Hosts with the most … Brian Nankervis and Julia Zemiro.WHEN Julia Zemiro got the gig hosting RocKwiz in 2005, she never dreamt she’d be there seven years later, about to launch its 10th season. She’s still there with co-creator Brian Nankervis and the house band, the RocKwiz Orkestra, comprising James Black, Mark Ferrie and Peter Luscombe, while the tight-knit crew has barely changed since the day the show started. She believes authenticity and consistency is a big part of the show’s appeal.
”The producers, Ken [Connor], Brian and Peter [Bain-Hogg] are all men in their 40s and 50s who know what they are,” she says. ”They’re not trying to prove anything, they know what they like. Same with the band; they’ve done it all and seen it all. We’re not trying to be cool – it’s work. I think if you cast something properly you don’t have to keep changing it.”
Initially, the French-born Zemiro says she was simply happy to get paid to do a job, having just returned from overseas where she slept on people’s couches and taught English as a second language to newly arrived migrants in London.
”What I love is hosting,” she says, ”but it’s very free. I can do whatever I like in-between.” As well as co-presenting the annual Eurovision broadcasts on SBS, one of those in-between jobs was appearing in Adam Zwar’s confessional show Agony Aunts, which aired on the ABC this year.
”What do you mean? What are you getting at?” Zemiro mockingly replies when asked how she feels about the frank admissions she made on that show. She initially said no when asked to participate in the show but changed her mind when she saw the fellow aunts.
In that show, Zwar asked the single Zemiro about marriage proposals she’d received. Much to Zwar’s – and the audience’s – surprise, Zemiro denied having ever been proposed to. ”I look a bit sad about it,” Zemiro says, looking back on her confession. ”Not that my dream has ever been to be married but maybe there was a bit of sadness. Then he put some sad music under it.”
Zemiro believes that as a result of being well known, people ”have an idea of me that doesn’t measure up”. ”It gets confusing, it gets cloudy,” she says.
”When I go to Europe people take me as I am. I get a lot more interest and offers over there,” she adds with a knowing wink in her voice.
”I think I disappoint men here. I feel a pressure of what they see on TV is what they expect in real life.”
Not that she’s complaining about it. ”I might have been sad about it a few years ago, but now I’m employed, I have great friends, wonderful opportunities, I go to Europe every year.”
Zemiro returned from her fourth Eurovision last month feeling somewhat restless about her life and career here. She’s considering splitting her time between Australia and Europe, as many successful stand-up comedians and performers do.
”I’d love to go to France and try a one-woman show,” she says. ”You get to a point where you’re quite successful and you wonder if they like you or don’t like you because of what you’ve just done before. So to go somewhere you don’t know is to be, like, 20 and starting again.”
RocKwizSBS One, Saturday, 8.30pm
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