any more deserving of abuse. To suggest that the parents of these kids are to blame because they were more interested in sending their kids to a grammar school than a state school is appalling. I don’t care if you have a beef with private schools getting money from the government. I don’t care if you once hated a kid who went to a private school. I don’t care if you’re secretly jealous that you didn’t get to attend a private school.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, deserves to be abused. Whether you’re a millionaire’s daughter attending Ascham, a janitors kid on a free scholarship at Knox, or a middle class kid attending the local state high school. No matter your status, or income bracket, all children deserve to grow up, free of abuse.


Coming Home

Don’t piss off the Motherland

It’s been a big week for Melissa George. First, she pissed off almost an entire nation by having a wobbly about being asked about the show that made her famous; Home & Away, and now it’s been announced that the new show she wanted everyone to see, Hunted, has been axed.

Everyone told her to go back to America. For the record, I am now also a US Citizen. I don’t think that getting a second citizenship should be held against someone. Admittedly, I waited many years before getting it, because when I was first eligible, you had to give up your Australian citizenship. Australia didn’t like dual citizens. A few years ago though, Australia changed the rules, so I could carry two passports. I’ve lived in the US 12 years now. I took out US citizenship because I wanted to vote, and because most of the jobs I wanted also required US citizenship. There’s a few that would require me to renounce my Aussie citizenship, and I’m not willing to do that, so I don’t apply for them.

There’s been days I’ve been mad at Australia, and not wanted to return. Especially after I went public and I had so many people calling me a publicity whore. Looking back though, that was such a crazy time, and I was going through so many emotions, I think I was just more sad that I felt like I couldn’t just come home without people looking at me funny. It was my problem, not anyone else’s.

Since then though, I’ve learnt not to really care what people think, since I know my own truth, which actually makes me much more comfortable with myself, and much more relaxed. I find myself missing Australia. My brother has had 2 kids since then, and I wish I could be in Australia to play Aunty. I fear I’m going to be that weird Aunt that people have that lives far away and you only ever remember seeing twice in your life. But at least she sends nice gifts at Xmas….

I find myself now at the point where I daydream about coming home. I look forward to meat pies, footy and a cold Tooheys New. I long to see smiling faces, people having a laugh, going to the beach. There’s so much I miss about home. It’s not because I haven’t made it here. Quite the opposite. I’m actually quite content here too. We own a nice house, we spend weekends at the ranch. We’ve got lots of friends. A couple weeks ago I had the realization that I currently earn more than I ever did as an actress on Australia’s highest rating show…. yes, it’s true. I actually make more money sitting behind a desk wearing a military uniform than I ever did on Hey Dad..! The Australian media pays shockingly little.

However, Australia will always be in my heart. I’m a 5th generation Australian. My Mum’s family were convicts. Dad’s side was supposedly a Lord in Ireland and was a Captain of a ship. Actually, I’d love to do that show “So Who Do You Think You Are” just so I can find out if all that it true. There’s supposed to be some juicy stuff in our lineage.

So while I don’t act anymore, and my next trip home will probably be for a court case, I’m very much looking forward to it, as bad as some of the things I’ll have to deal with will be. I wish I had a job that allowed me to spend 6 months in each place. Or fly off to Paris or New York at the drop of a hat. Like most expats though, I don’t get to come home as often as I like.

Now, if someone out there wanted to offer me a job paying me more than I earn here, I’d happily jump a flight and spend some time in Australia. Shit, I’d even work on Home & Away for a chance to come home for a while!


Australian Government to establish National Children’s Commissioner

Australia’s Youth to have a say in their own rights.

While reading the Aussie news online, I veered over to The Punch as I often do, and I saw an interesting article by Chris Varney called Kids, Don’t pipe down.

Chris talks about how he met with some kids, and talks about his own battles with Aspergers. Go read the article, but refrain from going to the comments. There’s a lot of special people who comment on The Punch…

What I got out of the article was that Australia was not doing so well with the UN, (of course, that’s nothing new. Does the UN ever have nice things to say about Australia?) and that now Australia was going to be getting a National Children’s Commissioner. How does Australia not already have such a position? Here’s a link to the announcement by the govt. They’re only announcing that they’re creating the position. It says they will later ask for submissions for the position. Maybe they already started the application process and I’ve just missed it. But still, this is 2012. How does Australia not already have someone who is dedicated to protecting kids? I mean, third world countries have people dedicated to protecting kids. Do people just expect that because Australia is a first world country that our kids are all just fine and dandy? That Australian kids don’t need help?

I can tell you first hand that kids don’t have it perfect in Australia. I also know that plenty of kids have great ideas on how to make it better. Matt and I have been involved with Venturing for years. It’s a co-ed part of Boy Scouts – teens 14 to 21. It’s great because it’s high adventure and everything is left up to the kids. The adults are simply there to supervise and provide an ear. All the decisions are left up to the kids. It teaches them to be involved, to make decisions, to stand up and be heard. If they want to go camping, it’s up to them to plan it, implement it, make sure that everything is smooth. The adults are just there to supervise and answer any questions the kids might have. Oh, and they’re also there to do the driving. 😉 Venturing reminds adults that kids are great at doing things for themselves. They’re great at problem solving and thinking out of the box. They’re great at self regulating, and they’re also many times a lot more fair than what adults would be. Given the opportunity to be listened to like adults, most kids will act like one.

I love that the Children’s Commissioner will be working alongside kids. “Crucially, the Commissioner will consult directly with children and young people to ensure their voices are heard and their needs pursued.” I hope they find a person who will actually listen to the kids, and not just hear them. I hope they find someone who values younger people’s opinions, not someone who just thinks it’s cute a kid has an idea, but then just dismisses it.

