“I’m pinching myself”: Tanya Hennessy on her new best-selling book
Even if you’ve never heard the name Tanya Hennessy before, you would have seen her pop up on your Facebook feed, coming through the airwaves nationwide on Hit Weekends or, most recently, staring you down from the cover from her quasi-autobiography Am I Doing This Right? which recently earned her the crown of bestselling author.
“I can’t believe it, and I’m pinching myself, it’s weird,” bubbles Hennessy.
“You want to make something that people want and buy, but you never think it’s gonna happen.”
To peek between the covers of Hennessy’s book is to get a glimpse inside the madcap world she inhabits 24/7.
From A is for Awkward to Z is for ZZZZ’s, it’s less of an autobiography biography and more of a perfect representation of how Hennessy is in real life; bubbly, vivacious and eager to get as many thoughts out as possible.
She points towards her radio experience as the reason for the book’s unique layout.
“I’ve got a radio brain and radio brains thinks in two, three-minute segments. So, I guess I composed a book in the same way that I composed a radio break because that’s just the way I make content.
“If you look at my digital content it’s all two to three minutes, so it sort of just fell into the same format that I create content across multiple platforms.
“I wanted to make it really easy to consume, really fun, really quick, and something that people would actually read.”
While Am I Doing This Right? doesn’t shy away from more difficult topics (B is for Body, N is for Normal) but Hennessy says she was hyperaware of giving her audience too much of herself for the sake of content.
“I went too far, particularly in radio, I think radio has been the form that I’ve given the most on and been the most vulnerable on. I’m my most authentic self on radio over any other platform.
“I did it a lot in Canberra, I just stood over the line so many times. Now, I’ve really learned what I can and can’t give.
The stint in Canberra proved to be one of the hardest times for Hennessy as she took over Hit104.7 Breakfast from Nige and Kate.
The change didn’t go over well with their audience, Hennessy and her co-host Ryan Jon were bullied mercilessly. Despite this, she found it pertinent that she share her story for R U OK? day this year.
“I really wanted to use my voice on radio to say, ‘you will get over this’. You can and you will be okay,” Hennessy says.
“It’s okay to have a fucking shitty time sometimes, ’cause we’ve all been there. I think it’s so frigging’ important to do it, and I sometimes feel like maybe this is the meaning of life. Maybe this is what I’m meant to do.”
Despite her humble attitude and fondness for self-deprecating humour, Hennessy has slowly but surely been amassing a loyal following online (over 1 million Facebook followers and hundreds of thousands of YouTube subscribers) and a nationally syndicated Weekend Breakfast slot on Hit.
Harnessed with a workload that would make others tremble, Hennessy thrives on her chaotic schedule.
“I’m enjoying doing a bit of TV, a bit of writing, a bit of radio, a bit of this, a bit of that,” Hennessy says.
“I’m really lucky that I’m affording a flexibility like I am and to be able to connect with audiences and I feel really frigging happy that I’ve had such a great career so far.”
While she may have fingers in many pies, Hennessy maintains radio will always be her main squeeze.
“No one really knows how obsessed I am with radio,” Hennessy says.
“Even though I only do two days a week, I still wake up and look at the news and go, ‘what would my angle be?’
“Or I’m having a conversation with someone, I’m like, ‘oh my god, that’s great’. Or I hear something on the news and go, ‘oh, that’s really interesting’. I could think of an angle on that. I can’t stop thinking with a radio filter.”
So it’s pretty safe to say, no matter how many followers she gets or books she publishes, Hennessy’s signature wit will be on the air for years to come.