Given her star performance during the ABC New Year’s Eve Concert, an upcoming role in Australia’s hottest new musical, and the success of her latest single, Shake It, it’s hard to believe that Casey Donovan sometimes suffers from ‘imposter syndrome’.
However, she is now more in-demand than ever and is in the best shape of her life thanks to a dedicated health and fitness kick.
Here, Casey Donovan shares her thoughts on life, love, career and happiness.
We can’t wait to see you in the new upcoming musical & Juliet at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre debuting on Feb 26 alongside your good friend Rob Mills – what have rehearsals been like?
It’s been so much fun! My character Angelique is such a mothering character, ballsy, protective and vulnerable. Rob is just such a joyous human – he’s a caring, loveable larrikin who I can always confide it. He used to call me “Pacey Donovan” as backstage I’d just pace around as I’m a very anxious person. He’s a lot of fun.
You’re one of our most popular performers, but pre-pandemic, there were times when your career stalled so much that you had to take on odd jobs – how did you find that?
I grew up in a regular home where both of my parents worked, we are very down-to-earth people, so I had no trouble doing an honest day’s work. Having said that, I had to swallow my pride a little bit. I took on a job as a medical receptionist and also an Uber driver.
I got to a point of thinking maybe music wasn’t what I was meant to be doing, and no one was paying my bills, so I did what I needed to get by. Then slowly my career started to circle back, I got offered little gigs here and there and I began to fall back into love with music and gradually it got back on track.
At one point you said you had ‘imposter syndrome’ when it comes to your success as a singer – why was that?
I think it’s just part of what comes with being an entertainer, sometimes you feel you aren’t good enough and that little voice inside your head tries to tear you down. For many years I felt like I didn’t deserve certain things. I do a mindfulness podcast called The Space with short meditations, motivations and tips to improve your day, which has really helped to open up that can of worms for me and question what’s going on. On days when ‘that voice’ creeps in, I’ve now got the tools to rationalise it.
How do you deal with criticism?
Unfortunately, we do have a tall poppy thing going on here. There needs to be more positivity in society. By turning up the positivity it can turn down the imposter syndrome a bit. I’ve realised that it’s okay to be happy, but I also think a lot of people fear that. I certainly did. But I’ve worked bloody hard to get where I am, and know it’s okay to accelerate and feel good about it.
You’ve had lots of ups and downs with your weight over the years but are now in the best shape of your life having lost 15kg in just 12 weeks on the Jenny Craig program. What’s changed?
I changed from thinking I needed to be on a ‘weight loss journey’ to a ‘lifestyle journey’ instead. I’d done weight loss programs over the years, but they were always unsustainable. When Jenny Craig approached me last year to join their program I had a very matter of fact conversation with them. I said this is my life and I want it to work, I want to feel happy and healthy and not feel like it’s a diet. It’s actually worked so well with my lifestyle which is crazy busy as the meals are all taken care of and are really tasty. I still supplement with groceries from the supermarket, but now I’m in the mindset of just getting what I need.
You’ve also become quite close to your coach Angela, haven’t you?
Yes, I talk with Angela quite often and she asks if there are any obstacles for the weeks that will be or were quite challenging. No one has ever asked me that before. Previously I went out to dinners just hoping for the best. But now I have strategies in place and feel no guilt. It’s much nicer planning a meal to a nice restaurant – I love fine dining and a charcuterie board – instead of going through a drive-through to grab a dirty burger!
So, you’ve now moved to Melbourne, partly to be closer to your partner academic Renee Sharples. How has that been going?
It’s been wonderful, we met on a dating app during the pandemic and went on a COVID-safe walk. She didn’t know too much about me which was nice and has added to the organic nature of the relationship. We like to do healthy dates now as well – we’ll go on walks – it’s just been so lovely. I’m just loving life at the moment.
We’d like to thank Casey Donovan for sharing her thoughts and advice!
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