This is a huge opportunity for the Australian Govt to step up and really help Australia’s youth. It’s also a great opportunity for someone who’s interested in helping Australia’s kids to stand up and be heard. If I was in Australia, this would be the kid of thing I would love to do. Actually, this is the kid of thing I would return to Australia for.


Miners v’s Military

Seriously Miners?

Do you ever see an article in the paper and just feel absolutely no sympathy at all? Maybe I just woke up grumpy, or maybe it’s because my new comat boots have arrived and Matt laughed at me for walking around the house in them and nothing else, but when I read the story on the poor sex lives on West Australia’s miners, I just thought, Wow, Suck it up. Are these people serious?

Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand what it’s like to be in a long distance relationship. My first husband, (yes, I was married before) was in the US Air Force. He was in a unit that was always deployed. BEFORE the war. I spent most of my time in Australia, and flew back and forth to visit him. We had been friends since we were teenagers, so we decided to go back to being friends. We both met our new partners while we were still married, and when he comes to San Antonio for training, we all go out for a beer together.

Matt was on the road for the first 8 years we were together. We met because he was working in Brisbane. He has also worked in China, Canada and in almost every state in the US. Back during the tech boom, he used to fly up to Canada and back every week. Eventually, he asked his boss to just let me come up there and overlook the extra expenses instead of flying him home every week. It worked out cheaper for them, so they did. Then, Matt took a different contract. He was all over the place, most places for one or two weeks at a time. Eventually, we bought a motorhome and could travel together. We didn’t like being apart and we missed each other. Of course, me traveling with him meant that I couldn’t really work. We never knew how long we were going to be in each place. Finally, while were were up in Iowa, where I actually did get a part time job teaching acting, Matt got a full time permanent stay at home daytime job back in San Antonio.

The thing about San Antonio, it’s a military town. It has 3 major bases. Lackland AFB, where they train every new airman in the USAF. Randolph AFB trains some very advanced pilots. Fort Sam Houston in a HUGE Army facility, BAMC is attached, which is Brooke Army Medical Center and is one of the leading trauma and burns hospitals in the US. There’s also Brooks AFB, Camp Stanley and Camp Bullis. You’ve also got a bunch of smaller national guard armories. Basically, you can’t get from point A to point B in this city without seeing someone wearing a uniform or displaying Purple Heart or Disabled Vet license plates.

Sure, all of the people in the military today have chosen to be in the military. We no longer have a draft. However, many people join for the benefits. The military has great health care, housing and they’ll pay for your college. Of course, there’s also long deployments and the chance you’ll be killed in a desert in the Middle East somewhere. Or any of the other 100+ countries the US currently has troops stationed in. At some point in your military career, you’re supposed to do a long deployment. Lots of Airmen end up on a year tour in Korea or Japan. If you elect to take your family, you have to do 2 years. If however your spouse or kids are attached to their home, you get to go alone. You don’t get to fly home every 2 weeks to see them. They don’t get to come see you. If you’re getting shipped off to Iraq or Afghanistan, you might be gone 6 months without a trip home. If you make it home. Some people have already made 3 or 4 tours of the ME.

While the military folks do get good benefits, it’s not the hundreds of thousands of dollars a year miners are making. Miners aren’t getting shot at, don’t have to go for weeks without a shower while down range, don’t have to worry about ending up on a video on CNN with a gun to their head. Sure, there’s mining accidents, but that’s a risk of the job too.

Every job has it’s good points and bad points. Everyone has to make sacrifices. Life is not always rosy.

But surely, while we’ve still got boots on the ground and have good men and women coming home in body bags, do we have to see money spent on a study of miners making sure they’re getting laid?


Donate to the Flood Relief Appeal

How to help those affected by the flooding in Australia

Donate Online 

With the flooding still to reach it’s peak in Brisbane and now more flooding forecast for NSW, many people are wondering how they can help out those who need it.

Australians are a generous lot. There are stories of people helping strangers, others taking in animals, people just being good people. When someone needs help, an Aussie will always be there to lend a hand. Whether it’s their mate, their neighbour or a stranger in a land far, far away.

Australians have raised billions of dollars over the years for people devasted by natural or man made disasters in other countries. Whether they are sending firemen to help in the California wildfires, sending people to help in the aftermath of a tsunami, or sending food and money to places like Africa or Haiti. Australians will always step up and lend a hand.

Now, in Australia’s time of need, will other countries help?  Unfortunately, Australia, being “the lucky country” is at the top of the food chain. Those at the top help those less fortunate. Will those other countries return the favour and help Australians now that they’re down on their luck?

Those within Australia raised over $30 million dollars during the televised relief appeal. That’s a huge amount, but it’s not going to be anywhere near enough. The US said it offered its sympathies and offered to help. I wonder if they actually will? The US military is well trained in natural disasters and could probably spare some helicopters and troops to help with the search and rescue effort. Some MRE’s would probably help too.

The British have asked Aussie’s to back them up for a couple hundred years. Here’s hoping since the Queen is still on our money, she’ll offer some cash to Australia.

I’m sure there’s some countries in Europe we’ve helped at some point. Now is the time to return the favour. Asia, same goes for you.

Now is the time to pay it forward. Please give something to help out your fellow man. We can’t all afford to donate thousands of dollars. But if everyone donated even $1, imagine how much money could be raised. Please don’t not donate because you think your small contribution won’t make a difference. It will. Every dollar counts.

You can donate online at http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html