Gorgi Coghlan’s road to television was hardly conventional, with the country-raised presenter working as a high-school teacher and musical-theatre performer before trying her hand at community television.

“It’s just the way it’s gone, the decisions I have made, the way it has panned out but I feel very fortunate, ” Warrnambool-raised Coghlan said during a chat at Ten’s offices in Melbourne.

Coghlan has been a regular guest host of Ten’s weeknight news panel show The Project for about four years and was thrilled to be asked to fill in every night while Perth-raised Carrie Bickmore is on maternity leave.

After leaving her role as a Year 12 teacher to perform in Queen’s We Will Rock You and Carousel, Coghlan got her start in TV at Melbourne’s Channel 31. “We had to find, pitch, help film and edit the stories and present on-air that night, ” she said. “It was hilarious, you were doing huge hours but it was a great way to be immersed in news and decide, is this something you really want to do or not?”

A stint on Nine’s Today show taught Coghlan about the competitive nature of commercial television and she later became a presenter on Ten’s morning show The Circle, leading to the guest gigs on The Project.

Coghlan had always wanted to work for Roving Enterprises (producers of The Project) and applied to fill in for Bickmore when she left Rove to join The Project in 2009. But she didn’t get the role and Rove ended not long after.

Coghlan admitted the 70-minute commute each way from her home near Ballarat every night could be tiring but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

The decision to take on the role was helped by her husband, Simon, being home full-time between projects with their four-year-old daughter.

“There have been tears, I am not going to lie, ” she said. “I have the most wonderful job in the world — it’s not really, really tedious and underpaid but I still find it difficult to say goodbye to my daughter every day. They just don’t get it at four.

“I think it is really important for young women to watch their mothers maintain their careers.

“For her to see her mother and father play completely different gender roles is wonderful.”

The Project airs weekdays at 6.30pm on Ten.


© The West Australian

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