Written by: Sharon Stephenson
The rise of Amanda Luxon
Not much is known about Amanda Luxon, Aotearoa’s new First Lady. She sat down with Sharon Stephenson to talk about marriage, growing up above a shop and those arms.
This time last year, no-one had much of an opinion about Amanda Luxon. Now everyone has one.
Particularly about her biceps.
Social media lost its collective mind when Aotearoa’s new First Lady was photographed on election night serving snacks to journalists outside her Remuera home, her super-toned arms launching a thousand likes.
“Forget National’s fiscal plan, we want Amanda Luxon’s exercise regime,” someone wrote on X. “Amanda Luxon has BICEPS,” added someone else. And this from another corner of the internet: “The only true winner of this year’s election was Amanda Luxon’s biceps.”
Amanda, 55, is amused by the nation’s fixation.
“It cracked me up,” she says. “I’ve had these biceps for years, they didn’t just appear overnight! I’m not on social media so I didn’t see the comments. But being in the limelight for my arms isn’t really where I want to be.”
If things had gone to plan, we would have been doing this interview at Premier House in Wellington, the official residence of New Zealand’s prime minister.
But when we chat it’s only been 12 days since Christopher Luxon rode a blue wave to become our 42nd prime minister elect and the administrative wheels haven’t turned fast enough for the couple to move in yet.
So on a Thursday when the sky is the full Resene paint chart of greys, I catch the lift to the Luxon’s Wellington apartment. If Amanda wanted to she could probably see her husband’s Beehive office from here.
Dressed in fitted white jeans, her infamous biceps concealed by a white top and blue jacket, Amanda bustles around the compact kitchen making peppermint tea.
The mother of Olivia, 21, and William, 24, radiates positivity like a hot sun. Anyone who meets Amanda will tell you how polite and charming she is, the kind of woman who asks how you are and really listens to the answer.
She’s also endearingly unscripted, even though she knows her every move will be scrutinised from now on.
“I think the biggest change for me is the public recognition so I won’t be able to take the rubbish out at 6am in my pyjamas! For a long time nobody knew who I was and then it got to the point where a few people would look at me and go, where do I know you from?”
That level of public scrutinty means anyone with an opinion and an internet connection can say what they like about Amanda and her family.
“It’s why I’m being very specific about how I manage social media. The negative comments are outside my circle of control and add no value to me. I don’t need others telling me who I am or what I should do, so it’s about managing what we listen to. From early on, we tried to keep the kids as disengaged with social media as possible because those platforms are incredibly tough for our young people. We encouraged them to choose 10 people whose opinion they trusted, and if they needed advice to ask those people rather than listen to anyone else outside that circle because others don’t always have their best interests at heart.”
There’s a lot of things to get used to when you’re married to the Prime Minister, including the near constant presence of a couple of burly Diplomatic Protection Service (DPS) officers.
“Over the weekend we were out walking and two of the officers were following us which was something new. But they’re very respectful and try to be as unintrusive as possible. And I’m grateful for them because it enables Christopher to come home safely every night.”
Now that the rush of what some have called the toughest political campaign for decades is over, Amanda is busy ironing out logistics for her tight-knit family.
“I’ll still live in Auckland because I have a life there. But I’ll fly to wherever I’m needed. For me, it’s a question of how I can add value so if I’m needed at an event I will go.”
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