By Jonathon Moran, The Daily Telegraph

HAVING a thick skin has been Sophie Monk’s saving grace.

“I’ve been in the business 100 years. I’ve never really had any other job so it does feel like forever,” Monk tells BW magazine.

“I’ve got to have a thick skin or I wouldn’t be still doing this and I wouldn’t be able to smile, to be honest. It is pretty hard to get me. I’ve been through so much drama; your tolerance goes through the roof with it.”

From broken engagements to Good Charlotte’s Benji Madden and Jimmy Esebag, to dating Avatar’s Sam Worthington and surviving reality TV with her former Bardot band mates, Monk has weathered her share of controversies in what can only be described as a turbulent industry.

Understandably, the 37-year-old is straight to the point. It is how she rolls and why we love her.

Nothing is off limits when she sits down for a chat about her plans for the year ahead, both work and personal.

“I get so bored very quickly and also have commitment-phobia in every other area of my life,” says Sophie Monk. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

And 2017 is shaping up to be a good year, workwise, for Monk.

She continues work with radio station KIIS and shot a Pepsi commercial at the end of last year, as well as a game show for Channel Nine.

“I couldn’t pick which I love the most, TV or radio,” she says.

“I just like changing it up. I get so bored very quickly and also have commitment-phobia in every other area of my life.”

One highlight for the year ahead will be her partnership with NBC Universal and production company Matchbox on a satirical drama TV show.

Monk is writing, directing and is set to star in the pilot that aims to lift the lid on the reality TV genre, busting myths about the industry’s “glamour”.

“It is just really real reality,” she says.

“I want people to see behind the scenes is not glamorous. I am getting changed in the car half the time to get to a red carpet.

“I had to jump the fence at the ARIAs because no one was there to meet me and I went down the wrong way to come up the carpet. I was there with my bags, carrying them.

“People don’t get it, it is not glam. Even the Kardashians have to get changed in the car to go from one event to another. We make it look glamorous but we are all hanging around backstage in smelly stairwells or catering. I want to show all the behind the scenes.”

Monk hopes for a big year. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

Singing is also back on the cards for Monk, who hasn’t released music for more than a decade.

“I’d love to sing again. Kasey Chambers wants to work with me,” she says.

“Kasey has written me a song and it was beautiful when I heard it. It is just for fun, I don’t care who takes to it or picks on me or whatever but yeah I miss it.”

Personally too, Monk hopes for a big year — the veteran TV, music and radio star would like to become a mum. While single, she’s looking at all of her options.

“I’ve never felt clucky until now. Recently, anything little, I just want it,” she says.

“Ideally I’d like to have kids this year but I need a guy. I reckon I would do it by myself to be honest — if it got to that time. My sister is like my husband, so she would look after it, but I would like to do it properly.”

Finding the right guy has always been a challenge for the performer.

“You’ve seen me in and out of love too many times,” she says.

“If I wasn’t in this industry I reckon I’d be married with four kids already but it is tough, I find, with what people’s intentions are as well. Also, I’m not going to meet anyone because a guy might come up for a photo and it is awkward.”

Monk continues in her refreshingly honest, trademark throaty voice: “Being a man in my position would be awesome, you’d get whatever chick you want. But being a girl, it is so different and everyone knows everything about you, so you can’t walk into a room and try and pretend to be someone else like when you have that night you want to be mysterious.”

While she loves the entertainment industry, the singer and actor seems keen to reinforce how fickle and precarious fame can be.

“It is hard, our industry, people don’t know that because it looks so fun,” a defiant
Monk says.

“It is hard because it is always up and down and you’ve just got to ride it and go, oh well I’ll lose it again and do it again and then lose it. You can’t always have everyone love you.”

However you look at it, Monk is a survivor.

She got her first taste of fame at age 19, auditioning and making it through for the first series of Popstars — the 1999 TV talent show that preceded the likes of Australian Idol and The X Factor.

She faced a steep learning curve as a member of the show’s resulting girl group, Bardot — along with Belinda Chapple, Sally Polihronas, Katie Underwood, Chantelle Barry and Tiffani Wood.

Monk is the only one of the women still in the public eye, with the girls falling out spectacularly years ago.

“You’ve got to keep going because once you stop, everything stops,” she says.

She’s no longer in contact with any of her Bardot band mates, but says Bardot “felt like school for me, like primary school in the industry”.

It wasn’t long after the group disbanded in 2002 that Monk moved to Los Angeles to try her hand at acting. She was quickly typecast as the pretty leggy blonde, with small parts in films such as Date Movie and Click.

“I don’t even feel like I know that person any more,” she says.

“It wasn’t for me. It wasn’t my thing. I grew up too country for it, I think. If you are a city girl and you come from a bit of cash as well, you would do better there but I think my values are different so it kind of lost me.

“Work was good but it kind of felt like I was treading water with who I was, so I just came home and it is so nice to be here.”

Monk kept her toe in the water with the local industry while living in the US but didn’t make the move home until 2014 to replace Kyle and Jackie O on 2 Day FM breakfast with Jules Lund, Mel B and Merrick Watts.

That gig lasted less than a year as 2 Day’s parent company struggled to find a team to take on Kyle and Jackie O — now at rival KIIS, the station Monk is now also contracted to.

“I just got worn down after a while of trying to be someone for everyone,” she explains.

“I just went, ‘If they want me, I will be me.’ I just put my hands up in the air one day and said I am going to be me, take it or leave it and it kind of worked I think.”

Monk (right) with her Bardot band members Belinda Chapple, Tiffany Wood, Katie Underwood and Sally Polihronas in 2000. Picture: Angelo Soulas

Monk is now based on the Gold Coast, where she lives in a five-bedroom house by the water with her three cats.

She’s “ridiculously close” to her family — her parents are moving in next door. “The Gold Coast is so much cheaper so it was pretty cheap for what I’ve got,” says Monk, who commutes to Sydney and Melbourne for work.

“It can be lonely, so I need my three cats because it is just me in that house. I live out of a suitcase, in this industry you are always flying everywhere. I’ve just got like three suitcases in my lounge room at home I drop and move on to the next one. I’m very messy.”


1999: Monk auditions for reality show Popstars singing Marilyn Monroe’s famous rendition of Happy Birthday Mr President and becomes a member of girl group Bardot.

2000: Bardot becomes first Australian act to debut at No. 1 with first single Poison and self-titled album.

2002: Bardot break up after two albums and two national tours. Monk signs to Warner Music as a solo artist and releases the single Inside Outside, which peaks at No. 5 on
the charts.

2003: Releases debut solo album Calendar Girl before parting ways with the label.

2004: Makes acting debut playing Monroe in TV special The Mystery of Natalie Wood.

2005: Moves to Hollywood, where she lands role in spoof comedy Date Movie.

2007: Monk has guest role in hit series Entourage, followed by film roles in Sex and Death 101 and Spring Breakdown.

2014: Monk returns to Australia to join the now defunct Southern Cross Austereo breakfast show with Jules Lund, Merrick Watts and Mel B.

Sophie Monk is exclusively managed by The Fordham Company.

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