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24 December 2016

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TV stardom completely unexpected

TV stardom completely unexpected

New Zealand TV personality Erin Simpson (Harington) says she had a long road of self-discovery before finding her love for television and now she is living the dream.

She has two shows in the works with TVNZ including a DIY home makeover show and another which has her jet setting around Asia.

It isn’t a career path that she ever expected.

“I’m from a dairy farm in TeKauwhata. It’s not at all what I thought I would be doing,” Erin said.

Although it’s far from what she expected, she has always been extremely creative. At St Paul’s, she indulged in all things drama and singing – playing the lead role in Be-Bop-A-Lula alongside Alastair Holmes (Hall) and “star of the show and lifelong best friend” Aimee Leather (Harington).

After St Paul’s, she studied under New Zealand tenor Patrick Power and then at the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (NASDA) in Christchurch.

“I went and did opera and realised it wasn’t for me, or my friends and family. Nobody ever wanted to come and watch. I didn’t even know what I was singing at the time because it was always in another language,” she explained.

So, she switched her focus to musical theatre.

“People actually came and watched. I loved it and it turned out that I had a bit of a talent there but it didn’t pay well.”

She had to take on some extra work so she took on a part time role on the set of TV 2’s What Now and that’s when she fell in love with television.

“I had found my calling. When my musical theatre contract finished I decided to leave it there and put my energy into TV,” she said.

After her television breakthrough, Erin was cast on Sticky TV for two years and then persuaded the network to give her The Erin Simpson Show.

“I was really excited when I found out about but at the same time I knew it was going to be hard work. There was a lot of pressure that followed once the show was up and running but it was all part of the adventure.”

“We owned the time slot for the next five years with a total of 770 episodes.”

Having a long running show, she says, was one of her biggest career highlights alongside interviewing celebrities like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Carly Rae Jepsen.

When the show came to an end she then presented shows like Operation Hero, Sky Sport and Kiwi Living.

Erin is now also sinking her teeth into other creative outlets. The TV presenter launched the well-known celebrity cookbook Cooking for Change alongside business partners Christian Kasper and artist Dick Frizzell.

The cookbook features much-loved kiwi recipes from 101 New Zealand celebrities with all profits being donated towards four charities that focus on food and nutrition.

The cookbook has been a huge success, so much so that another two are now in the making. One that features celebrities with their mums and another of recipes from celebrity chefs.

Erin spends her spare time running a retail business which consists of New Zealand made merchandise (phone cases, clocks, fridge magnets etc) that showcases her artwork. Her products are now stocked in more than 88 retailers nationwide.

Jess Hood (Year 12) and Karen Simpson