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Shelley Craft's smiling again

Monday, June 23, 2008

By Angela Mollard

Pictures: Gina Milicia

After a tough year behind the scenes, TV star Shelley Craft is back on track...

When Shelley Craft makes a few life changes, she doesn't do things half-heartedly. In the past few months, she's thrown in her job on The Great Outdoors, split from her husband of eight years and moved from Sydney to Melbourne.

It's the sort of upheaval which would find many cowering in a corner, but instead the girl regarded as television's bubbliest blonde is flourishing, appearing on Nine Network programs Domestic Blitz and Australia's Funniest Home Videos.

But for all her optimism, Shelley has just gone through the hardest time of her life and still struggles to make sense of what she's experienced.

Even now, many months after the breakdown of her marriage to marketing expert Brett De Billinghurst, her eyes fill with unshed tears as she says, "My life was a fairytale but then it doesn't always turn out how you think it's going to."

For the first time, 32-year-old Shelley talks about the struggle of the past 12 months and why, ultimately, she remains so full of happiness and hope for what lies ahead ...

Domestic Blitz is proving enormously popular. Why do you think it's so successful?
We're making a difference to someone's life and they're really deserving people. Even though the hours are ridiculous and we're sometimes working until 2am, you feel you're doing something worthwhile. That was another reason for me leaving The Great Outdoors — it was hard staying in five-star resorts in Third World countries. Last year I went to Chennai in India and it was horrifying. These people had lost their spirit and their joy — they had lost what makes us human. As a travel reporter you have no real chance to help or become involved in their cultures. You're always seeing it from the outside.

Has the upheaval in your life and this new show changed the way you feel about home?
I recently moved to Melbourne and, fortunately, having travelled so much I'm very good at settling in and finding the heart and soul of a place. Home is really important to me and I'm a mad decorator — homewares is my Achilles heel. During all those years of travelling I always cried whenever I left and always cried whenever I landed back home, even if I'd only been to Noosa for three days.

You recently cut your hair short. Was that in reaction to all the changes in your life?
I'd always wanted to do it, but on The Great Outdoors they'd sometimes hold stories off so my look had to be consistent. I hadn't had short hair since I was 12 so I just did it and didn't realise it would have such an impact. My Mum has since had her hair cut shorter, too.

How have you managed to stay so slim after all those years travelling and eating in restaurants?
Genetics! I'm very lucky but I also eat healthily. I always had a "one plate rule" when it came to the breakfast buffet and I'd always help get luggage off the carousel and carry tripods up the sides of volcanoes. The crew always thought I was being helpful but I was just doing it to get in some exercise!

Domestic Blitz screens Sundays at 7.30pm on the Nine Network.

For more of this interview, see this week's issue of Woman's Day (on sale June 23, 2008).

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