Banter with Charlotte Mortlock
Charlotte Mortlock, affectionately known by most as Larl is one of a kind. One of a kind is sorta selling it short. This chick will meet you for a coffee in between giving blood and her ukulele lessons, she will have clay smooshed on her shirt from pottery classes, and rush off on her motorbike to go teach disadvantaged children to read.
When you visit a remote village in the middle of Fiji, its not surprising that she has actually contributed to building it.
She's worked in a dry cleaner, TWO Jamaican restaurants, a true crime tv series, Sky News weather presenter, and now the holy grail of a job as the Sky News Reporter.
She is about as interesting, and hilarious as they come.
I just had to share her, so here is Larl. Someone I am proud to call my buddy for some 13 years now.
Alrighty Larl, whats the story?:
I don't know where to start! I am 27. I really, really like animals. And I also like the news! I’m very close with my family, I constantly bite my nails, I adore pasta. I love reading, and wines and baths and all the better when those three combine. I was once told by my year 8 boyfriend that I was ‘funny for a girl’. I am the stereotypical third child and baby of the family. I don't read or believe in star signs, unless I am super anxious (then I live by them), but I actually fit the mould of a Taurus pretty accurately. Super practical. Super stubborn.
2. Can you tell us exactly how you got into the role you're currently in?
Well it started when I was in Year 4 and decided I would be a News Reporter! I am currently the Sydney News Reporter for Sky News. I’m a video journalist. That means I shoot my own live crosses and packages. It’s very fun, stressful, busy, hard and addictive. I started work experience at Channel 7 in high school, I got into Media Comms Journalism at UNSW. While doing that 3 year degree I worked for Sunday Night (investigative program on Seven). As soon as I finished uni I got an internship in New York with a production company for a few months over summer, then ended up staying another year working at the Discovery Channel. Then I decided it was time to actually try and see if I could pull off the News Reporter gig, so moved from New York to Tamworth in regional New South Wales where I was a News Reporter for PRIME7 for 18 months. Then I wanted to move back to Sydney after missing my family for 3 years. I got a gig as a weather presenter at Sky News. After 18 months in that, I switched over to News Reporter!
3. Honestly ...how hard have you worked to get here? And what challenges have you faced?
I’ve loved all my jobs so it’s never felt like a huge amount of “work” to be honest! In weather my shift started at 4am so getting up at 330am for a year and a half was a struggle and proved tricky for my social life and relationships. Moving regional is very much the ‘must’ for young journalists and it is supposed to be the time where you ‘pay your dues’… But I loved Tamworth so much so it was never a chore. I work pretty crazy hours when there’s a big news story but I love reporting on breaking news so I would prefer to be out covering it than at home anyway. I actually feel really lucky to have had such direction from such a young age (seriously I was 8 years old when I found my career). I have so many friends that are still trying to figure out what they want to do or if their career choice is the right one… But I always knew it was news. And when I actually started working in that field, luckily I loved it as much as I had hoped. I think every job/work experience has all just kind of been stepping stones, plodding along towards the end goal… hosting The Voice. Joking. But it never felt hard or forced, I’ve wanted to do it all and feel lucky to love what I do.
4. It's a pretty nerve wracking job, have you ever made any mistakes live on tv?
Every day! Sky News love live news. So I am live a lot. As a weather presenter we went live every half an hour without any auto-cue or teleprompter. I am a journalist, not a meteorologist, so that learning curve was super steep. You get a month crash course to teach you about weather patterns but you’re live, across the nation speaking about really complex weather systems. There were thousands of mistakes. Did you know rain and showers are different things and it’s sacrilege to confuse them? Did you know winds go anti clock wise around high pressure systems and you couldn't possibly say the other way? Some stuff ups are small, saying ‘um’ and ‘ah’ too much or losing your train of thought. Others are big mistakes, like when you say “cold front” nine times in a row and end up truncating the word into a short and explicit C word.
5. Charlotte, ..have you got any other hobbies and interests?
Admittedly I’m very onboard with fads. Not the vegan or gluten free variety, but more like I’ll decide I want to learn ukulele and enrol myself in an 8 week course. Or I got my motorbike license last year for fun and haven't used it since that day. Or spontaneously decide to listen to a 6 hour podcast in a day (S-Twon, get into it!). I love fishing. My boyfriend thinks it’s weird that I do all the puzzles and games in those cheesy mags like Take 5! and Thats Life every week… I don’t think thats too odd though and I’ll be the one laughing when I win that brand new room dehumidifier! I’ve done some pottery classes, painting classes, book clubs, walked a few homeless dogs and tutored a few kids…. Jack of all trades, master of none?
6. What's the average morning like? How long does it take you to get ready with hair and makeup etc?
I’m on call all the time (it’s actually not that bad!) so a couple of times a week my boss calls and wakes me at around 430/5am to get out of bed and cover a breaking story. That morning doesn't looking pretty; it’s rushed and frantic and I’m half asleep, often doing my make up in the car. But… on my lovely normal mornings it looks like this: 545am alarm goes off, quick scan of the news of the day and social media, 6am go for my run, return home at 650, turn on the kettle to make my coffee and jump in the shower. Listen to the news on 2GB at 7am as I sit down to do my hair and make up. In the car by 730. At work by 8.
7. Have you got any cool stories for us you've reported on?
Hmm. The only ones that I would describe as cool are the fun ones, like the day I was reporting on Prince Harry. I was live without an umbrella in the middle of the city in torrential cyclonic rain. The day I reported on Oliver Curtis getting out of jail was a pretty interesting day… I had to drive 4.5 hours to Cooma, was live every half an hour in minus 7 degree temps and snow. The media scrum was pretty intense that day too. 8. What would you say is the hardest thing about being a news reporter? Being across a really broad range of topics and knowing enough on them to go live on air and speak about it without getting sued for accidentally saying the wrong thing.
9. What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Start young. Go regional. Work hard. Never complain.
10. I've known you for a while now...and you've had some pretty interesting jobs in the past! Can you please share?
I started working when I was 14 at a dry cleaner. I loved it too which is even weirder. I was there for three years! I was an extra on Home and Away for a while, that was bizarre. I worked at this very cool Jamaican spot in New York called Miss Lilys. I also worked at a Jamaican restaurant in Sydney called Queenies (I really love jerk chicken!). When I was in New York and working at Discovery Channel I worked on a program called On the Case with Paul Zahn. It’s a true crime documentary style show that does one hour episodes on murders that happened in the US. They were all solved, not cold cases, but it was my job to pitch the stories, so that basically meant I would go through about 20-30 murder files a day looking for cases we could turn into documentaries. That was fairly morbid but one of my favourite jobs to date.
11. What's you life motto?
Hmm. Dad would say never trust a fart, but I’ll go with Mums - ‘At the end of the day, there is no pillow as soft as a clear conscience.’