EL Letter: Julia Why? shares her mental health story

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Disclosure: This letter addresses mental health, for help contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 or for Support Act’s 24/7 wellbeing helpline contact 1800 959 500.

When it’s broken, my mind can trap me under the earth’s surface. At the same time, it can throw me up and outwards through the sun and into the stars. 

Bipolar disorder is this intense fluctuation between what’s referred to clinically as “mania” and “depression.” For me, it revealed itself most intensely two years ago. 

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I had just come back from touring Canada. I was completely exhausted; physically and mentally. I organised, booked and managed this 17-date tour without a manager, agent, label or publicist. I did it all myself as well travelling to, promoting and performing each show. Add to that less than a few hours sleep each night, alcohol, drugs and an unsupportive, all-male band that made me feel completely alone. It was an extreme lesson in what not to do. 

When we made it home I couldn’t get out of bed. I felt helpless. I couldn’t imagine the future. I was so heavy with sadness I left my wallet at home, wrote a note and drove to The Gap. When you’re depressed, it feels like the weight of the world is so dense you’re kind of sinking in quick sand. You keep trying to twist free but the more you move, the more tired you become. Eventually you feel so stuck you sink. I had already been swallowed up and I couldn’t see out. To be honest, the only thing that stopped me at the time was thinking about my dog at home alone, wondering where I was. I still credit her with saving me that night. 

A few months later, I broke up with my fiancé. Then the night David Bowie died, two of my friends had an exhibition opening at the Bearded Tit in Redfern. We the bar blasted Bowie, we all cried together and celebrated his life until morning. After that, I started seeing synchronicity on every street I walked on. I stopped sleeping. I would stay up all night until 8am (partying, writing songs, making plans, starting a business, playing shows). At 9am I’d go to work until 5pm and do it all again, 5 days a week. This went on for months. I was insatiable. I felt so confident I could do anything. I did everything. But no-one could keep up. One minute I was laughing, the next I was crying. I was paranoid. I knew I had to get help when my friends told me they’d never seen me like this before. When they told me to slow down because I was talking so fast. When the person I was seeing broke it off because they were exhausted. When I couldn’t eat because I was so full of adrenaline. When I became terrified that I’d lost total control and couldn’t get it back. 

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 Two weeks before going to hospital, I was fired from my job when I publicly called out my boss’s sexual harassment. He refused to sign Centrelink forms so I had no income. Days before I went to hospital, my card got skimmed and all my money was stolen. I felt completely desperate, like the universe was conspiring to screw me over. Sitting on the floor on the verge of breaking down completely the name Support Act went off like a lightbulb in my brain. I knew about them because I’d helped promote one of their events a few years back. I went on their website, submitted a rambling, stream of consciousness application and didn't expect much. 

Support Act really came to my rescue. Within a few days, I was talking through my situation with Lindy. She was straight talking, funny and empathetic. She listened to everything I had to say and called my ex-boss a prick. After about 90 minutes of conversation I realised I was talking to THE Lindy Morrison from The Go-Betweens; only one of my greatest musical heroes. I cannot tell you how happy this little sign from the stars made me. On a practical level, Support Act helped with my hospital costs and paid my rent while I was recovering so I didn’t have to stress about finding a job while I was sick. On an emotional level, Support Act made me feel hope again. 

My ex-fiancé checked me in to hospital; the psych ward. I asked him to. The term “psych ward” sounds intense but where I went was far from One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. Luckily I had private health insurance which covered the otherwise exorbitant cost. Many people, like the homeless men you see talking to themselves on the street, can’t afford the hospital care I received. It’s not fair.

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For once I actually liked the doctor I was assigned. He seemed very calm, had kind eyes, glasses, was short, from Malaysia. I noticed he had handmade paintings, sketches, framed photographs and handwritten cards hanging on his walls. Looking closely, I realised they were from his previous patients. I thought that was a good sign. I’d had many doctors before who didn’t understand me or seemed to care. Some I actively despised. I’ve since learned that any kind of mental health professional, whether it’s a GP, a therapist or a psychiatrist, it’s worth taking the time to find one you click with. Follow your gut and believe your first impression. 

Music has played a big part in this journey. In the period of 6 months or so when I was really sick, I wrote the best songs I think I ever had.  That’s the new album I’m putting out next year - it kind of documents this experience.  A reoccurring theme throughout hospital and talking to Support Act, is that I have to keep doing it - doctor’s orders. 

The reason is, music has always been a release for me - even back when I started writing songs and playing guitar at age 10. I was a weird kid. I went through periods of muteness, months at a time. Looking back, I realise I was extremely anxious to the point where I couldn’t talk. When I couldn’t speak, I wrote songs. Music was a way for me to express what was going on inside my head when I couldn’t verbalise it. This is still kind of true. Even now, my songs express emotions and thoughts that I sometimes struggle to articulate through conversation. There are complicated reasons why I struggle with passivity sometimes. Music is my way to break out of that. 

I look at Trump. I look at Tony Abbott. I look at Harvey Weinstein. I look at Sticky Fingers and I listened to their “boys will be boys” defence on triple j. I think about male friends who’ve betrayed my trust or crossed my boundaries. I look at festival line-ups full of white men. This power imbalance grinds me down sometimes.  I try as hard as I can but sometimes I doubt my own strength. I feel insecure. Sometimes I don’t have the energy to argue my point of view and I feel like giving up. When my voice is muted like this, music is a way for me to be heard and to stand my ground. To be true to myself. Being able to sing and scream on a stage everything I want to say, it’s like an antidote to sinking in that quick sand.  

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It’s been three years since I released my last album. It’s been two years since my breakdown. It’s been one year since the MeToo movement. Now? My doctor told me my recovery was “miraculous.” It’s kind of true - I love life at the moment. And I haven’t relapsed in two years. I take medications that luckily work for me. And despite common fears about meds, I’m not numb. I still feel things intensely. Often I laugh so hard I cry and my stomach hurts. Sometimes I just cry. The beauty of music is that it’s always there to comfort us, to heal, to share our stories and learn from others’. Soon I’ll release a new album but this time, I’ll take it slow. And I'll be strong enough to be myself, fully – the ups with the downs. 

If anyone out there reading this is struggling, I want to promise you that things will get better. They will. It's The Boethian Wheel. You just have to keep going. It's incredible what we're capable of getting through. The hole that mental illness, or any kind of adversity, can leave in you opens up a space that can be filled with future joy. I really believe that. So hang in there. 

For help contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14

For Support Act’s 24/7 wellbeing helpline contact 1800 959 500

For more information on Support Act’s services visit: https://supportact.org.au/

Friday, November 16 is Aus Music T-Shirt Day where you can donate directly to Support Act

Follow Julia Why? on Instagram, like her on Facebook and listen to her music on Spotify.

Filmmaker Jasmine Higgins wants to shift narrow minded perspectives

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NAME

Jasmine Higgins

WHAT DO YOU DO?


I’m a filmmaker and feminist. I’m currently preparing to release my first short film ‘We Share The Language Of Rhythm’, which is a documentary on the Female DJ community in Sydney.

FAVOURITE BAND?

Red Hot Chilli Peppers

FAVOURITE SONG?

Get Shaky - Ian Carey Project. Oldie but a goodie.

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?


At the moment it has to be Lady Gaga. Not only is she a dynamic and extremely talented musical artist, but throughout her career she’s constantly promoted the importance of being authentic and being comfortable in your own skin. She’s touched such a diverse range of fans with her music and her words. She’s honest, raw, genuine and unapologetically herself...and those qualities especially in the entertainment industry, but also in general as a woman can sometimes be hard to stay true to when there are many people out there attempting to change you and fit you into a certain type of box. After watching a few of her interviews I really admire her humility and how passionate she is about her art.

 A shot from Jasmine’s film ‘We Share The Language Of Rhythm’

A shot from Jasmine’s film ‘We Share The Language Of Rhythm’

HOW CAN WOMEN BEST SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER?

I think to support each other we need to practise empathy and listen to one another. Sitting back and understanding where other women have come from and hearing their stories will allow one to grasp a better idea of how to be as supportive as possible. We need to ensure women of all types of cultural and social backgrounds are being supported and that their voices are being heard. And you can only do that by initiating conversation and gaining perspectives that are different to your own. Be open minded!

Another important thing - cut the girl vs. girl mentality that’s been so deeply embedded and promoted in our society. I think we’ve been heavily conditioned to see each other as fierce competition. Let’s stop this asap. Seeing each other as threats is damaging to everyones self esteem and confidence, we need to be lifting each other up.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF?

Stop fixating on what everyone else is doing or saying or thinking around you. You will never have the control of knowing what people truly think of you, so why bother fussing over it? Trying to please other people and adjusting yourself or dulling yourself down without considering your own happiness and fulfilment is a futile practise. You end up getting emotionally exhausted and you find yourself in friendships/relationships where the other persons’ happiness is always put before your own. Focus on your world and your own passions and you will go far, trust me.

WHAT MAKES YOU WANT TO GIVE UP? HOW DO YOU BOUNCE BACK?

Self criticism is a big one. Making this documentary has really tested how I treat myself when mistakes are made or when deadlines are missed. I had times where I was up at 3am in the morning editing wanting to throw my goddamn laptop across the room because I wasn’t happy with what I was creating. But in those moments when you are extremely hard on yourself, you need to take a step back and breathe. And after that, reflect on the thought process that you just experienced. Learn how to feed yourself more kindness and forgiveness when things don’t go your way because punishing yourself is not a healthy way to cope. I think people can sometimes get confused between pushing yourself and punishing yourself. It’s absolutely okay to have a strong drive and be a perfectionist but you need to allow yourself a bit of room for potential failures. You’re only human.

WHAT WOMEN DO YOU LOOK UP TO?

I look up to women like Malala Yousafzai and Oprah Winfrey, women who aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe in. Women who care about what’s going on in the world, and calling out injustice. In terms of women who I am surrounded by in my everyday life, my close friend Maria Boyadgis who is an incredible photographer is someone who I admire. She always puts 110% into her work and is absolutely killing the game while being humble and down to earth about it. She is always supporting me and giving me reassurance. I hope to one day develop a similar work ethic and be as successful as her.


IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANYTHING IN THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I’d change the perspectives of each and every person in the world who holds the belief that one type or group of human being(s) is more valuable and important than another. Obviously to change every single bigoted, racist, ableist, homophobic etc. person’s worldview is not possible, but it’d be one of the greatest accomplishments in my life if I could change at least some people's views to be more accepting and open towards the incredible and colourful world we live in. I’m hoping to use filmmaking as a tool to try and shift the perspectives of those who are narrow minded.


‘We Share The Language Of Rhythm’ will be released on social media this Sunday. Follow Jasmine
on Instagram.

Carley Austin AKA SILA on making it happen

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NAME

Carley Austin (SILA)

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I sing, write, produce and perform my own music. I also DJ! (well, let's say a wannabe DJ)

FAVOURITE BAND?

Tough question - I'm going to go with The Internet. Their slick beats and smooth vocals make me melt every time.

FAVOURITE SONG?

Goddess by BANKS

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

BANKS - Her lyrics are empowering, and she's unapologetically herself as a performer. I remember being in Chicago as a (broke) 21 year old, I couldn't afford a Lolapalooza ticket so I peered through the gates and watched Banks on the sidelines. I just remember being blown away by her energy, and the power of those dark electronic and R&B sounds. Ever since then I've wanted to create my own spin on these genres, because of her!

IS THIS WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF?

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Definitely. I've been singing since I was 7, and have always had a deep love for music and performing. I can't imagine doing anything else really.

THREE OF YOUR HARDEST MOMENTS?

When I was 19, I was pretty much bullied out of a girl group that I had poured my heart and soul into for years. At the time, I was really down and had zero self-worth. Hindsight is funny though, because this really strengthened me emotionally, and musically. I may not have discovered electronic music until much later if this hadn't of happened! Another tough moment would of been when I decided to quit my full-time job to pursue music. In my head and my heart I knew it was the right choice, but some people around me didn't entirely support it - so it was difficult to stay true to myself and pursue my passion while being surrounded by negative comments. But boy am I glad that I stuck to my guns! When you love something and work hard for it, it pays off.

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?

I see myself writing an EP, touring and collaborating with other artists. Collaboration especially, it's so important (and exciting) for independant artists. Working with other creatives helps you grow, discover new sounds and write about things that you never thought you'd write about. That will definitely be my next move.

FORKS IN THE ROAD, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THEM?

This is something that I believe you learn with age and experience. When I was in my teens I would freak out, my anxiety would be in full swing and I'd allow things to build up all in my own head. But now I've learnt to firstly - BREATHE. Then take things step by step. I personally need to talk it out with someone - I find that speaking to my sister or chatting to my best girlfriends is key. Even if it's music industry related and they don't fully understand the predicament, advice from your nearest and dearest always goes a long way.

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK ETHIC.

Wake up and work hard at what you want each day, but don't self-discriminate if your creativity or ideas aren't flowing the way you need them too. Motivate yourself each day, but also pay yourself with respect and self-love along the way.

DO YOU HAVE RITUALS? WOULD YOU SHARE ONE WITH US?

Does a quick spray of rescue remedy under the tongue pre - gig, count as a ritual? I love that stuff - it actually does work and calms the excitement/nerves!

View this post on Instagram

Studio days are good days

A post shared by SILA (@_silamusic) on

HOW CAN WOMEN BEST SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER?

Acceptance and encouragement. If we continue to assist each other in achieving our purpose or missions, we can seriously conquer the world. I've seen a big uplift of women supporting each other in the music community, and the encouragement and help I've received from this network of ladies has assisted me greatly in recent times. It's so empowering to see women help each other in making their passions come alive.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF?

Don't give a fuck what people think of you. If you are passionate, you work hard and you're kind during the process - then you'll be more successful if you focus on yourself and ignore the opinion of others.

WHAT MAKES A WOMAN ELECTRIC?

Confidence, resilience and passion.

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HAVE YOU COME UP AGAINST RESISTANCE WITH WHAT YOU’RE DOING? HOW DID YOU MANAGE IT?

Definitely. In all honesty, it's something that I'm still working through. It's been difficult to make a living as a new starter in the music industry, and it's something hard to discuss and persuade my parents. Although resistant to my career choice, they are very proud of me. However I regularly need to catch up with and explain my future plans or how I'm earning a living, just so they understand and aren't worried. I've just been honest with them, and have worked casual jobs to keep my passion alive, and my head above the water.

WHAT MAKES YOU WANT TO GIVE UP? HOW DO YOU BOUNCE BACK?

As mentioned above, as a new starter in music - not having regular income has made me think twice. However each time in my mindset, I think "okay it's now or never to give it a go - this is what I want to do, and I need to make it happen". I've had a corporate 9-5 job before, and I wasn't happy nor was I particularly that good at it. So, I WILL make this happen. And let's be honest, there are always side - jobs out there to make money. I can do it!

WHAT WOMEN DO YOU LOOK UP TO?

I know this sounds cliche, but my mum. She's gone through some dark times in her life, but has turned out such a strong, resilient and kind- hearted woman. She's actually just signed up to do the Kokoda Trail next year - I couldn't be more inspired and proud! I also look up to women in the creative industry, especially those in artist management, labels and booking agents. They pull through and kill it in a very male - dominated industry.

DO YOU HAVE ANY LITTLE SECRETS TO FOLLOWING YOUR PASSION?

Just... keep... going. Trust in the universe and it will come to you.

WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A KID? HAS ANYTHING CHANGED?

I yapped a lot and sung to strangers - so no, nothing has changed really.


WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A TEENAGER? WHAT MAJOR THINGS DID YOU COME TO REALISE AS YOU GREW UP?

I came across to be an extrovert and was at times a high achiever, but I was very anxious and extremely self-critical (like lots of teenage women are). I just wish that when I was in school, I hadn't of listened to bullies and trusted in myself more. I also wish that I had of drawn in my eyebrows...

