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Lara & Melodie: Game changers

The girls bring a feminine touch to New Zealand’s premier sports awards.

By Kelly Bertrand
Lara McGoldrick adn Melodie Robinson

They’re best known as dynamic women who have made their mark on male-dominated sports.

But while Sky Sport presenters Laura McGoldrick (24) and Melodie Robinson (40) can more than hold their own against the boys in the sports world, they also enjoy showing off their feminine side.

“I’ve always loved getting glammed up,” says Melodie, a former Black Fern captain and mother of two.

“Even when I played rugby, us girls would love getting dolled up for the after-match functions. It’s nice to look good and break all those stereotypes.”

The gorgeous broadcasters and good friends are looking forward to combining their athletic and stylish sides at this year’s Westpac Halberg Awards, – and they’ve been getting some tips from a number of top international presenters.

“I’ve watched the Grammys, the Golden Globes, the SAGs, and Giuliana Rancic and Ryan Seacrest do it in a very cool way,” says The Cricket Show host Laura, who will be on the red carpet outside Auckland’s Vector Arena on the night.

“But I do need to stop practising my segues in an American accent. I don’t think that’ll fly on the night!”

While Melodie will be inside hosting the awards, the day does mean the pair get to spend some long-awaited quality time together.

“We’re very similar in many ways,” says Melodie.

“Laura is just so lovely, and she’s got a long career ahead of her.”

For Laura, who is engaged to Black Cap batsman Martin Guptill, it’s a chance to learn from Melodie.

“I look up to her so much,” she says. “Mel’s a pioneer. Cricket is a very male sport and so is rugby, so when I started reporting on cricket, she was my guiding light.

“She was the first woman to do what she does and paved the way. She’s done a fantastic job and she’s made it easier for girls like me.”

When compared to some female sports journalists elsewhere, both women count themselves exceptionally lucky to hold the roles they love so much.

“We’re very lucky we live in a country where Laura and I can do what we do,” Mel says.

“The way we cover sport – actually reporting on it – is far different to, say, Australia. We are the main hosts, whereas a lot of the time women in Australia are only used as human interest reporters.”

“We just love it,” adds Laura.

“We love sport and we are lucky that we have a voice and a chance to have an opinion about sport.”

With awards season well and truly underway in Hollywood, Melodie and Laura say this year’s Halberg Awards will be the most glamorous yet. That means higher heels, more bling and as much glitter as possible.

“I’m a sucker for a sequin,” Laura says with a laugh. “We’re definitely amping it up this year. This is New Zealand’s premier sports event, and we need to celebrate that.”

Laura and Melodie are both in the final preparation stages for the big night. With the research done – much of it courtesy of E!’s red-carpet coverage, they both admit – they say it’s now time to get their bodies ready.

“I went alcohol-free last week, except Saturday, which was my day off,” says Melodie.

“For the week leading up to it, I’ll be alcohol-free too, just because it’s empty calories. And I’ll drink heaps of water because of that high-definition television!”

“Yeah, high def doesn’t work for everyone!” agrees Laura.

“I’ll be drinking a little extra water, doing a little bit of extra exercise, and not as many carbs.”

But hosting sports awards does present a few unique challenges.

Although Laura says there will be no underwear issues this year, after some visible lines in 2013 – “a girly problem you just have to deal with, but I’m totally across that this year!”, the good-natured Radio Hauraki host is still figuring out how to interview those towering-tall basketball players.

“It’s a completely different temperature up there,” Laura jokes. “I’ve never had to hold a microphone up so high. That’s why I’ll be wearing massive heels and they’ll just have to shimmy across to me, because I won’t be able to move!”

Melodie has been given the unenviable task of walking down a grand flight of stairs for her entrance – something that’s giving her nightmares.

“In my normal life I don’t wear heels, so I’m going to have to practise. But if I fall, I’ll grab onto Eric [Young, her co-host]. If I go down, he’s going down with me!

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