5 Questions with John Caldwell Media/Entertainment Reporter

One of Australia’s most successful media/entertainment reporters and the 2014 Victorian Australian of The Year, John started from very humble beginnings, after leaving school at 15 with no qualifications (thanks to relentless bullying) John was determined to make something of himself and by 21 he owned two fast food franchises.

John’s experience, drive and entrepreneurialism also led him to set up Retailworld, RWR Executive and Hospoworld in Australia, and JC is well known for his work as a social commentator and interviewing the biggest celebrities in showbiz including Angelina Jolie, Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian West.

He took some time out of his busy schedule, to answer a few questions for our readers and give us some insight into what inspires and motivates him.


1. JC you have spoken a lot about your relentless drive and enthusiasm  –  What or who is your biggest inspiration?

This is such a tricky question because people always like to think I must have had people who mentored me through my tough younger years or people I looked up to but to be honest my drive to succeed was more around what I didn’t want to be and not who I did want to be like. My driver was to be different from everyone I grew up around.

As I have aged I certainly have some people I look up to now. On a global scale I can’t help but be passionate about Richard Branson and all he has achieved. The constant reinvention and changing with the times is truly inspiring. I do wonder though when I read his books if he was to start again in this climate with nothing if the same technics would work….

On a local scale I am truly inspired by Justin and Betina Hemmes and what they have done with Merivale Group. Too see the children take over the family business and reinvent it the way they have is a simply stunning achievement. Merivale know what their strengths are and have made an art our of rolling their model out across so many Venus yet making them feel individual. They truly are genius.

2. What does a day in the life of John Caldwell look like?

Oh lord…. Where do I start. I am a self confessed workaholic and have taken on way too many things so no 2 days are the same. Mornings start well before I am out of bed. The alarm goes off and the emails from overnight or early morning are actioned ASAP. I can’t stand my inbox being more than a page at the end of each day so I tackle emails with every spare second.

Typically my RWRgroup business comes first every day. That may be in the office or from home. On office days I try and be there for 8:30am like everyone else to set the tone. It’s important to not seem like I am any better than anyone else. In my arrogant years I built myself an enormous office that had an 9 person meeting table in it. I now sit out in the open plan again with everyone and the office is a shrine to the old days lol

Some days mornings will be TV as I have spent the last 3 years doing Studio 10 every Monday morning and often another day or 2 a week. RWR work will be done while in hair and makeup or in commercial breaks etc.. There’s quite a bit of down time in TV so work can be done in between.

Mid-morning will typically be RWRGroup or Midsumma festival work which can be anything from my regular scheduled meetings with all of my direct reports and franchisees or client meetings etc for RWR or for Midsumma anything from lobbying Govt, Meetings with potential sponsors and donors ar meeting with the team on the programmes etc. Now the second largest festival in VIC this is taking more and more time.

Afternoon I am onsite at KIIS to prepare for the new nightly radio show Celeb HQ. There’s a lot of prep, meetings, sourcing content that goes into a national radio show. I can do this from any studio on Australia so it means I can still travel for my other roles and combine it all. Again though there’s a lot of time in between meetings etc to be keeping on top of other roles. Every car ride to and from airport or in between the various locations is always pre booked with calls that needed to happen, such a great use of time.

Evenings are quite often attending events to continue to network with celebs etc. who we need for the show as well as of course keeping the show front of mind. On top of this I do the KIIS movie reviews so seeing movies regularly takes an evening.

Somewhere in there I make sure I get to the gym most days but never at a set time. The schedule comes first then the gym slots in.

3. What mantra do you live by?

I regularly say “were not saving lives here” because everyone takes everything so bloody seriously. I used to think everything was a big deal when I was younger and whilst I am still a perfectionist I know people make mistakes so I always make sure they know it’s not the end of the world.

BUT my favourite mantra is “it’s big in their world”. Meaning if one person breaks up from a 10 year marriage and another is dumped after 3 months it may seem they shouldn’t complain but heartbreak feels the same to everyone at the time.

Same case that I might lose $100k on an investment and one of my team lost $1,000 well to them it’s big in their world and we always have to have that level of compassion.

4. For those of us looking to break the cycle (either in a relationship, work or life) what advice would you give?

I have always been a massive advocate for therapy. I don’t think you can break a cycle unless you understand why you are stuck in that cycle and how you got there.

Once you know then piss or get off the pot. People typically stay in a cycle because as much as they bitch and moan about it, it’s easier than getting of their bum and doing something about it.

If you really want to break the cycle then do it and make the sacrifice that comes with that. Maybe you have to take a shitty job or 2 jobs to get by but whatever it takes just do it. People don’t like short term pain for long term gain but that’s the only way it’s going to happen.

Picture Darren Leigh Roberts

5. Finally fashion wise what is your favourite place to shop and why?

Dare I say Zara. I am fortunate enough to have pieces from almost every designer I have ever wanted and a collection of Louboutin shoes that I adore but Zara is my one stop shop. It’s always on trend and before most places. The fits are perfect for me and I can change my wardrobe regularly without breaking there bank. I think I could go every day and find something new. LOVE ZARA

JC can now be found on KIIS FM co-hosting Celeb HQ with Zoe Marshall, thanks for taking time out to chat with us JC.

by Arrnott Olssen
Editor Rogue Homme