Kween Krush: LUCY FORD “Red Carpet Realness, Showbiz Secrets And Viral Victory.”

Kween Krush: LUCY FORD “Red Carpet Realness, Showbiz Secrets And Viral Victory.”

Kween Krush alert!! This is where we celebrate everyday women for being complete badass Wonder Women.

Roll out the red carpet: Lucy Ford, we have a blockbuster premiere-size crush on you! Yep, not only are you the coolest cat on the scene, who’s interviewing the cream of the ‘movie and music’ crop. But you’re totes adorbes. We love the cut of your jib (dat effortless style sista) and you’ve seriously got your finger on the pulse when it comes to what’s hot and what’s not. Not to forget to mention, the best taste in boybands and cult chick flicks. And forgive me but we can’t not mention Reece Witherspoon and that viral moment, riiiight? But, once the internet falls in love with you, what happens next?

So… let’s start from the very beginning. How did you come to be one of the most prominent entertainment reporters in the UK?

Well, that is very kind of you to lie like that! In all honesty, I was extremely lucky to get where I am today. I did a postgraduate degree in Broadcast Journalism after university, and the aim was always to end up working somewhere in entertainment. I worked in local radio news for a bit before moving to Istanbul to work for a world news TV network. Whilst I was there I applied for my job (kind of on a whim) during a very quiet late shift. Despite having no experience in showbiz or with celebs, my now-boss took a chance on me: and the rest is history!

Was showbiz, showbiz, showbiz always what you thought you’d end up doing when you ‘grow up’? Is this your dream gig?

I always wanted to work in entertainment: I don’t think I ever realised that my kind of job actually existed, let alone was an actual option. It totally is my dream gig, which feels crazy to write! I get to sit in the room with people who I’ve been a fan of, sometimes to a ridiculous extent, for years. Occasionally, they disappoint, but even then, it still feels very surreal.

Does being a reporter/journalist/content producer have you travel the world a lot? Besides Istanbul, have you always lived and worked in the UK?  

Part of the reason I wanted to become a journalist was because I didn’t want to do a job that limited me to one country. I grew up moving all over the world, so at this point wanderlust is kind of in my blood. I worked as a journalist in Turkey for a bit after university, which was amazing. Since becoming a showbiz journo I’ve been lucky enough to get sent abroad to America and Europe for press trips. I would love to live abroad one day, so this is the perfect test run!

I’m sure at times, the entertainment game can be all glitz and glam but what are some things people don’t know about working in media? 

It definitely is not glamorous: well, at least for the journalists involved! A lot of people think working premieres and award shows means you actually get to go to the events, but the reality is that you stand around for a few hours outside, talk to celebs for maybe 2-3 minutes and then head back to office to turn it all around. In the Summer it’s ok, but as it heads into Winter those nights can be pretty brutal! Of course, there are worse things that I could be doing, but when you have those nights where you can’t feel your fingers, it can be pretty grim!

What’s the biggest misconception about your day-job?

Probably that I spend all day becoming best pals with celebrities? Definitely not the case! Actually, chatting to celebrities is quite a small part of my job, and when I do chat to them there’s definitely no time to strike up a friendship! A lot of people also assume that my life is basically like that scene in Notting Hill where Hugh Grant ends up interviewing Julia Roberts for Horse and Hound. Whilst I do spend a lot of time at hotels interviewing celebs, there’s definitely about 10 people in the room with you, and you have an aggressive countdown clock the whole time: it’s pretty hard to get any inside jokes in when there’s someone literally counting down the minutes in front of you.

What part of your career are you most chuffed about? And what are some of the pinch-yourself highlights?

Basically, that I get to meet my heroes! It’s pretty much as basic as that. I am a fangirl at heart, and have obsessed over celebs and their work for basically as long as I can remember. Getting to sit in a room with Reese Witherspoon and actually hand her the dissertation on Legally Blonde that I’d written was probably a moment that I will never, ever top. Also Oprah was in the room, so yeah, it’s pretty much a peak life moment.

I feel like a bit of a fool, interviewing the ‘interviewer’. What tips or tricks do you have when it comes to asking the big questions to a room filled with A-Listers?

