Michelle “Meshel” Laurie 1973 was born on 29th May (Meshel Laurie, 2013) in Toowoomba, Queensland. Daughter of Graham Laurie “known as Tubby to his friends” (Laurie, 2013, p 41) and his wife Mary Therese Laurie (Nee Curran) (Laurie, 2013, p2).

Tubby’s parents didn’t approve of his marrying a Catholic girl (Laurie 2013, p9) so to escape their disapproving glare, Tubby moved his young family north where he gained employment as the manager of the Amity Hotel in Gracemere, Queensland (Laurie 2013, p13). They continued moving further north and managing different pubs during a period of life Mary referred to as “Living up north, in the pubs” (Laurie 2013, p14).

When Meshel was four years old, Mary fell pregnant with her sister Sherrie (Miller, 2015) and the family moved back to Toowoomba only a matter of months before Sherrie was born (Laurie 2013, p18). Peter, her brother then came into the world three years later (Miller, 2015). Meshel recounts her childhood fondly describing it as ‘fabulous and happy” and she was always surrounded by her relatives that lived close by (Miller, 2015).

Primary school years were carried out at Harrison State Primary School and Meshel was sent to St Saviours College for secondary school (Cattanach, 2013). Her time at the strict Catholic college does not evoke nostalgia for Meshel and she describes the atmosphere of the school as oppressive (Bentley, 2012). Being surrounded by the ‘pretty nasty old nest of Queens’ (Laurie, 2010) that were the nuns at St Saviours was where Michelle decided to transform into Meshel at age fourteen and dreams of being a performer and moving to Melbourne took hold (Allenandunwin.com, 2013). After high school, Meshel started to study Arts and Drama at University of Southern Queensland but she didn’t complete the degree instead she became hooked on hard drugs (Miller, 2015). Once she dropped out of university, Meshel moved on to Brisbane and tried her hand at stand-up comedy (Miller, 2015)

The dream of moving to Melbourne became a reality for Meshel when she was 20 and only two years later she debuted at the Melbourne Comedy Festival with Corrine Grant in the show Dairy Belle (Miller, 2015). In 2000 Meshel wrote and performed in The Whore Whisper: Confessions of a Madame which were the stories of the three years she spent working as a receptionist in Brothels (Standup.com.au, 2016).

Meshel’s career in radio began in 2000 at the station 3RRR where she co-hosted a segment named Enough Rope with Josh Kinal which was a weekly look into the comedy industry and featured fellow comedian special guests such as Will Anderson and Rachel Burger (Standup.com.au, 2016). After the controversial cancellation of Enough Rope, Meshel went on to host Stand Up! a comedy show on ABCTV (Standup.com.au, 2016). During this time, Meshel was also making regular appearences on popular television shows such as Rove Live, Spicks and Specks, Good News week and The Glass House (Standup.com.au, 2016).

In 2003, Meshel began what would become a long stint at Nova FM standing in for Kate Langbroek with hosts Dave Hughes and Dave O’Neil and was given a permanent segment in 2005 in Breakfast radio with Ashley Bradham, David Lutterall and Kip Wightman (Miller, 2015). The show was highly successful because the audience liked that there was obvious tension between the hosts but for Meshel the Breakfast radio job was not enjoyable because of this tension. This, coupled with flying back and forward to Melbourne from Brisbane where she was living took a toll and she had a mental breakdown and suffered from severe depression (Laurie, 2010). To combat this depression, Meshel began practicing Buddism (Laurie, 2010) and she sites His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama as one of her biggest inspirations (Cattanach, 2013).

Life hasn’t been all about work for Meshel and she had twins Dali and Louie in 2009 with her husband Adrian Lewinski whom she married in 1996 (Miller, 2015). The pair married only six months after meeting (Miller,2015) but Meshel has been public about the ups and downs of their marriage, especially surrounding the IVF treatment she says she had to force her husband into getting (Dimond, 2014). At the time of her finding out she was pregnant, Adrian was living at a different residence and Meshel has said that going through IVF and then pregnancy with a partner who wants nothing to do with you was incredibly difficult (Dimond, 2014).

