Ginni Saraswati is the creative and media powerhouse that you’ve heard on your airwaves, seen on your TV screens and around many a festival and event around Australia.
You can catch Ginni on JOY 94.9 FM’s Wednesday Breakfast Show – Rise Up with co-host Adam Samuel and her regular segment on Bent TV – Melbourne’s only LGBT Television Program on Digital 44.
Breakfast radio must be the toughest gig around, and a rumour tells me you do it on decaf!
What drives you get get up early each morning to entertain the listeners?
I do operate on decaf – I consider it a public service. I get a lot of hate for it. But I’ll have you know, decaf is not for the faint hearted.
People often think breakfast radio hosts wear sunglasses all the time to either hide the bags under our eyes or because we are being divas. No. Its because the only other people awake at the time we are, wear high visibility clothing. That’s what the sunglasses are for.
It’s actually quite humbling to be on breakfast radio. People welcome you into their cars, living rooms, bedrooms, even bathrooms and in most cases, allow you to begin their day with them. In the mornings is where people are most vulnerable. Your natural guards aren’t up and your strong suits haven’t come into full fruition yet. Waking up to someone is a very intimate thing. That’s why you generally only do that with very few people in your lifetime. When I started at JOY 94.9 all those years ago, I didn’t actually want to be on air. In fact, I dreaded it. I was happy to even empty to bins if it were to avoid being on air. Once I started getting into the swing of things, I realized that I really love serving my community. If I make one person laugh by 9am, even if it’s only just my co host or producer, that’s one person who has started their day with a smile. If the laughter multiplies to the other people in their lives, I’m just happy knowing that I had a hand in spreading the joy.
THE WOMEN WHO ENTERTAIN YOU: GINNI SARASWATI
What are the three most interesting interviews you have ever done?
I’ve been so lucky to have interviewed some amazing talent in my career so far from community icons like KD Lang, Oscar winners like Marlee Matlin to some of my own crushes like Sarah Shahi. If I had to narrow it down to three, it would be:
Paula Abdul– I grew up watching her on Video Hits. I’m a 90’s child and her music was everywhere when I was growing up. To have met her and to have made her laugh so hard throughout the first 20 seconds of interview was awesome.
Martina Navratilova – A tennis legend, activist and community legend. I remember crushing on Martina Hingis when i was young and I watched her win three straight Australian Opens and the commentator kept saying “Hingis was named after Martina Navratilova.” Ironically, I didn’t know that Navratilova was one of the family. I just interviewed her recently after her engagement and it was so lovely to see someone who has fought for equality over the past two decades be able to propose to her partner and be a step closer to marrying her.
Peter Paige – who didn’t love Emmett from Queer As Folk? That TV show was such a savior for me during high school. When it aired on Monday nights at 10pm, I had to watch it on Mute so my mother wouldn’t hear the sex scenes. Cos they were loud! Even though the show centred on gay male relationships, the issues and storylines raised were universal and for me, as a catholic private school girl, was an amazing connection to who I was. Peter Paige’s character was one who genuinely loved himself and who he was and made no apologies for it. It was a fabulous lesson in self love. And now look at his career – he’s created the hit show The Fosters which is about an interracial lesbian couple who are married and raising biological and adoptive children together. I long for a world where coming out isn’t necessary. I understand that nowadays that’s a process and the positive thing about that is that we have evolved to that step over time. But I hope we can live in a world where we can just declare we are in love with someone. And that it doesn’t matter if that someone is of the same gender as you or the same colour as you. People like Peter Paige are writing TV series like this, speaking out for equality and doing all that he does for the LGBTIQ community is not emphasizing on the fact of how we are different from everyone else, but how we are the same. And that it’s how you love, not who you love, that counts. He is one of my heroes.
How did you come to be a much-loved radio and TV personality? Is this what you always wanted to do?
I’m not sure about the “much” part in the much loved statement there Monique as I still believe it’s really only my mum and homophobic aunties that tune into me.
I studied creative arts at University and acted in film and theatre but there was someone about radio that scared me – I think it was because I had to be authentically me and didn’t have a scripted character to hide behind. I remember the program director at the time I started at JOY said, “Ok Ginni, you’re doing 11pm-1am on Monday nights.” I objected, but once I started, I was moved to afternoons, then drive then breakfast. I worked in commercial radio over in Los Angeles and was in and out of radio at JOY, but over the past year, I’ve realised that it really is my passion. The TV gig came as a surprise though. I got an email from the Bent TV president saying he loved what I did on JOY and would love for me to replicate that on Bent. Bless him. I don’t think he quite knew the saying “face for radio,” when he asked me but I’m sure he’s caught on by now!
How do you spend your time when you’re not on radio or looking down the barrel of a TV camera?
I like to fill my life with what I love. I used to make the mistake of using the word “busy,” often. I found when i said, “I’m too busy,” I would be at the mercy of my to do list and there would be a negativity attached to it. However, when I use the word “Full,” – everything I fill my day or my life it, I am 100% responsible for and if I fill my life what what I love most – then I’m happy
I love hitting the gym and keeping fit. I find when I look after me, I am at my happiest – Ginni Saraswati
It’s amazing what you allow for yourself is what replicates in all the other areas of your life. There are so many things I learn about my body and myself. I love to meditate, listen to music really loud, salsa dance, spend time my family, friends and with my little niece. And brunches. I love a good brunch. And I watch alot of Disney movies. I never met a Disney movie I didn’t like.