Entertainers and educators Zara and Troy Love have been making the world, and each other, laugh for nearly 30 years.
The story starts in 1991 when QUT acting graduate Zara Grose returned to Brisbane from Sydney to join the cast of the show at Crazies theatre restaurant in Petrie Terrace, which was owned by her brothers, Peter and David, and their father Ron. Crazies was a success story over 11 years, serving food and laughs to more than 250,000 patrons.
Troy Swindells, who had performed at Movie World and provided voiceovers for the Saturday Disney TV show, joined Crazies as an entertainer and night manager, and he and Zara got together. They married in 1995, originally combining their surnames, but more recently adopting the name Love.
As well as Crazies, the couple started working across the entertainment spectrum from television and radio guest spots to stand-up gigs and eventually corporate entertainment appearances in Brisbane and on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.
After Zara was invited to be a fill-in host on a Sunshine Coast radio station, the couple were headhunted by the Austereo network to join the breakfast show on Perth radio station 92.9FM.
“Big dough, great gig, chose to leave – enough said,” Troy told InQueensland. “By this time, we’d also been on things like Australian Idol, Big Brother, Rove and Good News Week.”
In 2004, they moved to Melbourne, where neither had lived before, to set up a home and a business. “We thought, ‘Let’s just start again from scratch’,” said Zara.
“We focused mainly on corporate live events – remember them? – and that’s taken us into the boardrooms of some very interesting companies here and in Asia, the US and Canada,” said Troy.
In 2013, they produced an animated children’s series, ZuZu & the SuperNuffs, that was screened in 90 countries and 16 languages.
“From that,” said Troy, “came the thing we’re probably most proud of – our book.”
Titled What is a Nuff?, it’s described as “a fun and positive book for primary-school-aged children”. And it has led to their latest project, The Story Workshop, an online program for high-school students.
That’s just the short version of their joint CV to date. They have many more projects, including stand-up gigs for Zara and a business called Great Talk, where they coach people how to become effective public speakers.
Many of their clients – including businesspeople, sports stars and media personalities – have gone on to forge successful careers speaking at corporate and public functions.
“The people on the speakers’ circuit come to us and we help them to craft their keynote [speech], to identify their stories and to become kind of stage-ready, so they can rock their stories and rock the world,” said Zara.
While the coronavirus pandemic has meant they can’t make their regular trips to stay with family on the Gold Coast, it hasn’t slowed the couple down work-wise.
“We were lucky because we had actually pivoted online with our coaching business,” Zara said. “So we were already working from the office and doing a little less stage time.”
Added Troy: “We’ve been Zoom experts for quite some time.”
It’s just as well that the couple are very comfortable in each other’s company
Zara: “We spend 24 hours a day together and have done for 28 years, which is just remarkable. I think that we feel very lucky that we go through life with our best friend beside us.
Troy: “And [it’s good to be with] somebody who gets it; someone with very similar but complementary work skills.”
Zara: “We often think that between us we’re one good, functioning human.”
While most projects they’ve put their minds and effort to have worked out, they say there was no grand plan for success.
“I think it’s all been good luck to be honest with you,” said Zara. “Troy and I are very good at being able to make something out of nothing, and to make anything work. We’ve spent our life together saying ‘yes’ to offers that come our way.
“The curse is that we can do anything, and we often just go with the flow, but it’s worked out very well for us. If you know who you are and what you’re good at, you can pretty much apply that in any situation.
“We like to bring a bit of love and light into people’s lives. We believe in the power of good humour and we believe that, if people learn to become better communicators, we make this world a better place.”
Their next project is to develop the next big television sitcom. While inspired by the likes of Modern Family and Fleabag, they see an opportunity to create something uniquely Australian.
As Zara put it, they’d like to be “showrunners on a show that lasts 10 years”.
“Making a beautiful show that people love to work on, and people love to watch, would be a dream come true.”Jump to next article