Kate Ritchie, the darling of Australian entertainment, isn’t what you might expect of someone who was raised on a TV set. Despite having grown up in front of the camera, the radio host, spokesperson, actor and mother shows none of the hang-ups of a former child star. Instead, she’s refreshingly down to earth – “I am less of a social butterfly kind of woman and more of a get-me-in-the-garden-or-the-kitchen kind variety”, as she puts it.
And despite regular appearances in the press, it’s the simple pleasures of motherhood that define her days. Of her daily routine, Kate says “it now involves packing lunches and school drop offs which funnily enough I find truly rewarding, but maybe that’s because the novelty hasn’t worn off yet!”
But of course, there’s plenty to remind us that Kate is very much more extra than ordinary. The long-term Jockey brand ambassador has just headlined their new BRAVO! campaign, celebrating women in all their glory. She’s made one of the biggest debuts of her acting career to date, appearing on Play School, much to the delight of daughter Mae. And her Nova radio show continues its stellar performance. How does she do it? “My overall wellness is best the more present I am, which I can often struggle with. So a must-do is focusing on the here and now, and the beauty in it. Not anxiously breaking down the past or what the future might hold.”
We caught up with Kate to hear about what that present looks like these days – the glory and the mundane – and how she balances it all.
Header image: Julie Adams
It's been a year since you last spoke to The Grace Tales. How is life with a five year old?
It’s great! It’s a busy life we have and it continues to be a learning curve for us all. Mae has grown from a baby with no idea into a little girl with ALL the ideas overnight.
You've recently made your Play School debut - was that a big moment for you?
It was an absolute honour and I was an incredible ball of nervous and excited energy stepping on to the Play School Story Time set. There is something very special about being in the presence of those iconic Play School characters. I’ve met some big stars over the years but that was next level because it connected so deeply to my formative years. I am hoping Big Ted was impressed!
How did Mae react? Has she seen you on TV before?
It was actually the first time she was completely engaged in seeing my face on a screen which was lovely to witness. I grew up watching Play School and therefore she had no chance in ever avoiding the old childhood favourite of mine. She still talks about the time that Mummy met Jemima and stood by the Rocket Clock when I hosted the 50 Years of Play School special for the ABC a few years ago, so being invited to do Story Time was wonderful icing on the cake for us both. The bonus being that it was far more five year old friendly than the majority of my Kate, Tim & Marty videos which find themselves online on a weekly basis and that she is rarely allowed to watch!
You've spoken about your ambassadorship with Jockey being a source of empowerment for you. Do you think having a daughter has made you braver when it comes to your body? You must want to be a strong role model for her.
It really has been and the new BRAVO! Campaign is no different. Celebrating women in all their glory. In all their shapes and sizes, and in whatever form their life takes on. There is a lesson in that for all of us and perhaps having my daughter was the beginning of that journey for me. I feel more brave when it comes to my body now because I see it more clearly now. I see my body beyond what size jeans I am slipping into for the day. It is powerful and wonderful and it has served me well, producing a beautiful little babe in the process. I can only hope that our journey along this road called life sees me setting good and kind examples for her and instilling in her a sense of confidence to be able to find her own way forward too.
You've been a spokesperson for Jockey for a while now. What do you look for in a brand partnership?
Something you believe in and something you don’t have to work too hard at. In essence, it has to make sense. A harmonious marriage of sorts that doesn’t need a lot of explanation. Not to myself, nor to the consumers.
This Jockey campaign celebrates strength of body as well as strength of mind. What does that mean for you?
For me that means balance. Balance in lifestyle. Balance in my work. Balance in my body AND mind. This remains a work in progress and involves a great deal of time management and an acknowledgment that self care should always be high on my list of priorities.
Can you talk us through your approach to health and wellness? What are your must-dos?
For me peaceful sleep is the one thing that helps everything else in my life fall into place. If I can achieve that, then the rest of my world is more manageable. Regular exercise really does help too. It helps my body feel better and I thrive on the discipline once I find myself in a good routine. My overall wellness is best the more present I am, which I can often struggle with. So a must-do is focusing on the here and now, and the beauty in it. Not anxiously breaking down the past or what the future might hold.
You're a busy woman - with a radio show, two children’s books, brand collaborations and more on the hop, how do you manage it all? Do you prefer to keep busy?
From the age of eight years old I was handed a schedule for the following week every Friday afternoon. This gave my life structure and purpose from a very early age so I much prefer it when things are busy – at least when it comes to my Monday to Friday existence. Come the weekend though and I am less of a social butterfly kind of woman and more of a get-me-in-the-garden-or-the-kitchen kind variety.
What's next on the cards for your career?
For now I will continue to head in to the Nova studios every day for my radio show which thankfully continues to go from success to success. This gig really is a blessing and allows me time to give my life that balance we are talking about. I have never denied that my heart still yearns to be back on a film set, and I trust the universe will present that when the time and the project is right for me.
Did you set any resolutions this year?
I’m not big into resolutions. This is born from too many years of not fulfilling them. Meaning I STILL can’t speak Italian and have never gone back to tap dancing classes!
As Mae gets older, what kind of mother do you aspire to be?
A happy one and a mother who teaches respect for oneself and for others.
What does a typical day in your life look like at the moment?
A typical day sees me awake before the rest of the house so that I can attempt to plan the majority of my radio show first thing. It now involves packing lunches and school drop offs which funnily enough I find truly rewarding, but maybe that’s because the novelty hasn’t worn off yet! The time then spent before I head into the studio at 4pm is always varied. I can have days in front of the computer or I can have days doing the housework and cooking chicken soup and then amongst all that I am fulfilling my commitments in all the other roles that I play. Of course, this week sees me launching the brand new AW20 Jockey Underwear BRAVO! Campaign so there’ll be a lot of time applauding women everywhere and asking them to do the same.
Can you tell us what you're loving at the moment?
I’m approaching the end of Series 2 of Succession which I am loving. I also enjoyed The Commons on STAN and plenty of Bluey and Mr Maker! I always find myself scrolling through the Vitakin feed on Instagram @vitakin_originals and wishing I could swan around somewhere fabulous in my own embroidered frock. Alas…not any time soon! My favourite accounts to follow right now are all mostly art and gardens like @jamesking_paintboy @treekeepers @mattzhaig @cottonwoodandco @melissa_penfold
And all the Tom Ford fragrances and body oils and lipsticks!