It's almost a year since Petra Bagust quit TVNZ's Breakfast show to spend more time with her children. The mother of three says she felt burned by some people's reactions to the programme, and realises now that news wasn't her gig

1. Your name was suggested this week as a replacement for Greg Boyed on Seven Sharp. Tempted?

I'd need to watch the show first. I know and like all the hosts. - past and present. TVNZ will be looking for another bloke most likely. I've got my life back and learned the newsroom is not my home ground. Both of us will be fine with me not hosting.

2. What would ever lure you back to full-time TV again?

The right project ... content is king and perhaps that's something that comes with age. A brave, supportive, creative team to work with. I was born to broadcast - I'll be doing that whether it's TV, another platform or in my own home.


3. Were you burned by the Breakfast experience?

I felt burned by some people's reactions - now I'm totally grateful for the experience. I loved being in touch with heaps of Kiwis, it was a privilege to broadcast through the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake and I'd never have taken a whole year out of TV if not for the schedule of Breakfast. Plus I'm more comfortable with disapproval, realise I'm not a true morning person and value excellent company culture.

4. Does a thick skin like that look good in all those designer clothes?

Depends what you're channelling inside - I might have a thicker skin but not a harder heart. Breakfast was good in terms of coming back to basics for me - the quality of my
friendships and the solidity of my faith. I'd had 16 years of pretty much a dream run at TV3 so it was a good challenge to meet resistance. And it brought me back to what I was standing on, to the truth, and the truth for me was what was happening at home.

5. Are viewers harder on female presenters than male?

Umm not necessarily. In person I think the fellas have a harder time, because guys just bail them up out socially and argue with them in quite a full on way. On the other hand, I know that women get put down in subtle ways - if you look good your intelligence is questioned. In person people are very civil. But in the comfort of their own homes and computers ... This is a great and good land to be "known" in. Most people don't talk to you if they don't rate you, the rest tip their head and say "g'day".

6. What's the best bit about life this year, thus far?

The joy of it - the little things like reading books beyond summer holidays, being around for the children, reconnecting with friends, being creative ... I could go on.

7. Do you miss the money?

Strangely enough, I feel better off this year. Money is this weird thing that should be practical, reasonable and logical - but it's not - it's soooo emotional. I swear I feel wealthier in 2013. It does help that my (cameraman) husband has been working his heiny off.

8. You were open about being a Christian early in your career - did that hinder it at all?

F*** no. Even if it did I'm not that interested. I don't have a faith to get a better job and I can't imagine life without God so I'd be happy to lose any job for my faith.

9. Have your beliefs changed over the years?

I've questioned them and shaken them and held on to what is solid. For me that's the Bible, and prayer, a faith community and the big three - Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. I don't think of myself as religious as such, more spiritual and I find myself more and more dogma free.

10. Which TV memory makes you cringe most?

Hosting Sing like a Super Star I think - a show that didn't work out on a few levels - or the camera battery running out the first time I interviewed Sam Neill one question into it. He must have sensed something because he simply said: "Where is the interview going?" I said: "Nowhere - thank you very much." Or maybe saying the line "In our house the dog controls the remote!", which was written by a 60-year-old Aussie bloke. I was a non dog-owning 21-year-old at the time and the line just really grated - I suspect I'm not that good at reading other people's words.

11. In your opinion, are feminism and Botox mutually exclusive?

Yes, if bras and hair dye and feminism are mutually exclusive. What people choose to do to their faces and bodies is basically their own business and it's possible to believe in attractive emancipation. Whether that includes Botox is up to you.

12. Are you reinventing yourself?

Nah, more refining myself.