Kate Ritchie is a much-loved Actor, Presenter and Author. Millions of Australians and Britons grew up with Kate as she played Sally Fletcher in the hit series ‘Home and Away’ between 1987 and 2007, making her a household name! In 2008 Kate took on the challenge of live radio. These days Kate co-hosts ‘Kate, Tim & Marty‘, the number one rating national drive show, on Nova, proving that she has the talent to continue a long & rewarding career. After the birth of her daughter Mae, Kate added ‘Author’ to her list of credentials, with the recent release of her first book, ‘I Just Couldn’t Wait to Meet You‘, which was inspired by her joy and excitement at anticipating Mae’s arrival. I had the honour of chatting with this INSPIRING woman recently and am literally in awe of her… Viva Kate!
Leigh:You are the mother of gorgeous little Mae. What has motherhood taught you about yourself?
Kate Ritchie: That I was an incredibly impatient person. I have had to learn patience and how to let go of the reins a little because having a little one means not everything is going to run to your desired personal schedule anymore!
LV: You literally grew up in front of an audience as Sally Fletcher on ‘Home and Away’. That must have been tough! Especially in your teens when lots of girls start trying to figure out who they are! Did you have some good role models to help guide you? Have you always had high self-esteem or has that come with age?
KR: Yes, at times it was tough but the whole notion of ‘growing up on television’ is completely normal to me. I don’t have anything to compare it with so I’m unable to say whether it was harder for me than for the average teenager – my feeling is that puberty is not particularly kind to any of us. Whether you do it in front of the nation or not! I think working out who I was happened years later when I actually left the shores of Summer Bay in 2008. Being confronted by the real world when I had lived in a safe, supportive cocoon for so long.
Home and Away was (and I’m sure continues to be) a very unique working environment and I was surrounded by some pretty incredible women (and men) while I did the majority of my growing up. People who had had longevity in the industry, who showed me how to be a professional, respect those around you and not place too much importance on the things that appear and disappear overnight. I think because I had these values instilled me from such an early age I have had an easier time of it than most. When I wasn’t the prettiest, or the most popular or didn’t get the coolest story lines with the hottest love interest I was still okay. I didn’t crumble because I knew I was good at my job and that’s why I was still an important part of that show after so many years. That’s not to say, like most teenage girls, I didn’t have days when I wished I was someone or something else but I did have a good foundation of confidence and self-worth and that has seen me through, I guess.
LV: What one thing has shocked you about yourself as a mother? Something that we don’t read about?
KR: That’s a tough one.. I think maybe what surprised me most about myself after my daughter arrived was the way I felt about my body. That despite it doing crazy things and feeling somewhat broken I actually loved it more than I ever had because I was in awe of it. I was so proud of what it had just achieved. I have had a much greater respect for my body ever since and feel that I am a lot more kind to it these days. It deserves it!
LV: What advice would you give to women who are new to motherhood?
KR: Don’t doubt yourself so much and don’t sit at home thinking that everyone else must be much better at this motherhood thing than you are. They are not. We are all the same – trying to do our best. Oh, and find the time to make some tasty protein bliss balls full of goodness. Or at least find someone to make them for you. There was always a container full of them in our fridge during those first few months after Mae’s arrival. One of them and a cup of tea makes life easier when you were too busy feeding everyone else to think of yourself.
LV: Please list you current top 5 loves…
1) My husband’s lamb salad – Quinoa, charred asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, pumpkin, portobello mushrooms, feta and loads of juicy lamb. Heaven.
2) My Ferragamo leopard print trainers. I have always been a sucker for animal print and these feet of mine are best in flats all day which is why they serve me so well. Comfortable AND I can actually leave the house in them!
3) Taking Mae to her weekly music class. Watching her hop like a bunny and stare at her flute playing teacher inquisitively. Best. Ever.
4) The QV Skincare range especially the Gentle Wash. They even do a very cute baby version for the more sensitive skin in the household!
5) I should be inserting ‘I Just Couldn’t Wait To Meet You’ here but instead I’ll say my flannelette sheets and pillow cases. It’s so exciting popping them on the bed at this time of year. So snuggly and cuddly. Especially when you have a bed which is at capacity reading books (maybe even mine!) and watching Play School.