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

 

MANE on changing lanes and sticking to your sound

MANE press portrait - Credit Jack Fenby.jpg

NAME

MANE  (Paige)

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Musician/Singer/Songwriter/Performer

FAVOURITE BAND?

Gang Of Youths and Middle Kids are what I'm constantly slamming in my music library at the moment but it's always changing. I love too many!

FAVOURITE SONG?

Ridiculously Calypso by Spiderbait, it reminds me of my childhood.

 

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

This is a tough one, there are so many great ladies to choose from, at the moment I want to say St Vincent, I LOVED her MASSEDUCTION album.

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

I will usually eat pasta before any show, I love it so much, almost too much.

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

The best advice I've been given as an artist is to never have certain expectations with what you're creating, I think when you start to create with certain outcomes in mind it's so easy to get disheartened, particularly in the creative industry. It's easy to begin creating things based on what you think people want to hear rather than what you actually want to create. It's super important to just stick to your thing and believe in it i reckon!

WHAT MAKES A WOMAN ELECTRIC?

I think women who build each other up and who persevere in the face of all kinds of challenges, women who make noise, women who are passionate, women who create and women who do their thing on their own terms. I'm so fortunate to know so many electric ladies and can only continue to strive to be more like them!

 

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

I tend to overthink and over analyse a lot of what i face within the industry and it can be very debilitating at times, it's like a worm hole of self doubt. Aside from a phone call with mum, I find talking to other fellow creatives helps me in those moments. They know exactly how your feeling and sometimes it's just comforting to confide in those who understand what is running through your mind. You just got to ride it out and let those moods wash over you.

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

I was a swimmer growing up, I did it from when I was 5 to almost 17. I was so sure I wanted to go the Olympics and I was so focused and dedicated to it but eventually just decided it wasn't really what I wanted to be doing anymore. Power to anyone who reaches that elite level, it takes up all of your time and the training schedules are insane! So I guess in that sense going from a swimming career to a musician is a pretty drastic change but I think the discipline from the sport has kept me really driven and passionate about anything I do.

Mane's new single Chasing Butterflies is out now. Like her on Facebook and follow on Instagram. Listen on Spotify and Apple Music

Comedian Urzila Carlson works hard and naps harder

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NAME


Urzila


WHAT DO YOU DO?


Comedian in entertainment


FAVOURITE BAND?


Credence Clearwater revival

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FAVOURITE SONG?

 

These are the days - Van Morrison

 


FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?


Joan Armatrading because she has an amazing voice and because she’s Joan Armatrading


IS THIS WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF?


Yes! I’m living the best life I can imagine. I have the perfect job and my family is amazing and my dog likes me.


THREE OF YOUR HARDEST MOMENTS?


1. Leaving South Africa
2. Losing my grandmother.
3. Losing a baby.
(Not in that order)

 

FORKS IN THE ROAD, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THEM?


I ask myself; what will I regret if I don’t do it? Then I do that one or I will plough a road through the middle, I won’t let the fact that a road is not paved hold me back.

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK ETHIC.


I work hard and I nap harder. I respect other people’s abilities and I expect the same.

WHAT MAKES A WOMAN ELECTRIC?


Believing in herself and in other women around her, never cutting another sister down but instead holding a hand so we can walk the path together. Queens don’t destroy other queens they fix their crowns and march together.

Urzila Carson is on tour in Australia, find out where her next shows are here. Like her on Facebook, follow on Instagram and follow on Twitter

CXLOE puts her energy in the right direction - music

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NAME

CXLOE

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Singer Songwriter

FAVOURITE BAND?

1975

FAVOURITE SONG?

Every breath you take

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Banks. She's so intelligent and such a talented songwriter. She's a great role model for up and coming female artists and females in general. Her music pushes so many boundaries and for me this is so inspiring. 

IS THIS WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF?

Yes and no :) I've always dreamed of being a performer and writing my own music. Being a successful musician and making a career out of it. I never dreamed of having to leave my family and boyfriend at home. I never dreamed of being put in confronting situations with men whilst trying to be creative and build my career. But I guess that's life - it comes with the good and the bad!

 

FORKS IN THE ROAD, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THEM?

Approach them with ease. I try not to avoid them but tackle them in a healthy way. I try and stay out of my head as much as possible as this often leads to a downward spiral into my anxiety.

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK ETHIC

Work SMART not hard (but obviously work hard haha). There's no point putting all your energy in the wrong directions. I find it's better to save your energy and creativity and only apply it in the right direction.

HOW CAN WOMEN BEST SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER?

I'm so lucky to be surrounded by such passionate and supportive women. Within and outside of the music industry. I think the best way is to always encourage and support that persons dream. To be a good listener. To not see another woman as competition and celebrate their strengths. A few women who have been prime examples for me are Sarah Donelly (manager), Kota Banks and Nina Las Vegas. All of these women are so empowering and I feel so supported and cared for. And of course my mother - don't even start me with her!

