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by Gretel Breytenbach
As beautiful as she is downto- earth, B105's Camilla, strolls to meet me, the quintessential Aussie girlnext- door!
Even more vibrant and beautiful in the flesh than posters of her around the city testify, Camilla glows with authenticity and easygoing style.
Perhaps this is also the first flush of the fabulous news announced to Brisbane earlier this morning on the B105 breakfast show! In her first trimester, Camilla beams as she talks about how “pleased, terrified, overjoyed, stunned and elated” she and partner Glen are about their brilliant “new addition”.
Camilla's candour is refreshing. And as most of her fans out there already know, what you see is what you get; and that is perhaps what makes this beauty of the airwaves so incredibly attractive.
Paging through our inaugural issue of Sabona, Camilla smiles and reads the ad on the back page, still in almost perfect Afrikaans:“Ag sommer alles wat ons mis!”
Born in South Africa, Camilla came to Australia as a 13-year-old. It wasn't a move she was particularly keen to make, and by her own admission, it took a couple of years to settle in. She reflects that it was easier for her youngest sister, Carla who was in Std 3 when they made the move. “It was just a difficult age to make the move,” she says. Many teenagers relate, it's a time in their lives when they are carving out an identity of their own. In fact, Africa is a place she still dreams about, “the houses, especially my grandparents home, and Lizzie, my nanny!”
While “fitting in” took a while, Camilla accurately observes that “if you want to make it work, you will!” An attitude most South Africans no-doubt, wholeheartedly agree with!
nd so it is no surprise then that young Camilla embraced her new life and excelled academically and socially. As her parents “big girl” she was determined to make her parents, and herself, proud. Interesting then that Camilla, who seems to have been destined for a career in law or medicine, now finds herself having the time of her life in radio!
Camilla found fame in the popular TV Series Big Brother, and it was here that this former South African was introduced to the possibility of a career in radio, a medium she has always loved.
Big Brother was a show that Camilla enjoyed for the sake of its reality!
“Truth is that sometimes at 3 in the morning I'd rather be in bed than in the studio, but I still have to sound chirpy and happy to be there, while on Big Brother, if I was tired and headachy, everyone knew about it!” she says grinning.
Camilla is easy to talk to, and we reflect on a number of issues, ranging from how different women are here and there, (more cooperative and straightforward in South Africa), to styles of architecture, the colours and textures used so provocatively where we come from, to the more subdued traditional hues used in Australian designed homes. She reminisces about the '94 elections, and how she lined up with Lizzie in the first ever democratic vote in South Africa. She explains how thrilled she was at the prospect of Lizzie being able to vote!
And then nibbling on koeksisters, which she last ate when her Ouma made them, we reflect on how her grandparents made the move over to the wonderful world of Oz and simply could not assimilate into the new culture.
She expresses how at 60 it must be hard, and understands their decision to return back “home”.
And so where is home? While she has travelled Australia extensively, Camilla considers herself a Melbourne girl first and foremost. “I love the culture, the vibe, the arts, the coffee! It's hard to find a serious coffee in Brisbane” she smiles.
As our interview draws to a close, I ask Camilla what her advice to new immigrants would be. Her response is instant and passionate. “Don't fight it”! She says it like someone who knows what she's talking about.
Posted in feature | See Camilla at B105
Posted by Gretel Breytenbach
01 Jun 2007

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Just moved from New Zealand to Australia, now based in Karratha, WA. Gretel you have written such a lovely article reflecting love and intergrity seen in all South Africans, brought tears to my eyes reading about Camilla but I feel your article is written with such sensitivity! I am proud get to know Sabona and rub virtually interact and rub shoulders "met my mense!!" Keep it up
Rating: 5 / 5
by Hlubi Kabane on 02 Aug 2007

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