Wednesday 23 January 2019

'Kids can be a**eholes, they tend to get sick when you’re in work' - 2FM's Jennifer Zamparelli on being back at work

TV and radio presenter Jennifer Zamparelli. Picture: Andres Poveda
TV and radio presenter Jennifer Zamparelli. Picture: Andres Poveda
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

2FM presenter Jennifer Zamparelli returned to the airwaves two weeks ago, after nine months of maternity leave.

The Bridget and Eamon co-writer and actor has had a busy few months selling up her Ranelagh home and buying another, while also raising her children Florence (3) and Enzo (9 months).

“Oh my God, it’s just been absolutely crazy getting used to the dynamics of having two smallies and a full-time job,” Zamparelli says.

“You think they’re not going to get sick or stop sleeping because that’s not in the schedule.”

“We tend to talk about our kids a fair bit on the show, especially me and Bernard because we’re going through the same stages. Kids can be a**eholes,” she jokes. “They tend to get sick when you’re in work even if they’ve never been sick in their lives.”

But she added: “They’re great fun, it gives you great content for the radio.”

Jennifer Zamperelli
Jennifer Zamperelli

The most challenging thing about returning to work, Zamperelli says, was getting to grips with the gruelling nature of shift work again.

“It wasn’t the mummy guilt and the kids, the difficult thing was the shift in lifestyle – you go from seeing your friends and going to things during the week, to going to bed at 9 because you’ve to get up at 5.”

“You have a constant FOMO (fear of missing out) going on.”

“In the beginning I ate a lot of sh** and drank a lot of sugar. But Keith, who has no caffeine, no meat, no dairy products - I think he just lives on water now to be honest - I’m trying to be a bit like that. You need to be in the whole of your health to sustain a breakfast show. Anyone who does it will tell you that, it’s tough.”

Zamperelli, who says her next career move is hopefully turning Bridget and Eamon into a film, had a busy maternity leave.

“I literally came home to the house with the baby and in the space of six months we sold and bought with a new baby. It was all very stressful. We moved to a new house and we love it and we’re really happy.”

How does she keep up the creative output at such a busy point in her life, we ask?

“My mortgage bills keep me motivated. I come from a background where I’ve always been self-employed. I started off in sales and worked really sh***y jobs. I always think back to the time when I was selling hair promotions products on Grafton Street for a living. To get to do this I’m fortunate… I really think I’m in a good place.”

“I love radio and I think, listeners, they like to have consistency in the mornings when they switch on the radio in the morning so if I was off one day and in the next they’re not going to like it.”

“The spontaneity is great fun, you don’t get a lot of that in telly, because everything is so scripted and so rehearsed so it keeps you fresh and it keeps you sharp.”

She confesses: “I didn’t listen to the show when I was off because I missed it so much. I love the spontaneity, the fear of the unknown, you never know how a show is going to go, you really don’t. It’s live, of the minute, of the time, it’s really exciting.”

Female voices are leading the way on 2FM right now, she says.

“It’s great to be part of a station with so many females at the forefront. 2FM has really changed in the last few years, we’ve seen a huge shift and the biggest thing is putting female presenters on prime time shows, there’s me and Lottie and Jenny Greene and Tracey Clifford and Tara Stewart.”

Jennifer was speaking to Independent.ie at the launch of Supervalu’s All things Considered campaign.

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