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'Those criticising Sam Frost have got it wrong. We should all be following her lead.'

I’ll admit, when news first broke in 2015 that former Bachelorette Sam Frost would join Rove McManus as host of 2Day FM’s new breakfast show, my heart sank for the “radio people” whose spot she had taken.

Having worked in commercial radio, I’ve seen first-hand how difficult it is for aspiring announcers to even land a gig at a metropolitan station, let alone a hosting role on a major FM breakfast show.

Breakfast shows are the foundation of any radio station, designed to draw in listeners for the rest of the day. Stations invest the lion’s share of their promotional budget into their breakfast team and if that team doesn’t rate, the rest of the day’s line-up probably won’t either.

It’s high stakes and many people weren’t happy Frost – a reality TV star, but a radio novice – had been granted such responsibility.

sam frost responds to home and away backlash
This week, Sam was announced as the newest cast member of Aussie soap Home and Away. (Image: Getty)

Despite the criticism, Frost said yes to one of the most daunting gigs in the country, baring her soul live-on-air three hours a day. While some may chalk up her 18-month tenure as a failed experiment, it’s hard not to acknowledge her guts.

Fast-forward almost two years later and the 28-year-old is once again in the firing line – this time with the acting community. Having this week been announced as the newest cast member of Aussie soap Home and Away, industry insiders are labelling her appointment as “disappointing”, “an insult to trained actors” and a blatant publicity stunt by the Seven Network. Initially, I saw their point.

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In a post to Instagram, Frost was quick to hit back at her detractors, saying she has chosen to live her life “embracing opportunities and challenges with open arms”.

It got me thinking.

Putting aside the list of people who may be “more qualified", Sam Frost is doing what so many women just aren’t very good at: she’s going for it.

And more of us should be following her lead.

In 2014, an internal report by Hewlett-Packard found that men apply for jobs when they meet only 60 per cent of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100 per cent of them. Sound familiar?

Think about the last time you were scrolling through a job website. When spotting a role you were interested in, did you instantaneously compile a mental shopping list of reasons why you wouldn’t be the right fit? I certainly did.

I have experience, but is it enough experience? Sure, I know how to use Microsoft Excel, but am I exceptional at it? If there was a job that required 38 hours a week second-guessing my own abilities, I would be perfect for it. But even then I still might think twice about applying.

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Of course there are exceptions. Despite my secret desire to be a doctor (mainly for the universal respect and attractive home loan options), I should never be allowed in an operating theatre – or a commercial kitchen for that matter. But too often women create roadblocks rather than pathways. We’re too quick to find reasons why we’re not the right person for the job or why someone else would do it better.

Frost is backing herself in front of the entire country. First, she did it to find love – then in the most competitive radio slot in the country. Now she’s giving it a crack in Summer Bay. She is brave by all definitions. And for that she should be celebrated, not criticised for simply accepting opportunities that have come her way.

If we applied the Hewlett-Packard theory to Frost’s most recent two jobs, she would probably struggle to reach the 60 per cent qualification threshold. But she’s not saving lives. She’s in the entertainment industry.

Most importantly, she’s never going to die wondering.

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Isn’t this what we should be teaching young women? To seize opportunities? To give more merit to the value we can offer than the fear of what we can’t? To step out of our doubt-riddled heads every once in a while and enjoy the fresh air? We should. It looks really nice out there.

Yes, I spare a thought for the “real” actors who may have missed out on this occasion. Landing a spot on Home and Away is great exposure, a regular pay cheque and has launched the careers of some of our biggest acting exports. But that isn’t Sam Frost’s problem. Doors have opened for her and she’s boldly walking through them.

To quote Frost herself, “it may work, it may not…but at least I can say I was brave enough to give it a shot.”

If she can do away with the 100 per cent rule, and be brave on the most public of stages, surely the rest of us can too?

Jamie Wells is a 30-year-old, curly-haired, chocolate milkshake enthusiast from Brisbane. With a career to date producing commercial talkback radio and giving politicians media advice, I can usually be found nose deep in a book or ears-deep in podcasts, particularly of the No Filter and Mamamia Out Loud variety.

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