Sarah Murdoch discusses 'whingeing' model wannabes, turning 40 and why her family will always come first.
Sarah Murdoch has a message for Generation Y. "I have never heard so much whingeing and as for a work ethic, I don't know where that's gone."
The producer and host of Foxtel's reality TV hit, Australia's Next Top Model, is just days from season seven's grand finale when we sit down for breakfast in Sydney's Centennial Park.
While Sarah's proud that this series has been the best ever, both in quality and ratings, and is certain she's on the cusp of crowning the most talented model the series has ever discovered (a few days later, the effortlessly statuesque Montana Cox won the competition to universal acclaim), she has a few things to get off her chest.
"I mean, we're the ones sitting on set for 18 hours; they're back in a green room having sandwiches and cups of tea, and they're still whingeing," she says with an exaggerated eye roll.
"That's why I felt I had to be quite strict on them this year. For me, the show is about personal growth and I think the most important thing is to realise how fortunate you are and to work with what you've been given. I keep saying to these girls, 'Do you not realise who you are working with? Do you not realise the leg up you've been given? Can you not fathom what has been handed to you here and you're still complaining!'
"This idea that you should just be famous for being famous and it should all be handed to you, and it shouldn't be hard work ..."
Hard work is something Sarah knows a thing or two about. "When I was modelling, you were at the bottom of the ladder. When you got to a shoot, you just did what you were told and had no say. In fact, it was better if you didn't speak at all. No one was interested in what you had to say."
Rumours are swirling that Sarah will join her husband at Network Ten to work as an anchor for a possible breakfast or morning show, but Sarah absolutely refutes them.
"I don't have any ego about having to be a huge TV star, I really don't," she says. "Not that I'm not an ambitious person, but my priority is my family and my children, so anything I do has to fit in with that."
With this in mind, Sarah set up her own production company so she could seize the reins of her own career.
"When I was on the Today show, I was working for a network and I felt that at this point in my life I really just wanted to have a bit more ownership in anything that I did and have full creative control. Top Model is something I feel very passionate about and responsible for, and I wanted to have real control over this show and everything that involved me or the messages I was sending out."
Next year is another important year for Sarah with the big 4-0 on the horizon. "My mum says she dreams she's still 21 and when she wakes up and looks in the mirror she has a heart attack. I can relate to that and while it is kind of big [turning 40], it's also not. I'm at a really good point in my life now with the kids. I'm going to enjoy it."
Read more of this story in the December issue of The Australian Women's Weekly.
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Video: Sarah strips off