This internet browser is outdated and does not support all features of this site. Please switch or upgrade to a different browser to display this site properly.

Thick skin and resilience key to illustrious media career

13/05/2022. By Carmelle Wilkinson. 10 min read.

Nine News presenter Tracy Vo at home in Perth.

Boarding a flight to Johannesburg in the middle of the night, to report on the passing of former South African president Nelson Mandela, is one of those career moments Nine News presenter Tracy Vo (BA, Journalism 2004) will never forget.

A symbol of strength and freedom, the 95-year old’s death made headlines around the world.

“Within hours of hearing the news I was on a flight to South Africa and upon touch down it was pretty much live coverage straight away,’’ she said.

“It was such an incredible experience, you really felt like you were part of history.

“That’s one of the things I love about this job. Reporting live is so much fun, and it brings such a rush of adrenalin, I never get tired of it. If I did, then I’d have to start looking for a new career.”

Gracing our TV screens at 6pm on weekends, Tracy bring us the latest headlines from the Nine News desk.

But beyond the glamourous hair and make-up and stylish wardrobe attire, is someone with a fascinating background, the brightest of smiles and an even bigger heart.

Reading the latest headlines from the Nine News desk.

Reflecting on her illustrious media career which began in 2004, the 38-year-old is the first to admit some days were harder than others.

“Stories that cover young families battling an illness or tragic accidents aren’t easy. I can get quite emotional,’’ she said.

Thankfully, in between those heartbreaking stories, Tracy said there were stories that lifted the human spirit and gave hope.

Such was the amazing rescue of four-year-old Cleo Smith.

Snatched from her family’s shared tent while camping at the Quobba Blowholes in WA’s north, the little girl was missing for 18 days before she was found alive and well by WA Police.

“I received a call from our news director at about 4.30am that morning who told me the good news, that Cleo had been found,’’ Tracy said.

“Shortly after that call we began the morning coverage and live crosses. That’s the sort of off the cuff reporting that I just love.”

Tracy and brother Trevor with their parents Lien and Tai.

Growing up in Perth’s northern suburbs, Tracy admits it was never a childhood dream of hers to be a journalist.

“Truth be told I wasn’t great at Maths or Science, but I was good at English, so I guess I followed my strengths,’’ she joked.

“My brain is wired to be intrigued and I ask a lot of questions, so journalism was the perfect fit.

“I also enjoyed watching the news and current affair shows with my parents.

“I grew up with 60 Minutes, the Sunday program and most nights, we’d watch National Nine News which is of course Nine News these days.”

Tracy was inspired to pursue a career in broadcast by her Curtin lecturer Les Walsh.

Tracy said she initially had her eyes set on a career in print journalism, but that soon changed after her potential for broadcast news was discovered by her Curtin lecturer and radio great Les Welsh.

“Les was amazing. He always pushed me further and it was because of him that I gave radio a go. He told me I had a great voice, and I started reading some radio bulletins on Curtin FM, and it kind of kicked off from there,’’ she said.

Following graduation, Tracy moved to Sydney to work at radio station 2SM.

She then moved into television taking on a variety of roles at Sky News Australia, before becoming a Nine News reporter in 2007 where she also spent a period of time in Canberra’s press gallery as Nine’s political reporter.

After 10 years in Sydney, it was time to head home to Perth where she continued to cover breaking news stories, including Schappelle Corby’s release and the mystery of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

A stint on the Today Show in Sydney at the start of 2020 was cut short by the pandemic, and Tracy returned to Perth to be closer to her parents.

Tracy with the Today team, before the pandemic hit.

“I got back just before the borders closed,’’ she said.

“I’m very close to my family. I speak to Mum and Dad almost every day. With Dad falling into the vulnerable group, I just wanted to be closer in case they needed me.”

Tracy said it was her parent’s courage and resilience as refugees which paved the way for her bright and promising future.

Tracy has strong family values and has embraced her Vietnamese heritage.

“My parents sacrificed a lot so my brother and I could have the best possible life,’’ she said.

“My parents taught me resilience, respect, humility, compassion and gratefulness. Qualities which I’ve valued and carried throughout my personal life and career.”

Fleeing Vietnam in their 20s, just after the Vietnam War in 1978, they boarded a leaky boat with 16 relatives and 121 strangers in the dead of night bound for Australia.

Not knowing what the future would hold, their extraordinary act of bravery is detailed in Tracy’s memoir Small Bamboo.

Now, almost 40 years later, their decision to escape Vietnam has been rewarded by a happy and successful life for their family in Australia, the country they are now proud to call home.

Taking a moment from presenting to enjoy a cuppa. 

Born and bred in Perth, Tracy said she’s a proud Australian and an even prouder West Australian.

“Throughout my career, I have embraced who I am and my heritage. I have never felt out of place. However, this wasn’t always the case,’’ she said.

“I remember one day in primary school, one of the girls started talking about everyone’s skin colour in the playground and she pointed to me and said Tracy has ugly skin and everyone laughed. I was crushed.

“Up until that point, it hadn’t occurred to me that I was any different.

Tracy said looking back now, those early childhood bullies may have actually prepared her for life on the road as a hard news journalist.

“You need to have thick skin in this job, or you won’t survive,’’ she laughed.

Nowadays, the confident news presenter says hurtful comments don’t hold the same weight as they once did.

Tracy says childhood bullies gave her a thick skin and prepared her for life as a hard news journalist.

“When I first started reading the news, I was getting rather brutal and racist tweets, but I’ve since learned to just brushed it off,’’ she said.

Forging a successful career as one of the only Vietnamese faces on Australian television, Tracy is breaking the mould and celebrating diversity.

“I’m really flattered when people are inspired by what I do. Particularly kids, who come up and tell me they want to be a journalist, I think that’s just wonderful,’’ she said.

Going on 15 years at the Nine Network, Tracy said she still experienced jitters before going on air.

“That rush is still there. When the lights come on and we hit the one-minute mark, I still feel the nerves. But it’s good nerves. I feel so grateful to be able to do this,’’ she said.

“I’m getting a bit older now though, so not sure if I still enjoy the chase as much, I may have to leave that for the younger ones haha.”

Waiting at Perth airport lounge to board a flight.

And her advice for any inspiring future journalists?

“If there’s one thing about this industry that I’ve learned, is that it’s a marathon not a sprint. It’s a lot of hard work, graveyard shifts, and early morning starts. But it’s all worth it,’’ she said.

“The industry has also changed quite a lot since I started my career in 2004. Back then it was quite tough and very male dominated, whereas now we are seeing more female in executive roles such as news directors and producers, which is amazing.”

When Tracy isn’t sharing the latest news with West Aussies, she’s whipping up delicious home cooked meals for her loved ones.

“Any chance I get I love to cook,’’ she said.

“I can make a mean laksa. My Mum and Dad are both amazing cooks so naturally it’s rubbed off on me.

“I’m known in the newsroom as the feeder. I’m always bringing in food for everyone. The last thing I brought in were home baked Anzac biscuits for Anzac Day.”

Tracy Vo has a positive outlook on life and hopes to stay in the media game for a while longer.

And what does the future hold for TVo? (as her friends call her)

“I’d like to mix it up. Just recently I did some shooting for a location production related to food and that was lots of fun. But I’d definitely love to stay in the game for a while longer,” she said.

___

Share this article:

Read more stories like this one

Curtin graduate Erin Coates’ (BA Arts Hons, 2002) stunning ceiling-to-floor waterfall installation, ‘Never The Same River Twice’ is captivating audiences at the 23rd Biennale of Sydney.
 
The waterfall installation of oyster shells was inspired by her childhood in Albany, free-diving expeditions in the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River) and the impact of colonisation on the river.
 
“This work is quite personal to me. It’s about the interconnection of environmental and human health, and the many small acts of healing that I engaged in while creating this work,” Erin said.
 
In her tiny studio Erin boiled and scrubbed over 10,000 oyster shells discarded by local restaurants before intricately drilling and stitching each onto an eight-metre-long mesh backing.
 
Her advice for any graduates wanting to become full-time professional artists is to find your people and make stuff happen.
 
“Build a community around you by being generous, supportive and engaged in what other artists are doing.”
 
For more pics of Erin’s incredible sculptural work check out #CurtinCommons via link in bio. 👆
 
📸: @joshuamorrisphotography 
 
#CurtinGrad #CurtinCommunity #Sydney #Bienniale #artist #artwork #perthart #perthcreatives #artwork #artanddesign #perthisok #perthtodo

Curtin graduate Erin Coates’ (BA Arts Hons, 2002) stunning ceiling-to-floor waterfall installation, ‘Never The Same River Twice’ is captivating audiences at the 23rd Biennale of Sydney.

The waterfall installation of oyster shells was inspired by her childhood in Albany, free-diving expeditions in the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River) and the impact of colonisation on the river.

“This work is quite personal to me. It’s about the interconnection of environmental and human health, and the many small acts of healing that I engaged in while creating this work,” Erin said.

In her tiny studio Erin boiled and scrubbed over 10,000 oyster shells discarded by local restaurants before intricately drilling and stitching each onto an eight-metre-long mesh backing.

Her advice for any graduates wanting to become full-time professional artists is to find your people and make stuff happen.

“Build a community around you by being generous, supportive and engaged in what other artists are doing.”

For more pics of Erin’s incredible sculptural work check out #CurtinCommons via link in bio. 👆

📸: @joshuamorrisphotography

#CurtinGrad #CurtinCommunity #Sydney #Bienniale #artist #artwork #perthart #perthcreatives #artwork #artanddesign #perthisok #perthtodo
...

Today we acknowledge the strength and resilience of the Stolen Generations and the ongoing grief and loss experienced by many individuals and families.
 
Today more than ever we reflect on how we can all play a part in the healing process for our people and nation.
 
❤️ 💛 🖤
 
#NationalSorryDay #CurtinLife #AlwaysWasAlwaysWillBe #BeBraveMakeChange #StolenGeneration #CurtinUniversity

Today we acknowledge the strength and resilience of the Stolen Generations and the ongoing grief and loss experienced by many individuals and families.

Today more than ever we reflect on how we can all play a part in the healing process for our people and nation.

❤️ 💛 🖤

#NationalSorryDay #CurtinLife #AlwaysWasAlwaysWillBe #BeBraveMakeChange #StolenGeneration #CurtinUniversity
...

The 2022 Curtin Alumni Awards are officially open! 🤩 🥳
 
This is a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate your fellow Curtin graduates who are making big changes in our community.
 
Find out more about the Awards by clicking the link in bio. 👆

Nominations close on Friday 24 June 2022 at 5pm AWST.
 
#CurtinGrad #AlumniAwards #leadership #awards #leaders #innovation #globalimpact #youngalumni #communityservice

The 2022 Curtin Alumni Awards are officially open! 🤩 🥳

This is a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate your fellow Curtin graduates who are making big changes in our community.

Find out more about the Awards by clicking the link in bio. 👆

Nominations close on Friday 24 June 2022 at 5pm AWST.

#CurtinGrad #AlumniAwards #leadership #awards #leaders #innovation #globalimpact #youngalumni #communityservice
...

For Curtin nursing graduate Giselle Howard, working on WA’s frontline has yielded a wealth of emotions and experiences. 👩🏽‍⚕️🦠
 
As our healthcare systems become more challenging, particularly with #COVID19 pressures, Giselle is mentoring final year nursing students to ensure a smooth transition from the classroom to workplace.
 
