parent opinion

EXCLUSIVE: Jackie O talks about money, power and being on Hinge.

Jackie 'O' Henderson is one of the most famous women in Australia. She's also the most powerful and successful woman in the entertainment industry. Along with her KIISFM breakfast radio co-host, Kyle Sandilands, Henderson is also the highest paid person in Australian media.

On Mamamia's No Filter podcast this week, Jackie Henderson finally sits down to speak with Mia Freedman about fame, what she wishes she'd known about divorce, how relationships can be changed by money, how she negotiates her multi-million dollar radio contract and what it's like to be on a dating app're Jackie O.

This extract of Jackie O's interview on the No Filter podcast has be condensed and edited for clarity. You can listen to the full interview here.

Mia: Is talking about money something you put boundaries around? 

Jackie: I don't love talking about money. I should be proud of the money I earned but I just hate it. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's just the way I was brought up. I've got an interest in other people's salaries, trust me. But you sort of feel like it's gloating. I don't want to gloat. There’s a fine line for me between being proud of how far I've come, which I am really proud of, and then there's the gloating part, which that's the part I don't want to do or am uneasy with.

Mia: It's interesting, isn't it? Because I can't imagine a man ever using the word gloat. I don't know whether that's an internalised female thing. But it's very rare for a woman to talk about how much money she makes while Kyle has no problem with it.

Jackie:  Men love to… I think, for us, we see it as almost tacky. I also think it's ingrained in us in a way to not blow your own horn. And not talk yourself up. It's terrible. Because we need to do more of that, especially in negotiations, we have this sort of fear that ‘I can't go in there and talk myself up like a lot of men can do’. 


Mia: When you and Kyle are negotiating a new contract, which you are at the moment, who does that work behind the scenes? Who leads the business side of discussions?

Jackie: This time around Kyle called me about like six months ago, and he said, ‘Hey, I think for this contract negotiation, this is the figure and these are the terms that I have in mind’. And they were exactly the same that I had in mind. So we just had this conversation where we were like, ‘Let's go for it. Let's try and get that.’ 

Then we have our team of people take it from there. So I have Gemma [O'Neill], she is my manager. And she works with Bruno [Bouchet], who looks after Kyle, and then they work together. 

Mia: When did you start negotiating as a team?

Jackie: It kind of has come and gone in waves depending on our relationship. So we went in originally as the united front, and then over the years, for some reason, we just kind of did it separately. Those years were tough. It creates this uncertainty. And I think that solidarity weakens as a result. So I think it's so great that Kyle and I are at a place where we are absolutely on the same page.

Jackie O speaking to Mia Freedman on No Filter


Mia: I know you don't like talking about money, but your current contract is rumoured to be $5 million a year each. And what strikes me as interesting is that you're not given the respect that you both deserve. As not just the highest paid people in radio or in breakfast radio, but the highest paid people in Australian media. How does that make you feel? Because I suspect you're going to say uncomfortable. How do you feel about that power? 

Jackie: Well, I don't see it as power. But I do feel really proud of that. I mean, I always revert back to the Gold Coast girl that I was. [A girl just] figuring out what I wanted to do in life, where I'm going to go, what my career was going to be. And so I always think, ‘Oh, imagine if someone had told that Gold Coast girl, hey, this is what you're going to become. This is where you're going to be. This is going to be your career path.’ Oh my god, I would never have believed it in a million years. I remember I went for a massage once, when I had just finished TAFE, doing a secretarial course. [The massage therapist] also doubled up as a palm reader. She was looking at my palms. And she said, ‘Oh my goodness, you're going to make so much money in your life’. And I thought, well, that's not right. I know that's not going to happen. And she was like, ‘Hey, you're just gonna have a lot of money coming in, in your life’. At the time, I just didn't see how that would even be possible. 


Now, I look back on that and go, ‘God she was right to a degree’. The life that I've lived has been real pinch-me stuff. And I've worked hard. So I got to give myself credit for how hard I've worked over those years. And I do feel so proud that we've gotten to where we are. And I feel like that's something that's really nice for my daughter to see. I really want to instil in her to have that financial independence in life. 

Mia: I once heard Elizabeth Gilbert talk about how she made the most ridiculous amount of money after writing Eat, Pray Love. Money that she never thought she'd ever seen in a million years. And she said she learned that money can really fuck up relationships, not just romantic ones but also friendships. She said she went and bought houses for friends, did all of these things. How have you found that money can change the dynamics?

Jackie: I think that you always feel you have to pay for everyone and everything. And that's okay, I'm okay with doing that. But it can be uncomfortable. Money is so great on the one hand, because it gives you this beautiful, comfortable life and you don't have those worries and pressures. And then on the other hand, sometimes you just want to be rid of it as well. Because it changes dynamics. I think with friendships, I've got amazing friends. And I've got really great friends who are respectful and say, ‘No, I'm paying for this you paid for the last one’. And my family also are the same. They never want anything. So I'm really lucky in that regard. But when you're talking about male female dynamics in relationships, there's no question that that plays a big part in that and that's when I hate it. 


Mia: Do you have to be wary now that you're dating? 

Jackie: Yeah, even more. I feel that men still have it ingrained in them. They could say, ‘Oh, I don't care. I'm comfortable. I'm okay with the woman earning the money’. But there is something innately within them. That they have to be the provider and if they don't there's some sort of inadequacy they have as a result of it internally. They may not express it. I think some men can be comfortable with it and genuinely are. But I think that can be hard to find. It's tricky, because you feel sometimes you don't want to live the life that you're used to living because you're trying to downplay it, to equalise it. 

Mia: Do you find that there's a certain age group of men or a certain man who's more comfortable with it than others?

Jackie: I do think younger men are definitely more comfortable with it. They’ve grown up around women and mothers who work for a living and it's very different now. And I think that they're a lot more comfortable and confident with that. But I think that the older generation - ones probably my age group -  it's more difficult.


Mia: How do you date when you're Jackie O?

Jackie: Just normally, you know, go on the apps. At first, I thought I'm not signing up to Hinge, that's embarrassing. I just was mortified but now I don’t care.

Mia: How does anyone believe that it's really you?

Jackie: Oh you verify yourself.  So you have to do this video that they verify, so they know if you've got the tick is actually you. So I was like, 'Far out I can't be on there just talking to random people. I don't know what they are going to do. Like who are these people? Do I even trust them? What's their motive? Is there an agenda?' All that stuff crosses your mind at first. But it is what it is. I have to do it the same way everyone else does. There is no special way I can do it. I can't even go out. When I go out it just doesn't happen for me like, in a bar.

Mia: I don’t want to make you paranoid but what if it was a journalist or what if it’s someone who wants to sell their story. Is that at the back of your mind?

Jackie: Look, it's in the back of my mind a little bit but not much. I did think about it yesterday, ‘Oh God, what if this guy's a journalist?’ But then I thought ‘Well, what? What if he is? What's he gonna say at the end of the day?’ How far is he going to take it is what I want to know? At what point does he pull out and go ‘I'm a journalist’.

To hear Jackie speak about her recent divorce, why it was so much harder than her first, what she wishes she'd known before her marriage ended, how she protects her daughter and co-parents with her ex, what it's like to be on Hinge and how she spends her money........ Listen to Mia's full No Filter interview with Jackie O here. 


Interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Feature image: Getty.

As women our bodies are always changing! Tell us about your experience to go in the running to win one of four $50 gift vouchers. 

Jackie O speaking to Mia Freedman on No Filter