Shelly Horton on set filming for 9Honey.

Kingaroy girl's rise from the red soil to the red carpet

South Burnett
19th November 2018 1:46 PM
UPDATED 1:50 PM

AUSTRALIAN television presenter Shelly Horton has flown all over the world for her job, interviewed an impressive list of celebrities and attended hundreds of A-list parties.

But for Shelly, it's her red soil upbringing that keeps her so down to earth on the red carpet.

"Growing up in Kingaroy was a pretty idyllic childhood," she said.

"We really did have so much freedom.

"We'd be out playing after school, going to swimming training, playing with our friends in the street."

Shelly's parents, Lindy and Kev, were primary school teachers at Taabinga and Kingaroy state schools.

 

Shelly Horton with parents Lindy and Kev.
Shelly Horton with parents Lindy and Kev. Contributed

"They moved from Brisbane to Kingaroy when I was three, and they taught there for their entire careers," Shelly said.

"The amazing thing about my parents is that they have such strong values and they're very community-minded."

"Because they were teachers in Kingaroy, they saw themselves as important community members. Dad was a member of Lions, Mum was a member of Quota - so they were always doing charity events.

"They were true leaders, and that's something I've certainly taken on board."

Aside from the idyllic childhood she fondly recalls, Shelly does have one regret about Kingaroy.

"After I finished high school I went to UQ and studied journalism.

"I moved to Melbourne and worked for ABC Radio. At that stage I was still a bit up myself and didn't really want to come home to Kingaroy because I was in the big smoke," she joked.

"The Kingaroy show was on and they had the peanut parade. I was invited to come back and be the peanut princess and I said 'no'.

"It is my one regret in life that I didn't get to be the peanut princess.

"I think if I had said yes, that would be on my business card today, 'Shelly Horton, peanut princess'," she joked.

"When I was living there as a teenager, I couldn't wait to get out. Now I look back and think, 'Oh my god, I was such an idiot'.

"It really was a picture book perfect childhood," she said.

 

Shelly Horton did a day's work experience at South Burnett Times before pursuing an international career in journalism.
Shelly Horton did a day's work experience at South Burnett Times before pursuing an international career in journalism. Contributed

"I love Kingaroy people.

"There's a lot of fake people in Sydney and a lot of people who are using you, whereas people from Kingaroy are genuine and kind. They're interested in what you're doing, not interested in how you can help them."

When Shelly was asked to come home to Kingaroy for the inaugural BaconFest this year, she was far more reluctant to say no this time.

"It was only that I'd already been booked to emcee an event in Melbourne that weekend, so I couldn't come back.

"I'll try and come back next year," she said.

"I love peanuts and I love bacon, it's the perfect combo."

 

Shelly Horton emceeing a Business Chicks event in Melbourne in front of 2000 women.
Shelly Horton emceeing a Business Chicks event in Melbourne in front of 2000 women. Contributed

As one of the country's leading media personalities, Shelly's opinion can be heard nationally each week on Today, Today Extra, Weekend Today and Talking Married.

She has her own podcast, Failing Fabulously, where she convinces some of Australia's most high-profile women to share their personal stories of failure and how they bounced back, and three years ago she started her own company, ShellShocked Media, alongside husband Darren Robinson.

 

Shelly Horton filming with husband Darren Robinson in Iceland for ShellShocked Media.
Shelly Horton filming with husband Darren Robinson in Iceland for ShellShocked Media. Contributed

"But my number one dream is to be the host of my own TV show," she said.

"I'm still very proud of what I've done, and I want to keep doing what I'm doing but at a higher level."

And it's through sheer determination she's come this far.

"I haven't had a dad who worked in the media industry to give me a leg up.

"Every single thing I've achieved I've actually done it because I've worked bloody hard and backed myself," she said.

And she has three words of wisdom for anyone thinking about following a similar career path.

"Go for it," she said.

"I think when you have strong family values and beliefs from your home town, they can transfer anywhere.

"I found it really scary moving to Sydney because I didn't know a single other person, but at the same time I had this fire in my belly and I was determined to succeed.

"Kingaroy gave me the roots to grow and fly and head for the stars."

Shelly holds on firmly not just to her Kingaroy roots, but to her Queensland roots as well.

"I love that whenever I go home to Queensland, as soon as I step off the plane there's a big exhale.

"I definitely feel at home."