Alex Casey sits down with Anika Moa ahead of her return to television in All Talk With Anika Moa season two. Warning: contains burps, swear words and tangents about flaps.
Interviewing Anika Moa is a little bit like attending a celebrity roast, except she’s the celebrity and you are the one getting mercilessly roasted. She’ll demand that you babysit her kids for “four bucks an hour, probably more than you make at The Spinoff”, she’ll tell you that you need a makeover “like Anne Hathaway in the Princess Diaries” and she’ll gleefully post terrible photos of you on Instagram for her 10K strong following to see. But, thanks to her magnetic personality, a deluge of giggles and the cheekiest dimples this side of Harry Styles, you simply can’t get mad at Anika.
I have started an odd tradition of interviewing Anika once a year, mostly because it’s the most fun you can legally have during work hours. This year we met at a Ponsonby cafe to talk about the second season of All Talk With Anika Moa, her riotous late night talk show on Māori TV. “I already had a coffee today, that’s why I’m psycho” she chirped, whilst taking the first sips of her hot chocolate. I would later watch Anika burp into that same mug, sealing it up with her hands like The BFG trapping children’s dreams.
Before we got into what would prove to be an incredibly loose interview, Anika showed me whose Instagram stories she was watching. There was Art and Matilda (“They had such a beautiful holiday, I was so happy for them”), Shaun Johnson (“Look at what he’s eating”) and NASA (“I always skip it”). Once she was done blasting an exceptionally loud video that JLo had posted – while announcing “THIS IS MY HERALD” to our fellow cafe patrons – we got stuck into some serious, hard-hitting questions.
When was the last time I saw you… six months ago? Has heaps changed for you since then?
Not really. I’ve grown my hair a little bit.
Well, you got married. Congratulations.
Thank you. I did get married.
I really enjoyed the incredibly stunning, incredibly blurry photos of your wedding in The Herald.
We saw those photos a couple of days after we got married, because we were in the wops with no reception. My wife, who I love, is very sensitive about it, but I don’t care as much. It’s an invasion of privacy but it’s their problem not mine. It’s just so boring!
You didn’t have any idea you were being papped from afar?
It’s funny because the photographer – who is a cunt – would have had to climb a mountain, jump over a stream, and climb another mountain to get those pictures. There was no other way. The other funny this is that I walking around wearing my Spanx all morning.
They would have had a clear view right into our cottage – which is gross – and I wasn’t even wearing my wedding dress most of the time. There will be all these photos of me trying to get my tit into my Spanx and fake rooting Natasha and playing my guitar. Someone out there has some real page three shit. Whatever. Dicks.
What else has been going on – you did a weird kids theatre thing?
It was part of the kids festival in Wellington, and I played to 1000 kids every day. I didn’t swear, I was real good. Apart from after my first show, when my manager came up to me and said “Anika, can you not talk about drugs on stage?”
How did you work drugs into a kids show?
All I said was “don’t do drugs kids.” I reckon it was a great message, but I forgot that they were all five. They’ll be going home and saying “Mum, what’s drugs?” Yeah, so I did that for a week in Wellington and that was fun. Have you been to Wellington?
Yes I have.
Isn’t it amazing?
I enjoy it for a few days at a time…
… Because then you get bored, right? You’ve seen Peter Jackson, you’ve seen the Beehive, you’ve seen The Cake Tin – you’re done. I just got pissed the whole time. That’s what you have to do.
Hold on: with all this theatre work, does this mean you are going for your EGOT?
Yeah. Emmys, Grammys, Oscar, Tony. That’s the full house. I wonder if Leonardo DiCaprio would ever… nothing, anyway. I’ve got a real Leonardo DiCaprio thing at the moment. Mmmm Leo.
Have you seen his documentary about how the world is ending?
No, I don’t care about that. I just want his body on me. Don’t care about that other shit. Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, now I’m back here making my dumb TV show.
It’s not dumb though is it.
Nah, it’s not. I always get really low on confidence before I start a new thing and I start hating myself and the job that I’m doing. But my team is so good. Paul Casserly is a genius and I hate him because he’s too brainy. This is his thing: he loves clever smut, but if I walk up to him and do a fart he’ll ignore it. He won’t look at me, he’ll just keep on writing his smut. Making a living on smut.
Sounds like smut appropriation to me.
He’s just a grumpy old man is what he is. A grumpy old smut man. This season is pretty much already booked out for guests. Natasha [Utting-Moa, producer] went through and booked everyone we had ever had a dream about.
So you’ve got the same studio setup and everything?
