THE HIVE: Tracey Spicer

Hello and welcome back to the third instalment of The Hive!

This week’s edition features an interview with Channel 10 newsreader, TV personality and Ted Talk-er extraordinare, Tracey Spicer.

Tracey is in her mid-forties and is a mum of two. She’s also a feminist, a comedian and has a straight-talking, no bullshit attitude.

I first saw Spicer’s incredible Ted Talk The Lady Stripped Bare about 6 months ago. It really got me thinking about the amount of time many women spend on their appearances every day and why we do it.

Tracey Spicer is open about her own routine, including spending 45 minutes on her hair, before each and every TV appearance. Spicer says in the Talk that she takes things very ‘literally’ as she removes the ‘several inches’ of makeup off her face, spritzes her straight hair styled to perfection with water, takes off her dress and kicks off her stilettos.

I have great respect for Tracey Spicer, primarily because she practices what she preaches. As she says in her Ted Talk, she has cut back her pre-TV grooming routine and doesn’t wear makeup offset.

Spicer encourages to look and ourselves and say, ‘What could I either cut down on, or get rid of entirely?’ She is refreshing, as she doesn’t go all dogma and say, ‘You have to do this’; she simply invites us to evaluate our routines.

Without any further ado, I welcome to the stage, Mrs Tracey Spicer …

1. Have you ever wanted to be anything else, apart from a newsreader / TV personality?

I always wanted to be a journalist. From a very young age, I was extremely inquisitive. Then, I wrote for the school newspaper, before completing a Communications degree in 1987. Like many young women during that era, I was inspired by Jana Wendt.

2. What are your ultimate goals as a newsreader?

Truly, I hope to work in the media, whether it’s TV, radio, newspaper or online – until the day I die. I love story-telling.

3. How have the values that your parents instilled in you as a child, affected the raising of your two children, Taj and Grace?

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a very close family. The four of us did everything together. Hubby and I bring the same philosophy to raising Taj and Grace. We are a tight-knit group. I guess our parenting style could be described as firm, but loving.

4. In your Ted Talk, you went through your full makeup routine, which occurs before every TV appearance. You said that you wanted to minimise the makeup that you wear on screen, as it was all ‘bullshit’. Currently, what is your makeup routine for TV?

At Sky News, the presenters do their own hair and makeup. It’s wonderful have control over your own image. I do a very light makeup. Unfortunately, I can’t go completely barefaced on TV, because it’s too distracting. You want the audience to focus on the news on the day, not how ‘strange’ your face looks.

5. Have you changed as a person, since ditching and / or minimising aspects of your grooming?

I definitely have more time! I’m currently taking guitar and singing lessons, and doing hours of paddle-boarding, instead of spending up to an hour a day grooming. I also find I’m more relaxed going out socially. Previously, I put a lot of effort into how I appeared. Now, frankly, I don’t care too much!

6. Why do you think it took you so long to evaluate and change your grooming routine?

Humans are creatures of habit. For more than 20 years, I had been wearing a mask. We become accustomed to seeing ourselves in a certain way. It’s tough to change that.

7. Why do you think the media Photoshops and edits so many of the images that are shown to the public?

There are many reasons: advertisers want their products to be shown in the best light; humans like to look at conventionally attractive faces. Fortunately, we’re seeing a backlash against this, where consumers are demanding more realistic images.

8. What are your thoughts on girls around 15 years of age wearing a substantial amount of makeup? (read: full-coverage foundation, concealer, heavy bronzer, blush, liberally-applied mascara and a bright lipstick or gloss)

I think it’s sad that young women feel they need to wear so much makeup. If you’re a creative person, and enjoy the artistic aspect of it, then go for it! But please don’t use it as a mask. We all need to learn to love ourselves a little more.

9. On November 17th 2014, Elizabeth Clarke published an article on The Sydney Morning Herald’s website, entitled ‘In response to Tracey Spicer: Why wearing makeup makes my day’. Clarke makes a comment, ‘Unlike Tracey, I don’t mind my daughter watching this “elaborate ritual”; I invite her to. I want her to know that looking after yourself foes not make you vain or shallow. It is an expression of self-pride. Plus painting over yellowed nails and plucking unwanted facial hairs definitely gives you the edge.’ Ms Spicer, Is the reason you don’t particularly like your daughter Grace, to sit in on your grooming routine, that you are concerned that her viewing of her grooming could further influence her to wear an excessive amount of makeup and spend an astronomical amount of time on her appearance, as she moves into her teenage years, along with the pressure from the media to act, dress and look a particular way?

Yes, that’s exactly right. I would like Grace to be her own person. She should make choices based on her own satisfaction, rather than the external validation of an increasingly consumerised society.

10. People seem to be ashamed of publicly admitting their flaws, but why are we? Aren’t our flaws part of what makes us human? (and) What are some of your flaws?

We should all be admitting our flaws! It actually makes us more likeable. I can be vain and selfish and pig-headed. Nobody is perfect.

11. Bill Shorten (leader of the Federal Opposition (Labor) party in Australia) has now pledged to legalise gay marriage within 100 days of Labor being elected into parliament.

a) Do you think that this promise puts pressure on Toby Abbott to re-evaluate his stance on ever moving to legalise gay marriage?

Sadly, no. I think Tony Abbott revels in his image as an ultra-Conservative. He will simply keep saying that there are more important matters for the government to deal with.

b) Do you think that more people will vote Labor at the next Federal election, because of this major political move?

Shorten’s promise will definitely win Labor some votes, but I wonder how many of those are from traditional Liberal voters. Probably very few.

12. Why do you think that Tony Abbott (Australian Prime Minister) (and up until now, Bill Shorten) is so against legalising homosexual marriage?

There is a higher percentage of practicing Christians in the Federal parliament than the general population. This is also why it’s so hard to get any commitment on voluntary euthanasia legislation. I don’t think politicians’ religious convictions should stand in the way of change, which is being urged by the vast majority of the electorate.

Say g’day to Tracey on Twitter!

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