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANYTHING IN THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

No religion, just love and peace!

Follow SILA on Instagram and listen to her music on Spotify.


Clea: 'the camaraderie of women is essential'

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NAME

Clea Pratt

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I'm a musician

FAVOURITE BAND?

Grizzly Bear

FAVOURITE SONG?

At the moment it's 'Forget About Life' by Alvvays

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Jenn Wasner from Wye Oak. Her melodies are incredible and not to mention she's a badass bass lady that writes obscure, beautiful riffs.

IS THIS WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF?

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Initially I was heading straight to the Olympics but from the age of about 14 the blissful world of music was at the forefront of my vision and there was no going back.

HOW CAN WOMEN BEST SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER?

We are starting to see a glimpse of equality for woman in the social and professional environment. To continue to squash certain stigmatism around gender, the camaraderie of women is essential. It's as simple as never discouraging anyone from doing anything purely because of their genitalia.

DO YOU HAVE ANY LITTLE SECRETS TO FOLLOWING YOUR PASSION?

Absolutely nothing comes to you. No matter how talented or how much you've honed your craft, if you want something you have to actively push and work tirelessly for anyone to take notice.

WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A TEENAGER? WHAT MAJOR THINGS DID YOU COME TO REALISE AS YOU GREW UP?

I was active, motivated, daggy and emotional. Nothing has changed besides being a touch lazier... I'm working on it. I recently delved into my embarrassing old Photo Booth videos on my laptop and my housemates confirmed that baby faced Clea and I are the same.

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IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANYTHING IN THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Our system of education. The regimented format of schooling is designed for one type of person. There's no room for kids to find their interests and run with it...forced learning is a killer. And then of course with a more individualised, socially informative and relevant education system, the next generation changes the world for good.

Like Clea on Facebook and follow her on Instagram. Listen on Spotify and Apple Music.




Abbey Gardner on appreciating the good moments

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NAME

Abbey Gardner

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I'm a singer-songwriter, who accompanies myself on guitar and keys.

FAVOURITE BAND?

Glass Animals

FAVOURITE SONG?

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Come On Eileen - Dexys Midnight Runners

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Vera Blue - Her songs are not only insanely catchy, but also the creativity behind the songwriting and production is something I inspire for! She's an iconic Australian female artist in the electronic-indie-pop music scene.

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?

I would love to start playing in proper festival line ups. I think festivals are a perfect opportunity to reach the right fan base. They have amazing atmospheres, surrounded by people who genuinely love music. As I'm really trying as a young artist to get my name out there, I'm really looking forward to reaching out to more festivals to share my music with new crowds.

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK ETHIC.

I see myself as a hard worker. I'm managing myself at this point, which means I need to put in the effort if I want an outcome. To support myself financially I've been playing gigs most Friday/Saturday nights, and as a 19-year-old I have to sacrifice a lot of my social life for my work. But when you're rewarded for the hours put in, it makes it all worth it.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF?

I would tell my younger self to really take in the great moments and achievements. I've had a lot of great musical experiences in my career I wish I could relive. A lot of the time I think we get caught up thinking of the missed opportunities, or the mistakes made. I think it's so important to appreciate when something great has happened; even if they're small accomplishments such as my first recording experience, or playing to a sold out crowd for the first time.

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WHAT MAKES YOU WANT TO GIVE UP? HOW DO YOU BOUNCE BACK?

You get a lot of rejection in this industry. As a young female artist trying to establish herself with her music, it's hard to be taken seriously. You receive a lot of skepticism from professionals doubting whether you know what you're doing or what direction you want to go in. My favourite way to bounce back after that sort of criticism is to channel it into music. My recently released song 'War Child' is my favourite example of a song I've created that was inspired by bad industry experience. After feeling demeaned as a young female musician I threw my emotions into an anthem and was able to create something positive out of it all.

WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A KID? HAS ANYTHING CHANGED?

I was very ambitious. I would constantly daydream about my future in music - which I guess in the end made it easier to pursue this career since it's something I've always wanted. Although I'm still ambitious, I've definitely become more of a realist. I still aspire to establish myself in music, but at the same time understand how much hard work and dedication has to go into it all. It's definitely one hard career path to choose.

Like Abbey Gardner on Facebook and follow her on Instagram. Listen to her on Spotify here.




Liminal Mag Editor Leah Jing leans into growing pains

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NAME

Leah Jing McIntosh

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I'm a writer and photographer from Melbourne. I founded and edit Liminal Magazine (www.liminalmag.com), a space for the exploration of the Asian-Australian experience. Liminal publishes long-form interviews and art with Asian-Australian creatives. Later this year, we'll be launching our first print edition.

 Ellen YG Son by Leah Jing McIntosh

Ellen YG Son by Leah Jing McIntosh

FAVOURITE BAND?

I don't know if I have a favourite band but I do have a favourite instagram about bands and it's @lineupswithoutmen, which photoshops male bands off festival posters in an effort to highlight gender inequality in the music industry. It’s such an effective mode to present data on the lack of female and non-binary representation in many Australian music festivals.


FAVOURITE SONG?

I'm bad at favourites. Right now I’m listening to Naaz covering Ultralight Beam.

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

I’ve been listening a lot to NoName recently - and her Tiny Desk Concert (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K58JYXhb4YA) is so so good.

 Leah Jing McIntosh’s photography

Leah Jing McIntosh’s photography

FORKS IN THE ROAD, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THEM?

Badly! Hard decisions make you confront your self in ways you often don’t expect. But lately I’ve started to try to lean into the growing pains.

 Leah Jing McIntosh

Leah Jing McIntosh

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK ETHIC.

I have a sign above my desk that says: work hard / be patient / be kind.

DO YOU HAVE RITUALS? WOULD YOU SHARE ONE WITH US?

I try to go for a walk every day with my housemate and his chihuahua.

WHAT MAKES YOU WANT TO GIVE UP? HOW DO YOU BOUNCE BACK?

Living as a racialised body in Australia is pretty exhausting. I don’t know if I ever ‘bounce back’. When I’m being good, I try to give myself space to breathe.

WHAT WOMEN DO YOU LOOK UP TO?

My Mom. My pals. Lee Lin Chin.

Follow Leah on Instagram here and see more of her work on her website. Check out Liminal Mag on Instagram, Facebook and the website.



Millie from Ivey on just going with it

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NAME

Millie

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Lead singer of Ivey

FAVOURITE BAND?

The Preatures

FAVOURITE SONG?

I don’t have a favourite song but Dang! - Mac Miller always puts me in a good mood.

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FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Stevie Nicks... no explanation needed.

IS THIS WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF?

Honestly no but now I can’t imagine my life without it.

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?

I don’t have a clue I don’t even know what I want to do tomorrow.

This EP is sounding LARGE

A post shared by Ivey (@iveytheband) on

 

DO YOU HAVE RITUALS? WOULD YOU SHARE ONE WITH US?

Every time before we play a show we do a group huddle to hype each other up.

HOW CAN WOMEN BEST SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER?

I think every woman has been a culprit of judging other women before giving them a chance. I think the best way to support women is to be open minded about each other and be supportive toward one another.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF? OR THE BEST ADVICE YOU'VE BEEN GIVEN?

If I could tell my young self anything I would tell her to stop stressing so much and just go with it.

WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A TEENAGER? WHAT MAJOR THINGS DID YOU COME TO REALISE AS YOU GREW UP?

Even though I’m still at teenager I’ve figured that you have to be your own person in the world and you can’t worry about what other people think.

Like Ivey on Facebook here and follow them on Instagram. Listen on Spotify and Apple Music

Lucy Peach: 'do what you love at all costs'

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NAME

Lucy Peach

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Artist/Educator in /Music and Theatre

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FAVOURITE BAND?

Big Thief

FAVOURITE SONG?

You Came Out of a Lady

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Stevie Nicks - she wrote her own rules and completely embraced and celebrated her strength and femininity and SHE STILL IS doing this! I want to be like her when I grow up.

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?