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF?

To enjoy the ride. So often I find myself stressing in times I should be celebrating and embracing whatever success I've had. These are the moments we live for so it's crazy to not celebrate these, otherwise whats the point? It's easier said than done... :/

Like CXLOE on Facebook and follow on Instagram. Listen on Spotify and Apple Music

Electric Mum: Artist Donna Rankin on the love for her kids e.g. Jack River

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NAME

Donna Rankin

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am an artist, an art teacher and the Founder of HeART to HeART Australia

And It Stoned Me 🎨💕 Artist statement* Each human has a morning ritual, even if they don’t have one at all. The repetition of the rising of the sun drives us out of dreaming and into our patterns that often repeat and repeat and never change. Sometimes you cross paths with humans that travel a certain pattern in the universe that intrigues you enough to change your own. My daughter sent me this picture of her partner drinking tea in the morning, a ritual that she had re-found whilst falling in love with him. Each morning at his house in Mollymook, they religiously make a cup of tea and listen to Van Morrison’s ‘And It Stoned Me’ on the balcony. This ritual takes her back to her childhood; the morning ritual of the local radio, porridge simmering away and the eternal cups of morning tea that warmed childhoods constant change. This painting is about transitions and reformations of morning ritual, it marks a moment of observation - metaphorically and physically, of appreciation for slowness and the importance of these rituals. I chose hues of transition - purples, pinks and soft blues, colours that speak of turning and the newness of the morning, and matched them with the steadfastness of old furniture, echoing Hopper. The interior detail is vast, yet the outside world was intentionally left a blur. Brett’s body is bent softly, oblivious to the photo being taken - he is thinking, dreaming - lost in his ritual, and perhaps oblivious to the depth of observation of my daughter. #artist #australianartist #brettburcher #jackriver

A post shared by Mummajack (@mummajack3664) on

 

FAVOURITE BAND?

Abba

FAVOURITE SONG?

Dancing Queen

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FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Jack River, she is strong, intelligent, soulful, she is my daughter.

THREE OF YOUR HARDEST MOMENTS?

My hardest moment was losing our beautiful 11 year old daughter Shannon. Then the hardest moments to follow were moving forward, picking myself up, and trying to be strong and learn to embrace living again.

Holly, Donna and Shannon

Holly, Donna and Shannon

I love the concept of 'Electric Lady'. I see Electric Ladies all around me, my young 9-year-old friend Ruby who has written a brilliant speech about being inspired by Malala Yousafzai, my sister Sharon who is dedicating her time to caring for her beautiful Mother In Law who is suffering with motor neurone disease, friends who are dedicated teachers, doctors, nurses, midwives.

Electric Ladies are Mothers who pour love and energy into their children, who give up their life for the souls in their care. An Electric Lady is a woman who is true to herself, who is passionate about life, who dares to stand out and step up.

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

Sometimes life can challenge us in the most extreme ways. Personally it has been connecting with others, reaching out, helping others, that has helped me bounce back. Being the founder of Heart to Heart Australia, there have been many times when I have wondered whether I am on the right track, whether all my time, energy and devotion to the greater vision is the path I should be following. At these times when I feel like giving up the magical universe sends me a message.....it may be that I unexpectedly bump into a parent of a young girl who has been a participant of the Heart to Heart program, and with tears in their eyes, tell me what a profound impact Heart to Heart had on their daughters life. These encounters make me bounce back.

WHAT WOMEN DO YOU LOOK UP TO?

I look up to the following women: Holly Rankin (Jack River), my daughter, who follows her passion, is true to herself and is dedicated to her vision. Oprah Winfrey and Ellen, strong woman who use their power and position to make positive change in this world. Layne Beachley, 7 time world surfing champion, a strong Australian woman who dedicates herself to helping young Australian women follow their passion through her foundation The Layne Beachley Aim For The Stars. Catherine Hamlin, an Australian obstetrician and gynaecologist who founded the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, the world's only medical centre dedicated exclusively to providing free obstetric fistula repair surgery to poor women suffering from childbirth injuries. And so many others...

Like HeART to HeART Australia on Facebook and follow Donna on Instagram here

May Lyn: 'if you don’t enjoy it, you’re doing it wrong'

Photo: James Hornsby

Photo: James Hornsby

NAME

May Lyn

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I write songs, produce music, and sing. I’m also a graphic designer and visual artist outside of music.

FAVOURITE BAND?

Majid Jordan

FAVOURITE SONG?

After The Storm by Kali Uchis

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Erykah Badu cuz she boss!

I call this one the Daria Stank-Eye. Photo by @unclechronicbone

A post shared by May Lyn (@mayylyn) on

 

THREE OF YOUR HARDEST MOMENTS?

