Jo Stanley: ‘I wanted to write about strong, powerful young girls’

Comedian and media personality Jo Stanley has been able to tick-off a lifelong childhood dream with the publication of her Play Like A Girl book series.

The children’s books are about a group of young girls who love playing footy, and two new instalments in the series have been released this year.

“I’ve always wanted to write books ever since I was a little girl but never knew how to press that button and make it happen,” Jo, 45, says.

That the subject matter combines several topics she’s passionate about – footy and women’s equality – means it’s been a dream job.

“It’s been amazing to write stories about really strong, powerful young girls who are playing footy and getting messy and muddy and are resilient,” Jo says.

“And to get stories out there for girls who aren’t in to princesses and fairies and unicorns.”

Teaching kids the importance of exercise

Jo, mum to nine-year-old daughter Willow, adds she’s keen to encourage more young girls to see the benefit of exercise.

She admits that when she was younger she hated sport and preferred to focus on creative outlets such as art and drama.

“No one explained to me when I was at school that exercise is good for you because of your mental health,” the Melbourne mum says.

“I always thought it was about if you needed to lose weight or if you were good at sport, which I never was.”

It was in her 20s, Jo realised exercise had a wide range of benefits.

“At the end of my 20s I realised I felt great when I did exercise,” she says.

“That was a revelation to me, so I think it’s great that our kids are learning that now.”

Catch Jo Stanley regularly on the House of Wellness TV show, and check out her stories on why healthy teeth are important for your health and whether boredom is good for kids.

Words by Erin Miller