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it's getting pretty hot here
an interview with tash bennett
by jeffrey d. walker

Unless you're a firefighter, odds are you'll probably never find yourself aiming a hose at a tree burning dangerously close to an apartment building. And even if you did find yourself in this situation, odds are that you wouldn't be half naked.

But that's exactly the situation 27 year-old fitness instructor, Tash Bennett, of Darwin, Australia, found herself in last week.

First reported by the Northern Territory News, Bennett was tanning by the pool and listening to her iPod when, according to her husband, Daniel McNamee, Tash noticed: 'it's getting pretty hot here.' She also noticed some ash falling on her, and then the blazing tree it was coming from. Tash raced to the office for help, then grabbed a fire hose and went to work dousing the flames.

According to the report, "It was only after battling the blaze for five minutes that she looked down and realised that she was still topless from the sunbaking."

Tash's tale was then picked up, in no specific order, by Australia's Courier Mail (going on to be that site's most-read story of the week), the Herald Sun, the New York Daily News, Finland's Iltalehti, Argentina's Contexto, Vietnam's VNExpress, Romania's Liber Tatea, and Netherlands' Fok! (among other outlets worldwide). By the next day, Bennett was inundated with requests for interviews and photo shoots (click here for a link to an interview on an Australian radio morning show). The same day that this article posts here on Intrepid Media, Tash's image will also be gracing the pages of Australia's Zoo Weekly.

I was lucky enough to correspond with this brave young woman and ask her about her new worldwide celebrity. I was met with a completely unassuming person, virtually unaffected by the publicity.

"I honestly didn't know how to react, or even if I wanted the publicity. I had a nice simple lifestyle with Daniel, amazing friends up in Darwin and back in Victoria, and I was fairly content with my life."

"Now that I am receiving media attention and support worldwide, I am thrilled that it has had such a positive effect on people."

Tash said: "It's amazing to think that doing something that just seemed natural and important to do has been so highly received. I generally think of myself as outgoing, and down to earth, but also quite self conscious in ways, so it was out of my norm being top half naked running in front of people. But under the circumstances, I threw all that away."

I asked if it bothered her that, without question, each story about the incident references the fact that she was topless?

"I was a little shy when it first came out that I was topless, and in my media interviews, it was predominantly based on me being topless putting out a fire, as opposed to putting out the fire itself. But... it doesn't bother me, because I've had such amazing support from everyone, even my parents who were in Italy at the time and found out from the media. I was a little worried how they would perceive this, but they too saw the positive outcome of the situation."

Tash said that she certainly would have taken time to adjust her top "under a normal situation, if there was no emergency," but that "with something potentially fatal devouring close by, you literally throw yourself into overdrive and act on impulse. So if the same situation happened and I wasn't clothed, I'd still do what I did."

The original posting of Tash's story included a quote from a witness to the incident named Johnny McCoy, who said that "For the record, she was smoking hot herself, but provided all the boys a pretty awesome sight for an otherwise typical Thursday."

I asked Tash what she would have said if told in advance that strange men would gawk if they saw her topless, she replied that she "... would have said impossible!!!" She did confirm that there was a little audience on the balcony of the apartments. "I didn't have the time to really say anything to them, or even look at them. I had shouted out instructions to people around me and whoever heard, did what was needed. I'm very grateful to those who helped. To those who stared, I don't really have anything to say."

I did conclude our interview by asking if the event or the publicity had impacted her and her husband's love life?

"You dare to ask" she laughed. "Unfortunately I haven't seem him much since it happened, as I have flown to Melbourne and Sydney for interviews and shoots. He is still working in Darwin." But she added, " I'm sure when I get back though."

We hope so, too. You deserve that.

Although Tash was surprised by the level of attention she has garnered recently, I was not. I should take a moment to note that my piece last month, The Men Who Stare At Boobs, pulled down more hits in two days than I've pulled on any other piece during my ten years at IM. The moral it seems: boobs guaranteed internet clicks. Or perhaps: act of bravery + wardrobe malfunction = gold! In either case, perhaps neither result is so surprising.

The surprise is watching Tash Bennett turn an internet booby click into a positive message.


A practicing attorney and semi-professional musician, Walker writes for his own amusement, for the sake of opinion, to garner a couple of laughs, and to perhaps provoke a question or two, but otherwise, he doesn't think it'll amount to much.

more about jeffrey d. walker


can't a successful man get laid around here?
lessons on how to get some keeping your dignity
by jeffrey d. walker
topic: news
published: 6.14.11

the men who stare at boobs
an open letter to ty mcdowell
by jeffrey d. walker
topic: news
published: 4.14.10


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