Julie Bishop arrives at 5am in Canberra for her WHO Sexiest cover shoot, armed with an English breakfast tea and a bright coral manicure.
She’s witty, decisive and loves a laugh.
Renowned for her immaculate style, Bishop, 62, is duly excited by a bunch of the clothing options we have on offer, a lot of which are from her favoured designer, Giorgio Armani.
“I don’t have a stylist. I choose and buy my own clothes,” she reveals. “One of my first pay cheques as a young lawyer was spent on an Armani suit, I still have it. Teal blue silk – I don’t have the jacket, but I have the skirt and the top. I’ve always been interested in fashion – it’s a part of who I am.”
She happily poses in a variety of looks, before being offered one of the Armani sequinned suits to take home with her. Once the shoot formalities are over, Bishop sits down to chat before heading off to a 9.30am start in parliament.
All in a day’s work for the politician.
How would you describe the year you’ve had with the Liberal Party, both personally and professionally?
It’s a very challenging time for the Liberal party. Leadership changes are not easy and they take a toll, personally and professionally. I have seen many of these moments in my 20 years in politics. It began with the change from Kevin Rudd to Julia Gillard, and once it had happened a precedent was set and it’s now occurred on a number of occasions. It leads to instability and lack of confidence in the political process.
What can be done to get back stability?
The feedback I’ve received from the public is they are puzzled, frustrated – their expectations of politicians are not being met. They want politicians to focus on their concerns; they expect representatives to be advocating on their behalf. They don’t appreciate the self-interest or the focus on the politicians, and that’s something we all must take heed of.
Why did you decide to put your hand up to contest the leadership after your years as the deputy?
I had been the deputy leader of the party for 11 years – I had been elected to that role on about seven occasions over that time. I am the first woman to challenge for the leadership of the Liberal Party in its history. I am very proud of that fact.
When you were unsuccessful, Whatsapp messages between your colleagues were exposed. Did they shock you?
I wasn’t aware of the Whatsapp messages and no-one told me of them. That was disappointing. But I’m comfortable with decisions I took. It was a very intense, high-pressure environment and I had to make a number of decisions without my usual deep analysis of the consequences of those decisions. But I respect the views of the party room, and we now have a new prime minister. I decided not to remain in the cabinet and I resigned as both deputy leader and foreign minister.
For Julie Bishop's full story, be sure to pick up the new issue of WHO magazine, featuring our 2018 Sexiest People List.