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Career

Kanoa Lloyd's charity mission to Vietnam

The Project presenter is keen to pay it forward.

By Sophie Neville
Just before taking to the stage to host the New Zealand Music Awards last month, Kanoa Lloyd had one of those unmistakable pinch-me moments.
With Kiwi singing legend Stan Walker at her side and the venue filled with some of this country's biggest names, the former children's TV presenter was hit by the enormity of just how far she's come in the past few years.
"I had to stop for a second and take stock," she confesses. "I remember thinking, 'OMG, this is my life!' It felt totally amazing, hilarious and really, really cool."
The Gisborne-born 32-year-old, who started her broadcasting career on kids' show Sticky TV when she was still at high school, has cemented herself as one of Aotearoa's brightest stars since joining the presenting panel on Three's The Project, following a three-year stint as Newshub's weather presenter.
While she'd be forgiven for letting the success go to her head, Kanoa will never stop being grateful for where she's at in life.
She enthuses, "Quite often, I'll just step back and think, 'Whoa, this is so awesome!' I never, ever take for granted this incredible run of opportunities I've had.
"And I love my work! I like the camaraderie of the whole team and knowing the tricks of how it's all made. I even enjoy the bits where things go slightly wrong and we manage to drag it back. I get a real jolt of adrenaline."

Kanoa is also incredibly grateful for the happy home life she and share with their rescue dog Brown and tabby cat Harry in Auckland. The pair will celebrate their second wedding anniversary this month and Kanoa blushes when she admits that Mikee, 40, who was once known as "Props Boy" on What Now, is her biggest fan.
"He's hilarious. He'll be rushing off to buy five copies of this magazine to send off to his nana, his mum and everyone else he knows! He is ridiculously proud of me. It's pretty choice."
The pair have recently undertaken a lifestyle overhaul, ditching sugar and carbs, and focusing on their fitness. Several times a week, they rise at 7am for a brisk walk with Brown, before returning home for a DIY circuit-training session.
"We do a few weights and some push-ups on the stairs," tells Kanoa, who has been open about her struggle with anxiety and sees a counsellor. "I've never been a gym person. For me, it's always been about yoga, which I mainly do for the mind.
"And getting into nature is pretty magical when I'm feeling bad. There's nothing like taking your shoes off and getting into the fresh air. But it's time to get a bit more serious and I'm really lucky my husband has got on board with the health kick too, so we can do it together."
But this isn't about weight loss, insists Kanoa, who wants to get fit in time for a trip to Vietnam in April, when she'll lead a week-long trek to raise money for the Graeme Dingle Foundation.
The Kiwi charity works with young people to give them opportunities, self-esteem and adventure, often in nature. It's a cause that's close to Kanoa's heart. As a child, she and her mum moved around a lot, even living in a house bus for a time, before settling in Dunedin.
"The idea of providing mentoring and support to kids who might not have all the resources is amazing," she enthuses. "I know when I was young, there were a few people along the way who helped me and believed in me at just the right time. That set me on a good path."
The Vietnam trek isn't the only challenge on the horizon for 2019, with the recent announcement that the star will host her own show, Moving Out with Kanoa.
The reality series will follow Kiwis as they embark on major lifestyle changes and Kanoa can't wait to sink her teeth into her first solo hosting gig. "I'm so excited and not just because my name is in the title," she laughs. "It's a really beautiful premise for a show and I'm sure there will be tears along the way!"
First, though, Kanoa is looking forward to a well-earned festive break. "I can't wait to get my fill of bare feet, fishing and having my phone turned off," she says.
"I never look in the mirror in summer. I'll be a mix of 50% sand and 50% sunscreen."
And the healthy-eating regime will certainly be put on hold come December 25.
"I bought a beautiful trifle bowl for $5 from an op shop, so I'll be digging into that. And I won't say no to a glass of wine either. It's Christmas!"

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