I want to keep making music with amazing musicians and artists for all time! Also I'm planning to begin a research project on the impact of delivering menstrual cycle awareness programs in schools. It absolutely riles me up that we still teach the menstrual cycle in such a box ticking, reductionist way; "Here's how you use a tampon, good luck and have a nice life." It's not good enough. We are selling girls, women and anyone who menstruates short. The menstrual cycle isn't just the presence or absence of blood and the hormonal cycle is not some 'crazy rollercoaster.' It's a little known fact that we have 4 hormonal phases that each arrive in turn like the seasons and once you know what they are you can predict them, use them and plan for them - it's called a cycle for a reason. We need to celebrate the fact that our fluidity is a kick ass power. This isn't always easy in a world still governed by the linear - so we need to keep talking positively. That's what I want to keep doing. I wrote an EP based on journalling months on my own phases and I recorded it during a creative/premenstrual phase and my very next project will be to release that into the world!

FORKS IN THE ROAD, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THEM?

I check my cycle - to see what I need most - do I need rest/peace/to talk/exercise/direction/some creative time? Then I remind myself that I'm going to get whereever it is I'm meant to go - but that there are 100's of ways to get there - so I just look for the silver lining.

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK ETHIC.

A loose kind of tight. Always looking to collaborate and bring other people in with their goodness. Always looking to amplify the good bits. I don't have time to perpetuate anything that isn't going to help. I really believe that if more people understood women's bodies then it isn't too much of a long bow to see how this can lead to greater connection EVERY where. Connection is key. And going with the flow! I am not linear - and I see that as a strength.

DO YOU HAVE RITUALS? WOULD YOU SHARE ONE WITH US?

Yes! I say grace every night with my family. We hold hands and say thank you for whatever it is we're grateful for, then you keep holding hands until you feel a squeeze get passed on. It is my favourite part of the day; connected, quiet and grateful. It's the perfect way to start a meal together and I relish it.

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WHAT MAKES A WOMAN ELECTRIC?

Pleasing herself. This is really all you can do! Then you always win.

HAVE YOU COME UP AGAINST RESISTANCE WITH WHAT YOU’RE DOING? HOW DID YOU MANAGE IT?

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Occasionally and I am careful to give it only about 8% of my energy. A guy once said to me (a good friend actually), "geez Lucy, you always go on about your period." And I said, "Yeah well, that's because it happens to me all the time and kind of governs my life and anyway what would you rather I talked about-my shit?" He said, "Well... yes." And then I realised that my job isn't to convince those people. It's more important to reach the ones who are already curious about using their innate power and to make them feel emboldened and I LOVE doing that. It makes up for everything that's ever difficult. I just look for the sweet spots and ignore the rest.

DO YOU HAVE ANY LITTLE SECRETS TO FOLLOWING YOUR PASSION?

If you think you are a just a tiny bit good at something - you ARE and just start. You don't need anyone's permission. Every day feed it just a little bit and 10 years later will come so quick and then you will have a come a long way and then you just need to keep going. Just do what you love at all costs.

Lucy Peach is performing at Sydney Fridge Festival on September 13, 14 and 15, find out more details and buy tickets here. Like Lucy on Facebook and follow her on Instagram.

Essie Holt on seeking new perspectives

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NAME

Essie Holt

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Artist

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Megan Washington. Her songs have been with me for over 8 years now and have stuck with me as I've grown up. I find her super inspiring and every time I see her live I'm blown away consistently. Thanks Meg!

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?

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I'm working on an EP at the moment! I'm super keen to get that out later in the year and have a body of work to share with people that represents where I'm at right now. My favourite part about doing what I do is playing live, so I'm keen to play some really cool shows and support some more artists that I look up to.

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK ETHIC.

I'm really focussed on making this project the best it can be, so I basically live and breathe it. Writing is something that I can't switch off from and I do it pretty consistently. At the moment I'm spending a lot of time working on the EP, playing a lot of shows and writing as much as I can. I've got quite a bit of travel coming up too for some tours, so I'm trying to be really organised to make sure everything gets done and keeps moving forward.

DO YOU HAVE RITUALS? WOULD YOU SHARE ONE WITH US?

Every morning I take my dog for a walk down to our local cafe and grab a coffee. I plan out my day in my head and work out what the most important things I have to do are. It definitely helps me ease into the day.

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HOW CAN WOMEN BEST SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER?

I think just by listening and checking in with each other. It's really easy to get caught up in your own life, but it's so important to make time for the women around you and be in tune with how others may be feeling. And there's also something really cool about meeting up with someone you don't know super well and just chatting about life. It's cool to get new perspectives and get to know someone. I always walk away from those convos really inspired.

WHAT MAKES A WOMAN ELECTRIC?

I find a woman electric when they know what they want, take the path they're passionate about, work hard for it and are kind to people in the process.

Essie Holt's new single Better For You is out now. Like Essie Holt on Facebook and follow her on Instagram. Listen to her music on Spotify and Apple Music.

 

Flower Boy 卓颖贤 on learning to tune the negative voices out

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NAME

flower boy 卓颖贤

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I make music! It's usually described as dark/ambient/industrial so we'll go with that.

FAVOURITE BAND?

Too hard! I can't answer this question.

FAVOURITE SONG?

Something I've always been able to listen to on repeat and not get sick of is Flight of the Navigator by Childish Gambino

 

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

I really admire the way Bjork has always been unapologetically herself because that's something I struggle with sometimes, so for today I will say Bjork.

IS THIS WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF?

I don't think I've quite made it to what I've dreamt of yet. That being said, my goals are more emotional than physical. For me, it's more about finding emotional satisfaction and security than anything else.

 

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?

I've been thinking seriously about getting into movie soundtracking. I've done a couple short films and I've really enjoyed it. The marriage of visual and aural elements feels so natural to me so it's something I'd like to explore.

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FORKS IN THE ROAD, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THEM?

I'm currently at a fork in the road.... I guess I just think (or overthink) about the situation a lot. Often we already know which path we want to take. It's just a matter of realising what it is, then making peace with ourselves for not taking the other one. I tend to just ask myself which I'll regret not doing more, or I'll flip a coin. It's not about the side the coin lands on, but which one you hope it lands on while the coins still in the air.

DO YOU HAVE ANY LITTLE SECRETS TO FOLLOWING YOUR PASSION?

I'm going to be extremely realistic here and say that you need to be somewhat financially secure in order to follow your dreams. There's definitely this romanticised notion of abandoning all other aspects of your life and pursuing whatever it is you want to do, but the reality is unless you have somebody financially supporting you, that dream will quickly turn into a nightmare. The key is to find balance between your work life and art life - working somewhere that doesn't make you emotionally/physically exhausted, and still gives you enough time to explore your passions.

WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A TEENAGER? WHAT MAJOR THINGS DID YOU COME TO REALISE AS YOU GREW UP?

I was incredibly insecure. I still struggle with a lot of insecurities. I think the biggest thing for me was realising that there will always be someone out there judging you and telling you what you're doing is wrong or bad. So I'm learning to tune those voices out, and try not to listen to the negativity in my head and just go on with being me.

Like Flower Boy 卓颖贤 on Facebook and follow on Instagram. Listen on Spotify and Soundcloud

Hatchie: 'Be patient but not complacent'

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NAME

Harriette Pilbeam (Hatchie)

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I'm a musician

FAVOURITE BAND?

New Order

FAVOURITE SONG?

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Temptation by New Order

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Kate Bush. She moved mountains and did everything on her own terms.

IS THIS WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF?

Yes and no. I always wanted to be a musician but thought it was an unrealistic plan for me. It's been a long journey to where I am now, and different from what I expected, but I couldn't be happier. Looking back, I'm glad it took me this long to find my feet as an artist and I wouldn't have it any other way.

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?

GLOBAL!!!

FORKS IN THE ROAD, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THEM?

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I try to be realistic and trust that whichever path I choose, it's the right one for me. If something is meant to happen it will happen; even if I think I've made a mistake I always end up where I need to be.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF? 

Be patient but not complacent. Things will happen for you eventually but only if you work hard.

