Maria Venuti turns 75, looking fabulous and flawless!
RICE flakes, power naps, false eyelashes, sorbolene moisturiser.
What could this mixed bunch possibly have in common?
They are all included in Maria Venuti's daily routine and they keep her fired with energy and looking show-biz glamorous even though she has just passed her 75th birthday.
"Just write 75 once, darling," Maria said during our fun interview.
"No need to mention it again after that."
So we won't.
But sensible eating, lots of power naps, big fake eyelashes and the twice-daily slathering of moisturiser on face and décolletage keep Maria Venuti ready for the spotlight at any time of the day.
"Darling, I can't go past a beauty shop, especially when they have a 50% off sale," she laughed.
"I've just bought five more sets of eyelashes, lots of turquoise and gold eye shadow and more lipsticks."
In an entertainment career that has spanned 58 jam-packed years and seen Maria perform on stage both nationally and internationally, as well as star in a number of movies, she still has what it takes to steal the limelight.
The Sicilian-born beauty with the bountiful cleavage made her first singing performance at age 17, four years after she found the joy of make-up, false eyelashes and big hair. She has never stopped performing or wearing make-up since.
Maria not only whips her audiences up to good times with enduring cabaret songs belted out in her unique sexy style, she makes them laugh and feel marvellous.
"People are always coming up to me and thanking me for making them smile," she said.
"I love that. I get great adrenaline out of seeing people happy and smiling and saying 'she's just a bit crazy'. I like to create happiness."
That she does, never caring if it involves making fun of herself.
At a performance in Noosa in a marquee on top of a hill, she arrived wearing flat shoes instead of her signature heels so she could carefully contemplate the rocky terrain leading to the marquee.
As she stumbled over rocks towards the marquee she looked up to find her entire audience in the open-sided marquee watching her.
"Daaaaaarling, I had to go into the marquee and change into my heels in front of everyone," she said. "But it made everyone laugh and I loved that."
Becoming braver and less self-conscious is a benefit of ageing Maria now enjoys and wishes the same for all other seniors.
"You tend not to worry about how you look from a certain angle or if your bum looks big," she said.
"You think 'I am what I am' and that is how I feel now. I think everyone should look hard in the mirror and find their own uniqueness and build on that. Everyone has something special."
Never holding back when it comes to over-the-top outfits, always those that show off her trade-mark generous bosom, has endeared Maria to thousands of people over the years.
"I am lucky in that I have that olive oil Sicilian skin so my décolletage hasn't wrinkled yet," she laughed.
"I moisturise it twice a day. I do alternate between using expensive products and $6 stuff from the supermarket.
"I always wear low-cut necklines. If I wear anything too high I feel claustrophobic. I have to let my girls out. It's like taking a deep breath. It elevates me."
Sequins, feathers and way too much bling are as essential to Maria as oxygen.
"I will wear black sequin pants and a sequin top out to lunch and diamante earrings in the day time," she said.
"I like to keep it interesting, flamboyant but not garish...although I don't mind a bit of garish."
With non-stop invitations to perform, speak, consult or endorse, Maria never stops working.
"I go hell for leather but I realise now I should take a step back, slow down...but just a little bit.
"My secret to keeping going is to take a little nap whenever I can wherever I am."
Maria is fortunate in that she can nod off for a few minutes in the back of a taxi which enables her to go from a celebrity breakfast on to a charity lunch and then a gala dinner in one hit.
But she says for those who can't just pop off to sleep for a few minutes, closing the eyes and thinking of something calm and peaceful is almost as good.
"Think of waves coming into the beach or something beautiful like that for a few minutes and it will re-energise you," she said.
Maria needs every ounce of her impressive energy to keep up with her work load and the many charities she supports, including the Jeanne Little Alzheimer's Fund, to support her close friend and role model, Jeanne Little, another zany lady now lost to the darkness of dementia.
"Jeanne and I are great friends," Maria said. "We used to sing and perform together. I visit her often."
Maria's list of celebrity friends and supporters is as big as her hair and she maintains friendships with all of them and makes new friends easily.
To celebrate her special birthday recently her daughter Bianca organised a celebrity birthday/roast attended by some of the country's biggest A-listers.
As for retirement?
It's a dirty word to Maria. "I will never retire," she said.
"There is a line in the song The Party's Over. It goes...'take off your make-up, the party's over, it's all over my friend.' I don't believe in that. I am never taking off my make-up."