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Farmer Wants a Wife: Lake Mac date Brooke McCallum tells all

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Almost six months after filming wrapped up on this year’s Farmer Wants a Wife, Redhead Surf Lifesaving Club faithful Brooke McCallum is opening up about an experience she says changed her life. 

The independent, well-travelled, almost-28-year-old, who joined the reality TV program hoping to find her forever partner, has since returned to her midwifery career, single but no less keen to find love. 

Brooke McCallum with Farmer Bert, Season 14 of Farmer Wants a Wife.

Brooke was a contestant on the 14th season of the popular Seven Network series that sends potential love interests to a farm property, hoping to find a love match for a farmer. 

To date it has featured females hoping to marry a male farmer, with ladies aged over 18 applying to meet a chosen man on the land after reading his credentials online. 

They are screened by the farmer before being selected for the series, with some receiving a “wild card” of sorts from a member of the farmer’s family and joining at a later date. 

Cue University of Newcastle 2017 graduate Brooke McCallum. 

Farmer Wants a Wife
One of Brooke McCallum’s favourite times on the show was attending the Farmer Wants a Wife Country Ball.

In the latest season of Farmer Wants a Wife, she was chosen by Farmer Bert’s mother as a likely match for her Queensland-based pineapple and dragon fruit farmer. 

The girl from Lake Macquarie initially expressed her interest in him after his profile ticked a lot of her boxes. 

No one could have predicted, however, that Brooke’s time on the show would come to a crashing halt when her love interest, Farmer Bert, made a surprise exit from the show saying he did not “have what it takes to be in a relationship right now”. 

She became one of three girls left high and dry on the Wamarun farm, sent home on the eve of her much-anticipated 24-hour date. 

That was in November 2023. 

Since then, Brooke says, she’s had time to reflect on her experience and what she has learned are lessons she’ll take with her throughout the rest of her life.   

How did you end up on Farmer Wants a Wife? 

It just popped up in my emails, I think. I had a look through his [Bert’s] profile and instantly felt like we had a lot in common. I’m pretty adventurous I guess, so I thought, why not, I’ll give this a go. I was working in Alice Springs then, and on our lunch breaks the girls I worked with would play his ad, which was always funny because they knew I’d applied. 

In fact, I think the photo I sent him was of me with the Alice Springs Maternity ward in the background. 

Brooke McCallum spent her youth heavily involved in the Redhead Surf Lifesaving Club, which her family still plays a big part in.

First impressions? 

He’s very good looking and he’s got a beautiful smile and is obviously very kind. 

What were some of the best and worst moments during filming?

it was a lot of fun, I guess getting to travel to the event to meet up with the other farmers and the other girls. It was always interesting and always exciting. We got to see a bit of Australia and getting dressed up for the country ball and going camping was fun. 

I loved the girls, and I had a lot of fun with the girls, but it definitely came with its challenges. We all lived together for over a month so that’s a while to be living in each other’s pockets and sharing rooms and having Bert your main focus and the topic of conversation all the time was tough. You’re hearing about other people’s connections, and you’re just trying not to let that influence or infiltrate your own thinking and your own connection with him. That was challenging at times. 

It was confronting having cameras in your face all the time, it took me a while to get used to that, and I guess my farm did have a lot of drama. 

There were some big personalities and I think I found that a bit hard because there were quite a few moments where things happened that I found quite disrespectful. 

Staying calm was helpful in those challenging moments. 

There definitely were a few tough moments, and not all of them made it to air, but I did have a lot of fun with the girls, despite the tensions.

I’ve caught up with Taniel, which was the other mum’s pick, since filming finished. She’s a beautiful girl and I’m glad that I’m friends with her.

Brooke McCallum included a photo of her at work on the maternity ward at an Alice Springs Hospital in her Farmer Wants a Wife application.

Tell me about the painting date 

That was a hard first date to be honest because it was around intimacy and obviously I’d only been there for a week and was just getting to know Bert. 

We had to come up with it ourselves, which was challenging because the focus was on emotional intimacy and it’s hard when you’re still getting to know someone to let your guard down so soon.

Painting is something very personal to me. I was quite unwell in 2020 and had to have a little bit of time off work to focus on getting myself better and part of the way I rehabilitated was through painting. 

I had to learn how to walk and speak and write again, and painting was a way that I got those fine motor skills back.  

Painting taught me that not everything’s always going to be perfect, and you can’t always control things, but you can still see the beauty in them. 

It’s very cathartic in a way.  

As much as I used it to be able to write again, I’ve continued to paint because I enjoy it and it gives me an appreciation for life, knowing each day is a new day, and it reminds me to see the goodness in every day, something that I always try to do. 

Life is so fragile and so beautiful and that’s what I wanted to share with Bert in that moment. It definitely broke down the walls for us, obviously you didn’t get to see it all, but we definitely connected. 

How did you pass the time at the farm? 

Filming was a few hours each day, obviously Bert had to keep up the running of the farm. 

Unfortunately there were limitations around how much you could actually help, so I tried to show my appreciation by working in the home. 

I did a bit of the cooking and the cleaning, at night I’d make a meal for everyone. That’s where I tried to pull my weight because otherwise I’d be sitting around waiting for him to get home from work. 

I’ve got three siblings and I’m the eldest so you get used to having the responsibility of helping out, and I think growing up we were always taught to take pride in your home, and living on the farm that became our home. 

Maybe it was one thing I felt I could control in the experience as well. 

Brooke McCallum has seen much of Australia, travelling for work as a midwife in the Northern Territory.

Did you ever feel jealous of the other girls being with Bert? 

I went in with the mindset of as much as he is going to pick between us, I’m also choosing – I didn’t go into it just for the fun of it, I did it to meet my person. If I didn’t feel anything there, I would have walked away because it’s not something I would do for fun. 

I think it helped a lot not to put him on a pedestal, but just know that as much as he’s getting to know me, I’m actually getting to know him, and would he make a good partner for me? I guess that helps with the jealousy or that uncomfortable feeling that there’s other girls around. 

I sort of just focused on myself and what I brought to the table. I think it comes down to that whole concept of self-love and being your own source of validation because I think when you have insecurities, that’s when you’d get jealous. 

What did you learn from the experience? 

Well, I learned that dragonfruit only blooms at night. 

I learned to appreciate pineapple farming, there’s no magic machine, its all done by hand, and it really is hard work. 

It was sort of a turning point when I got that email, and I realised I’m ready to do life with someone special. I’m ready for this next chapter of my life.  Sadly, this didn’t work out, but I definitely don’t regret the experience.  

I learned a lot about myself and a lot about what I want in a partner, and even though this wasn’t meant to be, there was a genuine connection there and I feel like it was a once in a lifetime adventure, something I’ll always look back on. 

Have you found love Brooke McCallum? 

There’s someone on the horizon, but its very early days so that’s all I’ll say. 

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