Carrie Bickmore really is a golden girl of TV. She hosts The Project on Channel 10, has a top radio show, the Carrie & Tommy show on the Hit Network, and of course she has a Gold Logie too.
She is popular not only for her humour and down-to-earth personality but also for turning personal tragedy into an opportunity to raise awareness and money for a good cause.
Things haven't always been easy for Carrie. Despite choosing to study journalism at university in the hope of following her father, Austereo executive and radio announcer Brian Bickmore, into media, it was a chance twist of fate that gave her her start.
"I used to shadow the newsroom at 92.9FM in Perth and do pretend news bulletins and never really thought anyone was listening," Carrie explained at a Radio Alive event in 2017.
"I was in on a Saturday morning to do some work experience and the newsreader got sick so I rang the boss and said '…she’s sick, you are going to have to get someone in', and he said, 'you can do it, you'll be fine'. To this day, I am very thankful she got sick.
Her baptism by fire led to a permanent spot as their newsreader before she headed across the country in 2001 to become Nova's afternoon news announcer.
But even on radio, 21-year-old Carrie could not escape notice. In 2002 she was named one of the 100 sexiest women by men's magazine FHM.
Funny girl Carrie destined for screen
It was only a matter of time before television beckoned and, much like her start in radio, Carrie's break into TV was rapid.
"I really don't know how this job came about. I went in for the audition on the Friday and they asked me to start on the Tuesday," she told the Herald Sun about securing the gig on Rove Live in 2006.
"There was no warning, which was probably a good thing or I'd have been even more nervous," Carrie said.
At Rove Live, Carrie could show off her personality in a way newsreaders generally cannot. She began to be known for her funny introductory lines such as "I'm Carrie Bickmore, and my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard", "I'm Carrie Bickmore, just like Sandra Sully – only drunker", "I'm Carrie Bickmore, and don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?"
For a while, she continued doing both radio and TV but, as her television career took off, she stepped back from reading radio news.
Tragedy waiting in wings
While Carrie's professional life was going great guns, she was facing a personal tragedy behind the scenes. Her husband, Greg Lange, who she met at university, was fighting a long drawn-out battle with brain cancer after being diagnosed in 2001.
"They diagnosed him about a year after we moved to Melbourne. I was still 21 or 22 and he was about 25. He had a seizure at home and then one thing led to another," Carrie explained on Ahn's Brush With Fame in 2018.
"They diagnosed him with a brain tumour. In your 20s, that's the last thing you can … I didn't know anyone that had cancer, I didn't know anything about brain cancer, neither did he. It just completely threw everything we knew, everything we had planned, it threw everything on its head. It was the start of an incredibly hard journey.
"We got married when I was 25. I look back at our wedding now and it was a real mix of love and a celebration of life. It was a great day."
Despite Greg's diagnosis and battle, the couple decided to have a child, their son Oliver (now 14). "I think it's probably the greatest thing we ever did together," Carrie reveals.
"We didn't speak about what might happen. We were about hope and positivity. I think sometimes you can be defined by a diagnosis and that's the wrong way to go. Treatments change, science changes along the way," she explained.
Sadly, Greg passed away in December 2010.
Loss steels Carrie for 'terrific cause'
When Carrie used her 2015 acceptance speech for her Gold Logie to dedicate her win to Greg and raise awareness for brain cancer, there wasn't a dry eye in the room.
Fellow TV presenter David Koch praised Carrie, saying she had delivered: "One of the most powerful Gold Logie acceptance speeches in the history of the ceremony. Her words are resonating across the nation this morning.
"What a great forum for her to push a terrific cause like that," Kochie added at the time.
The foundation she started after winning the Gold Logie, Beanies 4 Brain Cancer, has raised more than $18m for brain cancer research.
Carrie has gone on to find love again with partner Chris Walker. The two met on The Project where he was a producer and she a presenter. They fell in love working together and she was overwhelmed by his compassion and empathy after losing Greg.
"He like many people understands loss and suffered his own loss in life and I think he just has a huge amount of compassion and he will always be incredibly supportive of me and for our family," Carrie told TV Week.
Carrie and Chris now have two daughters, Evie, six, and Adelaide, three, and Chris is a loving step-father to Ollie.
In 2019, Carrie was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the broadcast media and to brain cancer awareness in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
Now in her 40s, Carrie has her best years in front of her and only time will tell what she brings both personally and professionally!
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