It’s been 23 years since Amity Dry was the new girl on the block.
Not the hit television show. She’s done that – twice- very successfully.
No, this time Amity has swapped the bright lights of the stage for a suit and joined Adelaide’s Ouwens Casserly Real Estate as a sales associate.
It’s a career move the effervescent singer, actress, writer and composer says was necessitated by the harsh impact of COVID-19 on the arts and entertainment industry.
Best known for her stint on season one of The Block in 2003 and winning the All-Stars season a decade later, Amity says when COVID-19 arrived earlier this year work stopped instantly.
“It didn’t just dry up a little bit, it dried up entirely, overnight,” Amity says.
“I had a year’s worth of tours and gigs booked and then, one day in March, everything stopped.”
Like many others, Amity initially thought life would return to normal in a month or two, so she wasn’t too concerned in the beginning.
But as one month turned into two and three, and then four months, Amity started getting restless without a project or challenge to occupy her time.
She quickly realised work in the arts and entertainment sector wouldn’t return to normal quickly and she needed another job.
But not just any job.
“I didn’t want to get a stop-gap job,” Amity explains.
“I wanted to do something I enjoyed, rather than feel bitter about the fact that I had to do a job that I hate just to make ends meet.”
It was while on a walk with her partner that the real estate lightbulb switched on in her mind.
“Real estate has always been something that’s been at the back of my mind, having done The Block and the fact that I really love houses,” Amity says.
“I’m one of those people that looks at realestate.com.au for fun.”
After calling some friends who work in real estate to garner their opinion on whether she was suited to the profession, Amity picked up the phone and dialled Nathan Casserly’s number.
Nathan quickly jumped at the chance to have Amity on the team, and just seven weeks later she’d obtained her real estate licence.
“I treated it like it was already my job and did eight hours a day working on it,” Amity says.
Amity concedes she was a little nervous on her first day in the office, especially since it’s the first time she hasn’t worked in her own business or on a contracted basis since she was an 18-year-old waitress.
But it didn’t take long for Amity to get her first break, with South Australia going into a “circuit-breaker” lockdown, after just two days in the office.
Now that she’s back on deck, Amity wants to hit the ground running.
Initially, she will learn the back end of the business before teaming up and shadowing multiple leading Ouwens Casserly agents.
“Originally the plan was to do that for six months, but we’re already talking about fast-tracking and me starting to take on listings soon-ish because I just want to get started,” she says.
“But in the beginning I will certainly partner with experienced agents because I completely understand that selling somebody’s home for them is one of the biggest things that they will do in their life.
“They don’t want to risk that all on a novice.”
Despite her novice status, Amity says her theatre career, which includes hit shows Mother, Wife and the Complicated Life and 39 Forever, will stand her in good stead.
“Real estate is all about nurturing your database and potential buyers and creating relationships with those people so that when they come to buy or sell, you are top of mind,” Amity says.
“That’s exactly what I do with my audiences.
“I very much value my audiences and nurture those relationships, because when it comes time for Adelaide Fringe (festival) or the Comedy Festival and people are wondering what show they will see, I want them to choose mine because they know what they’re going to get.
“They know they’re going to have a great time.”
Amity says her experience on The Block, and from designing and renovating her own homes, will be an asset when helping vendors present their homes in the best light, while her large network of contacts should expect a cheeky phone call soon to see if they’re thinking of selling.
“I not only have my contacts from all the different industries that I’ve worked in but I also have a familiarity with a portion of the general public who feel like they know me because they’ve come to my shows or seen me on TV,” she says.
“And that’s not an act, that’s who I am. I’m going to be the same person as an agent representing you as I would be on stage, which is someone that loves to talk to people, who’s very down to earth and chatty, and all of those sorts of things.
“So people do already know that side of me.”
Amity says Ouwens Casserly’s values of “authenticity, optimism, passion, and precision” resonate with what she deems important in all aspects of her own life and she believes being authentic will win out over a flashy exterior every time.
“I want to be an agent that cares,” she explains.
“For people selling their home it is a huge thing in their life, and often it comes at times of stress.
“I had to get an agent during a marriage separation and I know how stressful that was for me. So I think, particularly at times like that, you want someone who’s sensitive to what you’re going through.
“Having been through that myself, I feel that’s something I can offer.”
For those worried Amity’s real estate career is the end of her treading the boards on stage, you need not worry.
Amity will perform a return season of her hit show 39 Forever at the Adelaide Fringe in February, along with her role at Ouwens Casserly and being mum to her two children, Jamieson and Poppy.
“I’ll work part-time with Ouwens Casserly that month and do the show at night,” she says.
“It’s a juggle, but all working mums juggle and that’s something I’m well used to.
“I’m not too worried about that; I might just be a little bit tired by March.”