NAME: Laura Ellison
JOB & INDUSTRY/WHAT DO U DO: Wildlife Veterinary Nurse
FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST + WHY:
Firstly, Electric Lady is as much yours as it is ours. If there is anything you have been wanting to express but don’t have the space to or it doesn’t fit on your personal socials - we would be keen to hear about it and do a more in depth post as well as your profile post.
PROFILE Q’S (ANSWER 5 OF THESE)
Brief: We are trying to capture the spirit of Electric Lady and share it. It’s that feeling of limitlessness in your life or career that comes from years of resilience and perseverance. We want to uncover the hard work that goes into creating and sustaining an electric life. We ain’t all that interested in the usual sparkly things - more interested in the grit that birthed the sparkle.
What do you do? (Explain in any form)
I’m a vet nurse specialising in wildlife, my main interest and focus is on our world’s rhinos. I have just returned from Africa where I worked hand raising orphaned rhinos for the last 3 years, to start my studies towards becoming a vet.
Is this what you always dreamed of?
I had always dreamed that I would be working with animals, specifically African wildlife. Working in Africa was an enormous privilege and a dream come true.
3 of your hardest moments?
I think all 3 of my hardest moments would circulate around what I was doing in Africa.
My first would be the time I was deported from South Africa. I had originally only travelled to Africa to volunteer at The Rhino Orphanage for 6 months, but two months in, I was asked to stay (probably the best day of my life). So when the time approached near when my 6 month visa had expired, I went through an agent in South Africa to get a work visa. That turned out to be one of the biggest mistakes I had ever made. I was given my new visa in the head office, I thought everything was good to go. So I boarded my already booked return flight to Australia a few weeks later to gather more things and visit home for 2 weeks before returning to my new home, South Africa. Everything was fine on this side, until I got into South Africa. Going through passport control, they discovered my visa wasn’t on their system. It seemed impossible to me. Surely I was able to sort this out. But after many tears (while the immigration staff laughed), 36hrs in South African immigration detainment- a jail like cell, next to someone who was suspected of having ebola- I discovered that ‘agent’ was a fraud and I was forced to return back to Australia. My heart was broken. I remember every moment of sitting in my cell. I was terrified that I would never see the rhinos or the people that were like family to me ever again.
It wasn’t until I returned home to Australia and went to the embassy that I was told that I had been prohibited from returning to South Africa for life. For me, there could not have been anything worse. I of course appealed the decision but Africa runs in a different time than we do. I had found my calling in helping those rhinos, and I felt like I had left half of my soul in Africa. It took 4 months for my appeal to be processed. Not once did I consider giving up. Not going back to those rhinos was just not an option.
I could not tell you the happiness I felt when I got that email advising that I could return.
Where do you want to go next?
Forks in the road, how do you manage them?
Describe your work ethic.
Do you have rituals? Would you share one with us?
Do you have a girl gang? Why do you love them?
What makes a woman electric?
Compassion and confidence. I would say anyway. I believe there is no greater strength than to be compassionate for others and other living things. Confidence that you can achieve and make a difference is what excels you in your passion.
Have you come up against resistance with what you’re doing? How did you manage it?
What makes you want to give up? How do you bounce back?
I don’t think I have ever seriously considered giving up. Especially when it comes to rhinos and our world’s animals. Their problems are bigger than me. I don’t get to give up when they don’t.