Breakups, depression, and anxiety.

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?

Japan

FORKS IN THE ROAD, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THEM?

I follow my intuition.

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK ETHIC

Very ethical. I care about people.

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

Friday salt and bubble baths. Put on my fav tunes and treat myself!

HOW CAN WOMEN BEST SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER?

By not seeing each as competition but as fam.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF? 

It’s okay to love yourself.

WHAT MAKES A WOMAN ELECTRIC?

Confidence, determination and kindness.

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

My parents don’t understand or appreciate my creative endeavours but it’s okay. I try to see things from their perspective as they grew up in a whole different culture and time.

 

WHAT WOMEN DO YOU LOOK UP TO?

I look up to Nina Simoneand Maya Angelou.

DO YOU HAVE ANY LITTLE SECRETS TO FOLLOWING YOUR PASSION?

The main thing is to do what you enjoy because if you don’t enjoy it, you’re doing it wrong.

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

I was quite shy and not confident, but then I realise I did not need anyone’s approval and I stopped caring about what other people think.

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

The need for money.

May Lyn will teach Electronic Production and Songwriting on May 19 as part of MusicNSW's and FBi radio's Women in Electronic Music Masterclasses details here. Like her on Facebook or follow on Instagram. Listen to her music on Spotify or Apple Music.

Ayebatonye Abrakasa on knowing your worth

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NAME

Ayebatonye Abrakasa

WHAT DO YOU DO?

DJ, work full time in a Community Engagement role, produce events on a freelance basis through "House of Ayebatonye" and sometimes write/blog for various publications

FAVOURITE BAND?

African Head Charge

FAVOURITE SONG?

Cariñito - Los hijos del sol

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FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Nina Simone, she was unapologetic about who she was and she was an incredible activist who played a pivotal role within the civil rights movement and used her status as a musician to fight for her people. I could only dream of causing such a significant impact through my creative work.

FORKS IN THE ROAD, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THEM?

I give myself a moment to breathe, re evaluate the situation and then try to find another way around whatever the obstacle is.

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK ETHIC.

I think I'm a hard worker, and I do have a strong work ethic most of the time. I believe in persevering which isn't always easy,  I've definitely had to deal with some situations that left me a little shattered but if I hadn't kept pushing on I wouldn't be where I am, and I definitely intend to keep growing in every sense of the word.

I also don't really believe in the idea of competing with other people. I am very much about competing against myself and constantly try to push myself to work harder so that I can reap the benefits of my own success, you gotta stan for yourself the hardest.

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

One of my rituals for when I'm having an off day is watching my favourite subjects on YouTube. I have a penchant for watching chameleon videos on YouTube. It's a mix of nostalgia and hilarity for me , I used to have a beautiful chameleon named Ziggy and loved watching him walk. I would highly recommend watching "Chameleon Walking" video. I also enjoy watching Nigerian TV Shows like "Skinny girl in transit" because the mum on the show is soo funny!

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF?

If I could give any advice to my younger self it would be know your worth, and with this statement I am mainly referring to receiving fair pay as a freelancer/DJ (however it's statement that can be applied to everything).

When I was younger there were times I didn't ask for what I wanted or deserved because I was afraid of being told no. Nowadays I do ask for what I believe is fair (although I definitely still have moments when I'm afraid), I think a lot of people are afraid of rejection so they put up with more than they should. Honeys, please you can't pay your rent with exposure!

WHAT WOMEN DO YOU LOOK UP TO? 

Angela Davis, Audre Lorde, Janet Mock, Gloria Wekker and Rihanna. 

Ayebatonye is teaching Mix It Up: Intermediate DJing on May 19 in Sydney as part of MusicNSW's and FBi radio's Women in Electronic Music Masterclasses details here. Like her on Facebook, follow on Instagram and follow her on Twitter.

 

Lupa J on rejecting sexist and limiting conventions

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NAME

Lupa J

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Produce and perform electronic pop songs!

FAVOURITE BAND?

Grimes (2012 era)

FAVOURITE SONG?

I hate this question because I never really have one song I love more than others! I have about 5 favourite songs a month, always changing. But if we're talking Grimes, then Genesis!

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Grimes again, because of her wild sense of creativity and how she is so self assured and confident of her abilities as an electronic music producer in a field dominated by men.

 

IS THIS WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF?

If being able to direct my own creative project and be the sole producer and creator behind every element of it is the dream, then yes!

THREE OF YOUR HARDEST MOMENTS?

1. Coming out of a two year period of having a disordered relationship with my body and food when I was 15 where I was unable to be creative or see myself as anything more than a body, then having to learn how to shift focus away from my appearance in order to begin expressing and exploring myself through music.

2. Trying to write and release music while doing my HSC at a highly competitive school where electronic music was neither understood or supported, whilst having to be in tiny intense classes (28 person year group!) with people that had made aspects of my school life very emotional and anxiety inducing.

