For years, he’s graced the social pages in Brisbane publications, both writing about Queensland’s most glamorous events and people, and, as a style icon, featuring in the pages himself.
A presenter on The Great Day Out on Channel 7 , Damien Anthony Rossi, bon vivant, and champagne lover was an obvious candidate for the position of Effervescence Festival Ambassador.
Here we dig a little deeper to find out a bit more about the man known as ‘Mr Hollywood in Oz.’
So Damien, how did you come to move from the US to Brisbane?
I was a casting director in Los Angeles and at Christmas 1990 came to Brisbane to visit my Aussie partner. I loved it so much, I moved over here. Fortunately, it wasn’t too long before I was able to break into casting here – though I initially had to work as a production assistant (with my first gig being Muriel’s Wedding). I eventually established Rossi Casting Group in Milton and we cast films, television series and TV ads. I sold the company in 2006 to focus on television presenting and other opportunities in media.
Where did the nickname ‘Mr Hollywood in Oz’ come from?
That came from the late great Paul Le Mura who was the producer of the first TV show I appeared on called FMV TV- a Saturday morning entertainment review program hosted by Loretta Ryan and myself in the early 2000s. Paul loved my “Hollywood’ accent and would often mimic it and ‘Mr Hollywood’ became his nickname for me. It eventually got picked up by the media and stuck.
As a frequent travellers, what’s your favourite travel destination?
Gosh…that’s like Sophie’s Choice! I suppose the most idyllic place I’ve been and best holiday I’ve ever had are one and the same- the Maldives, where I was fortunate enough holiday at in 2015. This would be followed very closely by Italy and then the Greek Islands.
As a champagne lover, do you have a favourite?
Champagne has been my favourite drop ever since I was old enough to indulge in it. I remember growing up in LA and my parents hosting parties and hearing the champagne corks popping. It all seemed so very glamorous, and there seemed to always be a buzz of excitement amongst the guests. Champagne has such positive connotations and I have to say, I love its effect on me personally. A glass of bubbly has such a fantastic psychological effect – I could have had a terrible day, but the minute I start sipping a glass of champagne it all seems to wash away. And, of course, I love the taste and the complexities of the various varieties. If I had to choose just one favourite champagne it would have to be Krug Grande Cuvee – a truly sublime drop, liquid gold.
“I always say to people that I don’t wait for a special occasion to open a beautiful bottle of champagne – that every day we have in this world is worth celebrating.”
What 3 things you couldn’t live without?
Travel, sidewalk cafes and most definitely, champagne!
Tells us about your ultimate indulgent day.
Day 2 or 3 of the Effervescence Champagne Festival’s VIP Weekend Package! Alternatively, sitting on a late summer’s day at a sidewalk café in Montmartre with my partner and a beautiful bottle of Krug watching the world go by.
Who would you most enjoy sharing a long lunch with?
Oprah, Barbra Streisand and Woody Allen (Not sure how everyone would get along but it’d be memorable – at least for me!).
As Effervescence Ambassador, what were the highlights at last year’s festival?
There were so many – where do I begin?! I loved arriving at picturesque Spicers Hidden Vale on the Friday afternoon knowing what was in store for all of us. The excitement and anticipation in the air was palpable.
The Welcome Cocktail Party with exquisite Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque and a roaring fireplace was just the most wonderful way to kick things off. The next day’s petanque Lawn Bowls was so much fun and a great way for the VIP Weekend guests to get acquainted.
The stunning open-air long table lunch that followed set against the serene panorama of the Lockyer Valley was absolutely wonderful.
The Sunset sabrage Session was another highlight with everyone trying their hand at sabering a bottle of bubbly against the backdrop of a magnificent sunset and kangaroos hopping around in the distance. T
Sunday was spectacular with another amazing outdoor long table lunch that featured divine Krug Grande Cuvee. This lavish lunch really reminded my of something you’d do in the middle of a vineyard in the Champagne region.
And, of course, The Sunday Champagne Trail was absolutely epic – with over 250 people descending upon the Spicers property and fanning out to indulge in over 60 varieties of French champagne.
It was such an electric, convivial atmosphere – I’ve never experienced anything like it! I can’t wait to do it all over again this year!!