Virginia Trioli opens up about her 'notorious' Barnaby Joyce moment
October 19, 2009 is not a date Virginia Trioli will easily forget. It marked a euphoric personal high, and what she calls a "notorious" professional incident whose aftermath still echoes.
Virginia Trioli has spoken for the first time about the personal circumstances around her moment of ‘hilarity’ that took a heavy toll.
As her hit show, ABC News Breakfast, nears its 10th anniversary, the habitually private broadcaster has spoken for the first time about the deeply personal events surrounding the Barnaby Joyce "loopy finger" moment.
"That morning, I was jubilant. I was high as a kite, and I remember the exuberance and hilarity with which I strode through the door of the office at 4am.
"I'd just returned from a week's leave during which I underwent my 100th IVF procedure and 85th embryo transfer.
"We (Trioli and her journalist husband, Russell Skelton) finally had an embryo that looked like it stood a chance…I returned to work technically pregnant and over the moon."
Virginia Trioli has spoken about the importance of owning your professional mistakes.
She was so head-swimmingly happy, the normal rules were forgotten for an instant as she "played up" behind the scenes to the close knit studio crew.
"The hijinks in the studio that day, all generated by me, were funny, silly and incredibly risky," she told the Women in Media conference in Brisbane on Friday afternoon.
One spontaneous risk led to the greatest resilience building moment in Trioli's award-winning career: when the camera cut back to her earlier than she expected following the screening of an earlier interview with Barnaby Joyce, the host was caught pulling a nutty face and twirling a finger around her ear, implying Joyce was loopy.
In the lead up to Friday's speech she told Fairfax, "I was so exhilarated I was carrying on like a pork chop; that's a terribly unprofessional thing to do when you're in a live studio.
"It was going to be somebody that morning (who copped it), because I was high on life. I was having too much fun, anyone who caught my eye with any kind of outrageous observation or funny turn of phrase was going to get my attention."
As stress from the social media and political backlash mounted, Trioli started to lose her pregnancy two days later: "I will always believe that it was my own silliness and all the drama that followed that stole away one more hope for a child".
Trioli also chose now as the time to discuss her experience nine years ago as a way to help media women just starting out to understand "there are worse things than making a mistake, and there's dignity in claiming your mistake".
Though the Nationals Senator forgave her immediately and light heartedly, Trioli still recalls it as the most "frightening" moment of her career.
"The fallout from that was massive, and you do feel for a moment like it's going to actually take you under. But it didn't".
"It never goes away, but if I can focus on a good consequence, it's that I am glad that I have learned how to deal with adversity," she said.
She wants people making their way in intense careers such as media to know, "if there is big stuff like this going on in your life, reach out and ask for help".
"None of this is presented as an excuse or a justification, it's an explanation of my state of mind", she said. The happy ending for Trioli and Skelton is, they have a healthy and much-loved six year-old son.
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