When Nadine Chalmers-Ross had a “Bridget Jones moment” during her first live cross, she thought her new career in television was over before it had even begun.
“oy first live cross went horribly wrong,” recalls Nadine, who had only just started working as a reporter on TV one’s early-morning show, Business. “I was reporting on a meeting and was in the middle of talking to [news anchor] Rawdon Christie, when the cameraman picked up the camera and moved because the wind was blowing my hair. There was a shot of the sky, then the grass, then I suddenly popped into the shot, saying, ‘We’re live, aren’t we?’
That clip’s probably floating around on the internet!”
Not only did she last through the blooper moment, but the popular 24-year-old single brunette has made TV history to become Business‘ youngest ever host.
“I did wonder if they would want someone who was older and more experienced,” says Nadine, who stepped into Corin Dann’s shoes when he moved from Business to host Breakfast with Petra Bagust.
“Anthony Flannery [TVNZ's head of news and current affairs] did say, ‘We’re taking a chance on you, you’re still quite young, but we think you can do the job.’”
She laughs as she remembers how she gave her boss “the hard sell” to try and get the job.
“A lot of people think business is very boring and dry, but I find it fascinating,” Nadine insists. “It’s very relevant to all of us – we all have incomes, we pay taxes. Business affects all aspects of our lives, and it’s become a real passion for me.”
The last thing she was expecting was to be given the biggest chance of her career.
“I wondered if he was going to tell me I should apply for the job,” says Nadine, who had been Corin’s back-up presenter since joining TVNZ. “I thought this was my chance to let him know I was really keen. Then he started talking about money and I thought, ‘Hang on, does this mean I’ve got the job?’ oy heart was pounding.”
After just a few weeks in the hot seat, Nadine is already poised and polished. She’s extremely knowledgeable about business and is a natural in front of the camera, despite the fact that when she was a student at the New Zealand Broadcasting School in Christchurch, she didn’t consider herself to be TV talent at all.
“Some people were stunning on screen but I would look at myself and think, ‘oh well, that’s not where I’m destined to be.’”
But despite her ease on camera, the modest beauty still got a shock when she was first recognised off screen.
“I was sweating my way through a gym class when the instructor announced, ‘This move is fairly hard – harder than reading the business news!’” she laughs. “I looked around and thought, ‘Is he talking to me? How did he recognise me?’ I didn’t look anything like I do on TV!”
While Nadine admits she still gets nervous, saying, “I think it’s healthy to be a bit scared,” she knows that to be on top of her game, especially when it comes to doing interviews live on air, she has to have done her research thoroughly. It also helps to have had enough sleep.
That can be tricky, as she is up at 3.15am on weekdays to present the 6am show.”oy flatmates think I’m a bit of a nana because I have to be in bed by 9pm, but I really need to get enough sleep. It’s not about how you look on camera the next day – they can make you look good with enough industrial-strength concealer –
it’s about how fast or slow your brain works. It needs to be fast!”
Nadine, who has nodded off in a yoga class and while having her hair cut since beginning the early morning starts, says she’ll have to make sure she still manages to fit in a social life around her new job.
It’s probably just as well she’s single, she adds. “I don’t think I would have time for a relationship at the moment.”
Landing such a great job so early on in her career wasn’t something Nadine had anticipated, but she’s going to make the most of it.
“I feel so lucky to have this chance.”