The AM Show's Amanda Gillies talks lunch dates, pet peeves and nana naps
Amanda Gillies is a rose between two thorns on Three's weekday breakfast programme The AM Show.
Every day she delivers the news between Duncan Garner's pithy analysis, and Mark Richardson's punchy sports bulletins with calm, measured aplomb.
Gillies, 40, has been with Three for 16 years. She is an experienced TV reporter who has worked on Newshub, 3News, Campbell Live, Story, 3rd Degree, 60 Minutes and Nightline. But she started out in the buzzy newsroom of a provincial paper 25 years ago.
She says walking into the hubbub of the Gisbourne Herald was like arriving home. But how does it compare to getting up at 3.20 am to do live TV?
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Did you always want to be a journalist?
I come from a family of journalists and when I was a teenager in Gisborne we had a careers day (at school). I quite fancied at the time the thought of being a lawyer because it was in the LA Law TV period. I thought it was very glamorous and very sexy.
We had two days of career days where you could go to the job you wanted. The first day I went to the Gisborne District Court. It was all like drunk drivers, truck drivers who hadn't filled out their log book properly and I thought, 'This is not quite what I had in mind'.
The next day I went to The Gisborne Herald and it was the old printing presses (this is going back 25 years ago), the old clickety clack typewriters. There was a red box in the corner like a phone booth where people would make their phone calls and it was just humming. I just remember thinking, 'I've arrived home'. I just loved it. I worked there for three years.
Who are the journalists in your family?
Most of us worked at The Gisborne Herald. They nicknamed it The Gillies Herald.
My uncle was the editor of The Gisborne Herald – that was my dad's brother. Angus Gillies, who is a head producer at Three, is my cousin, Duncan Gillies, who is a sub-editor at The New Zealand Herald, he's also my cousin. Elaine Gillies, who is a reporter at The Gisborne Herald, is my cousin. There are a lot of us who have gone through so it's almost like a rite of passage to do some work for The Gisborne Herald. Even my grandmother was a (proof) reader at The Gisborne Herald and my cousin, who was an accountant, worked there too.
What is the most challenging thing about your job on The AM Show?
Sometimes as I'm reading the news out loud, it's the first time I've seen it and so that's quite a challenge.
Out of you, Mark and Duncan who is the most cheerful in the morning?
Duncan is the singer so he'll always sing you a song. Mark is probably the grumpiest but that's more an act. He will claim that because he quite likes to say, 'I'm Captain Grumpy'. Probably Duncan and I are the most chirpy in the morning.
What time does your alarm go off?
Too early. Way too early. 3.20am. I've got it down pat now. I do a military-like operation (to get ready). I try to get into bed about 8.30pm, which for a nana like me is actually OK. I'm cool with that. Now I actually have a legit reason to leave things early.
You spoke about infertility on The AM Show. Did you expect your comments to resonate with so many women?
No I didn't. It wasn't something I'd planned for at the time and you know, as a woman, it's not something you talk about. It's something you keep within yourself and your closest friends and family. But the response was really humbling and at times heart-breaking because people were so honest with their own stories and what they'd been through and I couldn't believe it.
What is the best advice you have been given?
Probably from my Uncle Iain, who was the editor of The Gisborne Herald. Professionally he said, 'Every story matters to someone' so I've never forgotten that. It doesn't matter if you're at a cat show or talking to the Prime Minister or whatever, you put the same energy and care and enthusiasm into it.
What was the last series that you binge-watched?
I have a secret love for Murder, She Wrote. At the moment I record it because I don't have Netflix. I get teased even by my 70-year-old mother for being into Murder, She Wrote. She's just like, "Darling that is uncool".
Do you have any hidden talents?
I can't sing to save myself as Duncan will attest to. He's shamefully made me sing a few times on national TV and it did not end well. But I dance. I did tap and jazz and ballet for about 14 years.
What is your pet peeve?
Lateness and traffic jams. The other day I travelled less than two kilometres in Auckland traffic and it took me an hour.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
At the moment I've had such a lifestyle change doing this job. I was doing TV reporting for close on 16 years so I meet a lot of girlfriends for lunch. I have a lunch date. I have to do that just so I can get out and socialise and go for a walk. I try to get a walk in whenever I can. And I've fallen in love with the nana nap. I haven't drunk (alcohol) basically for six months now.
The AM Show, Three, weekdays, 6am.
- TV Guide