Born in Sydney, Kathryn Eisman has worked in different TV shows and media outlets in Australia and the US. She is a regular on-air contributor to NBC’s TODAY Show, Good Morning America, Fox News’s The O’Reilly Factor, ABC News Now, MSNBC, E! News and Fox11 Good Day LA. She has supervised all Fashion and Lifestyle content in E! News and received two EmmyAward ® Nomination for her work overseeing all the fashion and lifestyle coverage Kathryn is the two-time bestselling author of ‘How To Tell A Man By His Shoes’ and ‘How To Tell A Woman By Her Handbag’. Known for her compelling interview style, Kathryn has interviewed thousands of the leading names in news and pop culture, including Denzel Washington, Reese Witherspoon, Dwayne Johnson, Matthew McConaughey, Ariana Grande, James Franco, George Clooney, Viola Davis, amongst other A-listers. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, entrepreneur and international bestselling author, Siimon Reynolds, her daughter Capri, and two oversized cats. In an exclusive interview with JAUNTE, Kathryn speaks on the shifting sands of being a woman.
What keeps you busy these days?
In addition to finishing my next book, I’m the entertainment reporter for Network Seven’s The Morning Show and contributing features and fashion reporter for some of the leading morning shows here in the US including Good Day LA which means most days involve interviewing and writing pieces about people who are changing the cultural landscape in different wild and wonderful ways. One day I’ll be interviewing Rachel Zoe about building a fashion empire, the next, I’ll be chatting with Dr. Ourian the man behind the Kardashian’s changing faces, and the next day I’ll be interviewing Reese Witherspoon about her latest movies. It’s exciting to be able to dig a little below the surface of ‘pop culture’ to see what and who is motivating and shaping modern life and perceptions.
I hear you also are passionate about improving women’s lives.
I believe that in order for a woman to feel truly happy, she needs to have the three pillars of her life at a high level: relationships, career, and health. For everyone, those three things can mean different things but I believe life is too short to walk around in the body you don’t want or be in a relationship that doesn’t satisfy you or work in a job that doesn’t inspire you. I’ve created an online space that speaks on varying aspects of a woman’s life. I hope my writing inspires other women and gives them the confidence and know-how to dream big dreams. I have always believed that a woman needn’t sacrifice her style for substance or her family for career success, but I know first hand how hard the juggling act can be.
How did you cope with this juggling act you speak of?
Every working mother knows that people describe it as a juggle because it is just that. I think it’s about knowing yourself well enough to know how you’ll be the best mother and woman you can be. For me, being a working mom gives me more energy, not less energy. Having said that, I was recently involved in launching a national hour-long show on a major network here in the US which ended up demanding 17 hours day, 6 days a week. It was not the right fit for my family (or my soul) so I made the decision to leave so I could find a better balance. I don’t think anyone should tell you to ‘lean in’ or ‘lean out’ – it’s about being straight with yourself and working to find the right balance so you have peace with how you’re spending your precious time with your children, partner and still moving forward with what inspires you.
I also follow a simple rule which is to be present. When I’m with my daughter I try not to be on my phone, when I’m working I’m 100% there and not worried about groceries! It makes me infinitely more productive.
What made you accept the position with E! even though you were heavily pregnant?
I was so shocked when I was offered the position because I was 8 months pregnant when I had my first interview with them. During the last interview, I was having contractions! As you can imagine, my friends and family thought I was a little crazy for accepting such a demanding position at the same time as I was about to become a mother for the first time. But I knew myself well enough to know that I would thrive with the structure a job like that provided. I knew it was such a perfect fit for my passions and experience that I would regret it if I passed it up. They held the position for me and seven weeks after Capri was born I started full-time. It was a very exciting and challenging time. For a few years, I don’t think I had one unaccounted hour, but it was perfect for me and made me relish motherhood all the more.
What have you learned with motherhood?
I really believe that motherhood is a great revealer of character. I was shocked to discover I’m much more patient than I thought I’d be and a lot less strict (softy alert!). The other night Capri, Siimon and I were sitting at dinner at 6pm on a Friday night and I looked around to see a sea of other young families doing ‘family date night.’ I said to my husband, ‘Wow, it really is like entering another world, the 6pm dinner set that you didn’t even know existed!’
It’s a privilege to be more concerned with what another person eats for dinner than what you’re eating. You get to rediscover all the simple joys in life; chasing and being chased in the park, flying a kite, and hearing them say a new turn of phrase that clearly means your child is the most brilliant child that ever walked the face of the earth. Motherhood has brought the deepest love, pride, concern, and joy I’ve ever known.
How does travel inspire you?
Capri; it was the Island that inspired our daughter’s name and is filled with so many memories, from diving off the rocks and swimming in the cool Mediterranean sea, to feasting on Caprese salad and pizza to strolling through Villa Jovis, the ruins built by Emperor Tiberius in AD 27 from where he ruled the Roman Empire until his death. It’s a magic mix of history, European glamour and natural beauty. Every so often I’ll look into my daughter’s aqua blue eyes and I am transported back to our days swimming in the Green Grotto. We visited Capri with Capri this summer and it was an incredible to share the magic of the island with her.
Sydney always feels like home to me. It’s not really a holiday destination because it’s where I’m from, but I love everything about the city. When we visit family over the Christmas holidays it feels like a vacation (albeit a very busy one!). I love the food, my friends, the sexy sticky humidity in the air that reminds me of my teenage years, the salty days at Camp Cove and Bondi, the beaches where I spent so much of my youth.
I lived in New York for nearly six years when I was a reporter for NBC News at 30 Rockefeller Centre. It’s where I began my career and I still feel very much a New Yorker in terms of my work ethic, pace and bluntness in business. The pace and vibe of New York on its own accord is addictive and inspiring – people are too busy to waste time with empty promises and “say it like it is.” There’s something about the frenetic and fierce honesty of the city that resonates with me on a very deep level.