WHAT MAKES YOU WANT TO GIVE UP? HOW DO YOU BOUNCE BACK?

Constantly comparing myself to others. I have to remind myself it's a waste of time and energy and only brings me down. I put my head (and my phone!) down and focus on my own work.

Hatchie is this year's Levi's Music Prize winner and is headed overseas for a bunch of international dates find them here. Like her on Facebook and follow on Instagram. Listen to her music on Apple Music and Spotify.

Madison de Rozario: 'There is no one way for a woman to be strong'

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NAME


Madison de Rozario


WHAT DO YOU DO?


Athletics


FAVOURITE BAND?


The National

 


FAVOURITE SONG?


The Night We Met - Lord Huron


FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?


So many! More so as personalities than artists, necessarily. There’s so many strong women using their platforms in such amazing ways at the moment. It’s so empowering to see such incredible people using their voices.

IS THIS WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF?

Yes and no. I never thought I would be an athlete. It was never something that really occurred to me as a kid and it definitely wasn’t on my list. I made it all the way through primary school desperately wanting to be the Genie from Aladdin. However, the opportunity to be constantly improving and being pushed to be the very best version of myself is always something that has appealed to me. Athletics is such a straightforward way of doing exactly this.


WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?


I would love to keep following the path I’m on. There’s so much more space for improvement and growth. I find that really exciting and it’s something that motivates me every day, every training session. To add to that, I would love to use whatever platform this sport gives me to influence things I feel strongly about, and fight for causes I believe in.

HOW CAN WOMEN BEST SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER?

I think it’s important to remember that there are very few moments in life where we are actually competing with other women. So many parts of society are constantly pushing us to view other women as rivals and it can be really tricky to set all of that aside and focus on what we actually value. In my life I have had to do a lot of work around this exact issue.

For years my roommate when we travel and best friend has been another woman who I compete against directly. Despite being direct rivals, I would definitely say she is one of - if not my biggest - supporter. I’m not going to pretend it’s been easy, we have actively done a lot of work and there has been a lot of conversation to put ourselves in the position we are in today. Her support has been some of the most valuable in my career so far.

Winning is important when it comes to our sport, but neither of us get out on the track to beat the other - it’s just about being the best versions of ourself, on the track, on the day. The best athlete on the day will win, it’s as simple as that.

I’ll always be there to support her journey, regardless of mine, and regardless of whatever overlap those journeys have.

WHAT MAKES A WOMAN ELECTRIC?


Being anything and everything she wants to be.

There is no one way for a woman to be strong. You can be as soft as you like or as hard as you like. As independent or a team player. There is no definition.

DO YOU HAVE ANY LITTLE SECRETS TO FOLLOWING YOUR PASSION?


I like to remember that success is completely irrelevant. We are good at reminding ourselves that our failures don’t define us, but I try to remember that neither do our successes.

Sport has given me my highest moments, but it’s also broken my heart. While at the time, these moments were extreme, the weeks, the months and the years following were the same. It didn’t change how I felt about myself, or how I felt about my sport. It didn’t change my relationships or any other aspect of my life.

I love the life I get to lead because of my sport and I love everything it has given me. It’s important to love the journey. It’s important to remember the moments are fleeting.

Athlete Madison de Rozario was the first Australian to win the London Marathon women's wheelchair title. Follow Madison on Instagram and like her on Facebook

Emily Wurramara shares her secret to supporting others

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NAME

Emily Wurramara

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Singer/songwriter

FAVOURITE BAND?

Hiatus Kaiyote

 

FAVOURITE SONG?

Building a ladder

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Nai Palm because she is so powerful so strong and an incredible performer.

HOW CAN WOMEN BEST SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER?

By going to each others shows, giving their music a share and exposing other sisters to their own fanbase. Empowering and leaving kind words - I have my little group of sisters that range from DJs to singers and actresses and I am so grateful for their support and motivation I know they’ve always got my back and I’ve always got theirs.

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WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A KID? HAS ANYTHING CHANGED?

When I was young I was very shy and quiet and now I’m very outspoken and free spirited I’ve changed so much.

WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A TEENAGER? WHAT MAJOR THINGS DID YOU COME TO REALISE AS YOU GREW UP?

I was very wild as a teenager haha, my focus was school but I knew how to have fun doing it. I was a very bubbly person in high school. I was scared of not being liked but now I only have a handful of super close friends and have realised that if I’m not everyone’s cup of tea that’s totally fine everyone has a right to their own opinions. I also realised that it’s okay to be wrong sometimes and you just learn from that, I was such a perfectionist. 

Emily Wurramara is currently in PNG inspiring others with local musician Mereani Masani read more about it hereEmily's new album Milyakburra, which includes new single Ngarrikwujeyinama, is out now. Like her on Facebook and follow on Instagram. Listen to her on Spotify and Apple Music

Photographer Michelle Grace Hunder is living her dream

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NAME

Michelle Grace Hunder

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Music Photographer

 

FAVOURITE BAND?

Kendrick Lamar (*not a band lol)

FAVOURITE SONG?

m.A.A.d city

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Ecca Vandal, my absolute favourite AUS artist to see live!

IS THIS WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF?

I feel like I’m constantly pinching myself because I absolutely love my life and what I do. I get to take photos of all my favourite artists, go on tour, and be inspired by people that I really connect with! Definitely living the dream.

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FORKS IN THE ROAD, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THEM?

Forks in the road for me have always been the most exciting time for real change and progress. Even when I’ve been made redundant or something in past careers, it's always turned out for the best, and lead me on the road that eventually meant I picked up a camera. It's hard to see it at the time, but those moments have always been really positive in the end.

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK ETHIC

Relentlessly self driven.

DO YOU HAVE ANY LITTLE SECRETS TO YOUR PASSION?

There's no other secret other than bloody hard work, every person that I know that has been successful works around the clock!

WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A TEENAGER? WHAT MAJOR THINGS DID YOU COME TO REALISE AS YOU GREW UP?

Deeply insecure, incredibly self absorbed with how I looked being important and it consuming me because I wasn’t the ‘pretty girl’. I was a tomboy and hung out with boys a lot, felt very comfortable around men on this level, could easily become one of the boys and was quite proud of it. As I got older I realised I turned a blind eye to a lot of stuff and really forced myself to unpack the reasons why I never felt comfortable around women. In my older age this has really changed and I have the most amazing friendship group of incredible women who inspire and challenge me daily.

Michelle is the co-creator of Her Sound, Her Story which screens in Sydney on July 11 and Melbourne July 12 - get tickets here. Read the EL Letter here and follow Her Sound, Her Story on Instagram. Follow Michelle on Instagram and Facebook here.

Creative force Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore dances to her own beat

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NAME

Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I make films. I dance. I paint. I love cooking.

FAVOURITE BAND?

I’m really enjoying with working with emerging songstress Kaiit at the moment.

FAVOURITE SONG?

I can’t have favourite songs. But I tell you whenever I hear Emma Donavon open her mouth to sing, that tone of her voice - it completely sits me on my ass.

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Ecca Vandal. She is the definition of BOSS. Clear intentional artistic force with every move she makes.

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IS THIS WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF?

Papa is a painter and mama is a dancer. I was born into the most artistic of environments, surrounded by poets, writers, filmmakers, painters, performers - all from birth. So the destiny was inevitable, I just kept following the path that has been unfolding for me since I was young. Nowadays I dream about living a simpler life, having more time to spend with my family, sleeping in on Sundays and watching the tele.

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK ETHIC

I’m a workaholic, totally obsessed with creativity. That's a lot of sleepless nights, no weekends and a lot of superhero moves. The art come first.

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DO YOU HAVE RITUALS?

Dancing keeps me alive, it’s my greatest lifeline out of my moments of despair, it's my greatest joy. I tend to my garden often, growing my own veggies, if i'm lucky I try and speak to the neighbours. I've traveled the world a lot and met people from many different countries. I often close my eyes and imagine them, they're at the exact same time as me existing somewhere else in the world. I imagine what the light is like, what their day is like, how they might feel, what troubles their mind. Puts my place in the world into a bigger perspective.

