Out of the box and into our hearts By Liz Rogers

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So, it’s like this. Faye’s on the beach in Parkdale and the wind’s doing weird and wacky acrobats with the mobile reception, while Anastasia’s popping in and out of range as she serves nuts to shoppers in Main St, Mornington. “Are you that Gogglebox lady?” I hear in the background as deep guttural laughter leaps through the phone and grabs me by the throat. “Yes, I am,” laughs Anastasia with big bold Greek heritage pride. 

We can hardly hear each other speaking as the three of us banter and bounce with conversation about lifelong associations with the Mornington Peninsula, hanging in Dromana as kids, doing breakfast at The Boyz 4 Breakie in Main St and having a brick with your name on it in the wall of the Mornington Life Saving Club. Faye explains. “My boys went right through the Nippers there. It’s a great club. There were only 89 members when we joined and now there are over 400. We’ve been on the Mornington Peninsula for 30 years. I’m currently living in the west but still have a place in Mornington and both my boys still live there. There’s nowhere else like it.”

Anastasia always thought she’d be famous and now she is. Gogglebox is in its ninth season and she and Faye are having just as much fun now as they were when it all began. Three Logies later — one for Outstanding Entertainment in 2018 and two for Best Factual Program for 2017 and 2016 — Gogglebox Australia on Foxtel’s Lifestyle Channel and Network 10 is still pulling the television junkies in, and these 50-something gal pals who met in a Melbourne nightclub are rapt.

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“Can you believe it? Three Logies. How’s that? I still help Mum out at her nut stall in Mornington three days a week and love coming here. I got discovered at a market stall in Frankston. That’s how I got the Gogglebox gig. Faye wasn’t my first choice to come on the show. Ha, ha. She was my last, of course . . .” And the cracking up begins again.

“I first came to Dromana when I was one year old. My parents bought a house in Mount Martha in 1988/89 because it reminded my dad of Greece, and he didn’t want to go to Rye like all the other Greeks did. It was supposed to be a holiday house but they moved there permanently. Now I’m building a house there. The Peninsula has everything — boating, wineries, beaches. I go to Sorrento with friends, eat out in Dromana. Remember the Greek church in Red Hill?” Faye joins in. “Yes! With Father Tatsis?” “No, that wasn’t his name,” quips Anastasia. “It . . . it was . . . gee, he was good-looking.”

Personality is the name of the game in TV and these two girls have got it in spades. You can see why they keep coming back season after season. Faye continues. “The show is so much fun. All the things they don’t show you that happen behind the scenes, like the time Anastasia fell asleep and started to snore and I fell asleep and rolled off the couch. Gogglebox has become our normality. It’s just what we do and everyone has remained the same. It’s like one big extended family. I still think it’s funny when clients in my day job as an executive assistant ask for selfies.” 

Real estate developer Anastasia continues. “My relatives don’t give a damn that I’m on TV, but I’ll never forget getting free charcoal chicken from across the road after the first season aired and little kids asking if they can sit on the couch with me. It’s sweet.”  

These two lovers of the Peninsula are always around. You might bump into Anastasia at her mum’s nut stall throughout the week, or at Safety Beach taking a dip in the sea. Faye loves catching up with her sons in Mornington and dropping by Montalto or Mills Beach. She also wants to get back into working with horses, which she did for years on the Peninsula. 

Both women intend to use their fame to help less fortunate people in the future. Until then you can turn on the box and get a goggle at these two ‘crazy’ ladies who “at our age have nothing to prove. We’ve been there, done that”.  

Thumbs up to that.

Gogglebox Australia will return to our screens first on Foxtel’s Lifestyle Channel on Wednesday, February 6, at 7.30pm and the following day at 8.30pm on Ten.

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