Rose Jacobs, the ex-wife of former Today weatherman Steve Jacobs, is living proof anyone could be fighting a private battle you know nothing about.
The former Channel 10 star has addressed the interest in her “new look” this week, telling news.com.au her cropped ‘do was actually the result of a serious health issue.
Explaining she was “baffled” by the sudden reaction to the hairstyle she’s had for two years, Rose said the decision to cut her hair short came after contracting dengue fever while living in Vanuatu with her family.
Speaking to news.com.au today, she added that having the chop amid a journey of self-discovery following her tumultuous marriage split was “liberating”.
“The reason I cut my hair initially was that I actually had a health situation which most people don’t know about,” the mother-of-two revealed.
“When I was living in Vanuatu, I unfortunately contracted dengue fever, which is something that is similar to malaria. It’s a mosquito-born virus that’s really common in tropical environments.”
Rose had moved to Vanuatu in 2017 with her then-husband Steve as a reported “last-ditch” attempt to work on their marriage. Months later, things fell apart, and both moved back to Sydney from their sea-change to separate lives.
“I was extremely unwell for a period of time,” Rose said of the illness she contracted while living in the family’s favourite holiday destination – a move then described as an escape from the “toxic” Sydney lifestyle.
“Colloquially dengue is known as ‘broken bone fever’, so it was quite a serious health incident that I went through and I still have side effects of that to this day. It stays in your blood for life.
“It was so hot in Vanuatu and I was in such discomfort that I just slowly started getting haircuts shorter and shorter.”
She explained that while she initially cut her hair out of necessity, it also signified a “reinvention” following a tricky time in her life.
“I’ve gone through some major life changes in the last couple of years, from moving country and going through a marriage breakdown, so I guess we as women can sometimes express our emotions outwardly with a haircut.
“I know so many women who have a break-up and then have a haircut. It can signify that you are going through a personal reinvention and finding a new sense of identity.”
Since she’s been rocking the pixie cut, she’s never felt better.
“I speak to people now and they say ‘do you regret cutting all your hair off?’ (but) I actually highly recommend every woman does it at least once in their life because it’s a very brave thing to do. It takes balls.”
A media figure for many years, Rose admitted while she found the sudden interest in her hair “comical”, she couldn’t help but feel somewhat confronted by the stories.
“There’s a battle between your head and your heart whenever you see something like that about yourself.
“Women in the media are more scrutinised and there is this expectation that you have to have the perfect look, or the ‘newsreader’ hairstyle, but I cut my hair a couple of years ago actually so it’s not even news.”
She added that the outpouring of support has been a welcome source of light.
“I’m trying to take some joy in some of the comments I’ve received from people saying you do look different, but it’s not because of your hair, you actually just look happy and at peace with yourself. That made my day.”
The former Ten Eyewitness News presenter and mother of two announced on Sunday that she’s landed a corporate hosting gig with Adviser Ratings presenting theTogether Australia web series.
“I’m so proud of the launch of this new show,” she said.
“I feel like I’m giving something back to society because it’s about helping people during these tough times, and women in particular, to feel financially secure.”
The career change comes six years after she was made redundant from Ten, and two years after her highly-publicised divorce from former partner of 11 years Steve, who she took out an AVO against in January 2018. No charges were laid.
The couple, who met on the set of Today in 2007, sold their five-bedroom matrimonial home in Coogee for a staggering $4.6 million in April 2018, and now share custody of daughters Isabella and Francesca.
“I have definitely gone through so many life transitions,” Rose said of the past two years.
“I’ve reached a rock bottom in some ways, as so many women and blokes do when you go through a separation and have to start your life again, but I’m feeling empowered at this stage in my life.
“We all face a point in our lives where we wake up and we face a choice: do we allow our past traumas to continue damaging us, or do we actually rise strong out of being vulnerable and come out more fierce in the face of adversity.”
Episodes of Rose Jacob’s new web series are available via the Together Australia website.