Dancing with the Stars star Brodie Kane's proud mum Jo

The Dancing with the Stars broadcaster had the best life coach growing up

By Fleur Guthrie
As the judges held up their paddles, scoring Brodie Kane's foxtrot a mere 17 out of 30, a loud, long "Boooo!" could be heard echoing from within the Dancing with the Stars audience.
"Yeah, that was me," admits her gregarious mum Jo. "The booing just came out like a lion roaring from the den," she laughs. "It sounded like it was several people, but it was just me.
"I have never been able to stop my impulsive behaviour and I was not happy after hearing the judges' criticisms, as it didn't seem balanced. So afterwards, I barrelled straight up to judge Elektra Shock and said, 'You look beautiful but you're very mean!'"
Proudly watching her daughter perform with partner Enrique Jones was emotional, tells Jo, 66, who was "blown away" on a quick visit up to the live show in Auckland from her home in Christchurch.
It's 6am when the pair welcomes the Weekly into Brodie's North Shore flat – to fit around dance training and Jo's morning flight home – and as they sip on an energy drink, Brodie is bright-eyed and beaming. Jo, not so much.
Brodie and Enrique lighting up the DWTS dancefloor
But despite one being a morning person and the other not, their humorous banter is on form.
"I'm coming to terms with being a mean mum who wouldn't let four-year-old Brodie continue on with dance classes as a child," says Jo wryly. "All her friends were doing ballet and I was not going to put her in a tutu, so I compromised and I took her to jazz dancing for a term.
"But at the recital, Brodie went left and everyone else went right, so we stopped that and I put Brodie into music and swimming, which she was naturally talented in."
So it could be said DWTS is somewhat of a dream come true for the 35-year-old former Breakfast and Fair Go journalist.
'Because I have been single for so long, I've got used to my independence'
She's watched from series one and didn't hesitate when producers contacted her to join the hit Three show where she's chosen Assistance Dogs NZ Trust as her charity.
"I wanted to wear the pretty frocks, I wanted to feel like a princess, and I wanted to learn to dance and be whisked around the floor. I just didn't realise how mentally challenging it would be," Brodie confesses. "But with anything I do, Mum is 2000 percent behind me.
"Absolutely," nods Jo. "Even though I'm a mum that's buffalo rough, I appreciate that Brodie enjoys dressing up in beautiful frocks.
"In fact, when I found out I was having a girl, I cried all day. I had wanted to give our son AJ a little brother. When a friend asked why, I said, 'Because she'll want frills and her hair done nicely,' and yes, Brodie was all of that growing up. But from the moment she arrived, she was just wonderful. We're incredibly close and now she's my best friend."
Young Brodie liked frilly frocks and feeling like a princess, which challenged her mum
Last year, the pair even lived together in a house they bought in Waikuku Beach, north of Christchurch. Brodie had just been made redundant from her radio role on Canterbury breakfast show The Hits and was building her own company, Brodie Kane Media. Jo had recently separated from her husband Murray.
During lockdown, they entertained others on social media by creating the Jo Bro Show, interviewing well-known Kiwis and performing a quirky dance number.
"Or sometimes there'd be mishaps where I'd accidentally slide off the couch and fart," tells Jo. "Being able to laugh at yourself is really important."
After Brodie farewelled Christchurch in February for a new life in Auckland, she was flooded with questions from their followers.
Brodie as a baby with Jo
"Every day they'd ask, 'How's your mum, what's she up to?' or, 'Does your mum miss you? Do you miss each other?' And I think because we spent so much time on social media as a duo that people are missing seeing us together, more than we're missing each other," she explains.
"We're actually fine," grins Brodie, who hosts popular podcasts The Girls Uninterrupted and Kiwi Yarns. "I talk to her and my dad daily."
Growing up, her mum was her biggest role model for keeping active. Jo completed her first Coast to Coast challenge when Brodie was only six months old after watching a documentary on it that piqued her interest. Then 31, she trained on an exercycle in the lounge but soon realised she was ill prepared.
Team Kane – Mum Jo, Brodie and brother AJ on day one of the Coast to Coast in 2020
"Mum's athletic back-ground is incredible – she's done two Iron Men, four marathons and nine Coast to Coast multisport events. She's tough man!" boasts Brodie. "I remember as a 10-year-old when she was training to swim the Cook Strait for her 40th and I'd go along with her to the Dudley Park pool in Rangiora.
"And it's funny how you get to a certain age where you do start listening to your parents. And it wasn't until I got to my thirties, like mum, that I started to enjoy running and now we've done two Coast to Coasts together as a mother-daughter team."
Five years ago, however, Jo fell off a ladder and broke her tibial plateau, which runs from the knee to ankle. She couldn't bare weight for six weeks, which made her other knee worse and needed a knee replacement.
"Then she got hospitalised with an incredibly rare infection from it," shares Brodie. "I was really scared because I'd never seen Mum in pain or vulnerable before. It made me very protective of her."
Jo swimming the Cook Strait for her 40th
But Jo bounced back. With her son and daughter joining her in a three-person relay team covering 243km over two days, doing another Coast to Coast seemed like the perfect tonic to cheer in her "pension year".
These days, spending time entertaining her three grandkids, Lydia, 10, John, eight, and Michael, four, is enough of an endurance challenge, she says.
"I love being a grand-mother. I've just taken them on a tour around the South Island for the school holidays. Having experiences with them is my best investment."
This leads Jo dropping some cheeky hints for Brodie around providing some babies and reveals she often phones her daughter with suggestions of eligible bachelors.
Growing up, her mum was her biggest role model for keeping active
"Sailor Blair Tuke is top of my list at the moment," says Jo, to cries from a horrified Brodie in the background saying, "Oh, Mum, stop it. I'm all good, thank you!" before Jo whispers, "Watch out Blair, Mama Jo is coming!"
Adds Brodie, "Because I have been single for so long, I've got used to my independence. And instead of my standards dropping, mine have only got higher."
"But also, she's too busy being fabulous," enthuses Jo. "What man is going to fit around her schedule? Although I'd look after him…" she winks. "No, seriously, I love that she's a sassy, strong, independent woman. I love that she's forged her own path. She's pretty cool. We're same same but different."
'I am more exhausted training five hours a day for DWTS than training for any other endurance event'
What's your signature move on the dancefloor?
Brodie: I have three moves that I do on rotation based on Tina Turner's Proud Mary. The last time I did it was at Daisy and Israel Dagg's house, and Daisy handed me a black leotard and says, "I even have a costume for you!" So I put it on and off I went. It's a very aggressive, passionate song which I hope to perform in the DWTS final.
Jo: The Mashed Potato.
Brodie says she and Enrique have something spectacular planned for the finale
Brodie, what's harder – training for DWTS or a marathon?
Dancing! I am more exhausted training five hours a day for DWTS than training for any other endurance event. Because there's a whole lot more emotions attached to it. In my first couple of weeks of training, Kerre Woodham gave me a pep talk after rehearsals one day. She told me I needed to shut out the negative thoughts about myself... the self-doubt, the "I can't do this, I'm going to look ridiculous." She said, "You actually have to try and park those feelings because they're not helpful and waste your energy."
Future plans for you both?
We'd love to do a TV series travelling around New Zealand in a campervan doing adrenaline-junkie activities. We had the idea before The Chase's Bradley Walsh and his son did it. Mum's not a thrill-seeker, so it could be a hoot!

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