It's just been three months since Suzy Cato burst back onto our screens in the promo for Three's Dancing with the Stars after a 16-year absence. The response was immediate – as if New Zealanders hadn't realised how much we had been missing Suzy Cato until she was right in front of us, in a slinky pair of leather pants. Were we ready for Suzy Cato to be sexy? Yes, the nation said. Yes we were.
Sitting down with the children's television star just after her shock exit from the reality show, Suzy tells The Australian Women's Weekly about how the programme has been the ultimate preparation for her 50th birthday – and why it's taken until now to get the confidence to do such a big and brave performance.
"The experience has been phenomenal. I've loved every minute of it, I wouldn't change it for the world. Having being challenged the way I have; breaking down my own boundaries, which I've given myself over the years, putting myself in my own little stereotyped box… it's been really good for me to break out of that and move forward."
The idea of bravery is a big one for Suzy; she's open about the fact that she would not have been able to do Dancing with the Stars - and the sequins, short skirts, and sex appeal that comes hand in hand with it – in her twenties or thirties.
"I think I was more concerned with body image back then, and what people thought of me."
She was also very aware of the position she held in the public eye back then, both with her young audience and their parents.
"Being 'Suzy Cato' – and I refer to her in the third person here – it was a very clear, defined role."
In her exclusive interview in the July issue of The Australian Women's Weekly, Suzy talks candidly about the unexpected difficult side of her time as a children's TV presenter; the surprising kick-start behind her famous role; her family, and what's next for her.
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