News anchor turned copywriter: Meet Nat Sia

News anchor turned copywriter: Meet Nat Sia

How many people do you know who start a blog, write two soggy articles and close their computer with a self-satisfied ‘tap’ – never to return to their WordPress again?

Well, Nat Sia is not one of those people.

In fact, Nat is unlike any person I’ve met before. Chiefly because even the most rudimentary snoop around her personal website reveals quite the dazzling past – far beyond her dedicated blogging!

First up, Nat, let’s talk about why I’ve just seen photos of you as a news anchor.

Well, a friend put out a call on Facebook to anyone who might be interested in presenting the news on one of the national stations in Malaysia.

And I thought, ‘Okay!’ – I’d always wanted to get that sort of experience anyway.

I did a lot of video announcements for my church, so I was pretty comfortable in front of the camera. But of course, this was a much bigger operation – with multiple cameras, teleprompters and someone in my earpiece telling me what to do the whole time.

Was there anything unexpected about the job?

It involved some funny bits of DIY, to be honest. I had to record, edit and send my own voice recordings to play over footage during broadcasts.

They also like you to move around between segments – so I’d start the news report sitting behind a desk. Then during the second ad break, I’d have to roll the desk and chair out of the way, so I could be standing for the sports segment.

I also hear you worked in radio…

Yes – I’d been working in radio for about six or seven years by then. In fact, I was still in radio when I started on TV. The funny thing about that is that the two stations were completely ideologically opposed.

I’d spend the day being a watchdog journalist, and at night I’d sing about how great the government was. It was a strange time!

… And you’ve done a number of emcee gigs, too.

That was another thing I never thought I’d do. I always thought I hated public speaking, but when I was 18 the pastor’s wife at my church convinced me to give it a go.

In the end, I quite liked it. So I kept doing it for church then picked up some freelance jobs.

It’s exciting but also scary – thinking on your feet and figuring out what to do when something goes wrong. I think I have a love–hate relationship with the whole thing.

And you couldn’t quite give up the presenter life, could you?

No, not really. I missed producing audio stuff, so I recently decided to create a podcast called Stories of Yore, where I share folk tales and legends from South-East Asia.

I’ve always been into fairy tales and I thought it would be a good excuse to spend more time reading them. It’s also my way of understanding how and why stories work.

Because they’ve been around for so long, I tend to get lost in the different versions that have developed over time. Working out which one to go with can be tricky.

Obviously it’s a lot of work so I don’t get to update it that often. But I love it, because I get to keep doing all the fun stuff I loved about radio, like presenting and editing.

And how do you record it?

Well, it’s not a very sophisticated process! I wait till everyone’s gone to bed at night, and once the house is quiet, I sneak downstairs and record at my desk. The only technical step is turning off the aquarium filter that’s in the room so you can’t hear it in the background.

Pardon the snooping, but you are also adept with a watercolour brush. How did that all start?

I started painting when I moved to Australia – I wasn’t working for the first year I was here and I needed something to keep me creatively engaged. So I watched YouTube tutorials and completed some online courses. Since then, I’ve branched out to other mediums as well.

I’ve got dreams of having my own art studio, but it’s a bit like my podcast studio at the moment — it’s wherever I have the space!

While we’re here blowing people’s minds, let’s talk about your latest hobby.

You’re talking about my ukulele?!

Well, when I was younger my dad didn’t want me to play guitar because it would make my hands rough, so I played the Electone instead (and I LOVED IT).

Now that I’m a grownup I get to do what I want!

Speaking of grownups, you’re also raising two kids! Tell me about them.

Yes! Amy and Alistair. Sometimes I feel a little guilty having so many hobbies as a mum. It’s like, the poor kiddos have to compete with my hobbies for my time, you know?

But it’s really nice to be able to share my interests with them. Sometimes we’ll paint together, and my daughter’s just started getting into books. She writes stories too – she likes to remind me she’s written dozens of books, while I can’t even finish one! (I’ve got a manuscript that will never see the light of day.)

Of course, we do kid stuff together, too. The two of them like to lie down and be ‘eggs’ on the trampoline and make me bounce them. It’s hard work – much more strenuous than watercolours!

Thanks for catching up Nat, we’ll see you on the podcast. Or at the easel. Or on the trampoline.

If you’re curious about RM’s other team members, check out our team page.