It sounds so basic, but just remember that they are real people. The minute you take them off the celebrity pedestal, it makes it so much easier to try and have a real conversation. Of course, there will always be people you can’t keep your cool in front of (looking at you, Harry Styles), but more often than not it’s easy to relax in front of them. I think it’s also really useful working at a company where celebrities come to us, to our own building. Seeing us at work, and seeing them interacting with their team and ours, makes for a much more human interaction. When it comes to tips on how to get the big questions in, structuring your interview is really important. If you know you’ve got a question that could go either way, save it until the end. That way if they shut it down, you can get out of the room quickly!

Have you ever had an awkward celeb-fail? 

Oh lots! Sometimes how you think something sounds in your head sounds completely different out loud. There have been a few rude celebrities that really didn’t seem to like chatting to me, but all in all I have been lucky. I did call Henry Cavill ‘Harry’ to his face though, which wasn’t great.

You’re also now a presenter on heat radio. How do you feel about being in the spotlight? Or being filmed? Do you ever get self-conscious?

I HATE being on camera. If there’s one way to keep an ego in check, it’s regularly being filmed sitting opposite the most beautiful people in the world. In terms of presenting, that’s been such a fun accident. I never, ever intended on doing any kind of presenting, but the team over at heat radio have been so supportive of me, and actively encourage me to do more. It is cool finding out you’re quite good at something you never thought you’d even enjoy.

How important is it to you to portray body confidence? Do you ever feel pressured to look or dress a certain way?

Body confidence is something I’ve always struggled with. I’ve always been the biggest one of my friendship groups, and whilst that doesn’t really bother me anymore in my day to day life, sometimes having to edit a video of yourself in detail when you’re having a bad day can be quite tough. I don’t actually feel like I need to dress or look a certain way, which is nice. I’m lucky I work somewhere that actively promotes us bringing ourselves into what we do: so if one day I want to dress really smart, I can do that. Likewise, if I want to show up in the baggiest of t-shirts and trackies, that’s also fine.

I do think it’s really important that ‘average’ sized bodies are shown in media. We see a lot of representation at either end of the spectrum, but there is an awkward middle ground where most of the population sits, that doesn’t get seen a lot. I am a size 16, and I’m happy that I get to have a job on camera.

I can also see you’re fast becoming the Kween of Twitter, what do you like about social media and what do you hate? Have you ever been the target of online bullying or trolling? 

I love so much about the internet. If you couldn’t already tell, I was an indoor kid and basically grew up on the internet (where my tumblr peeps at?!). There are massive downsides to Twitter, we all know them, but there’s so much I adore. I’ve made some really good friends from Twitter that I have shared interests with. I’ve also been able to take part in really meaningful interactions with people about a variety of topics. I get to be part of a shared conversation with people who like the same things as me. I also credit social media with making me as socially conscious as I am. I’ve learned so much from hearing diverse voices that I’m sure I wouldn’t have heard in my day to day life. Also, people on the internet are just hilarious.

I’ve actually been lucky when it comes to trolls or online bullying. Even when I went viral, 99.9% of the comments were supportive and kind, and the rest were shot down very quickly. You do get the odd comment that lingers, especially when you’re having an off-day, but the positives for me truly outweigh the negatives.

https://twitter.com/lucyj_ford/status/973572079000915968?s=21

What does going viral feel like? What goes through your head the moment you realise ‘you’ are blowing up around the world? Does it change anything?

It’s a really strange feeling! I always hoped that, if I ever went viral, I would reply to anyone who wrote to me. The reality of it is that you just can’t! I had to turn my phone off at one point, because it just got so overheated cause of the notifications. It got a little bit ridiculous. I was lucky though: the response to my dissertation was 99% positive, which I feel like is unheard of on the internet. That’s what happens when women come together to fan out over chick flicks!

What happens hours, days, even weeks after it?

The funny thing about going viral is that it is over literally in a couple of days. The first day was absolutely crazy, and I couldn’t do any work because I was just transfixed by my notifications (sorry, boss!). But then, around the third day everything went back to normal. In a way, I was really grateful that I still had a job to do, as it let me get away from just staring at my screen. It was a really fun experience, but I also think it’s important to keep some perspective.

Speaking of the bad world of web, any predictions on what is going to be huge in the next 6 months? What’s the next big thing in music/film?

I have no idea and if I had my way all anyone would do would be watch BTS videos and Harry Style’s album documentary on repeat for a year!

