Virginia Trioli needs a makeover (or so she's been told)

Virginia Trioli






ABC News presenter Virginia Trioli has been given some unsolicited feedback on her sartorial choices by a fan whose hand-written critique is nothing short of extraordinary. Delighted to have such a knowledgeable stylist on retainer (…cough…) Trioli shared the A4 letter on Twitter.

The note starts off friendly enough with, “I watch you every morning…”. How nice! A fan.

But then it takes a turn for the, er, personal: “I feel you are definitely in need of a makeover”. Oh.

The author takes a pot shot at Trioli’s hair (“straggly”, should be shorter, needs highlights), her glasses (“ugh!” and “owlish”), and the colour of her clothes (“get rid of blacks and browns” because they are very ageing; “light and bright is the go!”).

The amateur stylist also wanted to know where Trioli was buying her outfits: “Dare I say, did you obtain your clothes from charity shops?”

But don’t worry, the author of the letter has Trioli’s best interests at heart: “This is NOT meant to insult you”, but rather to make sure “you look 40 not 60“. Ahem, #nooffencebut.

Trioli’s new pen pal is also very confident that she will take their feedback on board: “Looking forward to seeing a NEW VIRGINIA”.

Thankfully, Trioli has laughed it off – it’s probably not the first (or last) time that she’s received this kind of inane feedback.

It’s fair to say that male news presenters don’t get this kind of correspondence. Trioli’s co-host Michael Rowland apparently never gets criticised “except for the odd occasion viewers object to the men not wearing a tie”.


Unsurprisingly, Trioli  is not alone. During her 2013 Andrew Olle media lecture, journalist and Nine’s Today Show host, Lisa Wilkinson told of what she’d come to expect as a high-profile female journalist, saying, “when you’re a woman doing breakfast TV, you quickly learn the sad truth, that what you wear can sometimes generate a bigger reaction than even any political interview you ever do.”

Lisa Wilkinson presenting at the Andrew Olle Media Lecture.

She shared an email she received from a viewer named Angela:

“Who the heck is Lisa’s stylist?
Whoever it is has Lisa in some shocking clothes.
Today’s outfit is particularly jarring and awful.
Just my 2 cents worth.
Get Some Style.”

Accomplished journalist Tracey Spicer has told the Guardian about some feedback she received after covering last decade’s biggest story for nine hours: “I’ll never forget walking off air after nine hours of rolling coverage of the September 11 attacks to read an email from a viewer criticising my ‘straggly’ hair and ‘inappropriate brown jacket, which did nothing for my colouring’.”

Spicer made a powerful repost in a TedX speech entitled “The Lady Stripped Bare”, where she detailed how much work goes into making a female tv reporter ‘presentable’ while stripping off her make-up and clothing layers.

This piece continues after the video…

And it’s not just their outfits that come under attack. Sometimes female journalists commit the cardinal sin of  ‘working while being a woman’. Luckily, that doesn’t go unnoticed by savvy viewers, as Wilkinson and colleague Georgie Gardner found out in this viewer email:

Two women journalists? Not ok.

“Hello Producer,

I am totally fed up with the combination of Lisa and Georgie – they’re shocking together and its like listening to a chorus of cats.
Please replace Karl when he’s on “assignment” with a male partner for Georgie or Lisa. In fact, Lisa’s interviews are very biased and I think she should just stay at home with her husband and that stupid red turban he wears on his head. No doubt that’s where she gets her Tony Abbott interview questions from.



Great, thanks for the feedback, Joanne. Because a female journo needs her husband to write questions for her. Le sigh.

Thankfully, there are a number of female journalists who are continuing to do extraordinary work in their profession, women who Wilkinson has called the “bright shining stars for us to all steer by”.

So to the amazing women in media who are kicking goals every day, despite getting up at o’dark hundred, breaking the big stories and generally keeping us informed about the world, we say: thank you.

To anyone who feels it necessary to discuss your appearance, we heartily direct them to STFU.


Click through to see some of Australia’s most inspiring female journos…




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