Newsflash: I’m in love with Premier’s bodyguard
WHEN Katrina Blowers was seven, she asked her mother about the job of "the lady who reads the news".
Blowers, now 44, had seen a news bulletin and a spark had been lit.
"We had a big conversation about journalism and what the news was, and how it involved travelling and meeting interesting people and telling other people about it,'' she recalls of that car trip.
"I thought my goodness, what a job - could there be any better job?''
Fast forward a few decades, and Blowers is now in the hot seat in one of the state's most coveted television news reading roles.
Not only that, she has taken over from a Queensland television icon, Kay McGrath, who last year announced she was stepping away from the weekend newsdesk to pursue other passions.
"I have wanted to be a journalist since I was 7 years old, and I have never deviated from that,'' Blowers says.
"I did work experience in the Canberra press gallery at the age of 12.
"It has honestly never disappointed me, this job and this life - I love being a journalist and I love presenting.''
McGrath, the woman whose enormous shoes she is filling, says Blowers takes on the role with her blessing.
"She's authentic, and I think viewers can tell,'' McGrath says.
The praise is mutual, with Blowers - who has been with the Seven Network for eight years - saying she had to "pinch herself" to be part of McGrath's emotional final night on the newsdesk on January 26.
"This is one of those big TV moments, and here I am sitting at the desk next to her, thinking I can't believe I get to be even just a tiny part of this,'' she says.
"We were all in tears, happy tears, because Kay got to call the shots - and that way that she left that role was just all class.''
Blowers - who was born in Townsville - says she's generally a pretty confident person, and describes herself as someone who loves public speaking. But she admits that she allowed "a little bit of self-doubt to creep in" in the lead up to her first read in early February, after McGrath's departure.
"I've had a lot of really beautiful messages, but one or two people contacted me saying, 'We are such big fans of Kay so you better not let us down','' she says.
"You read 1000 beautiful comments, but those one or two negative ones can get to you, and I let that play on my mind a little bit.
"But once I sat down in the studio and the countdown went down, I let it all go and thought, 'I'm going to have some fun'. I really enjoyed it.''
As the mother of two young children - a daughter, 12, and son, 9 - Blowers says there are certain stories that she finds challenging to cover.
"I covered the Allison Baden-Clay trial and that really impacted me, because Allison was a similar age to me, she had children of a similar age,'' she says.
"That took me a while to recover from actually because we went very deep, we were reading her diary excerpts, and by the end of it I felt I knew her, so that was a very tough one. I don't think I've covered anything like it since.
"Since becoming a mother there are stories that really hit me now, particularly court stories of abuse or neglect, which I find very difficult to cover.''
As for her kids, she describes them as completely "underwhelmed" by her new high-profile role.
"They couldn't care less about seeing me on the news,'' she laughs.
Blowers shares custody of her children with her former partner, and says the pair - who were together for two decades - have found a good balance.
The former couple quit their jobs - Blowers was working in Sydney breakfast radio with Merrick and Rosso at the time - in the early 2000s and travelled the world for six months, prompting Blowers to write a book about the experience: Tuning Out: My Quarter-life Crisis.
"I'm really proud of the way we co-parent and I'm really proud that we have a hugely amicable relationship,'' she says.
"You never want to break apart a family, it's always terribly sad and a really tough decision, but we have a very deep respect for one another and we live a couple of minutes from each other and are in constant contact about the kids.''
Blowers has since partnered up with a man she met through work, the Queensland Premier's police "bodyguard" Adam Pendlebury.
"Cue the Kevin Costner jokes,'' she laughs.
"I saw him around at jobs and he was quite friendly and we often said hello, and over time he noticed I wasn't wearing a wedding ring, and he asked me out for a drink.
"I have so much fun with him, we're at a really similar life stage.
"He has two kids as well.''
The couple recently travelled overseas with all of their children, and Blowers says they're very much in love.
She's looking forward to the year ahead, even if she knows she's given up her weekends for the foreseeable future.
"People say that if you enjoy your job, you'll never feel like you're working, and I feel like that,'' she says.
"I have so much fun in the studio.
"I still get nervous before every bulletin, but Rod Young gave me some great advice about that feeling of butterflies - you can use it as fuel or you can let it make you fall apart. I don't want to stop feeling those butterflies, I want to give it my all.''