We now live in a post-Weinstein world and surrounded by feminist movements like #MeToo, can you relate to any of this?

I am extremely fortunate to never have encountered any real trauma in the sense of #MeToo, which is why I feel so constantly horrified by what so many women, and men, have had to suffer in silence with. I’m so grateful to live in a time where hopefully more victims feel safe to come forward, and feel hopeful that I can learn more and more about feminism as time goes on.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bn1wkKhhfyp/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=1iobg5t5qawa0

I get the impression you’re a proud feminist, is this true? If so, what does ‘girl power’ mean to you?

Oh man, I am the proudest of feminists! Gals are great! I love learning about feminism, and its various histories and the ways in which it became part of our society. I did my dissertation on feminism and female representation in film, and I think I might be the only person in history who looked forward to going to the library to work on their thesis.

Girl power to me can mean anything and everything. I want all women to feel like their voices are heard and are meaningful, so long as they don’t actively harm minorities or other women. Sometimes you get a fitted sheet on your bed first time around and feel proud: that’s girl power! Sometimes you stand up to your boss, or talk down ignorance: that’s also girl power! Women, and men, fighting for equality is such a basic thing, and we still have so much to work on, but I’m encouraged about the conversations we’re having.

Anyone who knows you, also knows you have a fierce obsession of all things boybands and 90s/early 00s chick flicks. Indulge for a moment and tell us some of your ultimate favs.

Oh boy, how much time do you have?! Well, of course Legally Blonde is my ultimate, but I can probably recite word for word Bring it On, Ten Things I Hate About You and Clueless. Honestly, I will never get bored EVER of watching those films. In terms of boybands, I love *Nsync. It is my greatest regret in life that I never saw them when I lived in America at their peak. That pain will live with me forever.

Name one female movie character that changed your life or inspired you to be who you are?

I’ve got to say Elle Woods, right?!

What would your biopic be called?

Probably something like ‘Desperately seeking snacks’.

Since we’re on the love-train, what women are you krushing on at the moment? 

Always, and forever, Amy Adams. Give that woman a damn Oscar already!

You must be so stoked of what you have achieved in your life so far… what’s one thing you would now tell your younger self?

That your trauma will make for great character building. You’re funny and kind, and that is because you had to learn to be strong. The people who picked on you most will also be the ones DMing you to hang out any time they see a picture of you with a celebrity, so you can take some pride in that! Also, don’t get so obsessed with that one guy at uni: he’s gay.

What would 6 year-old and 16 year-old Lucy think of the 26 year-old Lucy today? 

I think 6 year-old Lucy would be utterly confused and probably just get distracted by the nearest snack.

16 year-old Lucy, well, she’d be in absolute shock. 16 year-old Lucy didn’t have the best time. She didn’t have the nicest experience at school and wasn’t sure who she was. I think socially anxious 16 year-old Lucy seeing 26 year-old Lucy working and living in London, talking to people for a living and surrounded by people who love and care about her would probably cry (she cried a lot). 16 year-old Lucy would also want to know whether 26 year-old Lucy had met David Tennant yet (she hasn’t), so I’ve probably still got some things to work on.

🐥: @lucyj_ford

📸: @lucyjayneford_

Carmela has only been working with Lucy at Bauer Media for a handful of weeks but it was girl-love at first sight. Carmela is constantly in awe of how freaking cool Lucy is when placed in any high pressure celeb sitchu. But mostly Carmela is utterly impressed with how quickly Lucy has managed to put up with her awful out-of-time singing and constant “Lucy, can I show you something” in the office. Watch this space peeps, Lucy Ford is a name you’ll be hearing A LOT more of in the future!! 

I have a confession.

I have a confession.

Around this time last year, I posted a picture on the ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied’ Instagram account that expressed my mourning for an opportunity lost, or missed. I felt like I had once again let myself down by not rising to the occasion. I wondered if when it came to interviewing for jobs in London, would this always be a pattern of mine: I got the things I didn’t care about and fucked up the things I really did.

You see, since being here, I’ve done a handful of various roles but my background is in media, predominantly radio and TV. In the past, I’ve been a breakfast co-host, a presenter, an executive producer, an associate producer, a casting researcher, a talent coordinator, a coffee/lunch-get-er, full-time file-er/staple-er; you name it, I’ve done it all!

