Jack of all trades, Susie Youssef is a comedian, actor, writer, and improviser who has made appearances on shows like The Project, Have You Been Paying Attention? and Whose Line Is It Anyway? just to name a few.
Now, she’s ready to conquer her new role as a co-host alongside Harley Breen on Channel 10’s crafty new series, Making It Australia.
“We have gathered some of the most dynamic artists from around Australia and they are competing to mostly just to win our approval… but also for the reward of $100,000 to be, like, the greatest maker in Australia,” Susie told 10 play.
“But we don't want to put any emphasis on the money. The money's not important to us at all. I mean, I'm sure it is to some of the makers, but the main gist of the show is a celebration of people who create things.”
After spending a chunk of her time filming the show, Susie shared that she’s a mix of nerves and excitement to finally see it on TV.
“I’m excited and terrified and all of the feelings when you've got a new show that no one's seen before. There’s also an enormous amount of pressure when you're walking into the shoes of someone like Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, but I knew that with someone like Harley Breen, this was going to be a bit of a dream job.”
Susie described working with Harley as a barrel of laughs, admitting that most days on set were filled with them being “so silly and ridiculous.”
“I don't think I've ever laughed so much in my whole life! First of all, he's like, 400 feet tall. He's the tallest man in the world. He kind of looks terrifying in that regard because I'm quite a bit shorter than he is,” she laughed.
“But he's one of the most fun people I've ever worked with and he’s always up for a laugh. He's also a dad of about 4000 children, so all aspects of comedy are covered with that man.”
During the competition, the Makers didn’t only create amazing projects, but they formed really strong bonds, which is something that shines through in the series.
“I can't wait for people to see what we've done. We managed to find a group of people who really love each other, and it was quite a supportive atmosphere. And often you would see them helping each other out, which isn’t common in many TV competitions. But it was a wonderful atmosphere to watch all these people become a bit of a family.”
The Makers are also a dynamic bunch, ranging from artists, architects, plumbers, designers, animators, fashion designers… and the list goes on.
“There are so many different disciplines that they came from but the thing with this show is that even though you can bring a specialty, all the challenges are different. So, they had to really adapt and learn on the job and they were amazing. By the end of it, I was looking at their work and they've taught each other so much which was really exciting to see.”
As the host on a craft show, Susie admitted that although she loves creating things, she may not be very good at it.
“I love craft, I grew up in a crafty household and both of my parents are creative in different ways. I've always loved things like origami, and I got into life drawing last year. Whether I'm good at them or not, it remains to be seen… actually, it doesn't remain to be seen, I'm not good at it. But I do love doing it.”
Being constantly surrounded by art and creativity as a host, she realised that it did rub off on her.
“The great thing was Harley and I got the opportunity to not only be around the Makers who were so incredible, but the judges themselves were really generous and kind with their feedback about what everyone was doing.
“You kind of learn by osmosis. You have such a creative environment that you're saturated by it all and you come out of it having learnt so much, just from small techniques, or what they're looking for, or, you know, their experience with the materials that the makers are using.
“Harley and I, from the beginning did not want to have anything to do with the judgment process and we just sit back and watch these incredible creatives themselves, really guiding the makers to do better work.”
“They're incredible. Benja Harney is a ball of energy. He will bounce on to set in the most fabulous outfits. He always had, like some scarf from India and he's got these incredible shorts that he wears.
“But as a creative person, he's just staggering. The stuff that he makes is incredible. I had never heard of a paper engineer; I didn't know that a paper engineer existed. But the work that he's done around the world is just amazing.
“And I have the biggest crush on Deborah Riley. She's the most amazing woman. She's worked on Game of Thrones and Moulin Rouge. And she's so unassuming and humble. But her work is just incredible.”
Reflecting on her time hosting the show, Susie said her favourite part was being able to have fun every day and laugh non-stop.
“I was really grateful to get the chance to do something like this in a time when people are in their homes and watching TV for a bit of an escape. It's so colorful and bright and fun. And, apart from all the craft, it’s a world of TV where comedy and craft get to meet each other.
“I think it's pretty lucky when you get to do a job where you're exhausted every day from laughing. That's probably one of the best parts, I got to play on a beautiful property with horses, giant dogs, and all of these beautiful surroundings.
“And then we were working with people who were playing and making and the whole time we were just having a blast. The scale of the show is enormous, but when you break it all down, I think the best part was just the fun that we had.”