After spending much of her life in active wear, former swimming star Giaan Rooney has taken matters into her hands by launching her own range.

The Olympic gold medallist turned presenter has collaborated with Harris Scarfe on the range GR by Giaan Rooney, which will hit shelves on Wednesday, when she will also host a launch event and fashion showcase at New Farm.

The mother-of-two has been working on the collection for the past 12 months, drawing inspiration from the colour palette she used in her home as well as from nature.

GR by Giaan Rooney activewear range for Harris Scarfe
GR by Giaan Rooney activewear range for Harris Scarfe

 

GR by Giaan Rooney activewear range for Harris Scarfe. Picture: Supplied
GR by Giaan Rooney activewear range for Harris Scarfe. Picture: Supplied

"We don't multi-task we maxi-task. We put pressure on ourselves to achieve day in day out, and I'm a big believer, if you feel you look good you've won half the battle, particularly with active wear," Rooney told Confidential, adding that with her name on the swing tag she was insistent on being heavily involved in the design process and testing the range herself.

"My stomach used to be one of my greatest assets as a swimmer, whereas the mum tum is real after two kids, so I love a legging that will support me around that area … so it's what I feel comfortable in."

Designing the range gave Rooney an outlet during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which she reassessed her family life.

She and husband Sam Levett - who is a fifth generation cattle farmer - decided to buy a macadamia nut farm in northern NSW in December, which they are sharing with the original owners for the first year as they learn the ropes.

"We knew nothing about nuts, but we are absolutely loving it," she said.

"I love my job and what I do, but we were always just keeping the ball in the air. It was a challenge every day.

"It (the pandemic) gave me part a chance to get off the treadmill. I couldn't travel so my life changed monumentally and it was, 'What do we want life to look like? What do we want for our kids?'

"Now if it does come back, to what extent does it come back? I am enjoying time at home."

OVER THE RAINBOW

After undergoing a year of IVF treatments to fall pregnant, Brisbane designer Thessy Batsinilas has given birth to her "rainbow baby".

The Sabo Skirt co-founder and husband Georgio Batsinilas, co-owner of Brisbane fitness company FitazFK, welcomed their son, Jay Batsinilas, in late February.

He is a brother to their daughter Zani, two, who was also conceived via IVF.

Thessy and Giorgio Batsinilas welcomed a baby boy, Jay. Picture: Instagram
Thessy and Giorgio Batsinilas welcomed a baby boy, Jay. Picture: Instagram

The couple decided to keep the sex of their second child a surprise, discovering they were adding a boy to their family as he was born.

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"We committed to nine months of guessing. It was honestly the best surprise of my life and worth every second of suspense," Thessy, who gave birth via caesarean, told Confidential.

"They dropped the sheet and lifted my head up so I could watch the baby being born. It was so surreal finding out this way and was one of the best moments of my life."

In a long battle with fertility, Thessy had a series of surgeries to remove ruptured cysts in her ovaries, caused by severe endometriosis, and her fallopian tubes before conceiving Zani via IVF in 2017.

Thessy and Giorgio Batsinilas with their daughter, Zani. Picture: Instagram
Thessy and Giorgio Batsinilas with their daughter, Zani. Picture: Instagram

Returning to treatments in late 2019, she suffered a devastating miscarriage after her third round last February, and set herself a limit of six rounds of IVF in order to find the strength to keep trying.

The designer conceived her baby boy in June during the fourth round of treatment.

"I still pinch myself seeing my two children every day after having most of my reproductive organs removed several years ago," Thessy said.

"It took a lot of hard work and determination, especially with this pregnancy that took a year to conceive via IVF."

Offering advice to anyone struggling with infertility, she said: "Trust the timing of your life. When nothing makes sense just push through the doubts that cross your mind and trust that you'll one day meet your rainbow baby."

BABY JOY

Speaking of baby boys, Gold Coast radio host Dan Anstey and his wife Clare announced during the week that they are expecting their second child.

Clare, a Gold Coast fashion stylist, first told the Hit Gold Coast breakfast host she was pregnant on Christmas Eve.