In August 2011, Meshel was able to move back to Melbourne as a host on Drive FM with Tim Blackwell and Marty Sheargold but was replaced by Kate Ritchie in 2014 so began working with Tommy Littlegold who she says she got on with much better (Miller, 2015). In 2013, Meshel realeased her first book named The Fence-Painting Fortnight of Destiny which her publishers, Allenandunwin.com describe as ‘A memoir about growing up, growing wise and stepping into the world of Dogs in Space’ (Allenandunwin.com, 2013).

After so many changes and ill-feelings Meshel finally left Nova after being there for thirteen years to be a host at KIIS FM 101 (Christensen, 2015). She announced this move on her Facebook in October, 2015 saying her treatment at Nova had felt her feeling like a ‘disposable rag and a fool’ (Laurie, 2015).

Meshel now lives in Melbourne with her family and has recently announced her and her husband are seeking a divorce (Wainwright, 2016). Charity is something Meshel has been involved in for a number of years, up until quite recently she assisted with Father Bob Maguire’s food truck to feed the homeless and now she spends two hours a week with Patients in Palliative care (Miller, 2015). June 2015 saw her meet her idol the Dalai Lama whom she was fortunate enough to have lunch with (Laurie, 2015). Meshel still works in Radio at KIIS FM and also has a regular slot on Channel Ten’s The Project (Miller, 2015)

Sources

Allenandunwin.com. (2013). The Fence-Painting Fortnight of Destiny – Meshel Laurie – 9781743314487 – Allen & Unwin – Australia. [online] Available at: https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/general-books/biography-autobiography/The-Fence-Painting-Fortnight-of-Destiny-Meshel-Laurie-9781743314487 [Accessed 8 Aug. 2016].

Bentley, C. (2012). ‘Nuns made me move’. [online] Chronicle. Available at: http://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/nuns-made-me-move-meshel-laurie/1489497/ [Accessed 8 Aug. 2016].

Cattanach, A. (2013). Meshel Laurie, author of The Fence-Painting Fortnight of Destiny, answers Ten Terrifying Questions. [Blog] Booktopia. Available at: http://blog.booktopia.com.au/2013/08/22/meshel-laurie-author-of-the-fence-painting-fortnight-of-destiny-answers-ten-terrifying-questions/ [Accessed 7 Aug. 2016].

Christensen, N. (2015). ‘A disposable dish rag’: Meshel Laurie attacks her treatment by Nova as she starts Kiis show – Mumbrella. [online] Mumbrella. Available at: https://mumbrella.com.au/a-disposable-dish-rag-meshel-laurie-attacks-her-treatment-by-nova-as-she-starts-kiis-show-340300 [Accessed 8 Aug. 2016].

Laurie, M. (2010). MONDAY, MARCH 22, 2010. [Blog] Meshel Laurie Blog. Available at: http://meshellaurieblog.blogspot.com.au [Accessed 8 Aug. 2016].

Laurie, M. (2013). The fence-painting fortnight of destiny. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

Laurie, M. (2013). ‘Here’s me cake’ [Instagram Post] 29 May 2013 [Accessed 7 Aug. 2013]

Laurie, M. (2015). Meshel Laurie: That time I had lunch with the Dalai Lama. [online] NewsComAu. Available at: http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/radio/that-time-i-had-lunch-with-the-dalai-lama/news-story/13e1397b1b8eca15ae878cf5070170b1 [Accessed 8 Aug. 2016].

Standup.com.au. (2016). Meshel Laurie | The Sit Down Comedy Club. [online] Available at: http://www.standup.com.au/comedian/meshel-laurie [Accessed 8 Aug. 2016].

Miller, M. (2015). Meshel’s winning hearts from the west. [online] Heraldsun.com.au. Available at: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/confidential/nova-100-breakfast-cohost-meshel-laurie-winning-hearts-from-melbournes-western-suburbs/news-story/86f0996ee83b5f596bd012b423578692 [Accessed 8 Aug. 2016].

Allenandunwin.com. (2013). The Fence-Painting Fortnight of Destiny – Meshel Laurie – 9781743314487 – Allen & Unwin – Australia. [online] Available at: https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/general-books/biography-autobiography/The-Fence-Painting-Fortnight-of-Destiny-Meshel-Laurie-9781743314487 [Accessed 8 Aug. 2016].

Wainwright, H. (2016). This refreshing Meshel Laurie interview is for all mums.. [online] Mamamia. Available at: http://www.mamamia.com.au/meshel-laurie-interview/ [Accessed 8 Aug. 2016].