And when I first arrived in London, I did a few of these things but since I’ve been back for the second time (particularly over the last year and a half), I’ve dabbled in the corporate game as a personal assistant and project manager.

Actually, over the last four years, I’ve done a whole bunch of weird stuff, things I never thought I’d do. I’ve been a waitress, a bartender, a shop assistant, a receptionist at a hair salon… I’ve stretched myself and pushed myself into things for the sake of money and the fear of being unemployed. I’ve had work contracts that have lasted 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months… I’ve worked with many different groups of people, many very different to who I am. I’ve had to put on numerous new hats, gather a range of new skill-sets and find/adjust to my new personality (this is mostly me refraining from singing in the office and mastering my inside voice).

When people asked what I was doing for a job, I would always tell them exactly what I was doing because I wasn’t ashamed of it but I also wasn’t overly proud.

Money aside: it was time for a change too. I needed a break after some pretty awful working experiences/relationships in the media world. Having gone through that, it was necessary for me to take a step back and evaluate my own worth away from working in media. And don’t even get me started on massively needing to improve ones work/life balance. Full disclosure: some job applications weren’t even cutting through to the job interview stage, so I really didn’t have a choice to do anything but something else.

Again, when asked ‘what I was doing in London’, I would follow it with all these long winded reasons for why I was doing what I was doing. I even got really good at convincing people job-interview-wise that I didn’t want to go back to media; insisting that I was done. Basically, I was putting a lot more shine on it then I needed to, I was making my new career path sound much better than it was but here’s the kicker, it wasn’t for them or you, it was for me.

For a while now, I’ve known what I was doing with my time wasn’t right, it was a pass at best. It did what it was supposed to do. I could pay my rent, I could buy my groceries, I could survive in London for another month, and that was really my end game, to stay in London for as long as I possibly could.

I do not want to move back to Australia. Such is my desire to remain in London that when anyone ever asks how long I plan on being here, I always respond with “Forever, as long as there is work”.

The truth: as much as I want to stay in London, deep down I am a creative; it’s a big part of the reason why ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied’ was birthed, I could get my creative fix running this and then go back to my 9-to-5 clinical day job. So the real end game is to create a life here, like the one I had in Sydney. The opportunity to have and be blessed with both, to do what I love, in a place that I love.

So, I’m sorry but I have been lying to you but more importantly, I have been lying to myself. I am a radio person. Radio to me is all the cringy things that people say when they’re ‘into’ something. It’s my passion, my drive, my first love, my first love/hate relationship and at moments, it’s been my everything.

But like all ‘firsts’, radio has also hurt me, it’s disappointed me, it’s broken my heart, yeah you get it… it’s defiantly scarred me. And just like anything toxic in your life, you do need to cleanse and then slowly dip your toe back into that dangerous water when you’re stronger, wiser and just plain, better.

At times I did genuinely think I was doing fine, I was drinking my own kool-aid. I was content with most parts of my life but it’s very clear to me now that every time I would get another office gig over the radio/TV one, I was settling and fiercely protecting myself. I was protecting myself, when I would go on my rants about not missing radio, not needing radio, not wanting radio, that this was now the new life for me. Because deep down, it wasn’t.

And hell, don’t get me wrong, there are some definite media-evils that I will never return to. I will no longer work with someone who speaks to me or treats me like a piece of shit; I now know my worth and I know that I can survive without it (the surprising bonus of taking a break, right?). I will no longer be overworked and underpaid. I will no longer not be valued or appreciated in my role or in my life.

I was lying to protect myself because I knew that I wasn’t happy. Yes, my time, my day-to-day life wasn’t matching what I thought I’d be doing at this age. My heart was in pieces but I was too scared to say anything to anyone, especially myself. Because then it would be real.

I can not express in words really the feeling of thinking that your best self may be behind you. That maybe you’ve already peaked and maybe, just maybe it was all down hill from here.

Now, if you have ever felt this way, a little lost, a little off-centre, not focused, not where you thought you would be in life, that you’re going through the motions. I just want to help remind you that ‘the best is yet to come’ but please don’t wait for things to get better, life will always be complicated. Make the most of what you have right now, and keep putting yourself out there, otherwise you’ll run out of time. The cliché ‘everything happens for a reason’ couldn’t honestly ring more true. I know, lame. But, seriously.

