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Five minutes with Chrissie Swan

Get tips from one of Australia's most loved TV and radio personalities

Top tips

  • Better to have less and be authentic than the alternative
  • Every day is a new adventure
  • You are never too old to start a new career

About ChrissieChrissie Swan

One of Australia’s most loved personalities Chrissie Swan is a shining example that success doesn’t just happen, you create it. Reality TV contestant, TV and radio broadcaster, writer and working mum, Chrissie’s career has gone from strength to strength. Chrissie shares her thoughts on taking opportunities, staying true to who you are, learning resilience and juggling all aspects of your life.

In this interview, Chrissie talks about her life experiences that have gotten her to where she is today:  

Tell us a little about your background – what motivated you into taking the first leap for your dream career?

I never expected or had a desire to work in TV or radio. I tried psychology and teaching at university but they weren't right. Eventually I found advertising and studied it at university and became a copywriter initially getting my first job by volunteering at a fancy agency. In 2003, I thought being in Big Brother would be a bit of fun but I never expected to be offered a job in radio afterwards. When I was, I was reluctant to take it because I felt too old to start a new career (I was 29!) but in the end curiosity got the better of me so I tried it and haven't looked back. I moved to Queensland thinking 'if I hate it, I can just go back to advertising' but I never did.

What advice would you give people about staying true to who you are?

I always know when I'm doing something that's not right because it takes me ages to decide on whether or not to do it. One time I took a job purely for the money. I'd just had a baby and got a mortgage and I was the breadwinner and I was offered something and my heart wasn't in it but it meant my sons didn't need to go to childcare and I could afford a nanny for a year. So I did it and immediately regretted it because every day it felt like a stone in my shoe. I have never done that again and will never. Better to have less and be authentic than the alternative.

What are three of the most memorable moments of your career to date, and why have these stuck in your mind?

My first day on air in Queensland, I had no training and all of a sudden I was on air and had so much to learn. I was exhilarated by the challenge and the excitement. The Circle - as a whole experience is my career highlight. It was the best job for me at the time. I loved everyone - the cast, the producers, the crew. We had an absolute ball. It was a special time and a special show. I'm still in touch with everyone now. And the other memorable moments are probably the times I've been sacked or haven't had my contract renewed because that is also pretty exciting!

What are three pieces of advice for juggling family and career?

  1. Every day is a new adventure!
  2. Don't be cranky. Your kids won't remember the nice new furniture you slaved to buy but they will remember if you were in a bad mood for their entire childhood.
  3. Prioritise sleep.

Can you share one of the more challenging moments of your career, and how you worked through this?

It's never great to be sacked and when you're in the public eye it's news for everyone. When I left my Melbourne breakfast radio job it was the top story on all the News websites. The great thing about that is that all my future employers knew immediately I was available! Great advertising! But the downside is of course the same that everyone goes through... The fear of never working again, the worry of how to pay the bills.... But I consciously stayed positive and trusted that the work I’d done previously would hold me in good stead and it has.

Can you list three resources across any media that you turn to regularly for guidance, networking or inspiration?

Google! I live on Google. I can't imagine my life without it. I also like Vanity Fair magazine. I subscribe so I never miss an issue.

Can you give us a taste of what to expect from your networking event, Success doesn't just happen, you create it?

A lot of honesty, laughter, selfies and cuddles!

What’s next for Chrissie Swan? 

Watch this space!