Kween Krush alert!! This is where we celebrate everyday women for being complete badass Wonder Women.
Yvie, we’ve got a crush on you because simply, you have a heart of freaking gold! Not only do you spend most of your days caring for your housemate Tom but also your 6 dogs (most of which are rescues). Did we also mention you’re pee-your-pants funny? And lucky us, because we get to witness that weekly with your other housemate Angie on the Logie-winning Australian TV show ‘Gogglebox‘.
How did you, Tom and Angie all come to live together?
I had a crazy friend who was getting his masters at Sydney University and he saw an ad on the uni accommodation page offering free rent to two people who would live with a man with down syndrome as carers but act as just ‘housemates’ to him. His name is Tom. The set-up is so Tom can live independently, as he’d never survive a group home. He also has type 1 diabetes, which requires 24 hour care. I met with Tom and we decided to move in. He’s like a brother to me now. Oh, and it turned out that crazy friend was a bit too crazy, so we had to move him on. After living alone with Tom for a year, I roped Angie into moving in. It was pretty hard on her; it’s a hard situation. But she’s done so well and I absolutely love living with her, she keeps me sane and our relationship is incredible. If we could, we’d be lesbians. But you can’t choose your sexuality, can you!
Lol! So, how different is your life from 3 years ago? Highs? Lows? Struggles?
To be honest, not very different at all! Yes, we have 2 Logies, but we don’t get to attend the awards and you only get to hold the statue for half an hour – dumb. Highs have been my relationships. Angie and I have been forced to watch TV shows that we may not necessarily have ever watched, so therefore we’ve talked about things that have really opened our eyes and because of that, we’ve become so close and have a massive understanding of each other. Angie and I get recognised in the streets, which is wonderful. People are just so lovely. We also get told stories by some that we have given them many laughs and they don’t feel lonely anymore, or the only time they smile is when they sit on their couch and watch us. It’s incredibly humbling. Lows? My mum died less than a year ago and that saw my floor falling away beneath me. I’ve never felt that kind of pain before. And it just stays with you. I just wish I could pick up the phone and call her. I struggle with depression (have for most of my life) and I’m honestly glad I’ve had so much therapy and read so many good books on how to deal with depression, because it’s really helped me deal with my grief for my mum.
Does it make you laugh to think your Mum told you, “You won’t get famous sitting on the couch watching TV?”
When I got ‘Gogglebox’, she was the first person I told and I said, “Do you remember saying that?” She rolled her eyes (as only a mum can) and said “This could only happen to you”.
Bless. Now, we’ve forgotten, your other 6 housemates. The dawwwgs. What made you decide to rescue dogs? And why should other people/families do it?
One day I went to my friend’s birthday lunch at Hugos in the Cross (not there anymore, thanks lockout laws) and I was seated next to a woman who worked for the RSPCAand she was the one who busted ‘puppy mills’. I didn’t know there was such a thing! The stories she told me and the statistics she reeled off had me in tears. I knew from that moment I had to do something. Fostering was the best fit for me. Tom absolutely loves dogs and we have a good house with a backyard. We rescue/foster through Paws and Recover who mostly get calls from emergency departments of people who have OD’d , as well as calls from police stations where dogs have been left behind after a domestic violence incident. Until Paws and Recover came along, there were no charities doing this. Pets would die alone at home because no one knew they were there. Anyone with a safe home, and a love for helping dogs can foster. And if you think ‘but I’d be too heartbroken to let them go’, put your feelings aside and think about the needs of the dog. And if you love the dog that much, then adopt him!
What do you do for shits-and-giggles on the weekend?
My weekends are now so different than what they once were. I don’t drink anymore so picnics, beach visits, daytime activities and early nights are my life now. Boring to some, heaven to others.
You don’t drink anymore? How come?
I gave up drinking around 2 months ago but it was 18 months ago when I realised I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore. But in this culture, giving up the grog is a hard thing to do. So I kept trying to drink. But I couldn’t get past 2 wines before I was tired and just wanted to lie down. Maybe my liver had had it? I also found it really hard to be around drunk people, and that was really hard, because most of my friends were those drunk people. It’s lonely to be honest. You have about a 1.5 hour window before whoever you’re with becomes a dickhead. And we are all dickheads when we’re drunk. I no longer have the tolerance for the repetition and dribble that comes with a few drinks. I just can’t drink anymore. That’s not to say I won’t ever again. But I think maybe I’m just at that age when you can’t do it anymore?
What’s around the corner for you? Musicals? Pantomimes? Cabaret shows? Karaoke competitions?
All of those! I’d really like to get into radio or ‘chat TV’; where it’s me being me. Some acting on our great ABC or SBS programmes has always been a dream of mine. I did go to drama school, so I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve.
That’s the 5 year plan?
Yep, doing some or all of the above! And still fostering dawgs. Maybe fall in love with a male feminist???
What does being a feminist mean to you?
Being a feminist to me means believing in equal rights for women. Being treated exactly the same as a man and any good or bad that comes with that. Believing girls can be anything that boys can be.
What’s one thing you would tell ‘younger Yvie’?
Stop dieting. Anything you’re waiting to do ‘once you’ve lost weight’, just do it! And don’t give a fuck what others think, even those closest to you. You must trust your gut.
Yvie is one of Carmela’s favourite people. They met many years ago in the bathrooms of a record label quiz night; it was love at first sight. They bonded over finding male-unicorns, the movie ‘Beaches’ and a good late-night kebab.