PS: What was it like having your brother in the kitchen with you? Did it make things easier or harder?
TV: Both! For me personally, I loved having my brother there. The MasterChef journey is so hard to explain to anybody not going through it, so for me to have someone there who I know, love and trust — my brother! I know in the future, we can look back on this and both relate — that's an incredible gift. I loved just seeing his happy face in the morning having a coffee in the house. At the same time, it added a level of stress neither of us anticipated, like being in an elimination together, being in a losing team, or just seeing each other not getting good feedback and feeling the hurt for each other. That was another level of emotion that none of the other contestants really had to deal with, and that we hadn't really thought about. It became really evident once the competition started.
PS: Was it tough being away from your kids?
TV: Oh, extremely. And I know so many parents have gone through this journey, but it's one of those things that doesn't get any easier. For me, there were a lot of days of tears where you ask yourself, "Wow, am I being selfish?" Then when the kids tell you, "No, I can't tell you how proud I am, to see you chase something you love," you see the strength. Ever since MasterChef started, I've said, "Oh, I'd love to have that experience. One day, one day!" Then my youngest said to me, "Mum, you've always said one day. This is the day!" It's like, that's so cool. So I definitely miss them, they're really great kids. I'd have to say the best in the world, of course. I just think the world of them.
PS: You used to be an actress! Can you tell us a bit more about that?
TV: I wish I could say it wasn't that long ago, but it was a long time ago! [laughs] In my twenties, I stumbled into acting, luckily for me. I was discovered in a store by somebody from the ABC. All the stars aligned and I ended up on Home and Away for about 16 episodes, and went straight from there to a show called G.P.. There was Paradise Beach, Grass Roots . . . So I definitely had a really nice lifetime as an actor. I loved it!
PS: Are you still acting at all?
TV: I'm still open to it. As they say, actors generally never quit [laughs]. It's a love that you have, you can't control it. I have my family obligations, but I still go for auditions here and there, which is fun. I miss it for sure, but I don't regret a day being with my kids as they grew up. Now they're teenagers, it is time for me to think about what makes me happy, and start working towards making my dreams come true.