Jan van de Stool wowed audiences with her first round performance in Australia’s Got Talent. I asked her what that experience was like.
“Oh Allison, well sank you for asking,” replied van de Stool, in her strong Dutch accent. “It was very powerful. It has been a really, really different experience for me, because I’m already very famous you know. That’s not new to me. I’ve been famous right back from the 70’s when I lived in Canberra and sang with my all female group ‘Pandora’s Box’ so I’m already used to being famous from that period of my life. But this television fame is something quite different, you know. I find that people give you free things. Like in Woy Woy, when I go to pick up my paper I got a free scratchie from the lady in the newsagency. Things like that. People want me to promote things, you know, for them and take a little photo here and there. So I’ve been charging for that, of course, you know, making a bit of money on the side. You know, it’s not free.
“The other thing that has been very interesting has been that thing of paparazzi. I mean, before I just went to the shops and didn’t really think about what I was wearing, but now I have to make sure I have my lipstick on and I’m wearing my duckface. I mean, I have to always walk around the place and just wearing my duckface, not my resting face, and keeping it all up all the time. And that is tiring Allison. I really feel for the movie stars.”
So why did van de Stool choose to audition for Australia’s Got Talent, given the fact she was already famous?
“Well I chose to go on it because they asked me, of course, and that was really flattering. And then I thought, I thought, I have helped so many people at the Scout Hall. Allison, I have literally helped tens of people there, you know, and I feel very proud of our work … but I wanted to do more and help more Australians. I thought what a wonderful way to help more people than to go on the television and possibly help hundreds of people? That’s the possibility. And I feel in my initial audition I already helped hundreds more, just giving my expert advice and my criticism, you know – about performing and what it is to dream.”
Tonight Jan van de Stool, Dutch musical therapist from Woy Woy, has her semi final on Australia’s Got Talent and she hopes to help more Australians as she shows people what it’s like to be a diva. She explains that physical interpretive movement can demonstrate just how powerful you are and can be applied to any setting, whether it’s a board meeting at work, within the school classroom or at an Eisteddfod.
I asked van de Stool if she hoped to inspire young Australians to become either performers or musical therapists through her television exposure.
“Wow, that is a really interesting question. No one has ever asked me that before. I mean, I don’t necessarily want to inspire anyone. I mean, there are probably a lot of performers who really shouldn’t be performing, you know. I see a lot of them and I think, ‘Just stay at home, it’s really not up to scratch.’ So I don’t want people to have fake dreams and to get out there just because their mum told them they were good. That’s not necessarily what I want to do.”
She continued, “I don’t necessarily want people to become musical therapists, otherwise they’re going to be in competition with me and my business, so I don’t even think I’m wanting to do that.
“I just want to help Australians to become self expressed,” explained van de Stool.
Her aim is to help people be comfortable with their choices, such as wanting to wear the colour orange, which happens to be Holland’s colour. Or to be comfortable to wear a fruity hat, if that’s what they want to do. Or have the courage to tell someone when they look fat. She wants other Australians to share their own expert criticisms and just be honest.
Van de Stool doesn’t think Australians have a problem with being honest but are simply just too lazy. She thinks Australians are more likely to “go home and barbeque” than to tell someone they are fat. Unlike the Dutch, who are very self expressed.
She explains her own mother used to always say, “Jan, you’re fat.” Her mother would then proceed to tell the young Jan to go outside and run around in the paddock with the cows. Van de Stool admits, however, that her mum was actually crazy because Jan was always thin, just as she still is today.
With the semi final looming tonight, van de Stool is just one step away from a place in the final of Australia’s Got Talent and a chance at the grand prize.
“It’s not about the money. If I was to win I’d probably give it away as that’s the sort of person I am. If I do win it then maybe I can help people around the world – possibly in Bali or Ibiza … or Maui … or the south of France,” van de Stool explained.
Australia’s Got Talent does bring a broad range of performers and I asked van de Stool if there was anyone that she believed shouldn’t be there? She gave the example of the Shake Man. She said he’s a lovely guy but she does wonder if simply shaking your body is really a talent? She’d regard that as a skill, but not a talent.
“Is it Australia’s Got Entertainment or Australia’s Got Talent? Some are entertaining but they’re not talented,” van de Stool commented, philosophically.
“I think I’ve got both – I’m both entertaining and talent,” she added.
Tune in to Australia’s Got Talent tonight, Channel 9 at 8pm, to see Jan van de Stool teach Australia how to be a diva and find out if she can make it through to the grand final. If she doesn’t make it through as the judges choice, she’ll require audience voting to secure her place in the final. Have your phone ready just in case.