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Nadine Chalmers-Ross: My best year ever

Wedding plans and a milestone birthday are on the agenda

Radiant and refreshed after a fabulous four-week summer holiday, Breakfast star Nadine Chalmers-Ross is relishing her final few days of a “normal” existence. Posing up a storm at our Woman’s Day photo shoot, she’s looking tanned and gorgeous, and it’s clear to see she’s made the most of her break from the gruelling 3am starts.

“It was amazing,” she says. “I did all those things that make a Kiwi summer so good – lots of swimming, eating, seeing friends and family, backyard cricket, and plenty of sleep-ins!”

This week, though, it’s back to reality for the brunette beauty, with Breakfast’s return to air on TV One. While Nadine’s itching to get back into the hot seat and is excited about what 2016 will bring her, the ambitious 29-year-old admits the gruelling schedule is a little daunting.

“It really is the best job with the worst hours. Getting up at 3am does mean feeling horrendously tired a lot of the time, but you get used to it. You learn to live like a bit of a hermit. It’s pretty much just work,gym, home, prep for the next day’s show, bed and repeat.”

But that’s as close to complaining as Nadine will get, because the dedicated journalist – who is filling in while regular host Alison Pugh is on maternity leave – says hers is a dream role. She loves nothing more than the thrill of live television, and besides, she’s become an expert at catching up on sleep at any opportunity!

“I’ve perfected the art of party sleeping,” jokes Nadine, who lives in Auckland with her film producer fiancé Dan Higgins and their beloved pets, German Shepherd Rico and cat Oscar. “It means I can still go out at the weekends, but when I can’t keep my eyes open any longer, I find a couch in the corner and fall asleep until Dan is ready to go home. My friends have all got used to it andsometimes someone will even throw a blanket over me!”

Nadine, who’s been at TVNZ for almost seven years, loves working alongside co-host Rawdon Christie and weatherman Sam Wallace – despite the fact they hurled her into the pool at the Breakfast Christmas party! “They gang up on me sometimes,” she laughs.

Nadine and Sam, who have close friends in common, even saw in the New Year together at a bach in Waihi. Although Sam’s holiday didn’t go exactly as planned.

“He was walking back from the beach and somehow managed to gouge his eye with a stick. He didn’t see it coming!” she recounts, stifling back the giggles and tactfully remaining silent when asked if he’d had one too many shandies.

“He managed to continue on with the party but in the morning, it looked appalling, so he had to go back to Auckland to see a doctor. Hopefully, he won’t mind me sharing this story,” she says with a grin.

Abs-olutely fab!

This year is set to be a big one for Nadine. She not only turns 30 on March 6, but also has the exciting task of organising a wedding!

While she hasn’t bothered with any lofty New Year’s resolutions, she has set one goal for herself – “It’s total vanity, but I want to get my abs back before my birthday.

“Everyone talks about how your metabolism slows down at 30, so I’m determined to start off as healthily as possible,” she says, adding that she’s currently on a health and fitness kick – sugar and carbs are out and daily gym visits are in.

While she looks to be in incredible shape already, Nadine says the Christmas holiday was a time of serious indulgence. “Dan and I certainly didn’t hold back,” she laughs. “The fish and chips in the Hokianga were particularly good.”

Like most women on TV, Nadine admits she does feel a certain pressure about her appearance. “It’s easy to feel plain when you work in an office full of very glamorous women,” she says. But a quote from Star Wars star Carrie Fisher has really struck a chord.

“She wrote on Twitter, ‘Youth and beauty are not accomplishments, they’re the happy by-products of time and/or DNA.’ And she’s totally right. I do find it frustrating to think that I might be judged on what I’m wearing or how my hair is, rather than for the things I’m saying.”

But Nadine is the first to admit she’s a bit of a worrier, so doting Dan, 30, has suggested a New Year’s resolution for her – to be kinder to herself. “I guess I am quite hard on myself, which drives Dan mad. I tend to drive myself quite hard and I have high expectations.”

Nadine and Dan became engaged in April last year, and the couple are more in love than ever. “He takes amazingly good care of me,” she smiles. “He’s extremely kind and thoughtful. I’ll come home to a big bunch of flowers every few weeks because he knows I love having flowers in the house. We only get closer and closer, it’s so nice.”

Dan has even taken on the role of chief wedding planner, taking care of virtually every detail of their upcoming nuptials. They used their summer break to scout out venues and are keen on the Far North. “Our main requirement is somewhere that doesn’t have to shut down at 11pm,” she says. “Dan is a night owl, he’d stay up ’til sunrise if he could! We just think that when it comes to our wedding, we want it to be a party to remember.”

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