BEST ADVICE YOU'VE BEEN GIVEN?

I chatted with Shellie Morris recently, I was beaming at her with a million and one inspired thoughts, so much that I couldn’t really get it out in words. She just smiled at my softly and said, "just sit, it will come". She talked to me about the days she had sound out on country with her aunties, just lying in their laps, not talking. Just being. Sitting in silence together. That's stuck with me.

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WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A KID? HAS ANYTHING CHANGED?

I was loud, with a husky voice, big eyebrows and always bossing everyone around. Not a lot has changed. My mum always recalls the times she would take me to theatre shows and age five I would come out after the curtains went down giving a run down critique on the production. The lighting design, the performers, the cues. I was highly creative and had a critical artist's eye. Always curating the world around me. I was on stage from a young age, so drawn to the prospect of creation and artistic process. I would be in many life modelling drawing sessions with my mum as the model and I remember a women coming over to me and asking me if when I grow up I wanted to be an artist. I looked up at her with very stern sentiment replied “I already am one".

WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A TEENAGER? WHAT MAJOR THINGS DID YOU COME TO REALISE AS YOU GREW UP? 

I was the kid in school that never really showed up to class, but still got top marks in all the arts subjects. The kid that all the teachers said had "so much potential if only she applied herself". I was once made to sit an IQ test just to make sure I didn't have a learning disability. I grew up fast, and was born old. I started working when I was 16, teaching dance, making films, taking photos. So life as I know it now seems like life as it's always been. Having not studied at uni or been that interested in high school, life experiences raised me. I look back now and in some ways wish I had an education. It would have made it easier to value my own worth and skill set from a much younger age. I grew up thinking it was a very normal thing to be multi-talented and make a living from what you love. As I've grown older I encountered so many people wishing they had followed their dreams. Trying to release themselves from the 9-5 life. It's always been a natural point of mine to now really encourage and support people to do what brings them joy. I learnt to tell people what I loved and admired about them as soon as I saw it. I learnt that I mustn't take my freedom for granted.

Claudia is the co-creator of Her Sound Her Story which screens in Sydney on July 11 and Melbourne July - get tickets here. Read the EL Letter here and follow Her Sound Her Story on Instagram. Follow Claudia on Instagram here.

EL Letter: Her Sound, Her Story inspired by women, propelled by friendship

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Dear readers, 

Who knew when Michelle and I met 6 years ago this monumental project is what we were going to create together.  The original concept for Her Sound, Her Story was Michelle’s, she wanted to create a small photographic series focused on shining a light on women in the Australian music industry.  She began taking portraits and soon realised the subjects needed much more documentation than just imagery. That’s when she ask me to come on board, to go with her to all the photoshoots and interview the women. 

We didn’t have any thoughts of what we might find. Instead just really determined to ask and listen to each woman’s individual experience. Off we went travelling around the country with our cameras in hand, some simple sound gear, sometimes a set of lights. In the first round we documented close to 50 women. Since then I have done another dozen interviews and Michelle is now up to her 80th portrait in the series. It’s a beautiful body of work. 

The last 4 years have been a journey for both of us. We often talk about the many 'pinch-ourselves' moments when we realised how fortunate we were to have these women share such intimate personal stories with us. It’s changed who we are as women. Knowing that if hearing their stories could change our lives, perhaps making the documentary would offer refuge to others, for me as the filmmaker that’s where it all stemmed from. 

So it’s the women themselves that inspired me, offering me strength to see the film through. I reflect on the day it dawned on me that all these stories were a reflection of my own. I found solace in all the women standing together in their collective, unspoken pain. As an editor I realised the responsibility bestowed upon me to share their stories in the most authentic way possible. I feel it’s a bold time to be alive as a women, the stakes are high, more than ever it’s crucial that women's voices be heard. 

There were many moments of tears, wanting to give up, it felt so hard to taking on such a big feat like making this film. Dealing with over 48 hours of rushes and countless files of b-roll, music, emails to artist mangers…the list went on and on. Many times wanting to give up. Michelle very patiently stood by my side, telling me to keep going. Reminding me that what we were doing was bigger that just her and I. As a fully independent venture I often say this film was funded on our friendship, and it really was. 

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She’s taught me how to really love a women, how to push and pull and always turn back to each other. Maintaining a friendship and working relationship is a testiment as to just how much we were both willing to grow in the process. Always leaning on each other, if one wasn’t able to carry the load the other would step in.

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The process was often confronting and heartbreaking, constantly revealing my own inability to celebrate the parts of myself that were innately feminine. Realising I had never invested the time to form strong bonds with women, I became obsessed to listen to the wisdom being shared. I wanted to break my own preconceived ideas of what is to be a woman. I’d spent years seeking validation and approval from men because I had thought their opinions of me carried more weight than that of anyone else. How wrong I was. My strongest allies have become the women around me. My biggest lesson was in loving and valuing myself above anyone else. 

The challenge to do something bigger than ourselves was never something for Michelle and I to shy away from. Instead we took a giant keep of faith held on to each other's hands tightly and kept heading in the same direction. Together. These women that we met over the past 4 yeas have become our community, and each others musical family. For us the greatest reward is seeing the ripple effect of connectivity, the love and adoration amongst all the artists involved. Just the other day Jen Cloher said to me her and Mojo Juju were at a gig together talking about how Her Sound, Her Story connected them to each other, reminding them are not alone. With that sentiment comes a time of healing, a great amount of feeling connected to one another, that’s all we could've asked for. 

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To all the women we have met along the way thanks for trusting us with your untold stories. We hope you feel reflected, we hope you feel heard and more than anything we hope you feel celebrated. 

To any one willing let Her Sound, Her Story be a chance to listen, please take it as a grand gesture in the direction of change. 

To every gorgeous women reading this we say; 

We see you. We hear you. Keep going.

xo

Claudia

Claudia is the co-creator of Her Sound, Her Story which screens in Sydney on July 11 and Melbourne July 12 - get tickets here. Read Michelle's and Claudia's EL profiles. Follow Her Sound, Her Story on Instagram.

Canaria CEO Alex Moss works with NASA and uses tech to save lives

 Photo: Alex Moss in Doc Martens A/W 18

Photo: Alex Moss in Doc Martens A/W 18

NAME

Alex Moss

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Founding CEO & Head Designer of Canaria Technologies: an elite AI & hardware tech startup which creates predictive biomonitoring equipment for the aerospace and resources industries. We originally designed our flagship predictive earpiece for NASA (winning their global award for Best Use of Hardware in 2016) and have been commercialising it ever since. My company’s first commercial product use-case is predicting cognitive fatigue in mining, oil and gas vehicle operators 10 minutes before a microsleep happens: a problem which causes 2/3rds all of industrial accidents and two mining deaths a month in Australia. In the long term, our equipment will be able to predict epileptic fits and sepsis.

 Alex Moss speaks with British astronaut Tim Peake

Alex Moss speaks with British astronaut Tim Peake

 

FAVOURITE BAND?

Brooke Candy

FAVOURITE SONG?

DJ PaulGehu’s Stranger Things remix of The Weekend’s Starboy (ft. Daft Punk)

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Artemisia Gentileschi. She is by far the best student of 17th century heavyweight Caravaggio. During her lifetime she was the most famous female artist in Europe and was considered on par with her male contemporaries, running her own studio. Unfortunately, she was forgotten for a few centuries, but over the last 30 years has been re-admitted into the art historical cannon. Her painting ‘Judith Beheading Holofernes’, c. 1614-18 is one of my favourite paintings of all time.

 

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK ETHIC

London drag scene warehouse rave energy channeled into aggressively meeting tight deadlines and generally overachieving.

BEST ADVICE YOU'VE BEEN GIVEN?

‘Entrepreneurs who start business to make money rarely become rich; entrepreneurs who start businesses because they want to run a great business are the ones who end up making the most money’ – best advice from a US venture capitalist.

 Running an in-house experiment

Running an in-house experiment

WHAT WOMEN DO YOU LOOK UP TO?

