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Success the second time around

Date

Jane Southward

Helen Reddy and Robert de Castella prove there is life after celebrity.

Helen Reddy and Robert de Castella prove there is life after celebrity.

A Grammy-winning singer turned hypnotherapist, our best known marathon runner serving grain-free bread, sports stars overseeing millions in investment funds.

There is life after celebrity and Helen Reddy, Robert de Castella, James Tomkins and Damien Frawley are proving it.

De Castella opened Deek's, a Canberra grain-free bakery in his name six years ago, and hasn't looked back. These days he oversees two cafes and is building a wholesale business around the concept of gluten-free baked goods made with seeds, nuts and quinoa.

“Setting up a business like this was a whole new area for me,” says De Castella, 55. “Having a profile definitely helped especially as far as profile and credibility were concerned.

“But I would never have gone down this track if it wasn't for my connections with the biologist Dr Bill Giles and my belief in the work he does.”

Apart from helping develop the recipes created at Deek's, Giles runs a medical practice where he helps people with autoimmune diseases and gut problems. De Castella is among his biggest fans.

“I no longer eat grains, more for a health and performance perspective than any auto immune problem,” De Castella says.

“My whole physique has changed. As a marathoner I was emaciated, which most runners are. I have now put on a lot of muscle and do a lot of traditional martial arts as well as strength and conditioning work.

“It's so satisfying to have a cafe where people who are gluten-free can come and sit with their child and have a cafe experience. We have had people here who haven't had a meat pie for 20 years come in in tears.”

Singer Helen Reddy has also made a successful transition to a new life post-celebrity.

Reddy, who in 1973 became the first Australian to win a Grammy award 18 months after the release of the feminist anthem I am Woman, gave up singing 10 years ago and trained as a clinical hypnotherapist.

“I got so sick of singing the same songs, I gave it up,” says Reddy, 70.

“I thought I was locked into being a nostalgia act. Then I booked into a suite in a motel near Los Angeles and studied three levels of hypnotherapy. I wanted the letters after my name.

“I have always been a spiritual person and I was 11 when I had an out-of-body experience. I first hypnotised someone when I was a teen.

“The biggest problem all of us have is low esteem. I relax people and then put them under hypnosis and fill them full of self-esteem. They walk out looking more than 15 years younger because they feel good about themselves.

“Compared to traditional types of therapies, if the mind is a glass of beer, traditional therapies are prodding around in the foam whereas hypnotherapy is like getting a straw and going deep down. It can be very powerful.”

Reddy, who has lived in a waterfront apartment in Sydney for 10 years and is the patron of the Australian Society of Clinical Hypnotherapists, says she carefully screens her clients and works with people who want to be “reunited with people who have passed” or to investigate past-life regression.

“I don't charge and I can't advertise because there will be people at my door who just want to hang out with Helen Reddy,” she says.

The Oarsome Foursome rower James Tomkins, who won three gold medals, says combining work and training can be challenging but that having a job in the finance industry while he was preparing for the Barcelona, Atlanta and Athens Olympics helped him be successful at an elite sporting level.

“You put all your effort into training but when that finishes you can put all your effort into what you're doing work-wise," he has said.

“It's this massive switch-on, switch-off, rather than having to think about the bloody sport all the time, which can be draining.”

Damien Frawley, a former Wallaby second rower, has also succeeded in the business world post rugby and now oversees $60 billion in investment funds as chief executive of Queensland Investment Corp in Brisbane.

Frawley has spent 26 years working in many big investment companies, including Merrill Lynch, Barclays Global Investors, Citibank and most recently BlackRock. He says part of the key to his success in business was the discipline that came with representative football.

“Being a Wallaby certainly opens up networks for you,” Frawley says. “But the biggest advantage is that being so involved in sport teaches you to have a plan for everything as well as to be respectful of your competitors in sport and business.”

Talent manager Max Markson says there are no downsides to creating a new life for anyone who has had success in another field.

“Success and fame open doors for you,” Markson says. “It is an icebreaker but it's more than that. If you have been successful in one field, it influences your chance of success in another field."

He denies it brings unreasonable expectations, saying: “Winning a gold medal or making money as an entertainer proves you have the ability and determination to succeed in any field you choose. You can use celebrity for the rest of your life. You mightn't always be as hot but it sure improves your chances.”

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