Wendy Douglas leads a somewhat hectic life. As a mother of two gorgeous kids, on a twelve-acre small farm in Matakana, selling real estate, she barely has time to take a breath. When Junction does manage to pin her down and unearth a little of her backstory, the results are quite extraordinary. A full biography might take a year, but let's start here.
Wendy's a north London girl with Caribbean parentage. Her glossy dark skin – barely a line on that face – belies her age (which we would not dream of divulging). What's her routine? She insists it's good genes and diet.
She began her eye-popping career in 1990 at Kiss FM, the legendary London pirate radio station that played only dance music. All the big DJS of the day were there – Judge Jules, Norman Jay, Laurent Garnier, Coldcut, Jazzie B, Gilles Peterson, James Lavelle, Grooverider… to name a few.
"We had to do two interviews a day of major personalities, so it was full-on," remembers Wendy. "And production-wise, we had to do it all – sometimes I'd be splicing tape at 6.45pm for a show that would be on air at 7." (see box right/left for a small selection of her subjects…).
After a few years of this madness, Sky TV filmed her doing an interview and offered her a job. First assignment: fly to Florida to interview Cindy Crawford, André Agassi, Jean-Claude Van Dam and Pamela Anderson.
She moved on to Channel 4's 'Board Stupid', in 1999: cruising around snowboarding meccas in the US and Europe, following the big après party scene. It was here she met her future partner, Kiwi director Crighton Bone. Wendy gets a faraway look in her eye. "Crighton could snowboard very fast while filming, which I thought was just extremely sexy!"
Then came the 'Good Stuff' TV series, which Wendy presented with Roland Rivron. The pair interviewed music, theatre and film glitterati while driving around London in the back of a huge limousine. Another list: Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Peter Ustinov, Will Smith, Wesley Snipes, Sandra Bullock, Jerry Springer, Oprah Winfrey, Seal, Bjork. To name a few.
When Michael Jackson's album 'HIStory' came out, and his promotors towed a nine metre statue of him down the Thames, Wendy was there. "Sony invited us on to a boat to watch it. We were all drinking champagne, moored up by Tower Bridge – they had to crank it open to get the barge through… it was completely mad."
Wendy and Crighton moved to NZ nine years ago. Wendy played a few parties with the massive soundsystem they had brought back. The party people loved her eclectic, bass-heavy beats and before long she had a Sunday slot on George FM. She did a year on TVNZ's 'Good Morning' show – 'What's on with Wendy'.
But when the family moved up to Matakana five years ago the commuting became a hassle and she decided to stick closer to home. There's a lot to do: she and Crighton have planted close to ten thousand trees on their lifestyle block.
Wendy's up at 5am most days, meditating or doing yoga. "It's a precious opportunity for me to just stop… an essential part of my life," she says. She also knits – all the time. Bit of a nana, really (apart from the occasional 4am club outing).
Meanwhile, she has reinvented herself in a most unlikely manner as a fully-fledged real estate agent with Premium in Matakana. She's a regular DJ and MC at school discos and local events. And she's just been asked to narrate a series of kids' books by iconic NZ authors such as Margaret Mahy and Joy Cowley for the UK market.
But she says, "I feel that my association with music and the arts will never be over." She'll be keen to catch up with many old mates from the UK at the Splore Festival in February. Nothing will be slowing down for Wendy Douglas any time soon.