Frankly, the be-all-end-all for me is Madonna. She embodies a total bravery and relentlessness. I would agree with her definition of herself given in a 1999 interview with Letterman, that she’s ‘not a pop star: <she’s> a performance artist.’ She has the type of refinement in performance that only comes from the combination of innate talent and decades of discipline, and the type of killer business instinct that only comes from a pathology in childhood. Can you imagine what it must have been like to get on stage in the 1980s, in the midst of so much sexism, homophobia, and the AIDs crisis, with a troupe of gay backing dancers and simulate female masturbation on stage belting out ‘Like a Payer’, whilst there are hordes of protestors outside the venue giving you death threats? The police told her not to perform during her Blonde Ambition tour as the threat of someone assassinating her during a performance was so imminent. She’s made a lasting cultural and political legacy with her work in the late 20th century; that’s definitely not just something a ‘pop star’ would do. Her sexuality has always been, and remains, very much her own; that she was always self-directed in her sexualised performances rather than being told to do so by a record label. That is scary to a lot of people. It still is today: look at Brooke Candy still not having broken into the mainstream. Why? She’s too in charge of her own sexuality and its expression: record labels have told her to ‘tone it down’ rather than ‘take another layer off, luv’.  Categories of my inspiring women who are not Madonna: Writers: Germaine Greer, Camille Paglia, Angela Carter Psychoanalysts and psychologists: Melanie Klein, Anna Freud, Temple Grandin

WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A TEENAGER? WHAT MAJOR THINGS DID YOU COME TO REALISE AS YOU GREW UP?

 Art direction: Philip Treacy Photo: Kurtiss Lloyd

Art direction: Philip Treacy Photo: Kurtiss Lloyd

My teenage years are best described as ‘totally feral’. I spent most of my time with drag queens in East London founding a fashion magazine that I ran alongside being at school, later going into the music industry. At one point when I was 16 my school thought I was a drug dealer because I was missing so many lessons, but I was attending business meetings with advertising sponsors for my magazine at uptown restaurants. When I showed my school the actual print magazine, they dropped the whole drug dealing thing and convinced me to turn up to more lessons regularly. They were very cool about it. They didn’t really care what their students did as long as they got straight As. I found that I got on a lot better with drag queens than my peers; they really embraced my weirdness and extroversion and ‘got me’ in a way that West London teenagers didn’t. I would turn up to school in latex, fox fur, capes, and the same white hair I still have now, so my peers thought I was crazy until the last year or so of school; hence my gravitation towards the fashion/drag scene from a young age. I spent quite a lot of time pursuing a career in music with a French electronica band from the ages of 17 to 20: so I was either at school, working on my magazine, or spending all of my holidays in France recording in the studio and performing. At the time I would get mistaken for Lady Gaga so much (Nicola Formichetti- era Gaga when she was doing Born This Way and Alejandro) that at one point I just signed autographs on her behalf when tourists came up to me on the street as it was faster than explaining through a language barrier that I was someone else. It was hugely frustrating as I was trying to define my voice as an artist but kept finding myself in this other, much larger, artist’s shadow. The biggest realisation I had was that luck is a huge factor for achieving your goals: that you can work incredibly hard, and do everything ‘right’, and still not get the thing you were working towards. This stemmed from the fact that my school was an Oxbridge feeder school (counting MAs and PhDs, about 50-70% of the girls would end up there); and I saw some of the most intelligent, hardworking people I had ever met not gain acceptance into Oxbridge, even though they clearly should have been given a place, and literally their entire education had been leading up to attending one of these two universities… it feeds into my current view that university is over-rated. And most importantly, that you have a much greater chance of success if you lead your own projects, rather than relying upon pre-existing infrastructures that you have no control over.

 

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANYTHING IN THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I would ban all political advertising on social media, including bots (especially bots). In addition to this, I would make the propagation of false facts in political elections illegal, giving heavy fines and jail time to any members of a campaign who were found guilty of pushing forward falsified information. Politics and lawmaking are complex subjects that demand the full attention and critical thought of alert citizens, requiring hours of research and exposure to intelligent, calm, thoughtful debates on crucial subjects. They are in direct conflict with the instant gratification, short-form medium of social media and the internet. ‘The message is the medium’; and this medium is not appropriate for political discourse. Instead, the emphasis should be placed on accessible manifestos and long-form televised debates. I would encourage all Electric Lady readers to pick up a copy of The People Vs Tech: how the internet is killing democracy (and how we save it) by Jamie Bartlett.

Follow Alex on Instagram here. Find out more about Canaria on its website, Facebook and Twitter.

 

The Double Movement's Calli on surrounding yourself with the right people

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NAME

Calli

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Lawyer, NRL Podcaster, South Sydney Rabbitohs tragic, football (soccer) fanatic and adventure enthusiast. 

FAVOURITE BAND?

Too many to choose from!  Current favourites are Gang of Youths, DMAs, Angus & Julia Stone, Sticky Fingers. All time favourites, Fleetwood Mac, The Temper Trap, The Cure and INXS.

FAVOURITE SONG?

I’ve had ‘The Deepest Sighs, the Frankest Shadows’ by Gang of Youths on rotation since the first time I heard it, so it definitely deserves a mention. As for my all time favourite, it has to be ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ by Simple Minds *fists pumps à la John Bender*.

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

*cheese alert* My talented little sister, Marie Kiara. She taught herself how to play about 5 instruments by ear, has an incredible voice and works on her music so diligently. I cannot wait to see her efforts come to fruition and hope that I can inspire her like she inspires me everyday! 

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?

I think one of my best qualities is that I always strive to challenge myself and make the most of every opportunity that comes my way. One of my favourite quotes goes straight to this question: ‘Don’t settle for nice, for pleasant, for familiar. Keep moving until you find something that really moves you, that resonates with your soul.’

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I am extremely fortunate to be in a place in my life where I am surrounded by opportunities to grow every day. Professionally, the most important next step for me is to continue learning, so that I can confidently take on more responsibility when the time comes. Personally, I am very much looking forward to making some incredible memories when I visit my sister in Scandinavia later this year. I am also thrilled to see where the Double Movement podcast journey leads. So much to look forward to!

FORKS IN THE ROAD HOW DO YOU MANAGE THEM?

Forks in the road can be draining – mentally, emotionally and physically.

Firstly, the most valuable asset in my life is my incredible family and friends. When making decisions, big or small, I know I can always lean on them for support and advice. The best part is that they will always give me the advice I need to hear, rather than feed me what I want to hear.

Secondly, I need to constantly remind myself that not all decisions need to be made abruptly. By allowing myself to take a step back and consider all the options at hand, I am able to see things with greater clarity.

Finally, I have faith in my instincts. Logic doesn’t always prevail when making tough decisions and I think it’s important to recognise that emotions do (and should) play a part in your decision-making. Sometimes you need to go with your gut!

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WHAT MAKES A WOMAN ELECTRIC?

A woman is electric when she exudes confidence and genuine happiness. When she is not afraid to show her true colours, is truly comfortable in her own skin and is proud to stand up for what she believes in, no matter the price or the challenge.

WHAT MAKES YOU WANT TO GIVE UP? HOW DO YOU BOUNCE BACK?

I am very lucky that most of the obstacles I have faced have come from pressure that I put on myself. I am a ‘yes woman’ and I try to open myself to as many opportunities as I can, to get as much out of every 24 hours as possible.

Often, this means is that I hardly have any downtime. I spread myself too thin and end up both physically and mentally exhausted. Tiredness is not a productive persons friend. At times, this can be so overwhelming and draining that I want to throw in the towel and just stay in bed.

When I am drained, I need to listen to my body and have a night off, sleep in or have a sneaky chocolate binge – whatever it takes to rejuvenate my body. However, when I am mentally drained, it’s not so simple. It’s important in these situations to take a step back and refresh my mindset. What I have learnt is the value of downtime to clear my mind, to put things into perspective and, ultimately, to remind myself that I am very privileged to have so many enriching opportunities at my doorstep.

