How QT's Tracey Cox became global 'sexpert'
IF YOU asked the average Pom if they'd ever heard of Ipswich's Pauline Hanson or Alfie Langer, chances are they wouldn't know who you were talking about.
But mention the name Tracey Cox and their eyes will light up.
Tracey grew up in Ipswich and Toowoomba after emigrating with her family from the UK at the age of 10 - and back in Britain she is now the nation's number 1 'sexpert'.
She's sold more than two million books - including best-sellers such as Hot Sex: How to Do It, Supersex, Superflirt and 100 Hot Sex Positions.
Not only that, she's presented UK TV shows in which she helps hopeless singletons find their perfect partner and made guest appearances on Oprah, CNN and the Today Show in the US.
Her incredible career goes from strength to strength and she has just launched her own range of 'adult products'.
Despite her worldwide fame, the professional Agony Aunt remembers fondly her beginnings in Ipswich.
"When I was younger, I was very much the good girl in the class," she told The Queensland Times from her home in London's Notting Hill.
"My brother and sister went to grammar school but I didn't want to go to an all-girls' school because I had tons of boys as friends.
"I was quite academic, non-sporty and loved reading. Then I discovered boys and cigarettes!
"It didn't all go out the window though, I managed to juggle academia and boys, though the cigarettes almost killed me!"
But while Tracey has blazed a trail in the field of sex and relationship advice, her career began conventionally enough.
Tracey, who has studied journalism and psychology, completed her cadetship at the Nundah Express, it was after this the fresh-faced young journalist joined the team at The Queensland Times.
"I learned how to get the story and get it out there fast: something you only learn on a daily newspaper and, by God, it's paid off," she says.
"I've written 15 books and managed to continue writing columns and do TV shows at the same time. I swear my training at the QT helped me be so prolific."
After four years at the QT, which included a stint sharing a house with current QT sports editor David Lems, Tracey chased down her dream job - working for Cosmopolitan magazine.
She moved to Sydney and over time worked her way up to associate editor of Cosmo.
While working at Cosmo she honed her skills and covered a wide range of stories.
One assignment included a trip to Las Vegas to interview the boys from Manpower.
During her time in Sydney she also hosted a radio show with Today FM.
Tracey's passion for improving the sex lives of others saw her leave her job at Cosmo and start on a path that would see her become an international success.
"I left Cosmo and wrote full-time and my very first book, Hot Sex: How to do It, was phenomenally successful worldwide and kicked off the next stage," she says.
It was after her first book that she first earned the title of sexpert.
"I got called that on one of my book tours and the name just stuck ... I'm really a journalist/author who specialises in sex," she says.
"1998 was the first publication of Hot Sex. I'm still earning royalties from it now all these years later.
"I went on tour to promote it and got offered a job hosting a TV show in the UK ... so I grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
"After that, I went on to host many of my own TV shows, based on sex, body language or relationships, in the UK and in New York.
"I lived in New York for a while doing that, which was also amazing - and got to appear on Oprah, CNN and the Today Show."
Tracey says the best thing about writing 15 books that are sold worldwide is visiting all countries they sell in.
"I've travelled the world and met some amazing celebrities in my travels, got to do what I love. What could be better," she says.
But how did a book-smart Ipswich State High student turn into the world's most famous voice on all things sexual?
"I think it's something I have always been fascinated by - from the therapy/psychology angle. I find it massively interesting, and still do, why we are all attracted to some people and not others," she says.
"My family are and always have been absolutely brilliant. I think they got used to the whole sex thing with my big sister working for Family Planning.
"I'm sure both my mum and dad would dearly love to be able to say I write books about gardening on the odd occasion, but they're both so open and supportive of anything I do; they're determined not to be embarrassed, bless them."
While it may seem like a charmed life from the outside, Tracey says her success can only be attributed to hard work.
"I was fiercely ambitious and have to say I worked like a demon to get where I got," she said.
"I'm self-made with no leg-ups and very proud of that!"
While she can claim credit for helping many a dateless wonder turn their luck around, Tracey says her private life has had its own set of challenges.
"Men are either terrified of me or fascinated by me. Which is either amusing or flattering, depending on the reaction," she says.
"I think I'd be threatened by me if I met me.
"It's not just the fact I've written lots of books about sex, it's because I can read body language as well.
"They can't get away with a thing."
But she says it's not only the guys who feel pressure from her line of work.
"I've had more than the odd bit of performance anxiety over the years, thinking guys would expect me to work my way through the Kama Sutra in the first session! But that soon passes."
Tracey has found her match with a charming Englishman and lives with him and his 12-year-old daughter in the trendy London suburb of Notting Hill.
"My boyfriend was recently asked what it was like to sleep with a sexpert and he said, 'I don't sleep with a sexpert, I sleep with Tracey'," she said.
"Which is pretty much the perfect answer as far as I'm concerned."
Tracey currently writes weekly columns for the Daily Mail online and UK's Closer magazine.
For all of Tracey's latest sex and relationship advice, visit her website at traceycox.com.
To view her range of products, visit lovehoney.com.au.
Tracey's Top Tips
- Have more sex: The more sex you have, the more sex you want because sex is what keeps your libido topped up.
- Keep it naughty: Keep sex on the naughty side. 'Comfort' sex is lovely now and then but it's guaranteed to have you bored silly if that's all you do year in year out.