Three Minute Squiz With… Lisa Millar

We were introduced to Lisa Millar a decade ago when mutual friends asked her to meet us for a drink when we were visiting Washington DC – and she generously said yes. And we’ve been big fans ever since. If you don’t know her from her incredible work for the ABC in the US, and now as bureau chief in London, you might have seen her in the last fortnight for THAT photo ‘with’ Prince Harry the day before his wedding. An avid Squizer, please welcome Lisa Millar to the Three Minute Squiz.

How and where do you Squiz?
I used to do it in bed like everyone else but now with the podcast I can knock out 50 sit-ups and multitask my Squiz time. Ha.

You’re the Bureau Chief for the ABC in London and before that you were the boss in Washington DC. What have you got against living in Australia?
It’s funny how the years tick by. But after nine years overseas for the ABC on this stint I’m coming home! By October you will find me under a beach umbrella trying to encourage my pasty white skin to remember what being a Queenslander means.

How on earth do you navigate the time differences and get time to sleep/have a life?
Why? Didn’t you appreciate getting that 2am phone call? In reality I don’t navigate it. I’m thinking of going back to sleep school when I finish here.

What story have you covered in the last few years that’s stuck with you?
Sandy Hook school shooting I got to know two of the parents pretty well and they’re now suing right-wing conspiracist Alex Jones who has claimed in the past the massacre was a hoax. Having to be forced to prove your child died is just sick. But I’m very glad they’re taking these nutters on.

Thank you for your work in representing Australia at the recent royal wedding. How hilarious Give us the blow by blow account.
What a hoot. I couldn’t have been closer unless I’d actually been invited thanks to our live shot position just outside the Chapel. People royalists or not were so happy. And everyone’s now had a good laugh about that photo with me and Harry. I was shouting out ‘Prince Harry, how do you feel?’ to try to get something from him, maybe a ‘nervous’, ‘great’ or ‘wish I was at the football’. Some people have mistakenly thought it was my delirious fan-girl face but I keep that for Hugh Jackman. Now I know what I look like when I’m shouting questions at least. #scary

You’re an old mate of Leigh Sales’. Tell us something we don’t know about her.
She loves staying out late going to loud rock concerts where you’re standing around waiting for someone to come on stage after midnight (#aintgottimeforthat #shemayhaveditchedmeataconcert).

Where were you born?
Gympie. And you can stop that right now. Even the customs man at Heathrow had a giggle and asked me if that’s where the Gimps live.

What was the first album you ever owned?
I used to get presents as a kid from Grandma of those fabulous compilations like 82 with a Bullet or Ripper (with the butt cheek showing through the ripped denim shorts which in retrospect may have been slightly inappropriate for a 9yo. But more about Grandma later). My first grown-up album was Split Enz Corroboree because my grade 8 music teacher John Cummings (shout out!) taught us History Never Repeats and I’m forever thankful to him.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?
FAME, I’m going to live foreevvveerr! (can you hear me sing that? I can do the actions too. Would you like a video? No?)

What’s your guilty TV-watching secret?
I have no secret ones. But I love Frankie and Grace at the moment. Because I want to grow old with that kind of sassiness.

Name four people – living or dead – you’d kill to sit down to dinner with.
Dame Zaha Hadid an awesome Iraqi-British architect. I read a story about her in the New Yorker and became a fan. I was sad when she died suddenly while working on a project in Miami; Bob Dylan; Queen Elizabeth; Martin Luther King.

Your favourite book and writer?
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson*. She spent 15 years interviewing 1,200 people to create the characters. When I finished it I wept that my adventure with that book was over. I read it a decade ago and still love it.

What skill or talent do you not have but wish you did?
I wish I could speak multiple languages. Merci.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
My grandmother Ida who was born in the late 1800s and lived until she was 92yo. She was an adventurer with such a positive outlook. I love it when my mum says I remind her of her mum.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
‘Let’s give it a whirl’. And ‘Bob’s your brother’ (because he is… my brother that is, and I think it’s funny to say that rather than ‘Bob’s your Uncle’ but no one else is even slightly bemused).

What’s your worst and best habit?
Work too much. And thoughtfulness (I hope).

What’s your no-fail recipe/favourite meal at your favourite restaurant?
Vodka martini (add an olive and turn it into a meal). I’m not much of a cook.

What qualities do you most value in a friend?
Their patience with my constant absences and stints overseas. I am so grateful I can pop back into my circle of friends and it’s like I was never gone.

What would you say is the most currently overlooked news story we should know about?
The choices about the ends of our lives. I think we’re still too nervous to talk about voluntary euthanasia in a meaningful way.

* Buy this book using this link and The Squiz gets a little commission from Booktopia.

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