Nicola Charles Talks Lockdown, Aussie Radio And A New Book Release Coming Soon
I recently caught up with one of my favorite people — actress turned author and radio host Nicola Charles about her upcoming book release for the new year entitled ‘Climb Bitch — A Lady’s Guide to Dealing with Bitches’ and also how she’s been handling the dreaded lockdown in Melbourne, Australia. She also had some inspiring words and advice for others on being at peace with yourself and learning to trust your instincts. Here is what she had to say:
Hey Nicola, awesome catching up with you again. How is everything going for you right now during the pandemic/lockdown?
Hi Amber, well it’s been tough here in Victoria, Australia. We’ve had an excruciatingly long lockdown period with kids off school for 9 months. It’s been hard on everyone financially and career-wise, but I did have Covid-19 in March so I understand how serious it is and the steps that need to be taken to protect the vulnerable. I’m looking forward to a normal life again!
What have you been working on? I know your latest book ‘The Witches Of Toorak’ came out and received amazing reviews. Are you currently working on a follow up?
Yes ‘The Witches of Toorak’ exceeded all my expectations which was great. The book clearly struck a chord particularly here in Melbourne with the press fascination for ‘Wags & Gold-Diggers’. I guess the book was a jab back at all those women and people who found it entertaining as a concept. The sequel is called ‘Burn the Witch’ but won’t be out until mid 2021 at the earliest as I am currently editing my first satirical self-help book titled ‘Climb Bitch — A Lady’s Guide to Dealing with Bitches’.
What is the current direction you are taking regarding your career? Any exciting new endeavors?
I have been focusing on writing during lockdown, but look forward to getting back to radio when the opportunity presents itself. Radio has been a tougher journey than expected for reasons I didn’t anticipate.
I know you are also a radio host in Melbourne, are you currently back in the studio?
No we aren’t allowed back into studio yet, and to be honest when the Pandemic hit we sort of ended That Radio Show for good, which was a sad day for us and the fans. However I can reveal that discussions are taking place regarding bringing That Radio Show back to the airwaves, which is super exciting.
What are some of the experiences you’ve had on the radio in Australia?
Radio in Australia hasn’t been quite the journey I expected. I recently discussed with The Herald Sun some of my TV experiences from the nineties but they were nothing compared to radio. I guess being an artist and sharing who I am on air with listeners, was something that felt completely mine. Unlike a TV character that can be written out or killed off, being “myself” on radio was always a better fit. I’m heavily into Global Politics, I am socially conscious and not afraid to have my say on-air, albeit within the realms of Broadcasting ethics, but nothing had prepared me for the kinds of things I would experience off-air. I think my problem in life is that I am too trusting, and it usually blows up in my face. In 2019 I was bowling along with That Radio Show not only as co-host with Peter Armstrong, but also as a content writer and producer.
Being part of the process that built content was very exciting for me and I will always be eternally grateful for the opportunity to be able to do that, especially as I like to pepper segments with comedy. My confidence was at an all-time high when I was introduced via a good friend to a fellow radio host at a different network who is a household name in Australia. At the time I was a 49 year old Mother of three who made it very clear on social media that I was madly in love with my boyfriend Nick. However, it didn’t stop the person I had been introduced to exhibiting some quite disturbing behaviors. He told me that I had a “wicked sense of humor” and because of that he was going to introduce me to some people in radio in Melbourne that would set my career on the right track. I believed him.
What followed was months of attempted inappropriate contact from him. It began with him sending me a Facebook friend request, which I of course accepted. But no sooner than had I accepted him, he began trying to video call me on messenger. I don’t do video calls on messenger unless it’s at Christmas time with my mother in the UK — and I certainly wasn’t going to accept video calls at random times of the day and night from a man I barely knew, and to be honest I wasn’t quite sure why he needed them. However I did the typical thing of explaining away his behavior to myself which was a mistake.
A few weeks went past and then the messaging started. Sometimes he would pretend he had messaged me by accident believing I was another Nicole that he knew, sometimes I felt he was drunk, but whatever the case his messages were nothing short of sexual harassment. I have to say the experience derailed my confidence somewhat. I stopped talking to agents about representing me for radio work and I retreated into my writing in shock that it was happening and disappointed in myself for even replying to him. I went from feeling like a confident on-air voice, happy-go-lucky and full of fun, to feeling like a piece of meat who was never going to be seen as anything other than a sex object.
What have you learned the most about yourself more and more over the years? I know for me, it is my strength and resilience, which can be very challenging at times. How do you deal with these types of moments/emotions, that we all go through?
It took a lot of courage to face what was going on and my boyfriend encouraged me to unmask his behaviors to the person who had introduced us. I am known to be a pretty feisty female and not many men cross the line with me this way and so it was unexpected. What I find most unfair is that this person sailed on with his life and career without a second thought for the way he had made me feel while my career stalled because of it. So I don’t know which direction my radio career will take next, and that is primarily because I am unsure who to trust, but I hope to be back on the airwaves soon.
Over the years my experiences have taught me that when you find people you can trust, who you are sure will never hurt you, whether it be colleagues, journalists, agents and friends, hold on to them tightly because there are so many false apostles out there who pretend to have your best interests at heart, but in truth would hurt you without conscience. It’s a cliche’ but my circle is small, that’s the best advice I can give. No one needs 50 close friends, that’s simply too many personalities to trust and navigate.
Anything else you would like to share with the readers?
I wish everyone well as we come out of this awful pandemic. We have lived through one of the toughest years and for me, it has been polarizing. Focus on the good and be peaceful in all things. People usually show you who they are in the end. Trust your gut.