PROUD: Jackie Gillies with her father Ivan Ivancevic, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, mother Svetlana Ivancevic and Ben Gillies. Picture: Simone De Peak A BEAMING Jackie Gillies described being bestowed with Newcastle’s key to the city as among the greatest days of her life.
As revealed by theHerald, the celebrity psychic and reality TV star and her Silverchair drummer husband Ben Gillies, werein townto attend acivic ceremony on Monday at Fort Scratchley.
Flanked by Ben and her motherSvetlana Ivancevic, Gillies was handed the symbolic key to the city by Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes following an Aboriginal welcome to country and smoke ceremony.
A passing whale also made an appearance off Newcastle Baths right on cue for theFoxtel filmcrew, who captured the whole spectacle for the upcoming season four of The Real Housewives of Melbourne.
“It means a lot to me,” Gillies said.“I’m overwhelmed. Receiving a key to the city is one of the best days of my life. It’s like being recognised for the importance in life that you do for others.”
SHOW TIME: Jackie Gillies receiving the key to the city from Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes at Fort Scratchley while the Real Housewives Of Melbourne cameras roll. Picture: Simone De Peak
Gillies is the first person to be honoured in Newcastle City Council’s new ambassador program, which aims to recognise Novocastrians who have left Newcastle, butcontinue to be passionate advocates for the city.
Cr Nelmes said Gillies was chosen for the award due to her advocacy for Newcastle through the media and The Real Housewives Of Melbourne, plus her extensive charity work with Mission Australia and White Ribbon.
“I think it’s fitting that when Jackie’s home we’ve kick-started our ambassador program with her,” Cr Nelmes said.“We’ve gota lot of other people we’ve reached out to in the last couple of weeks, whoI’m looking forward to doing similar announcements with.”
Cr Nelmes also defended the decision to launch the program as part of a reality TV show, citing it as a marketing opportunity for Newcastle.
“Reality TV shows are a part of our everyday life and havebeen for many decades,” she said.“There’s reality TV, there’s sporting events.
“Some people like Supercars, some people don’t like Supercars and every time we have cameras on us on the national or international stage I see it as an opportunity to promote Newcastle and everything that is great about this city.”
LOCK IT IN: Nuatali Nelmes said presenting the key to the city to Jackie Gillies was a great marketing opportunity for Newcastle. Picture: Simone De Peak
Gillies, who grew up at Warners Bay, said she had been campaigning for four years to bring The Real Housewives Of Melbourne to Newcastle so she could showcase the city.
“It wasn’t just about receiving the key, it was also a nod to where I grew up,” Gillies said.
“My husband and I are proud Novocastrians and we’ve still got our place here in Merewether and we’ll never let that go and we’ll come back.”