3. Learning that it's easy as an artist in the music industry to start trying to pander to the tastes of those considered important or powerful, but that when you do that it feels dishonest and unsatisfying. It's much harder to stick by your creative vision and make sure everything you're putting out is work you're really passionate about.

HOW CAN WOMEN BEST SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER?

Feature each other's voices and work at any and every opportunity! If you're hosting a show of your own, make sure the lineup you're putting together supports enough emerging women. I think another really important thing is to (kindly and supportively) pull up influential women on anything they're doing that is unintentionally supporting discrimination/racism/homophobia or negative/sexist portrayals of women. It's easy to unconciously participate in a culture that hurts ourselves, and as creatives who influence culture we need to make sure what we're doing is in no way contributing to it or ostracising the less privileged members of our community.

WHAT MAKES A WOMAN ELECTRIC?

A woman becomes electric when she learns to separate her idea of she wants for herself from what everyone else, or our culture, wants from her as a woman. When she begins to figure out who she is, what her desires are, and begins to chase those desires for the benefit of no one but herself. It's bloody hard, but so powerful when women do things for themselves, because we're taught from birth that we should desire what our patriarchal culture wants us to desire, and become the kind of 'ideal woman' our culture wants us to become.

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

I was a pretty fierce and imaginative kid, after discovering Princess Mononoke when I was 6 I demanded that my mum help me make her wolf girl costume and then proceeded to wear that costume every day (even to bed!) for the next 4 years. I would get teased for being weird because I was like that, but it didn't really stop me. I guess something changed in high school and, as I mentioned earlier, I lost my imaginative and creative streak for a while as I tried to fit in with the current ideals of what a successful, attractive woman should be. However as I learned to start rejecting those sexist and limiting conventions, I feel like I returned to my princess mononoke roots, (I named myself Lupa because it translates to she-wolf!) and began to start exploring my powerful and creative side again through music.

Lupa J is teaching Plugged In: Using instruments in production and performance as part of MusicNSW's and FBi radio's Women in Electronic Music Masterclasses details here. Like her on Facebook, follow her on Instagram and listen on Spotify and Apple Music

Ninajirachi wants everyone to care more about the planet

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NAME

Ninajirachi

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Write music, produce music, DJ.

FAVOURITE BAND?

Alt-J

FAVOURITE SONG?

Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

SOPHIE because she is so beautiful and awesome. I love that she is completely herself and makes things that are so fantastic and unique <3

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?

I want to go everywhere and do everything! But for now I want to release my debut EP and see where that takes me.

 

HOW CAN WOMEN BEST SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER?

Stop making silly comparisons that make us feel like we need to compete with one another. Being conscious of groupthink would also help because girls can get sooo bitchy in groups.

WHAT WOMEN DO YOU LOOK UP TO?

My Mum!! She has worked in so many different fields and is one of the most learned and awesome people I know.

 

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

I still feel like the same person, just less naive. I'm still interested in the same things, I just have a little more life experience now!

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

I would love for everybody to care more for the planet, especially for powerful institutions to be more conscious of how their work affects the natural environment.

Ninajirachi is teaching an Intro to Ableton Live with Ableton Liveschool in Sydney on May 12 as part of MusicNSW's and FBi radio's Women in Electronic Music Masterclasses details here. Like her on Facebook, follow on her on Instagram, listen on Spotify or Apple Music.

Michelle Barry is helping female musicians, engineers and producers get loud

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NAME

Michelle Barry

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Music Producer/Sound Engineer

FAVOURITE BAND?

Difficult, I always come back to Bowie

FAVOURITE SONG?

Even harder, but another one that I come back to is "If You Want Me To Stay" Sly and the Family Stone

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Bjork, she is really unique as an artist and not takes control of her career.

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IS THIS WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF?

In a way.  I have thought what would teenage me of "grown-up" Michelle and we are pretty happy.

FORKS IN THE ROAD, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THEM?

I usually weigh things up and then go with my first instinct :)

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK ETHIC.

I have to work on things until I'm happy and sometimes that can feel like a battle but I know if I don't put the work in I'll only regret it later.  So, keep working through methodically and at some stage it all comes together.

 

HOW CAN WOMEN BEST SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER?

Acknowledge each other, share stories, help find each other work and give each other time.  It's a really great time at the moment. There feels like progress is being made. I have started a project called Noisy Girls for musicians and technicians.  Have a look and listen noisygirls.net

WHAT WOMEN DO YOU LOOK UP TO?

Laurie Anderson, Marian Wright Edelman, Rebecca Walker, Mary Beard

Michelle Barry is teaching The Art of Audio Engineering on May 12 in Sydney as part of MusicNSW's and FBi radio's Women in Electronic Music Masterclasses details here. Find out more about Michelle here and Noisy Girls here, including Facebook.

EL Letter: Eliza Hull on no longer hiding her disability

Photo: Michelle Grace Hunder

Photo: Michelle Grace Hunder

 

Dear You Reading This, 

My name is Eliza Hull and I'm a musician. I write songs, sing and play piano. It has been my passion since I was a teenager and something that feels innate to me. I started singing at just five years of age.  I've always had a belief that everything happens for a reason; and at the age of five when I started to sing, I also developed a disorder known as Charcot Marie Tooth. Perfect timing perhaps. 

So what is Charcot Marie tooth disorder? It is a nerve disorder that stops messages from the nerves reaching my brain. How does it affect me? I walk with a limp, I need a rail to get up stairs, I can’t always open lids from jars (it seems to happen more when I'm hungry!). Some of the symptoms can be painful and annoying like last night when I was on a date night in Melbourne and couldn’t walk fast enough to catch the last tram. But actually what having Charcot Marie tooth has done for me is more than I'll be able to fit into this letter.

We all have decisions we must make about our lives and how we choose to live them. The way we perceive our lives, and what we create for ourselves, is reliant on our ability to see the good in what we have been given. Over the past year, I have arrived at the most beautiful place. A place of self love. I am thankful for having a disability. I am proud of having a disability. I am now comfortable talking about it and not hiding it. For me, it is about owning who I am. I believe that there needs to be a shift in the way we as a community view people with disabilities. For instance, today when I met someone and they saw me walking they apologised to me and said “oh you poor thing”. Whilst I understand that their intention was kindness, it says to me that they consider my life something that ought to be apologised for, which it is not.

The music industry is starting to change. It has been three years since I released any new music and I can feel a difference. Now, there is more talk about diversity; about showcasing all of us: disabled, transgender, all cultures, sexualities, about sharing our stories, varied as they are. People are listening. I remember when I used to meet with prospective agents or managers; I would sit at a cafe table and wait for them to arrive so that I didn't have to walk in front of them. I was afraid. I feared that if they saw me walk I would not get the opportunities I wanted. I was also worried it may go the other way, and I would only be offered the opportunity because of my disability being viewed as a potential marketing tool. I just wanted my music to speak for itself.

 

But there has been a shift recently. I have come to realise that my identity as a musician is as much about my disability as my curly hair, my love of strawberries and the colour purple. By denying any of it, I would be doing a disservice to myself and to others.

What would I love for the future? More of Dylan Alcott’s 'Ability' festivals and others like it, more accessible stages (I've literally been pushed up onstage by my band mates because there are no stairs) and more diverse line-ups at festivals with disabled musicians. But most of all, I would love if people had more conversations about disability, and it's starting to happen. I want us to be visible. I want disabled young people in high school to see disabled musicians up on stage shining brightly, and think 'I can'. 

Much love,

Eliza x

Eliza Hull's new song 'Hard Way' is out now, listen on Spotify and Apple Music. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram. Read her EL profile here!

Eliza Hull on starting to own who she is

Photo: Michelle Grace Hunder

Photo: Michelle Grace Hunder

NAME

Eliza Hull

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I write and sing songs

FAVOURITE BAND?

The Cranberries

FAVOURITE SONG?

Nothing Compares To You - Sinead O'Connor

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WAY?

Bjork - Her voice is incredible, she constantly pushes boundaries, speaks her mind, and has the ability to articulate things that I feel, in a way I wish I could.

 

THREE OF YOUR HARDEST MOMENTS?

When I first moved to Melbourne from my hometown Wodonga. I was seventeen, and I remember being so excited, I packed my car full and drove down the Hume Highway singing 'Everyday is A Winding Road' by Sheryl Crow on the top of my lungs! Freedom had arrived! But the reality was very different. I arrived not knowing many people, not knowing my way around the city, my apartment had hardly any furniture, my bed was hard, and I had no cooking skills (I put a plastic plate in the oven - disaster ha ha). I got pretty depressed at that point, and ended up in an bad relationship. I had enrolled into a Bachelor of Communication (Media) but wasn't ready to study so dropped out and started pursuing singing instead, which was in itself a very big learning curve! When my parents broke up was another hard moment, I was sixteen. Although now in retrospect it's been the best thing for both sides, it's hard to see your parents individually struggle with their own emotional journeys, and seeing them both lonely and hurting really upset me. Another hard thing I deal with is accepting myself, loving myself and believing in myself. It's not a particular moment but instead something that has continually followed me around - I feel as though I am now coming out the other end. I am starting to get comfortable with myself and owning who I am. When you're about to release music it can take a lot of courage, because you have to put yourself on the line time and time again for people to critique.

Photo:&nbsp;Michelle Grace Hunder&nbsp;

Photo: Michelle Grace Hunder 

WHAT MAKES A WOMAN ELECTRIC?

Women are powerful and electric when they speak their minds, and are true to themselves.

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

I remember someone once saying to me 'when will you get this music idea out of your system?' I have also been told constantly throughout my life that it's too hard, and not a smart career choice. I've had my own internal resistance as well, sometimes I wonder why I'm still putting so much of my time into my musical career, but I manage it by listening to my heart, and I always ask the question 'What would it feel like without it?' and 'Would my heart be ok if it wasn't able to sing?'. The answer always brings me back to knowing that this is right for me, because I love it and it brings me joy.

Eliza Hull's new song 'Hard Way' is out today, listen on Spotify and Apple Music. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram.

Electric Lady x Festival 2018: Photo Diary

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Photos by Daniel Witchey @lostinmotion, Elizabeth Webster, Hannan Paul @shotbyhannan and Tiff Williams @tiff.williams

Lauren Parker goes for gold one year on from accident

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NAME

Lauren Parker

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Professional Para-Triathlete

FAVOURITE BAND?

Artist - Keith Urban

FAVOURITE SONG?

Habit of You

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

Pink because she is original

IS THIS WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF?

Its always been my dream to represent my country.

 

THREE OF YOUR HARDEST MOMENTS?

1. My bike accident in 2017 2. Swimming for the first time after my accident 3. Completing the Ironman World Championships in Kona

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?

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Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

FORKS IN THE ROAD, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THEM?

Through mentoring and support from my friends and family.

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK ETHIC.

Determined, dedicated and focused.

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

I always buy a brand new pair of googles for a race.

HOW CAN WOMEN BEST SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER?

To encourage and uplift one another.

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

To make the most of everyday and not take anything for granted.

WHAT MAKES A WOMAN ELECTRIC?

An electric woman is independent, strong and powerful in whatever she does.

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

By keeping a strong positive mindset and never giving up.

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

The struggle of everyday living in a chair. The support network that I have is what helps me bounce back.

 

WHAT WOMEN DO YOU LOOK UP TO?

Laura Siddall pro triathlete

DO YOU HAVE ANY LITTLE SECRETS TO FOLLOWING YOUR PASSION?

Surround yourself with a good support network.

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

Very active and sporty and nothing has changed.

 

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

Focused and driven. I learnt not to take anything for granted and don't worry about the little things.

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

If I could go back and change the day I had my bike accident which changed my life. I would also like to ensure every child has a chance to chase their dreams whether in sport or life in general.

 

Lauren Parker is competing in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Follow her on Instagram here and learn more about the Lauren Parker Foundation here

Taylor McKeown's letter on her other passion

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Dear Readers,

Do you ever watch your sporting idols or favourite team compete and wonder what they do outside of their sport and what their passions are? Everyone has one, but its rarely spoken about in typical interviews. Personally, I find that most journalists are digging for a lucrative story, or ask the questions which the majority of public want to know; usually when I started swimming and why, how I feel before a big race and other swimming related questions. 

However, I am now the journalist of my own interview, and I wish to speak about my passions outside of swimming, which are not about me at all. 

I am a huge fan of high profile celebrities who use their social status, platform and profile for a good cause, whether that be donating money to charities, raising awareness for a good cause or personally going out there and fighting for whats right. Some of my idols in this regard include; Leonardo DiCaprio, for his work preventing global warming and other environmental issues, Hayden Panettiere and Jack River for their commitment to fighting for dolphins who are cruelty treated in captivity and the mass slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Ellen DeGeneres, for fighting the illegal ivory trade and slaughter of elephants and Kevin Pietersen for his work with SORAI (Save Our Rhinos Africa India). 

Which brings me to talk about my passion outside of swimming.

I’ve been really fortunate in my travels, which has allowed me to swim with wild spinner dolphins in Hawaii, wild bottlenose dolphins in Queensland and humpback whales like these in Vava’u, Tonga, where the level of interaction is completely on their terms. 🐋 Often their natural curiosity and playfulness makes for an amazing encounter. My passion outside of swimming is about providing a voice for the voiceless and those who are suffering in silence. While there are millions of different species in need, I’m turning my attention to the whales and dolphins who are unfairly imprisoned in captivity for our entertainment who are suffering more than we have ever discovered. In the wild, dolphins rely heavily on echolocation to communicate, find prey and navigate without the need for eyesight. In captivity, their most valuable sense is taken away as they are driven into insanity when their echolocation bounces off the concrete walls all around them. They also lose their ability to hunt naturally like their wild counterparts. In the wild, they migrate and travel across oceans, meeting new pods and forever expanding their sense of the world. In captivity they are held in tiny chlorinated tanks until they are forced to perform in daily shows in front of loud music and a screaming crowd. It’s hard not to be captivated by the show, however the dolphin’s naturally fixed smile becomes its greatest downfall as it creates the illusion they are always happy. It has been scientifically proven that dolphins live significantly shorter lives in captivity, often dying from unnatural causes such as stress induced infections, suicide, collisions with the pool and other dolphins, swallowing foreign objects and viruses. Dolphins are so incredibly bored that they often find ways to entertain themselves. A common trend among all captive cetaceans is broken or blunt teeth, due to chewing on concrete parts of the tank. It’s not uncommon for dolphins to turn to other self harm activities to relive the stress of captivity such as jumping out of their pools, beaching themselves and attacking others. If you ever needed a reason to ditch the dolphin show, this is it! #captivityiscruel #backme

A post shared by Taylor Mckeown (@tay_mckeown) on

 

When I was little, I used to love swimming in my family pool and would often play games with my best friend pretending to be different aquatic animals. I was always a dolphin or a whale. I became so captivated by them. I would always hire out large scientific informative novels, filled with pictures and diagrams from my primary school library about marine mammals. I loved watching documentaries about animals and was always surrounded by them growing up. I have become so well educated about cetaceans (the scientific group of whales, dolphins and porpoises) because of my obsession in my younger years. Now I have extended that as far as studying a Bachelor of Animal Ecology at university, with hopes of finishing my degree and obtaining work with tourism, and taking people to see these magnificent animals in the wild.

In 2009 a documentary called "The Cove" was released. Being the crazy obsessive animal nerd I was, I knew about every dolphin documentary and have seen most of them, so when 'The Cove' was released, I watched it straight away. From that moment on, my entire life changed. I was disgusted, upset, confused and felt helpless. At this time, I wasn't anybody. I was a 14 year old girl who had barely qualified for an Australian Age Group Nationals. I was one person, who cared so much about this issue, but had no way of helping. I vowed from that moment on, that if I ever was in a position where I could made a difference I would. 

Now, before I tell you about what I did, I should probably tell you about what 'The Cove' is.

The Cove is a hidden beach in the town of Taiji, Japan. Every year from the 1st of September through to the 1st of March many different species including bottlenose dolphins, pantropical spotted dolphins, striped dolphins, pacific white-sided dolphins, rissos dolphins, short finned pilot whales and false killer whales migrate past Taiji. Local fishermen have learnt that they can capture these dolphin pods and profit from their exploitation in many ways. 

Every morning, a fleet of 12 boats head out in search of dolphins. Once a pod is located, the fleet move in a formation and lower long metal poles into the water. The skipper will bang on this pole with a hammer, which creates a very disruptive wall of sound underwater. This disturbs the dolphin's sensitive sonar and hearing. They panic and try to flee from the traumatising foreign sound. They speed up and jump out of the water in a direction away from the fleet of boats, who push them towards the coast, and eventually into the cove. Once the dolphin pod is swimming inside the cove, smaller skiff boats lower nets to lock them in. They continue to push the dolphins closer to the shore by revving their motors and scaring them, tightening the nets as they move. Soon the dolphins are confined within a small space. The local trainers from the Taiji Whale Museum are then brought in on a skiff boat, to work with the hunters and select the prettiest and most suitable dolphins, destined for captivity. They will have their spirit broken, endure starvation training techniques so they will work for food, undergo vigorous training and finally, will be sold to aquariums around the world for sums up to $250,000 each. The demand for dolphins in captivity has never been higher, and this is where the hunters and trainers make their money.

In one season they had an order for 100 bottlenose dolphins!

So what happens to the remaining dolphins not chosen for a life in captivity performing circus tricks for a screaming audience in a tiny chlorinated pool? They are brutally slaughtered, under tarps which have been hung up to block the view of activists. If you have a weak stomach, skip reading the next sentence. The dolphins are pushed onto a beach, they have their tails tied so they cannot escape. One dolphin at a time, a long metal spike is shoved into their head by hand. Once the spike is removed, a wooden plug is shoved in the hole as an attempt to stop blood pouring into the water and turning it red, looking bad to the cove monitors and activists who are watching from the cliff at top of the cove. Once that group of dolphins have stopped struggling, they are dragged out of the cove, past their living family members who are yet to be killed. The whole process is barbaric, cruel, and unnecessary. The hunters receive little money for the dolphin's meat, and a lot ends up in pet food and fertilisers. 

After the Olympics in 2016, I used my time off to travel to Taiji and see it for myself. I represented Dolphin Project, and let their seasoned activists show me the ropes. Upon my first day, there was a pod of pilot whales in the cove, who had been held in there for 3 days to weaken them, making them easier to kill because they are so large. On day one, I sat at the top of the cove and looked down, filming everything. I saw babies swimming around frantically as their mothers were killed. I could see the beautiful blue water turn bright red as blood spilt into it. I heard the whales thrashing around under the tarps while screaming out to each other. I was absolutely mortified. No words can describe the horror, shock and stress I felt from day one though to day eight. I saw many captures and slaughters, all the while surrounded by police and other authorities who were waiting for me to do something wrong or illegal so they have a reason to deport me. All activists who visit Taiji are in the same situation. The moment I arrived in Taiji, I was chased down by police who made me fill out a sheet full of questions, from that moment they followed me everywhere, which is usual life for the activists in Taiji. 

I am committed to seeing this mistreatment of an animal (not so different to us) end in my lifetime. Dolphins are so incredibly smart, in ways humans do not measure intelligence. For example, they have a unique evolution of the entire limbic system, which is a combination of multiple structures in the brain that deal with emotions and the formation of memories, suggests that cetaceans have the ability to process more complex thoughts and emotions than humans.

 

So the important question is this; if humans are against slavery and racism, why aren't we against the imprisonment, mistreatment and slavery of the very species closest to us?

We have taken advantage of their intelligence and used it as a way to create profit. 

I am asking my readers to help end the demand for captive dolphins by saying NO TO THE DOLPHIN SHOW. If we end the demand, we end the wild captures, and the slaughter. Make the connection, be the difference.

Thank you,

Taylor McKeown. 

Taylor McKeown is competing in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Follow her on Instagram here and read her EL interview here

Nina Las Vegas on never underplaying your achievements

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NAME

Nina Las Vegas

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Make, play and release club music on my own label.

FAVOURITE BAND?

Jamiroquai

FAVOURITE SONG?

Jamiroquai - Cosmic Girl

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST AND WHY?

M.I.A, 'cause she's always 10 steps ahead of you.

IS THIS WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF?

I think so? I just wanted to be happy and working in music.

 

THREE OF YOUR HARDEST MOMENTS?

Walking 100km for charity, releasing my own music and quitting triple j.

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?

Right now, I want to be in Europe for summer!

FORKS IN THE ROAD, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THEM?

Coffee and delegating.

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK ETHIC.

Dramatic.

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

I run listening to murder podcasts.

HOW CAN WOMEN BEST SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER?

Go to each other's shows!

LADY LADY LADY LADY POWERS AT @FOMOAUS 📷 @tiff.williams

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

Release music earlier and never underplay your achievements.

WHAT MAKES A WOMAN ELECTRIC?

Her persistence and determination.

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

I play the game and know when to call shit out.

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

Not reaching my own goals gets me right down, but I just try again.

WHAT WOMEN DO YOU LOOK UP TO?

Tina Fey, Bjork, Madonna, Julia Gillard and my Mum, Grandma n Sis.

DO YOU HAVE ANY LITTLE SECRETS TO FOLLOWING YOUR PASSION?

Passion is still work, be okay with that.

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

Bossy, so not really!

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

I didn't love my surroundings and didn't totally feel myself. I only released when I reached my 20s and felt 100% me. I wasn't unhappy, but definitely realised something was missing.

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

BREXIT

Nina Las Vegas is playing the Electric Lady night at Festival 2018. The event is free! Let us know you are going here. Like her on Facebook here, follow her on Instagram and listen on Spotify or Apple Music

Gymnast Danielle Prince on giving 100%

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NAME

Danielle Prince

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Rhythmic Gymnastics

FAVOURITE BAND?

Coldplay

FAVOURITE SONG?

I was here - Beyonce

THREE OF YOUR HARDEST MOMENTS?

1. Missing qualification for the London Olympics by 0.08 of a mark
2. Losing my National Title to a younger senior athlete in 2017 after being National Champion for 4 consecutive years
3. Deciding to move states and change coaches after competing at the Olympics

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FORKS IN THE ROAD, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THEM?

A lot of lists! I like to write down my thoughts and feelings when it comes to make big decisions. I always do some research about possible outcomes of both options and rely on the trusty pro's and con's list.

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK ETHIC

My work ethic is 100% or nothing at all. If I set myself a goal, I will put everything on the line to give myself the best possible chance of achieving that goal.

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

Before I walk onto the competition floor I visualise my whole routine, seeing myself execute the routine perfectly. I also always get my nails done before a major competition, it gives me some time for a little self care and gives me a little boost.

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

Initially failure makes me want to give up. Nobody likes to fail and it definitely has the ability to knock your confidence around. But as I begin to process the failure, its ends up fuelling me to bounce back and try again. I hate unfinished business!

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DO YOU HAVE ANY LITTLE SECRETS TO FOLLOWING YOUR PASSION?

My secret to following my passion is to live it everyday and surround myself in it. Whether it's watching the latest European Championships or seeking advice from other elite athlete on the latest recovery techniques, I am immersed in Gymnastics and elite sport which is what helps drive my passion. When you surround yourself with like minded people its hard not to be motivated!!

Danielle Prince is competing at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram.