Sami Lukis is an Australian television and radio personality. She appeared on the Nine Network as the weather girl on Today, and for Network Ten on the children’s educational program Totally Wild. She also worked in radio as a breakfast news reader and presenter for Nova 96.9 on the Merrick and Rosso show.
Describe yourself in 3 words
Perfectionist, Honest, Observant.
What is your life motto?
Treat others as you would want to be treated.
When did you start pursuing your career and how long did it take to become successful?
I started my communications degree at University as soon as I left school … and I started doing work experience in TV straight after school as well. I’ve had a series of lucky breaks along the way. Getting my first TV gig on Totally Wild at Channel 10, then getting the gig on the Today Show at Channel 9 and getting the job with Merrick + Rosso at Nova Sydney, was my big break in radio.
How many hours did you dedicate to pursuing your dream?
At my busiest (as the travelling weather presenter on the Today Show), I would easily work 15 hours a day, 6 days a week. In radio, you’re working pretty much 24 hours a day, because you’re always looking for material for the show.
Describe how difficult the business really is?
It’s tough to break in … and even tougher to survive in this industry. You need to be prepared to work your butt off – there aren’t many jobs in media where you’d expect to work 9-5. And if you’re on-air, you need a really thick skin, because people are always judging you and some attacks on your work can be very personal.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given to date?
This one I learned from Bert Newton: When you’re working on Live TV – don’t be afraid of stuffing up, and never try and cover up your mistakes. Just “go with the flow”, and be able to laugh at yourself. Sometimes that makes for the best viewing!
What is the piece of advice that you weren’t?
Don’t stop believing in your ability. Rejection for a gig in this industry doesn’t necessarily mean you’re no good. I was rejected once, simply because I was a woman, and they decided they wanted a man for the job.
In your mind, is formal training essential?
If you want to work as a journalist in radio or TV, it certainly helps if you have a degree in journalism or communications. But you don’t need any formal qualifications to work in radio. My 5 years of study counts for nothing in my current job. Life experience and good communication skills are more important.
What are some steps emerging talent can take to start/further their career?
If you want to work in radio or TV, I’d suggest you be prepared to take any job, just to get your foot in the door. Be prepared to move interstate, if you have to. And if you’re interested in being on-air, it would help to have an Agent or Manager – to let you know where and when jobs are up for grabs.
What kept you going when you felt like giving up?
I’ve never felt like giving up.
Do you believe that ‘making it’ is about luck and being in the right place at the right time?
There’s definitely an element of “luck” involved in working in media. Being in the right place at the right time, and knowing the right people also helps.