"She wanted to give it to me as a present," Anstey told Confidential.

"It happened pretty quickly. We were having a chat about, 'Hey we aren't getting any younger' … we didn't know when we were having that chat that she was already pregnant."

Clare and Dan Anstey, with daughter Halle, are expecting their second child. Picture: Supplied
Clare and Dan Anstey, with daughter Halle, are expecting their second child. Picture: Supplied

"We all know people who are having trouble falling pregnant and we just got very lucky."

The couple later found out they were having a boy, which, while excited to have the "pigeon pair", gave Anstey, who is one of three boys, cause for concern.

"They used to call us smash, grab and destroy. I remember vividly my mum yelling 'I hope you all have sons like you one day'," he said.

"This might be the universe's way of punishing me."

Anstey joked that if two children under three became too much to handle, he would drop them off at co-host Ben Hannant's house, considering he already has eight children and "what's the difference between eight and ten".

BAKING WITH THE STARS

It's not every day you receive an email from a Hollywood producer asking you to make a birthday cake for his Academy Award-winning producing partner.

Brian Grazer reached out to Barbara Bechaz of Ormeau's All Occasions Speciality Cakes via email last Friday hoping that she could make a custom birthday cake for Imagine Entertainment co-owner Ron Howard by Monday.

While Grazer is in the US, Howard is currently on the Gold Coast preparing for their new movie, Thirteen Lives, which he will direct in the state.

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Ron Howard with his birthday cake. Picture: Instagram
Ron Howard with his birthday cake. Picture: Instagram

A long-time fan of Howard's films, Ms Bechaz accepted the job and worked over the weekend to deliver it free of charge in time for his birthday on Monday.

"They just said they wanted it to be colourful inside and out, and they provided the photo for the top of the cake," she told Confidential.

"They've been really lovely. He's fantastic. How can you put a price on that."

Howard shared a photo of the layered rainbow cake, which featured a photo of him and Grazer together and a personal message, to his Instagram page.

"Here I am in our production office in #Queensland. The team got a big kick out of this and it brought back so many great memories for me," Howard wrote.

Ms Bechaz was delighted to see the comments roll in, particularly from Hollywood star Glenn Close, who wrote: "What a fabulous cake".

Howard has been enjoying life on the Gold Coast, going for hikes with his wife Cheryl and picking up an Australian Statesman hat from the Broadbeach markets.

10 QUESTIONS WITH … Andy Lee

1. Who was your teen idol/ crush? Sophie Lee followed by Claudia Karvan.

2. Who are your three ideal dinner guests? Sophie Lee and Claudia Karvan and hoping the third person doesn't rock up.

3. What's your worst date experience? It was a first date and I had a fight with the girl in the cab on the way to the date.

Andy Lee for The cube. Picture: supplied
Andy Lee for The cube. Picture: supplied

4. What's the movie that made you cry? Finding Neverland

5. Which song do you sing in the car? Of late, it's been Forever You & Me by The Teskey Brothers

6. What's your favourite movie or TV series you never admit to loving? Law & Order: SVU

7. What's the most sentimental thing you own? A bucket hat given to me by my late mate, Jarrod Lyle.

8. What was the last thing you Googled? Quilt cover size charts.

9. What's your most embarrassing moment? I got dacked, underpants and all, on the bus at school camp while walking down the centre aisle and everyone saw.

10. What's on your bucket list? Go to space.

Andy Lee hosts The Cube, which airs at 7.30pm every Wednesday on Channel 10.

EVENT OF THE WEEK

Alex Glenn and Jemma Lee Morgan at Broncos Season Launch at the Tivoli. Pic Annette Dew
Alex Glenn and Jemma Lee Morgan at Broncos Season Launch at the Tivoli. Pic Annette Dew

The dress code stipulated "elegant party dress" and "classy separates" and the partners of the Brisbane Broncos passed the test with flying and quite literal colours, mingling on a glamorous maroon carpet at the 2021 season launch cocktail party at The Tivoli on Friday night.

Originally published as 'A challenge every day': Giaan's surprising new career


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