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Future Generation: Tanya Hennessy

Emma Macdonald

There is a little bit of all of us in Tanya Hennessy.

Except few of us could aspire to her level of rolling-around-on-the-floor not-fit-for-work humour.

A radio announcer by day – she presents breakfast for Hit 104.7 in Canberra during the week and 2DayFM in Sydney on a Saturday – Tanya grew up in Newcastle and pursued a life on the stage before landing on our airwaves. She’s always been drawn to comedy which she spikes with self-deprecation, deeply personal admissions and a conscious rejection of airbrushed and manipulated social media perfection.


The last year has seen Tanya’s local, national and international profile skyrocket through her series of videos tackling “what people say” to professionals such as hairdressers, nurses and personal trainers. She has one of the most engaged pages on Facebook with 680,000 followers, and her videos have amassed 130 million views. And until you have seen her present a makeup tutorial – along with the other 70 million of us – well, you haven’t really laughed.

There is a serious side to her too. Tanya is a columnist for news.com.au and is an ambassador for RUOK Day and Special K Strong Feeds Strong program alongside Turia Pitt. But mainly she revels in exposing the inherent humour within her own messy life. And that just makes us love her even more.

Who and what makes you laugh?

Ricky Gervais, Chris Lilley and my really close friends.

What are the advantages of working in radio?

You don’t have to do your hair or makeup.

Do people stop you in the street when they recognise you from a video and what do they say?

Happens every day. It’s super cool and bizarre. Generally – if I’m in a shop – it will be the retail video, in a cosmetic shop- it will be the makeup video etc. Sometimes, people just say “I like you!” and run away!


What’s the trick to getting millions of views on youtube?

Be real, be yourself, be consistent, be passionate and back yourself!


Tanya has been nominated for Cosmopolitan Woman of the Year 2017 in the Performer of the Year category. You can read more about the other nominees and vote for Tanya here!

Voting closes on 3 October. 

Read the entire Future Generation series here

Photography by Martin Ollman

This article originally appeared as part of our Future Generation editorial in Magazine: Future for Winter 2017, available for free while stocks last. Find out more about Magazine here



Emma Macdonald

Emma Macdonald has been writing about Canberra and its people for more than 20 years, winning numerous awards for her journalism - including a Walkley or two - along the way. Canberra born and bred, she’s fiercely loyal to the city, tribally inner-north, and relieved the rest of the country is finally recognising Canberra’s cool and creative credentials. More about the Author