Em Rusciano is ravenous—but also a little nauseous. It’s only 10.30AM and already she has eaten two breakfasts and is eyeing off a lamington.
“The photographer’s assistant has already asked me three times if I want any more food — and I’ve only been here an hour!” she jokes. It’s clear to all today that as well as being ravenously hungry, the Melbourne-based comedian is also super, super happy. And why wouldn’t she be?
At 39, and already the mother of two gorgeous girls—Marchella, who is 16, and Odette, 11—to partner of 18 years, Scott Barrow, she announced on Aug. 5 she’s about to be a mum once more— this time around, a boy.
It’s a happy period for the one-time Australian Idol contestant, who concedes now she’s passed that all important first trimester, she’s finally allowing herself to enjoy this blissful time. And after weathering her fair share of controversy over the past two years—as well as a very public, and very devastating miscarriage in 2017—it feels like the stars have aligned in her favour.
As Rusciano says: “Now we’ll all just wait and see what happens!”
Congratulations! You’re 14 weeks, how are you feeling?
The spewiness has abated, thank goodness. I am still just generally nauseous but also ravenously hungry. So while I’m vomiting, I’m wanting a hamburger. It’s a unique feeling, and one I’ve not had before. This pregnancy, with a boy, is completely different. I’m on three breakfasts a day, and two dinners. And I need a snack in between!
This is something you’ve wanted for a long time, right?
Well, I didn’t until I fell pregnant last year. We weren’t having any more children, and then that happened as a surprise and I lost the pregnancy. I realised how much I probably did want a third.
It must have been a tough time.
It was really awful. But I also found out, from a lot of people that follow me, that it’s really common, but not something a lot of people talk about. And no-one talks about what it’s like to be “trying”—when you are actually trying to get pregnant. Every month is like being in this weird life lottery, where you buy a ticket and wait to see. And if your period comes, you’ve got to pick yourself up emotionally.
And you didn’t want to put that kind of pressure on yourself to fall pregnant?
If something had happened with this pregnancy, early days, it would have been the end of me. Women that go back, time and time again, I think they are made of iron. It’s really putting your heart on the line.
What was Scott’s reaction?
I showed him the test. I have it in my bag now, actually ...
Is it weird? I’ve never told anyone that. There you go—that’s your WHO exclusive! She carries a pee stick in her handbag! But yeah, Scott was like, “Wait, you’re pregnant?” And I said, “No, I just bought this online! Yes!” Scotty is very low-key though. I could stand there and say, “My vagina’s on fire, get an extinguisher” and he’d be like, “Oh, OK.” He’s chilled. But he’s worried for me, and wary about getting attached. But Scotty is always pretty rock solid about everything. He’s unflappable—and he’s really happy.
Is it still too hard to talk about your loss?
Look, I did a whole stand-up tour on it. I am the type of performer who is very much in the moment, so I never phoned in a show in my life. But every night I would revisit the emotions. It was extremely cathartic, but also torturous. I would look out in the crowd and see shiny eyes and people holding each other’s hands. But I realised that it wasn’t just my story now, it was giving validation to other women who had felt the same pain.
Did it upset you earlier this year when there were headlines about you being difficult to work with – following a candid conversation you had with Wil Anderson on his podcast ‘Wilosophy’?
Yeah. I remember walking away from doing that podcast with Wil feeling so good. And I remember feeling like I was really seen by him. And all I did, again, was tell the truth. What annoyed me was that whole narrative around, ‘Oh, she’s difficult. She’s a bitch.’ because I am not. I’m just flat out not—and anyone who works closely with me knows that. But I am fiercely protective of who I am. And I know exactly what I want. If someone gets in my way, and threatens myself, or my livelihood, or my family, I will strongly come up against them.
Read the full interview in this week's issue of WHO, on sale now.