“The idea of inoculating kids with self-esteem is building a resistance to things like bullying and what I really see is the sign of the demons that come in their lonely moments on the internet, which really are like the true coward’s punches when you think about it.” Charlie Pickering.
To have a voice in popular culture is a very powerful thing. When it’s used to occasionally champion women’s and children’s causes it deserves to be celebrated.
Australian readers may know Charlie Pickering as the quick-witted, likeable guy on television’s The Project. You know the one? He’s a little cocky; but he gets away with it?
Well he’s also not scared of sounding like he cares and we like that around here.
Meet Mr Pickering…
Martine Harte: Charlie you’re a man of many layers..
Charlie Pickering: Or at least I’ve given that impression! (laughs)
TV host: comedian, author, former lawyer, cyclist, husband, social justice campaigner. Which role are you most aligned with?
Charlie Pickering: I have to say husband (laughs) because that’s constant, that’s the thing that doesn’t change and that’s the priority. Whether or not I’m a good husband or not I think depends on the day. I think that’s the husband business!
Professionally, I’m always a comedian no matter what, that’s how I’m built, that’s what I do and what I have dreamed of being since I was a kid.
So even when I’m a tv host I do the serious stuff the way a comedian would, if that makes sense. I like to ask different questions to what other people may ask and that is part of what a comedian does.
You describe yourself as a late bloomer: not as tall as the other boys and you didn’t think you were as good-looking, yet you used your sense of humour and your strong opinions to get through. Why did you take that approach?
Charlie Pickering: When I was really, really young my hair was terrible. I had thin wispy hair and my mum was convinced I was going to be bald about the age of ten. So she thought, ‘I’ve gotta build his confidence so that when all his hair falls out at the age of ten, he’ll at least have a robust personality to get through.’ When I hit about fourteen my hair had grown thick and curly and my mum had created a monster!
I’ve always had an underlying philosophy of not being intimidated by anyone and that’s just always stuck with me. I realised at a pretty early age, everyone’s just a person.
And you say we can inoculate children against low self-esteem, we love that!
Charlie Pickering: Once again I’ve got no expertise (laughs) I haven’t got kids or anything like that, I’ve probably got too many theories about everything!
The idea of inoculating kids with self-esteem is building a resistance to things like bullying and what I really see is the sign of the demons that come in their lonely moments on the internet, which really are like the true coward’s punches when you think about it.
What you can do is make sure that your kid won’t value the statements of cruel strangers or won’t prioritise them over their own feelings of self belief or the belief of close family, friends or parents. And that to me means it doesn’t matter what you throw at kids, they’re going to be ready for it.
You are also very vocal about domestic violence, it is beyond comprehension to think one woman is killed in this country every week.
Charlie Pickering: The sheer volume of women suffering violence at the hands of their partner, at the hands of men it kind of blows your mind and I think if we want to make things better we have to talk about things like that.
Which to be honest we don’t talk about because it’s so big, ugly, hard and they hide behind closed doors.
Children raised in a culture of violence are more likely to throw punches on the street.
I trust you had strong female role models? Who comes to mind for you personally?
Charlie Pickering: Personally my mother really stands out. Just a really smart, strong woman but also like all mothers she has an ability to take on a super human level of responsibility and work load. Just Christmas alone! (laughs) I think mums do get taken for granted, I definitely did but now I have the utmost respect for her.
Carrie who I work with is just an extraordinary person, we don’t agree on everything which is great. We can have a really robust discussion on anything and still be friends, she’s utterly professional, extraordinarily professional.
When we started doing The Project it was very difficult because it was a new show. It was very hard work and she was going through the process of losing her husband to cancer yet was still able to be supportive for me going through a divorce at the time.
Her strength through that was remarkable and also on a daily basis she’s just a joyous person to hang out with.
Now tell me, I know you have to go soon, but your wife Sarah. What turned your head?
Charlie Pickering: I don’t generally talk about her.
Lovely people read www.engagingwomen.com.au 🙂
I’ll just say smartest, funniest person I’ve ever met. Gorgeous and just can make me laugh and could talk about the most fascinating things. I just felt that we were going to make each other laugh forever.
FIND CHARLIE PICKERING: