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.
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.
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?
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.
Papped mid conversation with first South Korean astronaut Soyeon Yi at the @aerospace_summit Really looking forward to contributing to astronaut training programmes (especially for new long-haul missions to Mars) with my work at Canaria Technologies. Thrilled to have met such an inspiration and charmingly cheeky woman! 🚀 🚀 🚀 🚀 🚀 #girlboss #womeninbiz #ladyboss #womenwhohustle #bosswoman #femaleentrepreneurs #femalefounders #femaleceo #womenwhoowork #bossladies #girlbosses #girlbosslife #businessowner #entrepreneurlife #hustle #startups #startup #startuplife #startupwoman #womenwithambition #ceo #ceolife #astronaut #femaleastronaut #womeninscience #soyeonyi #spaceman #spacewoman #aerospace #astronauts
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.