Claire Agius Ordway needs no introduction. She has graced our local TV screens for a whopping 18 years (!) and is also known for her comedic appearances together with comedy team ZOO.
Claire is living proof that us mums really can do it all. A mum of three children who will be turning 16, 11 and 9 respectively this summer, she has kept a steady TV career locally for almost two decades which is in itself not an easy feat. She also manages to indulge in her love for sports and running in particular (that explains why she looks so amazing!) and she makes it all look so easy.
What do you love most about the TV industry?
“I think for me the best thing about my career is that I get to work with my friends and also incorporate my genuine passions for sports and parenting in my job. It is an amazing gift and I feel blessed.”
When did you actually start your career on TV?
“Funnily enough my TV career started exactly the same year in which I got married.” Claire has been married to husband Robert for 18 years. “I was offered to join the TV program Il-Hadd it-Tajjeb on Net TV with Hector Bruno, George Micallef and the beautiful model Elka Pace.”
What programs are you currently producing and presenting?
I produce three: My first ‘baby’ is ‘Dak li Jghodd’ A program which has been going on for about 14 years now (originally under a different name). I first launched the program just after I had my first baby.”
Claire tells me how since she became pregnant she started enjoying reading up about parenting and hearing other mums’ experiences which is what spurred her to create this program which has Pregnancy, childbirth and parenting as its main topics. “I wanted to create a platform on TV where mums could witness and learn about the different aspects of parenthood.”
Claire Agius Ordway on set during her program: ‘Dak Li Jghodd’
Ilsien in-Nisa is another TV program which Claire co-presents with her ‘lovely friends’, as she calls them: Clare and Pauline Agius. “It is a discussion programme and although we work really hard to come up with good, solid content, I enjoy every minute. As from next October we will be going into our 6th year.”
‘Lovely Friends’: Claire Agius Ordway with Clare and Pauline Agius on set during her program: ‘Ilsien in-Nisa’
And last but not least: Determinati. “My latest passion!” Claire tells me excitedly. “For the past 12 months I have given a lot of my time and energy to this new project which has at its heart my passion for sports.” The concept of the program is based on ‘a day in the life of’ different sports people. “I love how, by exposing these people’s stories; their commitment and hard work, we could maybe inspire others to take up sports.” The program is scheduled to start airing in October this year on ONE TV.
Claire being helped to the finish line by her ‘two boys’ during the Malta Marathon earlier this year.
Any other projects you are currently working on?
Since I started working on Determinati I have been inspired by some incredible athletes who, like me are passionate about promoting sports. For example there is the new Water-polo academy S7even which will be run by renowned water-polo player Stevie Camilleri which I am very excited to support and help promote. Plus I am also working on some other sport related projects which are in the pipeline”.
What was the biggest surprise about becoming a mother?
Claire smiles “The love. Feeling your heart nearly bursting with love. I physically experienced that feeling, I promise”. She adds, “Also the feeling of pride and the worrying, of course”.
“The actual experience of motherhood has exceeded my expectations. The amazing moments are even more amazing than I could have ever dreamt and the tough moments are definitely more challenging than I expected.”
Claire at the hospital just a few hours after giving birth to her third baby Jack.
What has been the most challenging aspect of motherhood?
“The biggest challenge for me is to control my worries. I consider myself to be a relaxed mum in terms of giving my children their space” she says. Claire continues to tell me how she has now started to experience the new phenomenon of having her eldest going out at night which takes parenting to whole new level. “I can’t say I do not worry but at the end of the day I am raising young people and I know part of it involves letting them go to experience life for themselves.”
“For example I am not the type of mum to obsess and worry too much when they get sick I know it is part of life with kids (as long as it is controllable naturally). I guess, in essence my biggest worry is when other people hurt my children because it is something that I cannot control.”
Claire continues to tell me how she tries to let them deal with things themselves as much as she could and she would not interfere unless it is critically necessary. “But I do worry a lot until my heart aches, if I think someone is being mean to them”
“At the end of the day even though sports and academics are important, they are not the most important. To me their happiness and them being good human beings is what I value most. I am working hard on controlling my level of worry and hope I will manage to control it. “ she smiles.
What has been the best moment for you as a mother?
“I really cannot recall one instant because thankfully there are so many amazing moments with my children. They make me happy with the simple things they say and do and even though I keep my feet on the ground and know they are still growing, sometimes they do or say something that proves they do in fact absorb some of the values I teach them.
One moment that comes to my mind is when recently my youngest kept repeating “Ma you fix everything” and at first I was really happy as this meant he feels secure with me. However I was then discussing this with a friend who is a counsellor and she said to be careful and that I need to make it clear to him that I cannot fix absolutely everything so now I am having an open discussion about this with my son.”
Do you think becoming a parent affects relationships with others? how?.
She smiles “Good one. I guess not effect per se, but obviously your time gets split. Since I had my children I enjoy being with them so I would often choose to be with them rather than go out, so my social life did get affected I guess. Having some ‘couple time’ with my husband also became more challenging, but we are managing to get some more quality time in now, especially since they are growing.”
Claire with her daughter Lyla.
What is the best thing you every bought as a mother?
“Board games I think, they give us some quality time during which we have each other’s full attention, even though I must say we do have some light squabbles because we are very bad losers – all of us!” she laughs.
One piece of advice for any new mum?
“No one more than you can know what is good for your child. When in doubt, stop and think and you will find the answer.”
How do you feel about the phrase “work-life balance”? What do you think can be done to improve situation for working mums in Malta?
“If in a relationship – splitting housework and career time evenly definitely helps. The mentality till now is that if kids are sick, most mummies have to make arrangements and not go to work which creates a lot of stress. If responsibilities were split more equally, life would be better for both parents.”
What are your plans for this coming year?
“Continue working on my three programmes – to come up with new ideas and keep programmes interesting for viewers.”
What makes you happy?
“A lot of things make me happy, even simple mundane things. Nice weather, a chat with a good friend, my work, the sea, sun, listening to music, solving a problem and obviously above all being with my kids.”
“Any good recipe but I do love a sweet taste in food. Salads with pumpkin, honey and also dried fruit and nuts are my favourite.”
Drink of choice
“Wine in good company 🙂 but on a daily basis, I try to indulge in water with lemon”
“The life of David Gale”
Favorite TV series?
“Call the midwife, I love the birth stories, the perfect English, and their accent.”
Best place you travelled to?
“Tuscany tends to be my favourite.”
What do you admire most in people?
“I admire people who are happy and emit positivity. People who turn around any bad situation into a better one and who act and try to cope with it as best they can.”
What do you despise most in people?
“Jealousy and not being happy for other’s achievements. And I do tend to stay away from people who are negative and constantly grumbling about anything.”
Any hidden talent?
“Maybe 🙂 I can and enjoy applying make-up and hairstyles on my friends. It comes quite naturally since I was young but I always kept it as a hobby”