The Curtin Nursing and Midwifery Mentoring Program uses online app @mentorloop to help connect practicing graduates and final year students through a series of meetings, online interactions and resources.
 
“An initiative like Mentorloop is so important, we need to look after the next generation and prevent burn out in the workplace. Hopefully it will bring benefits such as increased resilience, coping strategies and a safer workplace psychologically and professionally,’’ Giselle said.
 
Want to become a mentor? Learn more in our latest #CurtinCommons article via link in bio. 👆
 
#CurtinCares #CurtinGrad #Mentorloop #nursing #midwiferycare #perthhealth #workexperience #nursinglife #nursinggrad #nursingstudents

For Curtin nursing graduate Giselle Howard, working on WA’s frontline has yielded a wealth of emotions and experiences. 👩🏽‍⚕️🦠

As our healthcare systems become more challenging, particularly with #COVID19 pressures, Giselle is mentoring final year nursing students to ensure a smooth transition from the classroom to workplace.

The Curtin Nursing and Midwifery Mentoring Program uses online app @mentorloop to help connect practicing graduates and final year students through a series of meetings, online interactions and resources.

“An initiative like Mentorloop is so important, we need to look after the next generation and prevent burn out in the workplace. Hopefully it will bring benefits such as increased resilience, coping strategies and a safer workplace psychologically and professionally,’’ Giselle said.

Want to become a mentor? Learn more in our latest #CurtinCommons article via link in bio. 👆

#CurtinCares #CurtinGrad #Mentorloop #nursing #midwiferycare #perthhealth #workexperience #nursinglife #nursinggrad #nursingstudents
...

Meet Curtin #CurtinGrad and #SocialEntrepreneur Annika Htun (MBA (Global) 2016) who is on a mission to make difference in emergency health care and education in WA. 🎓💡
 
Born and raised in Myanmar, Annika saw many families struggling to meet the basic needs for survival which ignited her passion to help others through the power of social entrepreneurship and volunteering.
 
In celebration of #NationalVolunteerWeek, we caught up with Annika to talk about how her time as President of Curtin Volunteers! prepared her for a meaningful career in social entrepreneurship. 👇
 
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐦𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐯𝐨𝐥𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐭 𝐂𝐮𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧?
“It would have to be helping to build wheelchairs from recycled materials for underprivileged disabled children at Wheelchairs for Kids as part of the John Curtin Weekend
 
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐡𝐨𝐩𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐬𝐨𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐮𝐫?
“At the moment, I’m working on making emergency health care accessible to everyone and enabling struggling families individuals to create a sustainable source of income.”

𝐖𝐡𝐲 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐯𝐨𝐥𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐞𝐫?
“Your small kind action and a small selfless gift can change someone’s life. What you see as small, may mean the entire world to others.”
 
Are you a #CurtinGrad wanting to give back to our incredible community? Find out how to get involved via the link in bio. 👆
 
#CurtinGrad #VolunteersWeek #WaveForVolunteers #BetterTogether #NVW22 #PerthVolunteers #volunteering

Meet Curtin #CurtinGrad and #SocialEntrepreneur Annika Htun (MBA (Global) 2016) who is on a mission to make difference in emergency health care and education in WA. 🎓💡

Born and raised in Myanmar, Annika saw many families struggling to meet the basic needs for survival which ignited her passion to help others through the power of social entrepreneurship and volunteering.

In celebration of #NationalVolunteerWeek, we caught up with Annika to talk about how her time as President of Curtin Volunteers! prepared her for a meaningful career in social entrepreneurship. 👇

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐦𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐯𝐨𝐥𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐭 𝐂𝐮𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧?
“It would have to be helping to build wheelchairs from recycled materials for underprivileged disabled children at Wheelchairs for Kids as part of the John Curtin Weekend

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐡𝐨𝐩𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐬𝐨𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐮𝐫?
“At the moment, I’m working on making emergency health care accessible to everyone and enabling struggling families individuals to create a sustainable source of income.”