When you’re in a dark place, you sometimes think you’ve been buried. Perhaps you’ve been planted. Bloom!

Recently, I received a phone call that offered me a dream role, it was something I wanted so badly that I had to prepare myself mainly for the fall out (in fear of how I would react if I didn’t get it, again). I still can’t believe it’s mine!! I’m back doing what I do best, doing what excites me, doing what I love, and I’m just so fucking emotional about it.

It’s still terrifying to write this. Nothing in life is certain and there may be a time when things change for me again.

The best part: over the last 16 months, I’ve learnt that I’m actually good at other things. I’ve learnt to be thankful for an eight-hour workday and to enjoy my one-hour lunch break. I’ve had my weekends back to myself and I’ve had the pleasure of working for some totally impressive yet kind professionals (restoring my faith in humanity). I’ve thrown myself into the unknown deep-end multiple times and managed to swim to the top every single time too. And I’m here to tell you, so can you.

I do believe though, that going corporate has really been what’s prepared me for this moment. That actually, everything I’ve done or been through has lead me to this point. Still, this doesn’t change the fact that when it wasn’t all going my way, I felt like an absolute failure. Or worse, a liar. You too? Seriously, hang in there!

I don’t want to lie anymore. And I don’t want to worry that I shouldn’t shout this from the rooftops because it may all go away again. I’m so fucking thrilled, I could burst into tears at just the thought of it. I know, that sounds dramatic but I think it’s my body finally relaxing, breathing for the first time (in a while) with the hope that everything really is going to be ok.

Kweens, believe me, there is no such thing as missed opportunities, except the ones you never put your hand up for in the first place. YOU are so full of potential. Timing is just a bitch. Keep trying. Don’t let the bastards get you down. Never give up. (Boy, how many clichés can one person use in one blog? Spoiler alert: A LOT)

No, I don’t want to be someone whose job ‘defines’ them or ‘completes’ them and trust me, I’ve been working on that waaaay before the recent events in my career. But I also pride myself in what I do. Shouldn’t we all?

I want to be more than the girl who works in radio but that doesn’t mean this girl can’t work in radio at the same time too, right? Ha!

Shout out to my main Kween Jane for writing this to me a couple of months ago:

‘I want you to know that I know who you are. I see you. And I know what you’re meant to be doing. Darling you are meant for a BIG life. 

You are not meant for a 9-to-5 job. You are not meant for behind-the-scenes. And while it might seem like the easier, safer option: it’s not really working out is it? Because that life is too small for you my love.’ 

It still chokes me up today. If you’re in a rut, I hope you have a Jane. Reach out to your Jane. ‘Janes’ are just like the sun. Utter golden treasure. Hold on to your Jane.

Also, big ups to my mate Mikey, who has been my own personal cheerleader and put my CV in front of many people he’s worked with over the past few years. What a legend! He has met up with me after interviews, taken my super annoying stress calls and answered back every one of my long neurotic texts. Poor bastard. He’s yet to realise he’ll soon be working in the same building as that psycho. Lol! I promise, after-work beers are on me, always!

The best part of trying to be more than what you do is… you actually become that. And you work out the people that adore you regardless. Those people know who they are (Kelly and Paul to name a few) and I am forever indebted to them.

At last, today, I can exhale and be proud of who I am, what I’ve been through and what’s going to happen next. Watch this space Kweens.

Big love,

Cliché Carmela

Introducing Carmela Contarino, the #PowerKween behind ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…’ 👸🏻♥️✨

Carmela is an Aussie in London with wanderlust. A TV/Radio rebel. Fierce feminist. Loud laugh-er. Emotional eat-er. Pop culture cat. Red wine wooer and karaoke kween. She hopes that her experiences are just like yours, funny, warm, loud, raw and that maybe you can figure out this thing called ‘life’ together. #YasssKween 🙌🏼

Guest Kween: YEN HOANG “How Miss Independent Learnt To Love.”

Guest Kween: YEN HOANG “How Miss Independent Learnt To Love.”

Hi, I’m Yen. I am a girl that’s super independent. I grew up believing in my strength, was taught to think that I am bold, that my words carry weight and can help change the world. I learnt that I am a force to be reckoned with when I’m standing on my own two feet, and when I must decide, for myself, I know what I want.

