The glamorous Megan Gale
It is ridiculously easy to feel intimidated at the prospect of sitting down to talk to Megan Gale. But as I am about to be reminded for the second time in as many years, it is ridiculous to feel that way in the first place. I’m instructed to meet the Perth-born model and TV presenter in her hotel suite high above the Sydney CBD; when I arrive, the door opens and there she is, a vision in head-to-toe black (Scanlan & Theodore jacket and scoop-neck top, Diesel skinny jeans, some edgy Willow boots). She invites me inside excitedly, her warmth on par with an Italian nanna offering up a Sunday feast. Suddenly, I notice my blood pressure has dropped significantly.
These interviews can be awkward. Strip back that nervous, early burst of small talk and it’s pretty apparent: you’re sitting in a stranger’s bedroom, trying to behave as if the coming hour of conversation – on matters public and personal – is no big deal. In the most disastrous circumstances, things go pear-shaped from minute one and getting back on track can be excruciating.
Not with Megan Gale. She’s been here before. She knows how to play this game; if anything, her warmth and friendliness create a sense that you can ask her anything.
So let’s start with the most obvious question: when in the world does Megan Gale sleep?! Because the woman is mighty busy. Aside from her continued forays into modelling, the enterprising 37-year-old is currently juggling time-consuming roles as the chief designer and head of Isola swimwear, ambassador for L’Oréal Paris and host and presenter of Project Runway, which recently returned for a fourth season on Arena. But if she’s having trouble finding shut-eye, you certainly wouldn’t know it from looking at her. Even today, she looks every bit as fresh and stunning as she did when she launched her modelling career 20 years ago. It’s no wonder she was asked to return for another season of Project Runway.
Given this is her sophomore season on the show, I wonder if things had changed when she walked on set to start filming this most recent series. “Last year, [judge] Alex Perry and I felt like we were the new kids at school and everything was very unfamiliar, so it took a few episodes to get into the swing of things,” says Gale, who welcomed new judges Peter Morrissey and Claudia Navone this time around. “Peter and Claudia and I just float and bounce off each other really well.” Gale teases this season’s crop of contestants “really pushed their creativity – I would say some have the ability to do interior design or architecture, because the lines, structure and construction behind some of their designs are really remarkable.”
As for her own reality show, à la Lara Bingle or those “residents” of The Shire? It’s a firm no from Gale: “I wouldn’t do it for many reasons. I don’t believe people would want to sit down and spend a half-hour watching what I do – and it’s just not normal to have cameras outside and inside your house.”
Maybe not – but you have to think the Australian public would want to watch, anyway. Whether she likes it or not, Gale’s love-life is of constant fascination to her countrymen; her romance with comedian Andy Lee ended almost two years ago – yet, I note, it seems to be the first thing most people talk about when they talk about Megan Gale.
“Really?” she asks.
Yes – I tell her. In fact, people seem personally affronted by the whole thing.
She responds without hesitation. “I guess when you both have public jobs, people feel they know you – like they’re friends in a weird, slightly removed way. And they want to know, well, how come it didn’t work out? Look at Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
“No-one really knows what goes on within a couple except for the couple. I think a lot of people wanted answers because we ended quite cleanly and amicably. There was no bust-up or fallout – people thrive on that. At least it would have given them some kind of explanation. It just something that ran its course. I loved him dearly and I still do. “But,” she continues, a gleam in her eye, “I’m really happy now! So everybody can be happy for me again. It’s all good.”
Indeed, Gale exudes the kind of relaxed, confident air that indicates she’s exactly where she wants to be.
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