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Career

'The unfortunate birthday I'll never forget': Wellington Paranormal's Karen O'Leary lets us in on her personal life

Always funny!

Wellington Paranormal star by night, early childhood teacher by day. Karen O'Leary opens up about her favourite things and one particularly memorable birthday.

My working week…

Is increasingly varied. I still work as team leader at the amazing community-based early childhood centre Adelaide ECC, so normally I get out of bed and walk 10 minutes down the road with the hope of inspiring young minds. With the acting/TV malarky, it's very much a potpourri.
I've spent more time in Auckland in the past year than ever before, and with Wellington Paranormal have had to become accustomed to an 11 and three-quarter-hour work day.
That said, I'm very fortunate because neither of my jobs feel like work. They are both a pleasure. Oh and I'm in a kids' band called Fun & Funner. My band mate/ECC colleague and friend Tom Watson and I are about to release our debut album Better Than Normal. When I'm not working, I spend time with my whaˉnau who are really cool. In my opinion, fun and even more fun is the best way to look after yourself.

My day-to-day outfit consists of…

Clothes, mainly. Oh, and shoes.

The movie I’ve watched most in my life is…

Clue. There's a clue in the title as to what it is about… that's right, it's based on the boardgame Cluedo. Let me assure you it's far from boring. Tim Curry is magnificent as the butler and I just love it. My sister Jo and I used to watch it all the time. I loved it so much I rented it from Amalgamated Video in Kilbirnie, then never took it back. It cost me at least $24 in fines. I don't advocate for that kind of dishonesty, but I do advocate for Clue.

The person I’d most like to interview is…

Helen Clark. She is someone I've always been inspired by. She is a strong woman who I think did many great things for our country as a politician and subsequently the world through her work with the UN, and now, wherever it is she's working…
I could ask her that in the interview.

My advice to my younger self is…

Get that chip off your shoulder and give it to a seagull.

The best birthday I’ve ever had was…

My 10th, even though just before my guests arrived our cat Puddlewinkles ate my sister's rat Missy. Luckily I got over the horror of that to still win the tenpin bowling. But my total favourite would have to be my 40th. There was a really eclectic, fantastic bunch of people there and my partner made the best ever playlist, which had people dancing all night. And my cake had a cricket ball on it.

The funniest person I know is…

My good friend Tom Watson. We have a lot of fun in our work and music, and we are hoping to start a children's television show called Play Cool. One of our best ideas for that show is a segment where we do a demonstration of how baleen works. Now that I've written that down, it doesn't seem all that hilarious, but trust me, it will be.

My favourite day of the week is…

Today.

If I were a billionaire, I would…

Obviously become a selfish capitalist dork. If I got to this point and then realised, I would give away my money.

If I could raid one person’s wardrobe it would be…

Well, recently I secretly looked in John Campbell's wardrobe at TVNZ and I did quite like what I saw. That said it was a little one-dimensional (and I know John won't mind me saying that). Maybe John for formal wear and Jane Lynch [Glee actress] for activewear?

The city I’d love to live in is…

Wellington. Which is lucky because I live here. In fact, I always have. I totally admire those 'travelly' people, but I am entirely enamoured with Te Whanganui-a-Tara. It's a city that inspires creative, collaborative, open-minded, positive thinking – and the world needs as much of that as it can get.

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