WHO: Is it strange seeing your face on covers across bookstores?
Yes. It’s odd because I’m like, “God, I wish I hadn’t looked so smug in the photo! I look so like, “Hmm, I wrote a book.” I don’t think they had a lot to pick from. It’s like, “Girl, this is the one where you don’t have a double chin. Do you want it?” I’m like, “Abso-f**king-lutely.”
WHO: You joke, but you wrote, “I can’t be body confident and body positive if I don’t feel that way.” Why was that a key confession?
I just want to be honest because that’s a great way to empower and inspire. I don’t know. I sort of thought if I were honest, people, would feel less s**t about their own situation, so maybe people will feel less alone, because we all tend to beat ourselves up like, “Ugh, I’m not good enough,” or “Ugh, I’ve got this boob sweat,” or “Ugh, I’m failing at this.”
WHO: As you wrote about body stuff, did you take your own advice?
I set myself a challenge and I’m getting there, getting there very slowly. Actually my friend [author] Rosie Waterland reached out and said, “I’ve got somebody who you should definitely speak to in relation to this, she’s definitely helped me,” so I’ve got to make that bloody call, but yeah, I’m getting there.
WHO: You also spoke about the bullying you faced a year after being on the air in Canberra. Was that hard to write about?
I was really scared about that and I’m still scared. I’m scared a hate page is going to start about me again. I’m terrified, but I’m also really concerned about the suicide stats in Australia that I’m like, “I’ve got to share this story because maybe this will help someone.”
WHO: That conviction—is that part of growing up, facing fears and gaining confidence?
I tried to be an actor for so long and gotrejected so many times because I was trying so hard to be somebody else. The minute I stopped trying was the minute it all worked for me. Just be yourself and the rewards are insane. I just can’t spruik that enough.
WHO: In a weird way, is it hard to “stay real” for your fans?
It’s not a lie, it’s not a joke. I don’t want to be some aspirational person. I really like wearing jeans, a baggy top, my hair in a bun. I like being me and that’s taken 32 years to say. I’m real, raw and I will never change.
WHO: Did you inherit your wit and humour from your family?
Oh, absolutely not! My dad works in coffee sales so he’s always jacked up on 500 coffees, and my mum’s a librarian and she’s in 45 book clubs, so they are certainly not funny at all. Neither are my brother and sister, but they’re very attractive, so they’ve got that going on. Like both are PTs and they both do body building competitions, and it’s like, “Hi, I’ve got a good personality!”
WHO: You write about the support you get from your boyfriend Tom Poole.
He’s escalated me to a point where I feel so loved, I know whatever happens, he’s going to be there to catch me and that’s an exceptional thing for a relationship. He’s very funny, too, and he’s also hot. There’s something to be said, you know, and I am seven years older than him and just livin’ the cougar life!
For more on Tanya, pick-up a copy of WHO on-sale now!