Sally Obermeder on jeans, Jamaican chicken and juggling five jobs

If you want to nail the whole, "doing it all" thing, Sally has it sorted.

sally obermeder, SWISSH, SWISSH.com, @sallyobermeder, jeans for genes day

She’s a media personality, an entrepreneur, an author and a mum; and now Sally Obermeder can add ‘Chief Genie’ to her overflowing magic box.

Announced as this year’s Jeans for Genes Day Ambassador, not only will Sally be donning double denim come August 5 but she’s calling all Australians to get on board and do the same.

In its 23rd year, I’m sure we’ve all heard of (and celebrated) Jeans for Genes Day; a day to show off our latest bell-bottoms or boyfriends, but more importantly to raise awareness and funds for the Children’s Medical Research Institute.

Ahead of the big day, we spoke to Sally about her new role, her latest cookbook and why she swears by green smoothies.

Meet Sally Obermeder

1What inspired you to get involved with the Jeans for Genes Day campaign?

As a first time mum the incredible work of the Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) takes on new meaning with the shocking statistic that 1 in 20 children are born with some kind of genetic disease. I’m fully behind the CMRI in its mission to help reduce this statistic so future generations of children can lead healthy lives. I would be thrilled if in some way I’m helping raise public awareness.

2What do you hope to achieve as Chief Genie?

I’ve come on board as Chief Genie to help raise public awareness of Jeans for Genes Day and the work of CRMI. We want to encourage Aussies to become Genies ahead of Jeans for Genes Day on Friday August 5 to help raise important funds for the charity.

We also want to champion some of our amazing Genies who have raised significant amounts of money for CRMI over the last 23 years. It is important that we spread the word on some of the amazing work the CRMI is doing with the money donated through Jeans for Genes Day.

This year I’m daring everyone to don as much denim as possible on Jeans for Genes Day. Classic, acid washed, ripped, faded, stressed, double, even triple denim – get creative!

3In 2011, you were diagnosed with breast cancer and gave birth to your daughter Annabelle shortly after. What have you learnt from this experience?

As much as I would never want to relive that experience, there was a lot that I took out of it. My whole lifestyle changed dramatically when I finished chemo. I got on a really healthy path and learnt to never take my health for granted. It’s also changed my attitude in other areas of life as well. I find that I move on a lot quicker when things go wrong. I don’t worry as much. I will often say, “If no one has died, then really it’s not a big deal”. It just helps put small things into perspective.

4What’s the one piece of advice you’d give women or men currently going through treatment?

I would tell them to keep fighting and never give up. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your friends and family want more than anything to help you but often, they just don’t know how. It’s okay to admit you want their help and tell them what you need. Also, be kind to yourself and do whatever you need to do to get through each day.

5What are your top tips for feeling confident in your own skin?

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that the better I look after myself and nurture myself from the inside out, the more I am able to be happy and confident in all areas of my life. I truly believe beauty begins from within, and that means good food and it means happiness – both will show on your face. Also a good pair of heels and a little makeup doesn’t hurt either!

6What is your own food and fitness philosophy?

I have an 80/20 philosophy when it comes to health and fitness. It’s about doing what you can, in the time you have, to look after yourself as best you can. About 80 per cent of the time, I try to eat whole, unprocessed foods and loads of veggies and lean proteins. The other 20 per cent of the time, I indulge in decadent desserts or go all out at the buffet. The same goes with working out. I try to create time to workout but at the same time I don’t beat myself up when I can’t make it to the F45 class or I’m feeling too run down to hit the gym. It’s all about listening to your body and giving it what it needs.

7Can you talk us through a day on your plate?

