“I felt a bit raw as they introduced me, but as soon as I got on stage I felt nothing but love, support and power from the room. On a selfish level it was just what I needed. My speech was about backing yourself.
“You should never apologise for being ambitious, but most importantly some days are just about putting one foot in front of the other.
“Not winning, being perfect or the best, just moving in a forward direction. Sometimes, that’s all we have. So, I’m heading home now, feeling much better than I did a few hours ago, because I did it, I walked to the end of the day.”
Despite the ratings, this year has been impressive for Em, who sold-out the Sydney Opera House in 20 minutes for her stand-up show, which resulted in her adding three more dates. She also has the number one audio book in the country, and the number three biography in the country.
Australian Idol was “horrific and marvelous”
Em admitted that following the ratings news she contemplated what the future holds for her.
She explained: “As I was coming to WIRE in the car, I thought I'm going to do what I'm going to tell all these amazing women to do. I'm going to double down on myself, because 15 years ago I doubled down on myself and I auditioned for Australian Idol. Was I a singer? No. Had I ever held a microphone? No. Did I let that stop me? No.”
Em had never sung in front public before entering Australian Idol but eventually finished 9th, despite being rejected by the public three times.
“It was the most soul destroying and life affirming thing I've ever done. I wouldn't have wished it upon anyone, but I'm glad I did it because I wouldn't be here without it.
“It was horrific and marvellous in equal measure. I came out, and I was such a good singer that I was offered a job at breakfast radio in Perth. Had I ever broadcast before? No. Had I ever sat in a radio studio? No. Did I even listen to the radio? No."
Being vulnerable helps you become powerful
Em admitted to ‘completely faking and bluffing it’ in her early days as a radio DJ, but said it was during this time the turning point in her career came.
Just four weeks after giving birth by caesarean section, she went back to work but found herself in the depths of postnatal depression – although she denied it for several months.
She explained: “I couldn't find any joy in anything so I went to the doctor, who said I had postnatal depression. I was terrified of what that meant for me and my career and if it meant I was a bad mother.
“I kept trying to hide it, until I decided that the best thing for me to do was share it. That, for me, was a turning point in my career. The moment I realised the more you share things, and the more vulnerable you make yourself, is a way to become more powerful.”
After sharing the news on the radio, she says she received an outpouring of love and support from everyone in Perth.
“I realised that telling the truth was a way to unite women especially, because we are the harshest critics.”
After four years in breakfast radio she quit her job and went from being on billboards in Perth to lining up for family tax benefit at Centrelink in Melbourne.
Using her degree in interior design, she then briefly worked for real estate agents as an interior designer, before deciding to try stand-up comedy, despite never trying comedy at any point in her life.
She wrote a one hour comedy show which she performed to only 15 people over five nights.
Em said: “If you can find something you love in what you do, you have a win. Last week, when I got word that I had sold the Sydney Opera House in 20 minutes… this was reaffirming my belief in going out and finding my people, backing what I do, doubling down on what I do.
“I'm scared a lot of the time. It's a rollercoaster, but if you get an opportunity in your job or your life, and you feel scared, that is your indicator to say yes. For me it always paid off to say yes.
“I'm trying to empower women, I'm trying to unite women. I'm trying to make us less harsh with each other. I'm trying to inspire women to be the best they can, but also know that the best you've got is enough.
“Don't try and be number one in everything. It's really important we stop being so hard on ourselves. If I get upset and miserable, which is quite often, and questioning all that I hold dear, I know that I've strayed too far from the middle of myself. I'm not doing enough things that I love, I'm not being true to the things that I believe in, or I've strayed too far from that.”