Entertainment Celebrity Schapelle Corby’s strange tour makes us wonder why we care and what’s in it for her

Schapelle Corby’s strange tour makes us wonder why we care and what’s in it for her

Schapelle Corby Kyle Sandilands Jackie Henderson Mercedes Corby
Schapelle Corby (second from left) with Kyle Sandilands, Jackie Henderson and Mercedes Corby on October 30. Photo: Instagram
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Holding hands with Kerri-Anne Kennerley on Studio 10 on Wednesday, convicted drug trafficker Schapelle Corby looked well groomed, pleasant – and out of her depth.

The visit to Ten’s Sydney HQ was one in a string of disturbing live appearances made by Corby this week to promote a revised version of her 2006 book My Story.

They’ve raised more questions than they answered.

Among them, in whose best interest is it that the childlike Corby, with her history of mental illness, undertakes the pressures of a tour involving trauma triggers?

And why do Australians have a fascination for a woman whose horrible path to fame has led to her living with her mother at age 42, unable to get a job because of her notoriety?

I’m not sure what we really want to hear Corby say.

Details of her prison ordeal seem dated. She doesn’t have work or kids or hobbies to talk about. If I was a betting woman, I’d say all that most people are interested in is having their own Schapelle innocence-or-guilt theories reinforced.

And this ordinary former beauty therapist, whose life derailed in the most extraordinary way, isn’t about to play ball on that: “I don’t need to live my life defending myself.”

I was freaked out watching Schapelle on Studio 10, waving oddly to sister Mercedes Corby and speaking in a high whispery voice, claiming she is “not sure” where money from her book goes to.

“Well, it is not about money. It is about me finishing my story,” Corby said.

“It is about going back and being cathartic to myself.”

The money question was bound to come up – last year a PR spokeswoman for Woman’s Day admitted exclusively to The New Daily Corby was paid “less than 20k” for a seven-page feature.

It’s against the law for anyone to profit from crime. But no amount of cash can give Corby back what she lost by being caught with 4.2 kilograms of cannabis in Bali in 2005. Freedom, childbearing years, career.


I wonder if the trite details Schapelle surrendered on the PR trail – her fear of mobile phones, her shock at finding carrots wrapped in plastic at the supermarket when she came home in 2017 – are worth being paraded as a cross between a celebrity and a weird novelty.

Since her release she’s kept a quite classy low profile, and now here she is being asked by shock jocks if she’d ever go on The Bachelorette. There has to be a reason other than catharsis. Talk about reality bites.

The “fully revised” book, written with journalist Kathryn Bonella, promises to document Corby’s life since she left Bali but judging from what she’s said so far, there’s not many twists.

Her Instagram followers know she takes holidays once a year with her longtime Sumatran boyfriend Ben Panangian (his drug convictions mean he can’t enter Australia) and has recently been to Italy and Greece.

She likes making resin art works and released a surprise single.

Corby’s rebuilding of a suburban life is a long way from the mental illness that secured her early exit from Kerobokan jail, a condition she told radio’s Kyle and Jackie O Show was genuine.

Many watching her media turns would believe her.

“I was out of my mind, literally for about four years,” she said, recalling psychosis made her believe one of her therapists was TV character Mr Squiggle.

She still hopes to clear her name and was heartfelt and emotional reliving the iconic 2005 moment she was sentenced to 20 years’ jail.

“At the time I just couldn’t understand – what does that mean?” she said.
“Maybe that’s two months? No, it’s two years. I can do it. No? What the f–k is it then?” she said.

As for her future with Panangian, who runs a business in Bali, she’s “not black listed” from going back to the island but isn’t “ready” to return.

“I don’t want to be looking over my shoulder, I want to enjoy myself and just live,” she said.

Go do it, lady. Maybe in private, where you don’t have to keep anyone else happy.

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