I always start my day with a Super Green Smoothie from our book. They’re always huuuge so I’ll usually still be sipping on mine until mid morning. At this point, I’ll have a skinny macchiato. If I have time earlier in the week, I like to whip up a big salad or stir-fry and have it for lunch for a few days. It might be noodle-less Pad Thai or a Chicken Mango Slaw. Basically anything that’s full of colour, taste and texture. Many days I will also buy lunch. Japanese is one of my favourites but it could be Italian, Lebanese, or even just some BBQ chicken on a roll! It all depends on how I feel. If I get peckish again in the afternoon I’ll often reach for an avocado with lemon juice and chilli flakes, or za’atar covered eggs or a savoury yoghurt that I make (Greek yoghurt + harrissa paste + Spanish onion + mint ). For dinner I’ll usually cook something from our new cookbook The Good Life. My favourites are the 15-Minute Prawn Curry, the Jamaican Me Crazy Chicken or the Whole Baked Snapper with Salsa Verde.

8What is your advice on a healthy work/life balance?

It can be a pretty delicate balance and I’ll admit, I don’t always get it right. I find that sometimes I’ll go through phases where the balance is there, and then something will happen at work that I need to attend to and it all gets thrown out again. I’ve just learnt to accept that that’s just the nature of my business. That being said, there are a few things I do to try and keep things balanced. Having so many different roles, I’ve learnt that the only way to make it work is to focus solely on the job at hand. For example, when I’m at SWIISH I try not to think about all the little things I need to get done at home. When I’m at Channel 7, I try not to think about SWIISH at all. Then when I’m at home, I only focus on my family.

9What’s the best thing about being a mum?

Being a mother is one of the biggest joys in my life. My favourite thing is just watching Annabelle grow and become her own person. I love getting to know who she is and encouraging her to be nothing other than herself.

10What was the inspiration for your smoothie cookbook?

A photo posted by SWIISH.com (@swiishbysallyo) on

Well I actually first started drinking green smoothies when I was recovering from cancer. I was trying to loose the baby weight plus I had put on a lot of weight with the chemo. In addition my body was also run down by the toxicity of the chemo. I had heard of green smoothies before and how great they are for your health but admittedly, I was worried they would taste horrible! Then when I finally tried one and felt the benefits I started creating different ones. Soon enough I had Maha drinking them too and we started coming up with our own recipes and swapping them with each other. We were hooked. I lost about 15kg and began to feel amazing. My hair and nails grew back stronger, my skin started to glow and I felt leaner than ever before. We kept getting comments like, “You guys look amazing! What is your secret?” So we started actually writing down our recipes and that’s when we eventually decided to share what we know in our book, Super Green Smoothies.

11Where do you see yourself in five years time?

It’s so hard to say! I love all my jobs – hosting The Daily Edition at Channel 7, running SWIISH.com with my sister Maha, running our SWIISH online store, and being an ambassador for AVON, so I hope in five years I can still be doing all these things!

We’ve had so much growth with our SWIISH store so we’re definitely looking to expand that. Who knows how big the store could be in five years from now?! Maha and I would also love to have another book under our belts. We feel like we have a lot more still to share and although books are a lot of work, we always have so much fun putting them together.

Quick Questions:

First thing I do in the morning: Kiss Annabelle and then scan my emails for anything urgent.

Last thing I do at night: Stretch and kiss Marcus.

Most people probably don’t know this about me, but: I’m a bit of a finance nerd!

The one place I’d never wear yoga pants: To a nice restaurant.

If I were a fruit or vegetable I’d be: A banana – soft centred and thick skinned!

If sugar were a superfood, my diet would consist of: Bags and bags of American candy.

I never leave home without: My Avon Ultra Colour Lip Crayon in Notice Me Nude.

I’m inspired by: Other powerful women who have blazed their own path and followed their passions.

My favourite emoji is: the laughing emoji!

My pet peeve is: When things are unorganised and messy or people are ungrateful, rude or disloyal.


How To Support Jeans for Genes Day

This year it’s easier than ever to show your support. You can do this in a number of ways:

  1. Register your office, school, family or friendship group to get involved.
  2. Wear denim
  3. Donate

For a quick donation, all you have to do is text jeans to 1997 6484 and $5 will automatically be sent.

All money raised goes directly to research aimed at curing childhood genetic diseases, which currently affect 1 in every 20 Aussie kids.