Throughout my early 20s, I had everything: a semi-successful startup brewing, found the greatest group of people I still call my best friends today, moved to the other side of the world, travelled alone and graduated in the top two percentile of my university. Yep, all before 22.

I always knew I was super independent, it probably came with being the eldest sibling and a Virgo (think Beyoncé, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Sheryl Sandberg: just to name drop a few). 😉

I was used to walking fast, spending my own money and opening my own doors. I learnt to trust myself and knew who I was through falling down and picking myself back up. I found my niche in the world, paving my own way, presenting my own smile and sense of self to whoever I met. I wasn’t used to balancing myself with another person. I wasn’t used to needing someone, or allowing anyone to help.

YEN

My independence definitely contributed to the destruction of my relationships in my early 20s too. I drove men crazy because I didn’t let them do everything for me. I didn’t let them cater to my every need. I refused to let them pay for every date.

I sometimes wouldn’t let them be the manly-man, the savior, the strong suitor that they so desperately wanted to be for me. It’s wasn’t on purpose; it’s just because I was used to being my own savior. Someone even told me to ‘pretend and be a little less independent, just so they can feel you need them’.

Somehow, something still didn’t feel right. And along the way, I lost my independence: I became that friend who disappeared off the face of the earth because she got a boyfriend. But I fell into this trap, of believing I had to dumb myself down just to make a boy feel better about himself.

My last breakup reminded me how much I needed to put myself first again and regain everything I knew about being independent. Although that breakup shattered my world, it was a sign that I wasn’t meant to be in a relationship with anyone else but myself.

Maybe it was a time for me to fix myself and change. Appreciate myself more and to never make the same mistake. To achieve more goals and more importantly find happiness. To hopefully one day understand, that I’ll attract the right things when I have a sense of who I am.

I had spontaneously decided to accept a job in London (the other side of the world) and pack up and leave within weeks. I had lived in London back in 2011 while studying there and had always called it my ‘home away from home’, so when the offer came through I couldn’t reject it. I called my best friend and told her I was coming, and recalled saying “I have nothing to lose”. I didn’t make plans to come home, or let alone have a plan? I was ready to accept whatever it was that the universe had installed. I felt so free.

yen 2

yen 3

The week my visa appointment with the UK consulate got booked: I met a guy who I never imagined would mean so much to me today. You see, I was so focused on my life that I was completely blind-sided; a relationship was the last thing I was looking for. On our second date, I had no choice but to tell him I was leaving the country. I felt like I owed this to him and was super nervous delivering the update. That’s when I knew, I really liked him.

I asked for answers “Why throw me a bone now universe? I am about to go on an adventure of a lifetime! Do you want me to stay in Melbourne?” I even went to church and a temple to find clarity. I have never felt so vulnerable in my life.

I still left for London and to my understanding we weren’t official. But the distance didn’t change how we both felt about each other. Sure the different time zones were hard but we made it work. Last minute, I booked a flight home so I could surprise this guy on his birthday.

I was super super nervous, I mean, who was I to him to do that? We weren’t even official or anything exclusive! I knew I was taking a big chance. I guess that’s the whole issue with being independent yet a hopeless romantic too. Naturally, we then agreed to a long distance relationship because he acknowledged my dreams and supported it no matter how tough it was going to be.

You see, when you fall for a girl that’s independent, you will get frustrated. She’s used to doing things for herself and by herself. She’s used to following her own rules, making her own decisions, being selfish with her time. It will take a bit for her to get used to putting someone else first, to moulding her life to shape both yours and hers together. Don’t get me wrong, she won’t have trouble loving you, but she might, at first struggle to let you in.

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A long distance relationship ended up being the best thing for me. I learnt to prioritise a relationship; scheduling in calls with confusing time differences, improving communication skills and letting someone into my life, knowing I can still continually work on myself.

I learnt to let the small things go, had to invest a lot of trust in someone, believe that not all guys are bad (something that doesn’t come easy for me), to compromise and have patience, extreme patience. And finally, I learnt that when time and luck crossed paths the universe would find me a guy who will fall in love with my driven, spontaneous, independent character.

Go travel the world, battle your demons, set up a business, find people who value your heart and yours will attract. Don’t apologise for working hard, for having goals and being independent: we need more girls like this.

When the right person comes along, they will support you unconditionally and when you do come across that person, know that you deserve them.

