Lets be honest, even our most successful reality TV stars have a tendency to drop off the face of the earth. Some win, a couple make headlines, others grace the pages of our weekly glossy magazines, most become yesterday’s news all too quickly.
However, a handful forge a media career long past 15 minutes. Tim Dormer is one of the lucky ones – although there’s an old saying ‘if you want more luck take more chances’. Tim took a chance joining the Big Brother House, 101 days later he would walk out $250,000 richer, but that wasn’t the end for him. Regular appearances on The Today Show, a YouTube channel with over 15,000 followers, documentaries such as The Graceland Happiness Project (airs on ABC, Oct 8th during Mental Health Week) and he stars as a member of this season’s cast of Celebrity Apprentice, on telly tonight! Lunch with Liz caught up with Tim ahead of a very special trip to Botswana, just over the border at a restaurant we’re claiming as our own, Three Blue Ducks, The Farm, Byron Bay.
WHERE WE WENT: Three Blue Ducks, The Farm, Byron Bay.
WHAT WE ATE: Oysters with ginger and finger lime dressing $4 each, Beef short rib cooked in amber ale with potato, pickled beetroot and fermented cucumber $32, Crispy fish wings with nahm jim, grapefruit, red cabbage, roasted peanuts, mint and shallots $25.
WHAT WE SIPPED: Beach Comber Drive $16, Hale Mary – Bloody Mary with Kombucha $14
WHAT TIM WORE: Arvust shirt, Ksubi jeans, Brixton hat, Havaianas thongs.
WHAT LIZ WORE: Portmans Dress, Ksubi leather jacket. Pacific Fair.
Tell me about your collaboration with Hero, what do you hope to achieve?
“I was in a shopping center one day looking at a box of condoms and they were packaged in recycled paper which caught my eye and then I read on the packaging that for every condom brought they would donate one to Africa to try and reduce the spread of HIV and AIDS. I love hearing about brands that are socially conscious and then I met the owners at an event and we connected and they’ve invited me on this trip as an intern I guess! I love the idea that in an act of sex, yes I do have it, which is really indulgent, you’re also doing something for someone else!”
Is this your first trip to Africa? Do you have any expectations?
“I’ve never been to Africa before and to see some of their iconic animals, I’m beyond excited. I think it’s also going to be a very eye opening trip, a long way from the beaches of Bondi”.
Flashback to Big Brother – what was going through your mind ahead of joining the house?
“I remember one of the last nights before I went into lockdown, I walked through a shopping center and was looking at people and thinking this is going to be strange on the other side, people will remember me either positively or negatively, the next few months could impact my entire life! I already wanted to work in media, I’d been doing little bits and pieces on radio, I know it can be a bit of a dirty tag to have – being a Big Brother House Mate, but and that’s the risk of reality TV and handing your life over to producers!
How much thought was given to joining a reality TV show both the first time for Big Brother and now with Celebrity Apprentice?
“I am really proud of how I played Big Brother, who I was on the show was me, I was brave enough to show all of me. So I was a little wary to do it again because I thought what if I stuff this up and everyone hates me! But the idea that I could raise money for a charity I love, Wildlife Warriors, while having fun, was the deal for me and throughout the game when it got really tough I would actually remind myself this time I’m not here for me, this time I’m here to win money for my charity, it was a very different game.”
You’ve been described as larger than life and potentially the happiest person on earth, is that a lot to live up to?
“A lot of people do think that I command attention but to me i’m just living life to its fullest. I’m happy because I’m not living in fear, or living my life how others think I should be. I don’t compare myself to other people, I’m doing my thing, come with me, be happy with me!”
How much personal change did you experience after winning Big Brother and $250,000?
“I deal with the haters, the same way I deal with the lovers, it’s just feedback from people who don’t really know me. My identity is based around my friends and family that make sure I understand that the hype is just as unrealistic as the haters. It’s a strange world when you walk down the street and you’re recognised. I see it as a blessing. 250,000 has changed my life in that I don’t have to get a job I don’t want to pay my bills. I can pay my rent while chasing my dreams, use my time for free, go on unpaid trips to Africa to help others – that’s been the most amazing thing, the gift of the affordability of choice.”
What has been your biggest pinch-me moment post Big Brother?
“Definitely meeting the Irwins. I was such a big fan of Steve Irwin. I mentioned it on the show and they invited me to the Zoo when it finished and it was the best day of my life. Australia Zoo is built around fruit orchards and there’s these beautiful mango trees and there was an orange sunset and Bindi and me were walking a tiger through this mango plantation and she turned and said to me “what do you want to do with your life Tim? You’ve got a lot of opportunity, you’ve got to make the right choices now”, I was like oh my god you’re 16. Just meeting your idols and them turning out to be such positive people was the best feeling ever. Then Terri invited me to be an official ambassador and I’ve worked with them ever since. It’s a dream being apart of their ground-breaking research, I have a croc named after me and I can log in and see where he is anytime. Childhood dreams come true.
What was your strategy going into Celebrity Apprentice?
“I went in with the same tactics I had for Big Brother… didn’t work. I thought, ‘I know reality TV I’m strong, I’m confident, nothing they can say about me on the show will intimidate me’. Oh my gosh, I was so wrong. Mr Borris put me in my place. I’ve never had a corporate job, so this became a reality check on a reality show! Reality TV is great for personal growth and learning so much about yourself in ways you would never be tested in real life.”
Did you experience any clashes of personality on Celebrity Apprentice?
“Oh my gosh YES YES YES, so big, so huge, you are going to see screaming… someone at me! I just don’t get on with fake people with egos who manifest their problems on to you and demand the limelight. I mean I’m a show off, but there’s always room for more on my stage, we can all be there together. People mistake my confidence for arrogance sometimes but I just like to have fun and I’m confortable with myself. I know who I am and my real intentions and I’m not fake. Some on the show are.”
What do you think your fashion choices say about you?
“I love leather jackets, chains and boots because I think in a past life I must have been an 80s rocker with this hair! But then my casual clothes are a bit more earthy and I like to make a lot of my own accessories. I’ve started wearing crystals, which my family gives me a hard time about. My clothes definitely do represent me, earthy rock’n’rolly.”
Kara’s question…. Have you ever curled your hair? “There’s so many funny stories I could tell you about this! My mum used to get stopped in the street when I was little and people would say “what a beautiful little girl you’ve got”, I’d be like “I’m a boy!”. I’ve never curled it, but yes I have straightened it – I tried to do something different for the Logies last year, I went Jarred Letto at the Emmy awards, but it didn’t look like Jared Letto, I couldn’t pull it off”.