I think my amazing family and friends deserve another shout out here. Their unwavering support and encouragement gives me the strength to bounce back during tough times.

DO YOU HAVE ANY LITTLE SCRETS TO FOLLOWING YOUR PASSION?

Getting the most out of life is my passion and surrounding myself with the right people is my (not-so-secret) method to achieving this! I am very blessed to have a wonderful close circle who have always supported my passions, whatever they are, or have been over the years. When I have doubted my abilities, and lacked belief in myself, those around me have always picked me back up and reminded me of what I am capable of – an electric spark, if you will ;)

So, keep yourself surrounded by those who will encourage you, who will push you when you need it and who will support you through all the highs and lows. No one will be able to dull your sparkle when you surround yourself with people who truly want to see you shine.

Calli is one half of The Double Movement podcast. Read their EL letter here. Download and listen to The Double Movement on iTunes and follow them onTwitter and Instagram

 

The Double Movement's Nikki on doing the unexpected

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NAME

Nikki

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I’m a Lawyer + Podcaster + Sports Nut + a bit of a Yogi   

FAVOURITE BAND?

I would have to say the Beatles – timeless music for my ears.

FAVOURITE SONG?

Change, by Taylor Swift

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Taylor Swift – I’ve loved her since “Our Song” first came on the radio. I can relate to essentially every song she has ever released.  She’s all about the work and her fans. Haters are gonna hate but I love her so much that my nickname at work is “Swiftie”. No joke.

IS THIS WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF?

I never thought I would be a lawyer and considering podcasts have only been around for the last few years, I definitely never thought I would have a sports podcast with one of my best friends.

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When I was 12 years old, I wanted to be a screenwriter. I just loved the idea of telling stories! Then while completing my undergraduate degree, this little investigator came out in me which lead me to pursue a (first) career in journalism. After working as a journalist for a couple of years, I decided to get a law degree (why not?). I think a lot of people thought I was going through a quarter life crisis at the time.

Anyway, now I’m a lawyer but I still work in the entertainment space ;)

THREE OF YOUR HARDEST MOMENTS?

  • Breaking up with my ex-boyfriend of 6 years.

He was American. He signed up to the US Marine Corps without telling me. He knew I didn’t want to have that life but he thought that if he put me in a position where I had “no choice”, then I would follow.

I didn’t follow.

Instead, I applied to law school the week after we broke up. He’s now a US Marine traveling a fair bit and I’m now a lawyer pretty much stationed in Sydney. We just grew to be very different people wanting very different lives.

  • Making the decision to leave the United States and move back to Sydney

I was in my early twenties when I made the gamble to move back to Sydney. I had lived in California for 11 years. It was my home.  

It was very hard to leave a place that I considered home, especially knowing that due to insane visa restrictions, I probably would not be able to call it home again.

I am insanely happy with my life right now but it did take a good 18 months for that gamble to emotionally pay-off.

  • Being cross-examined in court in regards to a series of gang rapes

The last story I worked on as a journalist was about a series of gang rapes, which lead the publisher to be sued for defamation. In my first year of law school, I had to fly from Sydney back to San Francisco and be cross examined over my conversations with the victims (heavy stuff I know). Repeating the graphic details of what happened to those victims in front of the guy who orchestrated everything (with his parents sitting behind him) was not pleasant. Don’t worry – he didn’t win!

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HOW CAN WOMEN BEST SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER?

Women need to stop seeing each other as threats. It’s sad but women seem to be each others worst enemies in the workforce. They either hold each other to higher standards, or worse, severely hope (or set-up) their female colleagues or successors to fail.

Not all women are going to get along with each other. But it would be nice if more women looked for ways that they could complement each other!  

WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF BE?

There’s a lot of pressure growing up to belong to a certain “group”. A good group of friends can be awesome. Just don’t forget to make room for new people to enter your life!


DO YOU HAVE ANY LITTE SECRETS TO FOLLOWING YOUR PASSION?

This may sound a bit odd but what drives me to succeed is thinking about all the people in my life who have hurt me or have tried to hold me back. When I need motivation, I think about the former colleagues who made some unpleasant remarks. I think about the little bullies, and yes I think about those guys who carelessly broke my heart. It is these people who help drive me to be the best version of myself - along with my supportive friends and family of course! Sometimes though, there’s nothing more rewarding than rising above the “put down” and turning that negative experience into a positive outcome.  

Nikki is one half of The Double Movement podcast. Read their EL letter here. Download and listen to The Double Movement on iTunes and follow them onTwitter and Instagram

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EL Letter: The Double Movement gives a voice to forgotten female footy fans

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Dear Electric Ladies, readers, web surfers and whomever else this may concern,

We are two young entertainment lawyers from Sydney who absolutely love our rugby league. Nikki passionately supports the boys from Bondi, the Sydney Roosters, and Calli bleeds red and green for her beloved South Sydney Rabbitohs. Being lawyers and fanatical fans of rival teams, we are never short of something to say about this game we love. In fact, we love talking about footy so much that we decided to start our very own rugby league podcast – The Double Movement.

For those of you who are new to the rugby league lexicon, our title The Double Movement is a quip. First and foremost, the term originates from the occasionally controversial and always penalisable play in rugby league where a player’s momentum does not allow them to score a try and they instead reach out to score via a secondary movement. To that degree, the name also recognises our implicit campaign to increase female engagement in rugby league and sports in general – our own ‘double movement’ to shift momentum back towards the passionate young female fans.  

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So, why did we decide to start a footy podcast? Why not just do what most fans do? Scream in the stands, engage in the usual footy chat at the photocopiers, or watch the game down at the local pub?

When we were kids, the National Rugby League (NRL) did a fair bit to welcome us into the fold. We would venture out to our local grounds and take part in all the ‘family friendly’ activities. And of course, we both loved waiting in the stands after each match, throwing up our hands in anticipation of a player coming over and giving us a high five, or even better, signing our merchandise. Great days!

But as we both grew up, we somehow became the forgotten fans, the forgotten voices in the stands. What was worse, people stopped taking us seriously as fans. We are not the starry-eyed 10 year olds in the grandstand anymore. We understand that, in many ways, rugby league is a sport that inherently appeals to men and is largely marketed to appeal to men. The advertisements, the sponsors, and sometimes even the selection of merchandise; it all speaks for itself.

It has been, and still is, quite disheartening to go from being the adorably passionate kiddie fans, to the ‘bandwagon’ fans who apparently only attend games to swoon over the players. We have both grown quite tired of having to prove our passions.  

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The NRL as a governing body has made some excellent ground towards recognizing the impact of women in the game. In 2017, the Australian Jillaroos won the World Cup, female participation in rugby league increased by 37 per cent and we saw the birth of the official women’s NRL competition. We have also seen the ‘Women in League’ round grow into a season long affair, celebrating athletes, journalists, mothers, wives, girlfriends and young daughters within the rugby league community.

However, despite these incredible efforts, there is still something missing. A significant lack of attention is being given to our own demographic. What about the twenty-something year old female fans? Too often, we fall outside the scope of official recognition for our contribution to the game. It’s as if the NRL spent the 90’s and 00’s grooming a whole generation of young fans – but then forgot about 50 percent of them when they grew up. We are two people within that 50 percent. We are the untapped market.

So, instead of uselessly complaining about being lost in the mix, we decided to be the change we want to see in the game. We created The Double Movement podcast – our own space to passionately talk about footy, to analyse the game we love and hopefully ignite the same passion in other young female fan and fanatics alike to get involved. To help these isolated sports enthusiasts feel included in the game once more.

We are Calli and Nikki. We are The Double Movement. We are not journalists. We are not athletes. We are simply fans. Fans who love chatting about our favourite teams in our favourite sporting competition.

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We hope that with our own unique spin, we can show the rugby league community the fun-loving value of the young female fan. It would mean the world if you could join us on this journey. Subscribe to us on iTunes, follow us on Instagram and get on board this (double) movement!

Lots of love and kindest regards,

Calli & Nikki xxx

Download and listen to The Double Movement on iTunes and follow them on Twitter and Instagram