I hope you love yourself enough to recognise the things you don’t like about your life, and I hope you find the courage to change them. And I hope somewhere out of the unexpected, a person comes along who will love and support you on your journey too.

Yen started her career in public relations with aspirations to work in the fashion industry, she became curious with e-commerce and technology and evolved her career to where she is now. Awarded Australian Best Young Marketing Talent (2016) for spearheading numerous innovations in her field, she is a passionate marketer with an entrepreneurial edge focused on overachieving outcomes. Competitive at heart, she never wanted to settle for just a nine-to-five job and saw an opportunity start her own business while still working a full-time job. People often mistaken Yen to be quite timid on first impression, but little do they know that she enjoys confrontation, is super opinionated and will definitely shut down dickhead behaviour (if she sees it). Her upbringing has been quite colourful (a story for another time) but as a result she is now super passionate about raising diversity issues (in every form) and empowering young girls to chase their dreams through running mentorship programs and teaching at a university outside of her side hustles.

@yhoang

Prince Charming: PAUL RIGGIO

Prince Charming: PAUL RIGGIO

Prince Charming alert!! This is where we celebrate the kick ass men in today’s world who are setting the bar high when it comes to love and respect.

Introducing Paul Riggio:

1) Describe yourself in three words:

Resilient, instinctive, ambitious, spontaneous, compassionate, introspective, complex… What’s the word for someone who can’t count?

2) What do you think a modern-day Prince Charming is? 

Does he even exist? Ha! The enchanting champion who saves the day and whose heroic actions earn him the highly sought-after princess as his prize… [record scratch].     Hang on, it’s 2018! Do we even want him to exist?

No, thank you! Ain’t nobody taking me as a prize (although my other half has scored the jackpot… and don’t I keep reminding him! Jokes people!!).

My ‘new-age’ prince charming isn’t charging solo. Rather, we’re riding side-by-side. PC’s got my back and I’ve got his. He’s giving me strength when I require it and support when I need it. PC never pulls the reigns to hold me back. Instead, he’s there to push me forward. And it’s vice versa. Because together we will triumph. And together we make each other our best selves. And that’s the real prize. Thanks PC!

3) What’s one piece of advice you would give to young men? 

Let’s be honest, you’re gonna be a bit of a ‘dick’ for the most part of your late adolescence and early adulthood. To each other, to your family, to those you fancy. We all were… blame the testosterone. Whether it’s trying to impress mates, trying to assert our newly developed masculinity, trying to prove ourselves…

So, my advice would be to always have respect for yourself and for others. Even when you’re trying to ‘become a man’ in those turbulent years. Look to your role models and follow their lead. Let them and the ‘good guy’ on your shoulder guide you. And for goodness sake, listen!

4) What does feminism mean to you? Would you call yourself a feminist?  

It’s the understanding that women are equal in society and must be ensured every opportunity possible throughout it, without diminished status or reward. That women not only offer just as much to society as men, but also have a unique and significant perspective that must be heard. It’s about the freedom of women to make their own decisions regarding their life, their body, career, family, finances and future.

Feminism has been a tough fight and there’s still a way to go (let’s take a moment to celebrate those courageous women that have been at the forefront of this today and throughout history) but feminism for me is a celebration of women; all that they are, all that they offer, and all that has been achieved.

But it’s more than all of this. It’s also about believing that most of us out there want the same for all women, regardless of our sex. So feminism is also about embracing those out there that share the same belief. I know plenty of cracking guys who are all for equality for women and they should be embraced and celebrated as change. And yes, us blokes need to pull our socks up, me included but don’t we all, men and women alike, when it comes to these important social issues?

Feminism can too often get misrepresented and reduced to be ‘Man Vs. Woman’ or ‘man-bashing’. I think feminism should be about leading by example to continue to make further progress and I think we can all take heed of that.

I’ve never thought of myself as a feminist and I’ve never labelled myself as one. I’m not on the picket lines or in the trenches like the courageous women I tipped my hat to earlier and who have earned the right to be called feminists. I do know that I wholeheartedly believe no matter your sex, ethnicity, religion or sexuality, we all deserve the opportunity to be and give our best, free from judgement, persecution or inequality. I like the term ‘feminist ally’, I’m cool with that and proud to say it.