Yep. The difference is I’m going out to do a lot more field interviews this time around. Last season we had other people out doing them, this year I want it all to be about me. I don’t want anyone else to get famous from my show apart from me. I love doing field stuff, I love travelling and hanging out and talking to people.
The last time I talked to you, you were quite nervous about interviewing people.
I was shit scared. I’ve learned that you need to ask a question and then let people talk, instead of asking them a question and answering it for them.
That’s a pretty key part of it, yeah. So wait, you were just asking a question then replying immediately like weird Sméagol?!
Pretty much, I was the Sméagol of New Zealand television. Also, everyone gave me shit about not being able to read off the autocue and I was real sensitive about it. I got Ali Mau to give me lessons. I went hard out, paid her heaps, and I still can’t do it. If you watch the show, you’ll see how frustrated I am in my head trying to read the fucking autocue. I’m such a loser.
Is autocue the only option?
Yes. I can’t remember anything. It’s hard because I like freestyling and improvising shit, but when you’re in a studio and you have to pay people, you have to actually deliver. So this time around we are only doing nine episodes, and recording two a week. It’s real quick, bom, bom BOM.
When’s it on the telly?
Don’t know, don’t care.
Good. I saw you were with Angella Dravid the other day, isn’t she a star?
Angella is the funniest woman I have ever met. We shot something with all the comedians who are nominated for the Billy T this year. She was the only woman in the line-up of guys and they were all funny, but she had me crying with laughter. I couldn’t interview her. It’s as simple as her answering just “no” with her big eyes and I just lost it. I got my rocks off with her, she’s fucking cool.
Have you got other interesting guests in the pipeline?
I interviewed Robyn Malcolm, which was like interviewing a goddess. I interviewed Frankie Adams and the first thing I asked her was to teach me how to do sour puss face.
[A man nearby laughs very loudly into his coffee]
There are heaps of people I want to get who are just too famous and busy for me now. Like Taika Waititi. And Lorde. Man, I don’t want Lorde to have a backlash.
Is Lorde having a backlash?
I don’t know, I’m just guessing. I don’t have time to read anything, I’m so boring now. My kids take up 99 percent of my time. Do you think I look older now? I could be, like, 20 right? My vagina’s not 20. It’s 50 with all the use it’s had.
Count the rings, is that what people say?
Count the flaps.
Wait… how many flaps do you have?
Heaps and heaps, it’s a Māori thing. Hey have you been watching The Bachelor NZ?
[redacted defamatory statements about reality TV stars in New Zealand, out of which Anika seamlessly segues into some sponsored mobile phone content]
Alex, you might be up to date with reality TV, but I’m up to date with electronics because of my Huawei P10. Huawei. It’s the way of the future. Can you do a plug for Huawei in the article?
Hashtag spon, hashtag ad.
Hashtag Huawei P10, hashtag New Zealand, hashtag Scar Jo.
I saw on Twitter that someone messaged you to say that you have “mean tits”?
He did. But he hasn’t seen them without the bra on. It’s all smoke and mirrors. What other feedback have I had? Someone told me I was wearing too much makeup on screen and needed to take it off, and then another Aunty told me that I didn’t look made up enough on screen. You can’t win. Do I have boogers up my nose?
No, you don’t. Well, in terms of the backlash that women get from being on TV, that doesn’t sound too bad.
I also get quite a few people coming up to me going “you’re not as fat as you are on TV.” I’m like, “kia ora, kia ora.” It’s not that bad but, if I was a man, nobody would say anything like that at all. They would all just be like “wow, those were really clever questions. Amazing work, man.” For me it’s constantly about what I’m wearing, what I look like, how heavy I am, and nothing to do about my work. You and I both know that my questions are great.
They are. Who do you consider to be your television rivals?
I don’t know. Jono and Ben? Duncan Garner? Hilary Barry [Anika is in hysterics at this point]. Imagine me and Hilary together on Breakfast, that would be amazing. I just want my show to get really big. I want it to be like Chelsea Handler. It’s too small at the moment, but I want it to be bigger. I want people all around the world to watch it.
Ah well, good things take time right?
Totally. When I first moved from Christchurch to Auckland to do music, it took me a good three years to find my feet and figure out how to talk to people. This is exactly the same, with TV I’ve started at the bottom. There’s nothing that scandalous about my show, it’s just humour and me connecting with people who I think are talented, interesting and amazing. People who are just like me.
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Last time we talked you made up your catchphrase “don’t expect greatness but expect it to be great.” Have you got a new one?
Please like my show, but if you don’t I don’t give a fuck.
All Talk With Anika Moa returns to Māori TV on Wednesday at 9.30pm
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