celebrity

Tina Arena has been in the spotlight since she was 9. Now, she hasn't worked in over a year.

At nine years old, in 1974, Tina Arena first appeared in Australian lounge rooms on the children’s talent show Young Talent Time.

Since then, she has matured into one of Australia’s most successful singer-songwriters, selling more than 10 million records worldwide.

She’s won 15 ARIA Awards; made it into the ARIA Hall of Fame and sang ‘The Flame’ at the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games – the highest-rated TV telecast in Australian history.

Listen: Tina Arena talks to Mia Freedman on the No Filter podcast. Post continues below audio.

Her 1994 album Don’t Ask remains one of the highest-selling Australian albums of all time.

Alas, like every other Australian at the moment, the now-52-year-old is struggling thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, which has not just caused a health crisis of an astounding scale, but an economic and employment crisis of previously unimaginable proportions.

“I haven’t worked for a year and a half,” Tina Arena tells Stellar on Sunday. Her last major job was playing in the musical Evita at the Sydney Opera House in 2018.

“This is a very serious thing for me. I’ve got a mortgage to pay. I had to tell the bank I need to freeze my loan, I can’t pay right now.”

Tina Arena now
Tina Arena on Young Talent Time in 1982. Image: YouTube.

Amidst the hardship, the entertainer knows she is "not alone". She is one of millions of Australians who have lost their jobs in the midst of the pandemic that is sweeping the globe.

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"We can’t all lose our homes at the same time, that’s not possible," Arena tells the publication.

"The arts industry is being categorically ignored," the Melbourne-born singer continues, adding that many of her friends who she is constantly checking in on are not doing great due to loss of jobs.

Despite her far-reaching success, the performer adds that her ostensibly glamorous profession is not immune to the adversity brought on by COVID-19.

"People also need to understand that we’ve lost our jobs, too; we have no job security whatsoever. I’ve grown up working in a very uncertain industry," the ARIA Award-winning performer says.

The Australian artist is a board member of the Australian Council, the official arts funding body of the Government of Australia, and has urged the government to mitigate the severity of the impact of COVID-19 on the arts industry by stepping in to provide financial assistance during this time of great need.

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It's not the first time the beloved Italian-born artist has used her public platform as a vehicle to have a broader and much-needed discussion, even if that means being brutally honest about her own struggles.

In 2017, Arena opened up to Mia Freedman on Mamamia's No Filter podcast about her personal life, revealing she had suffered three miscarriages after the birth of her now-teenage son, Gabriel.

Watch: Tina Arena speaks to Mia Freedman about her miscarriage. Post continues below video. 

Video by Mamamia

Arena approached the subject with the same grace and stoicism that has kept fans enraptured with her career since she first appeared on Australian screens over four decades ago.

"I lost three [children] after Gab… but I’m no different to anyone else," she told Mia Freedman.

"How many women lose children? All the time. Every second there is a child lost."

Tina admitted, however, there was a time she did feel "embarrassed" to speak publicly about her loss.

"I almost felt embarrassed to talk about it and selfish in a way," she said, adding that she thought it was a "First World problem".

"Like, 'You, Tina Arena, who do you think you are to talk about the loss of a child, you spoilt whatever’.

"But you know what? I'm a woman.

"I just feel comfortable in talking about those things because I know how uncomfortable people are talking about it."

Indeed, she remains - as ever - a national treasure.

Feature Image: Instagram. 


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