Georgie Tunny lost out on her dream job to Tony Armstrong. Then she sent him a text.

At just 32, Georgie Tunny has one of the best media jobs in the country. 

She's a co-host on Channel 10's The Projectwhere she delivers the news in prime time and interviews international guests like Lewis Capaldi, Sam Smith, Orlando Bloom and the whole Kardashian family. 

Literally all of them. In one go. 

Several evenings a week, she's the friendly, familiar face that appears in Australian lounge rooms, and is trusted to talk about the biggest stories of the day.

But just two years ago, Tunny experienced a career disappointment that consumed her. She felt certain that, in her own words, her "life was over". 


I spoke to Tunny on my podcast But Are You Happy, which asks high-profile Australians who appear to 'have it all' about failure, jealousy, vulnerability, and happiness. During the interview, she shared what happened when she applied for her dream job, and didn't get it. 

She'd been working at ABC News Breakfast in Melbourne throughout the pandemic, starting her shifts at 2am, and was utterly exhausted. "There was just this general sense of foreboding and depression that sat over the city," she said, "and you would take that into work. Then you add sleep deprivation onto that..." 

Then, the sports presenter role on News Breakfast opened up – which, for Tunny, was what she'd been working towards her whole career. 

She was certain this was it. The job she'd been waiting for. 

And she didn't get it. 

Instead, the role went to much-loved Australian journalist Tony Armstrong.


"That was one thousand per cent the right decision," Tunny said. "And I knew it at the time, even though I was desperately sad. But I knew it at the time because we love Tony Armstrong.

"He is one of the greatest humans alive. And that's hard when it's somebody that we love. Because if it was somebody that we hated, it would be very easy to shake our heads and say: unfair. Yeah, unfair. But totally, totally fair. And we are such good friends."

Tunny decided to send a text to Armstrong, to congratulate him on the role. She also decided to be honest about her own disappointment. 

"I'm like, I am so happy for you. I have to let you know that I'm sad for me. But I'm so happy for you," she said. "And he... very, very graciously did not need to reply to my own little existential crisis breakdown, [but said] 'I appreciate your message'."

Tunny said it really did feel like her life was over at that time. "This is what my entire career had been leading towards," she said. "Where do I go from that? And because I was someone who had placed so much self-worth in career... and then I didn't get the thing."


It's a fairly universal story, with most of us having missed out on promotions or opportunities throughout our careers. It hurts. And sometimes you're certain it was the wrong decision, and your disappointment is compounded with a sense of injustice. 

But Tunny's story is one about how our greatest 'failures' can lead to our most profound successes. Because failure forces us outside our comfort zone, it encourages us to take risks, and it teaches us lessons we may have never learnt otherwise.

Now in hindsight, Tunny can see how the decision – which hurt at the time – was ultimately a gift.


"I think subconsciously I'd started to reconcile the 2am starts weren't good for me," she said. "I was still like, I hadn't changed. I was still me, I was still very good at the job, I was still very good at what it is to be a journalist and what it is to be a sports journalist.

"It wasn't until I was kind of forced out... of that dream job, that I could see that there were actually other possibilities out there for me."

Tunny was poached by News Corp to start an online streaming service called Flash, and she accepted the role. While there, she got a phone call from the EP of The Project saying host Carrie Bickmore was going away for a few months. He wanted to know whether Tunny would be interested in filling in for her. A particularly encouraging boss at Flash told Tunny they'd make it work, and within months, she was at The Project full-time. 

She ended up with her dream job. And it wasn't what she'd thought it was two years ago. 

"At its heart, [my job] is storytelling," Tunny said. "And that's one of the most meaningful things to me personally. There are so many stories to tell."

Listen to Georgie Tunny's episode of But Are You Happy. Post continues after audio.

Live TV has always been Tunny's passion, and she loves that it feels more authentic and natural than pre-recorded television broadcasts. She's honest, however, about what happens when things don't go to plan. 

On one of her first shifts with News Breakfast, Tunny was set to interview Melbourne Victory player Mitch Austin. She'd always wanted to be a sports presenter on a breakfast show, and now she was about to speak to an elite player in-studio. "I was like: this is it," she said. "This is it." 


In the footage from that interview, Tunny introduces Austin and asks her first question, and it immediately becomes clear something is very wrong. 

Austin looks uncomfortable, starts to answer, says 'sorry', and then walks off set.

Tunny hadn't known at the time, but he'd had a panic attack live on air. 

At first, she believed it was a reflection of her shortcomings as a journalist. She recalled telling herself, "I must be terrible. No one else has ever had this happen to them.

"I felt like I was on that couch for five years," she said. "I was there for five seconds. Then I got over myself and went outside to check on the player and see if he was okay. But I remember that moment. I gave myself a migraine stressing about it."

Throughout her interview on But Are You Happy, Tunny also discusses professional jealousy, the negative comments that actually hurt, and her love story with her fiancé Rob Mills. 

For more from Clare Stephens, you can follow her on Instagram. You can also listen to But Are You Happy on Spotify or Apple Podcasts

Image: The Project, ABC and Mamamia. 

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