𝐖𝐡𝐲 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐯𝐨𝐥𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐞𝐫?
“Your small kind action and a small selfless gift can change someone’s life. What you see as small, may mean the entire world to others.”

Are you a #CurtinGrad wanting to give back to our incredible community? Find out how to get involved via the link in bio. 👆

#CurtinGrad #VolunteersWeek #WaveForVolunteers #BetterTogether #NVW22 #PerthVolunteers #volunteering
...

We love to see the WA School of Mines Alumni grow each year! 👏🎓
 
Last week we recently welcomed an exceptional batch of young graduates at its annual Kalgoorlie Graduates Dinner.
 
The new graduates shared this milestone with six 50-year graduates who celebrated their anniversary and shared their words of invaluable wisdom.
 
The biggest takeaway from the night was Blackstone Minerals Limited MD Scott Williamson keynote speech that encouraged the graduates to be excited about their futures but ready to meet the challenges of the ever-evolving industry.
 
We can’t wait to see what these talented bunch of graduates do next! 💫
 
📸: Remote Digital Imagery
 
#CurtinGrad #WASM #wasmmece #waschoolofmines #scienceandengineering #STEM #STEMgraduates

We love to see the WA School of Mines Alumni grow each year! 👏🎓

Last week we recently welcomed an exceptional batch of young graduates at its annual Kalgoorlie Graduates Dinner.

The new graduates shared this milestone with six 50-year graduates who celebrated their anniversary and shared their words of invaluable wisdom.

The biggest takeaway from the night was Blackstone Minerals Limited MD Scott Williamson keynote speech that encouraged the graduates to be excited about their futures but ready to meet the challenges of the ever-evolving industry.

We can’t wait to see what these talented bunch of graduates do next! 💫

📸: Remote Digital Imagery

#CurtinGrad #WASM #wasmmece #waschoolofmines #scienceandengineering #STEM #STEMgraduates
...

Meet Curtin graduate @tarajeisman (BA Psychology (Hons) 2022) Founder of the latest body positive movement sweeping the nation, Sea Gals. 🌊
 
Earlier this year, the 23-year-old shared a video of herself on @tiktok enjoying a sunrise swim at Mullaloo Beach, that went viral, with thousands of like-minded girls expressing their interest.
 
Now more than 125 girls, from early teens to grandmothers, are joining her for weekly morning swims, where girls are encouraged to connect with their surrounds and focus on the sounds and smells of the sea.
 
“I have women from all walks of life tell me about how Sea Gals gave them motivation, following a low point in their mental wellbeing.
 
“And to be honest Sea Gals was the turning point I needed to accept my body,” Tara said.
 
Read our full interview with Tara and find out how to get involved in #CurtinCommons via link in bio. 👆
 
🎥: @_seagals_
 
#CurtinGrad #seagalsperth #bodypositivity #ocean #perthcommunity #perthwomen

Meet Curtin graduate @tarajeisman (BA Psychology (Hons) 2022) Founder of the latest body positive movement sweeping the nation, Sea Gals. 🌊

Earlier this year, the 23-year-old shared a video of herself on @tiktok enjoying a sunrise swim at Mullaloo Beach, that went viral, with thousands of like-minded girls expressing their interest.

Now more than 125 girls, from early teens to grandmothers, are joining her for weekly morning swims, where girls are encouraged to connect with their surrounds and focus on the sounds and smells of the sea.

“I have women from all walks of life tell me about how Sea Gals gave them motivation, following a low point in their mental wellbeing.

“And to be honest Sea Gals was the turning point I needed to accept my body,” Tara said.

Read our full interview with Tara and find out how to get involved in #CurtinCommons via link in bio. 👆

🎥: @_seagals_

#CurtinGrad #seagalsperth #bodypositivity #ocean #perthcommunity #perthwomen
...