AFL wag’s new tongue-twisting talent
Olympia Valance has grand plans to come out of Victoria's Stage 4 lockdown speaking fluent Italian.
"I mean what else am I going to do?" the gorgeous actor jokes.
"In the last lockdown, when I was on the farm, I would wake up in the morning and the first thing I thought about was food and you would be thinking about food from the moment you woke up to the moment you went to bed. This time I'm in Port Melbourne, I have a little bit more of a routine. And you should see how great my coffee skills are. I'm just trying to upskill so we're not complete slobs when we finish this lockdown."
She's got the words down pat for apple, boy and coffee - but is coy on speaking them down the line. "Look out on my Instagram for my video of how bad I was at the start."
Valance has joined a growing trend. Research shows 63 per cent of Australians - equating to almost 11 million people - want to learn a new language, despite the current international travel restrictions.
Thanks to a partnership between Lavazza and language app Duolingo, Australians can now learn a language in just five minutes a day - the same amount of time it takes to enjoy a cup of coffee.
The national report, which spoke to more than 1000 Australians, found Millennials/Gen Y (37 per cent) to be the most eager, closely followed by Centennials/Gen Z (34 per cent) and Gen X (18 per cent). Baby Boomers came in at the tail end with just one in 10 showing any interest in learning a second lingo. And it's Italian that is the language of choice.
Admittedly Valance is spending just a tad more than the required five minutes. "I'm going hardcore - I've got just a little more time on my hands," she says. "It's all in the hope that once all of this is over I will make my way there immediately."
Inspired by her British godmother and godsister, who now live in Rome and speak fluent Italian, Valance hopes when she can jump on a plane to the continent she'll be able to speak a "basic amount" with the locals.
"It's quite funny that this Greek family half speaks Italian."
Valance spent 10 years at Greek school but laughs when we suggest surely she's already bilingual. "I can speak Greekish - I can understand it but, ah to have a full conversation at this stage, I would say no."
Valance has come back to the city to see out the latest lockdown with her two best friends, while partner Essendon footballer Thomas Bellchambers spends his time in the AFL hubs around the country. It's right in the thick of footy frenzy at the moment - although Valance admits she only has eyes for Bombers matches. She grew up loving St Kilda thanks to her stepdad, singer Ross Wilson of Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock fame.
"Essendon and St Kilda play each other soon - I sent both my stepdad and mum a message the other day saying 'where will your loyalty lie?'," Valance says. "I get one back immediately from Ross just saying 'Saints'."
Claim a year's free Italian lessons with Duolingo Plus by buying Espresso Barista and using the code 'ESPRESSOLINGO'
Originally published as AFL wag's new tongue-twisting talent