Jason Reid meets antipodean altruism, Sheila Simmonds
Originally from sunny Woolloomooloo, Sheila Simmonds is Australia’s number one home shopping presenter, a ‘recording artist’ and the quintessential #busylady.
Seemingly there is nothing she can’t turn her hand to, including hosting a brand new bingo night at one of London’s busiest gay boozers.
Naturally Jason Reid was eager to have a yabber with Sheila about all the important things in life, like whether she preferred Kylie or Dannii…
Hey Sheila, thanks for taking time out to chat. How did you become such a busy lady and modern day fashion icon?
G’day Jason, it’s always a pleasure to chat to you. In 1979 I entered Miss Wooloomoolloo and won – this lead to major modelling deals with catalogues such as Grattan, Marshall Ward and of course Littlewoods. After that I was approached by TVSN (Australia’s version of QVC) and I ended up with my own products and my “Busy Lady” clothing line. Since then it’s just been non-stop!
How would you describe your approach to style?
I always say to my customers: be bold daring & innovative. And wear something with an anti-chafing gusset
What was your childhood like growing up in Woolloomooloo? Were you a happy child Sheila?
Oh I had a fabulous and very happy childhood. The Loo really was a great place to grow up. When I was a little girl I wanted to be a ballet dancer. My rendition of Tchaikovsky’s nutcracker at the Wooloomoolloo garden festival in 1976 is still talked about to this day….
Is there anyone special in your life right now? Special as in someone who regularly tugs at your slacks…
Well of course there’s Jean but unfortunately due to an “immigration issue” she’s stuck at Sydney International. For those that don’t know, Jean is my right-hand man. She currently holds the record in Wooloomoolloo for being able to down 33 jaeger bombs in 60 seconds. She’s also a dab hand at macrame.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not busy? Have you tried dogging or autoerotic asphyxiation?
I’m always busy! That’s why I’m a #busylady. But to answer your question – I’m not too keen on dogs; I find the stray hairs a bit too much to cope with as I’ve got quite a deep rug in the conservatory, so it’s a no to that one. And as for your other suggestion, sadly anything automatic makes me quite nervous. I prefer manually and at my own pace.
Who’s your current fashion muse?
Beyoncé. I met her at Glastonbury and she just loves my clothes. We’re currently working on a swimwear collection together.
What would you change about your native Australia?
Apart from talking some sense into all those still opposed to the gay marriage bill? I’d probably just move it closer to the UK so it’s not so far to travel to you lovely people.
What items do you have in your pleather handbag right now?
My selfie stick, #busylady badges and Werthers originals
Some quickies now! Rolf Harris or Steve Irwin?
Stevo – I love a man that’ll get intimate with a croc.
Kylie or Dannii?
Both are inspirations to #busyladies all over the world, but if I’m being totally honest Jason Donovan gets me every time.
Finally, why should people go to your Busy Lady Bingo night?
Because it’s great fun and only 99p to play. There’s some amazing prizes including a cash jackpot to be won AND you get to spend the evening with yours truly. Plus everyone that plays gets a #busylady badge and a complimentary Werthers. What more could you ask for?
Sheila Simmonds’ Busy Lady Bingo is at The Duke of Wellington every Tuesday from 8PM.