Twelve questions
Sarah Stuart poses 12 questions to well-known faces

Twelve Questions: Pippa Wetzell

Pippa Wetzell, 36, joined Fair Go this week, two years after leaving her Breakfast role following the controversial departure of co-host Paul Henry. With three young children, she wasn't certain she wanted to return to the small screen.

New Fair Go host Pippa Wetzell hasn't missed the limelight. Photo / Sarah Ivey
New Fair Go host Pippa Wetzell hasn't missed the limelight. Photo / Sarah Ivey

1. You've been quite low-profile since leaving Breakfast - missed the limelight much?

There's a lot I've missed about television but certainly not the limelight.

2. Who was harder to handle; Paul Henry or your new baby?

Paul once spat water on me but given that my new baby, who is now a gorgeous two-year-old, has covered me in food, snot, vomit and a bunch of other things I'd rather not mention, I'd have to go with the baby.

3. Did you feel guilty after Paul's dramatic departure that you hadn't reined him in more?

I did pull him back at times but Paul was his own person and made his own decisions.

4. You cried on the show the morning after he left - did his departure affect you that personally?

I was a bit teary, yes, because I was really sad to lose a close mate. We're still close.

5. You were long-rumoured to be joining the Seven Sharp crew before the presenters were announced. How would you have coped with the criticism they've copped?

The Seven Sharp presenters all knew they were going to have an interesting ride when the show was launched - it's a huge challenge starting up a new show and sometimes it takes time for everyone to adjust. I'm not great with criticism full stop - just ask my husband!

When I started on Breakfast in 2007 there was a lot [of talk about] the way I looked. Paul loved it. He'd look for the harshest, cruellest email about himself and read it out. It's a bit harder if you're not like that.

6. Is it difficult to age as a woman on TV?

Crikey - I thought I was too young to be asked that kind of thing! I suspect we've all had a bit of a fright when we've seen ourselves on HD. Given I have the benefit of some very talented hairstylists, makeup artists and stylists, I suspect I'm ageing better on TV than off.

7. But where are all the 50-plus women on our screens?

Well, there's Janet McIntyre. And Susan Wood is coming back. I know it's not a lot but I honestly don't feel it's that women are pushed aside. It's an exhausting industry to be in and sometimes people just think, I've done my dash, I'm going to step back for a bit.

8. Where will you be in 10 years?

I don't know what I'm having for dinner tonight let alone know what I'll be doing in 10 years. But I like producing and have a real interest in how things come together on a show, so that might be something.

9. You were head girl at Takapuna Grammar - do head girls get bad press?

Gosh - not from me - but given I'm the goody-goody cheerleader type, that's not surprising. Actually, both my sisters were head girls as well! No wonder we had no friends ...

10. Do stay-at-home mums get bad press?

I actually think there's a real shift in attitude towards stay-at-home mums. If you're in a position to do it and it's what you want to do I think it's wonderful. My personal experience is that working mums have a great deal of respect for stay-at-home mums and vice-versa. And I loved it at home. I would have stayed there if this job hadn't come up.

11. Your husband is a partner in a law firm: that and a TV career won't leave much family time will it?

We actually do really well, but we're just facing the same challenges as families up and down the country.

12. Has Fair Go lost its teeth, as critics have said?

No. It's still calling people to account. Fair Go used to be all there was and it was a programme the whole family would sit down to watch. Families don't do that any more - one child will be on their iPod, another's on the computer - things have changed. The show's 36 years old but people still love it and they still watch it.

- NZ Herald

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