Carrie Bickmore in a Rachel Gilbert dress, Molten "Relic" necklace and Mezi bracelet. Photo: Gen Kay
Carrie Bickmore's Twitter account reflects the extremes of her busy life. One day she's tweeting about making an octopus costume for her son Ollie for school dress-up day, the next about interviewing Brad Pitt.
The 32-year-old co-host of The Project has been embraced by the Australian public, as much for her professionalism as for her basic realness.
She is not afraid to show her emotion on camera and she's been willing to share her personal trials and tribulations, including the tragic death of her husband, Greg Lange, due to a brain tumour in 2010.
TV presenter Carrie Bickmore. Alex Perry Couture dress, Balmain necklace and Givenchy bracelet from Myer. Styling: Melissa Boyle; Make-up: Eve Gunson; Hair: Alicia Poxrucker. Photo: Gen Kay
''I've definitely felt very supported, both at work and from people watching at home,'' she says. ''Sometimes I forget people have been on the ride with me a little bit, but it's lovely. I think when you're in people's lounge rooms every night there is an attachment there and it has been nice.''
Apart from the accolades she has attracted for her career - including being nominated for the past two years for the Gold Logie for most popular personality on Australian television - Bickmore has also won fans because of her fashion sense. She is probably, along with Sonia Kruger and, let's not forget, the irrepressible Lee Lin Chin, among the most fashion-forward television hosts in Australia, not afraid to take a risk with her style but always looking so put-together.
''That's no thanks to me; that's all thanks to my stylist, who is amazing,'' Bickmore says, with a laugh.
Carrie Bickmore in top and skirt from Ellery, belt from Gorman and cuff from House of Harlow. Photo: Gen Kay
She says her Ten Network stylist has always challenged her out of her comfort zone, and items she once baulked at (such as leather pants) have become favourite items in her wardrobe.
''I will say in the past I would have picked the more conservative option she shows me, but the older I'm getting and the more time I'm spending on the show and the more comfortable I'm feeling, I'm happier to try a bold print or certain cut,'' she says.
Bickmore says she wears a lot of Australian designers on-air, including Manning Cartell and Alice McCall. She's in hair and make-up for 90 minutes before each show, which sounds like heaven, but it stresses her out when she has a
TV presenter Carrie Bickmore in Thurley dress, Mimco earrings, Tilkah cuff and Carmen Steffens shoes. Photo: Gen Kay
''to-do list that long''. On the weekend, it's about ''less is more''.
''I take off the make-up and it's all about jeans and T-shirts,'' she says.
Bickmore's also not afraid to own her fashion faux pas. She remembers wearing a dress on Rove when she was pregnant that made her look ''like a bumble bee''. And earlier this year during a live cross outside the studio, Bickmore fell off her towering red wedges, the vision going viral, viewed by hundreds of thousands of people as she also collapsed into hysterics.
''And I still wear them,'' she says, with a laugh. ''There's a part of me that thinks, 'You will not beat me!'''
It also probably says something about Bickmore's lack of pretence that she is willing to act as an ambassador for the the Fashion and Beauty Uncovered campaign at the suburban Tuggeranong Hyperdome shopping centre. The campaign runs from September 23 until October 13 and Bickmore will make an appearance at the Hyperdome on October 5 to co-host a spring-summer fashion parade.
She says it's difficult for busy women to stay on top of trends and even to know how to access them.
''So when they asked, 'Do you want be a part of this?' I was more than happy to share the advice I've been given along the way,'' she says.
Bickmore says it's all about working with what you've got.
''I'm one of those people who believes you have to wear what's in your wardrobe. You can't go out and buy a whole new wardrobe every summer or spring or autumn. So I think [you need to] work out what the trends are and buy a couple of key items. Black and white is massive this season, which is perfect because everyone has white already in their wardrobe. All you have to do is buy one or two key pieces and not spend a fortune to update your look and still fit in within the latest trends.
''I'm personally going to wear more bold printed dresses this spring. There's nothing better than when you see someone walking along in a beautiful, bright, floral dress. I wear them on the show but not on the weekend. So I'm going to buy one nice dress and wear it for birthdays and weddings and things like that.
''And leather, I love leather. I thought leather was only for winter, but it's not. They have this new lightweight leather and you can have it for shorts, shorts, jackets, pants and - on a cooler night - you can just throw a jacket on over a dress.''
And how does she keep so slim?
''I'd say busyness helps,'' she says, laughing. ''A friend convinced me last year to sign up for a fun run and we trained together and I'm not someone who has ever run a day in her life before. I'd run 100 metres and be completely puffed out. But we really loved the experience of training for it and we completed the 10 kilometres and it was just the most exhilarating feeling.
''And I've tried to keep it up and have a fun run booked in for a few months in advance and train for it. So I try to squeeze that in or have a walk with a friend and I've got into Pilates a little bit as well.''
With her son now six, Bickmore is like most mums trying to juggle it all. She has a nanny to care for Ollie some nights but her mum and friends also chip in.
''I only have one child to get to school each morning, so I do the drop-off, but then I look at my friends who have three children and I do not know how they manage,'' she says.
''I find it full-on and busy from the moment I wake up but I only have to look around at my family and friends and realise they're all doing it, too.''
''I think somehow we get by and I get to work and by the time I have my first morning coffee and have five minutes to myself I think, 'Oh wow, I've already done a whole day's work.'''
With Oliver a bit older, she has also felt confident enough to get out and start travelling the world with him.
''I just feel like I'm go, go, go at the moment but I'm in a good place and I'm feeling happy and excited about the years ahead,'' she says.
There's no doubt that the viewers who tune in to watch her want only the best for Bickmore. Does she think she'll marry again or have more children?
''I don't know. I look at my little boy who is six and think, 'Oh, could I go back there again?'. You know what? You never know what life has in store for you. I never thought my life would pan out the way it has so far. I'm sort of one of those people who takes it as it comes. We'll see.''
■ Carrie Bickmore will be hosting a spring-summer fashion parade at the Tuggeranong Hyperdome on October 5 at 11am. Also appearing will be make-up artist Liz Kelsh.
Carrie Bickmore's fashion tips
- A white button-down shirt is a must-have for every wardrobe. It will always be a classic and it goes with everything, from skirts and dresses to jeans and tailored pants.
- To instantly brighten up your look, accessorise with a coloured belt, a pair of coloured shoes or a statement necklace.
- Wearing colour close to your face - such as a scarf - can brighten up your complexion.
- Black and white is a strong trend this season. It is a timeless combination that will take you from day to night seamlessly.
- Embrace new trends but try to stick to silhouettes that suit your body shape or you won't feel comfortable.
- Transition your favourite winter boot into spring-summer with a fun floral-print dress.
- Stripes are massive this season and a great way to pull together a casual weekend outfit. Go for navy and white for a nautical look.
- Always have a pair of your favourite heels in your car or at work, so you can easily switch a day look to night for after-work drinks or dinner.
- Lightweight leather is perfect for spring-summer, whether it's a skirt, shorts or perforated leather pants. Take your pick and make a statement this season.
- Step out of your comfort zone and mix it up with prints. Nothing says spring-summer quite like a bright print dress. Be daring and wear something you wouldn't usually.