Christine Anu is unique in every sense of the word. Her varied and colourful career in the creative realm has spanned years, countries, and genres. In the beginning, it was dancing, moving on to backup vocals for The Rainmakers. Since then, her career has been a whirlwind of recordings, live performances such as “My Island Home” at the 2000 Sydney Olympics Closing Ceremony, television and movie roles and multiple awards. Standout moments of Anu’s career include 16 ARIA nominations, winning an ARIA award for best female recording artist, singing for Baz Luhrmann‘s “Now until the break of day” (earning another ARIA), a top 40 hit for 13 weeks in the Aussie charts with “Sunshine on a rainy day”, plus starring roles in Rent, Moulin Rouge, and The Matrix Reloaded.

Anu looking back feels very blessed, particularly that she has been able to embrace many areas of entertainment and continually challenge herself with new roles. Her new stint as evenings presenter for ABC Sydney 702 means she will be giving a human perspective to current events and cultural happenings, slowly integrating her personality into the role. Anu will also be joining over 950 performers as Motormouth Mabelle for the largest arena production of HAIRPSRAY anywhere in the world by Harvest Rain Theatre Company. We sit down with Christine and chat about how she stays inspired, what we can expect from her new challenges, and why she loves all things Brisbane.

With Hairspray coming up, what does it mean for you to be involved in such a huge stage arena spectacular?
On a very selfish level, I’ve always wanted to play Motormouth Mabelle, I saw the movie and just loved Queen Latifah – when Harvest Rain approached me to see if I’d be interested in doing it, it was like well, let me just clear the calendar, and that would be a yes! ABC jumped on-board, they were fantastic!

How do you manage to inspire people?
By trying to keep myself inspired is the main thing. Finding ways in the job that I’m doing that I can celebrate within myself, whatever the messages may be, and if those messages ring true for me, they’re going to ring true for everyone else. I’m passionate about what I do at the end of the day. I think this is the best job in the world, being able to entertain people, giving them joy in what you do, from what you do, and then if it’s got an extra special message and you’re delivering it through music and musicals and dancing, I say bring it on!

You can’t be a great performer or artist without suffering in some form or another. Would you agree?
I think you have to be a blank canvas and I think you have to expose yourself. You’ve got to be a little bit vulnerable to the process – the process meaning it isn’t about you, it’s about all of the things that come together to make the story the great story that it is. It’s already great – it’s written in the words, it’s written in the music, it’s on paper, just trust yourself and deliver that with the greatest amount of honesty and integrity that you can.  I’m hungry to do more. It’s great to still feel hungry for new challenges and find within those things ways to reshape or reinvent myself.

So you’re coming to Brisbane, is there anything in particular that you’re looking forward to?
This particular occasion I’m going to be bringing my 13-year-old daughter with me, she’s going to be one of the kids in the production. I’m open to suggestions! Usually, I just walk out the door and follow my nose, if the energy feels nice I’ll go in, if it smells nice, I’ll go in, cos I love my food. I love to chase a good sushi bar! Brisbane is such a diverse city, it’s always changing, there’s always something new.

How have you seen Brisbane grow over the last decade?
The ownership of the river, just the life around the river. Watching the businesses thrive around that river, and again the businesses are so vulnerable to the river at the same time. I love the lifestyle, it’s really expanded culturally, there’s just so many different, eclectic communities. And you know what? The performing arts in Queensland is going off the Richter!

Coming back to Sydney for our Sydney readers, are there any activities you absolutely love to do in Sydney?
I love Sydney’s festivals, whenever the Speigletents are in town, it’s such a must see! Anything that the Opera House has on is so worth seeing, I love the bars along there both pre-show and after-show. I love Sydney by bike along the Harbour is beautiful. For me, when I go to Sydney, I can’t go past Chinatown. The same with Brisbane, I love the Valley with a passion. Same when I’m in Adelaide, I love Chinatown. I’m just the Dumpling Queen.

It is easy to see why Anu is much-loved across Australia and the world. Her fun- loving spirit, down to earth and grounded nature, plus an unfailing passion for all creative industries and experiences and a warm openness and kindness make her an artist in a league of her own. So watch this space – no doubt Christine will continue to surprise and delight us in spectacular fashion. 


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