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Tina Arena talks Mardi Gras in new autobiography

  • Written by  Pez
  • Published in Features

With a résumé spanning child stardom, pop success, multiple West End roles, and a French Knighthood, Tina Arena has weathered a four decade-long career of triumphs and heartbreaks. She has quite a story to tell, and does so borrowing the name of one of her hits for the title of new autobiography, ‘Now I Can Dance’.


The book is remarkably candid and intimate, like a conversation with your closest girlfriend – who just happens to have sold 8 million albums worldwide.

Tina covers all the expected territory; the challenge of transitioning from 'Young Talent Time' to adult pop star, the messy divorce from her manager / husband, finding love again (with a smoking hot Frenchman - Oui Oui!) and ultimately the joy of motherhood.

However, the book is also filled with unexpected gems - like the time Liza Minnelli gave her a tour of the Halston gowns in her walk-in closet, or dining at Buckingham Palace with Prince Charles and Camilla. Tina tells the tales behind a wild variety of collaborations with the likes of Andrea Bocelli, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tiesto, and the late Donna Summer.


For an artist who performed at the Sydney Olympics and the Tour de France, it’s wonderful to see Tina name Mardi Gras amongst her most unforgettable performances. Back in 1991 (3 years before Kylie made her party debut) Tina performed at Mardi Gras as one of the parties first ever high profile headliners.

“The venue was the Hordern Pavilion in what was then the Sydney Showground. The stage was an elevated ‘boxing ring’ right in the middle of the space. As soon as the crowd heard the first few bars of ‘I Need Your Body’, they cheered and began to dance crazily. I appeared, slowly rising from the stage on a hydraulic lift.”

A far cry from her usual stage outfits, Tina's raunchy costume included a mesh bodysuit, leather corset, fishnets and suspenders, topped off with a leather cap on a black bobbed wig. Oh… and a whip! “It was as close as I’ve ever come to being a dominatrix.”

In those days, party performers were a well-kept secret. “When the audience saw me they went absolutely mad. There was so much love in that room. It felt like they were all saying, “Yeah! She’s finally grown up and isn’t she gorgeous!”

Her dancers that evening included Jason Coleman, Kelley Abbey, and Todd McKenney – who is now judging her as she competes on ‘Dancing With The Stars’.

“In a funny way, that night felt like my coming out. It was another nail in the coffin for Tiny Tina and it felt great. The music was so loud it blew my ears off. It was an awesome night that I’ll never forget. Ever.”

Like Kylie, Tina would perform at the Mardi Gras party on 3 separate occasions. Additionally, Tina performed at Sleaze Ball and headlined the closing party for the Sydney Gay Games.

‘Now I Can Dance’ also features a collection of personal photos - including a fabulous snap with drag luminaries, Mitzi Macintosh, Miss 3D and Portia Turbo from a music video shoot. The release of the autobiography coincides with a return to the airwaves, as Tina unveils her first album of original English material in 12 years, the gorgeous ‘Reset’.

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You can buy this title from BookDepository - globally - with FREE shipping!

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