5) Which Kweens have influenced your life? How did that make an impact on your life/career?

How lucky am I to have so many important, influential, magnificent women in my life?

It all begins with my mum. She’s the strongest woman I know. Despite the unbelievable number of serious medical conditions she has to deal with, she’s as tough as nails and has never given up (I reckon I’d have thrown the towel in long ago).

She’s battled her demons openly and always with a brave face; even with the resulting mental health issues that after decades of ill health and chronic pain have chipped away at her spirit. And even with all that, she managed a family of four kids, a home and the finances. She did that because dad was out busting his gut working two and three jobs or night-shifts to bring in enough money, so mum could keep us fed, housed, clothed and educated.

Mum is courageous, curious, loving, selfless and fierce. She taught us to be independent (she will now tell you we’re all too independent) and encouraged us to work hard, respect one another and find what makes us happy.  I’ve certainly done that and now that my career has me living around the world, which I know she hates because of the distance, she is still proud and supportive. It also gives her major bragging rights with her girlfriends (I’ll allow her this fantasy).

Mum’s a dinner-and-a-show kinda gal now. She loves a night out, a dance when she’s up to it, music, a laugh and meeting new people. She’ll never admit it but she also loves a good feed and to feed others. The apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree on all of the above!

Just quickly, I have also had some incredibly inspiring female teachers who set me on the path of following what I was passionate about, even if I copped shit for it. There also many strong and independent women in my family including my sister, my aunts, my grandmother, and my nieces that have helped shape the man I’ve become. And some gloriously sassy, smart, accomplished girlfriends who have, and continue to, support and inspire me everyday.

Oh! And Oprah!! Who captivated a prepubescent, skinny, awkward, camp-ish, ethnic kid who wasn’t sure where he fitted in and made him believe he could get a job in TV. Here I aaaaammmmm! (I won’t be giving away cars anytime soon though).

6) What are your working relationships like with women?

I don’t think it’s unusual (certainly not with the people I have worked so closely with in my career) to have nothing but strong, collaborative working relationships with women. I have always thrived working alongside talented and intelligent women and have learnt a great deal from many of them who have guided and mentored me. 

7) What do you hope for men and women in the future?

I hope we get to the day where we can focus on our similarities, not our differences and that the unique qualities and perspectives we all have as individuals is celebrated.

8) Which fairy tale character, do you most identify with? Or who would play you in a movie? 

Aladdin! He’s an energetic, cheeky, smart kid who walks his own path. He’d be the class clown today: disruptive and impatient because he is preoccupied and easily excited by all kinds of people, the big world out there and the lessons that he knows they will teach him. He’s kind and generous and definitely someone not to be underestimated.

Is it a little weird that I was kind of attracted to the animated character when I was a kid watching the film? Weren’t we all?

Oh, and Stanley Tucci would totally play me in a movie. Am I right?

Paul Riggio is currently an Executive Producer for global media company FremantleMedia, one of the leading creators, producers and distributors of television brands in the world. He’s an accomplished television producer and show-runner with over 15 years hands-on experience working on some of the biggest international, entertainment and studio formats in Australia, Asia and the USA. This includes the Asian Television Award winning, ‘Asia’s Got Talent’, the International Emmy Award nominated format, ‘La Banda’, ‘Australia’s Got Talent’, ‘The X Factor’, ‘Australian Idol’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. Paul also became an elected member of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (International Emmys) in 2017.

Showbiz aside, Paul’s talents also extends to ordering ‘everything’ off the menu, picking out a great bottle of red, finding grammatical errors in your Facebook posts, singing in perfect harmony, and serving flawless lewks and moves on the d-floor (choreographed and improvised).  

Paul too is one of Carmela’s closest friends, hell he’s more like family! He’s her confidant and conscience. The Karen to her Grace, the Olivia to her Mellie, the ‘Paul’ to her Ru. 😉

Carmela’s so thrilled that Paul could be the first ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied… Prince Charming’.

Kween Kulture: PRIDE IN LONDON 2018

Kween Kulture: PRIDE IN LONDON 2018

Over the weekend I celebrated my first Pride in London with my beloved friend, Callum.

We started the day at his place, sipping glasses of buck fizz and lining our stomachs with a bacon butty (which he prepared). It was deeelish!

We took the train from Greenwich to Piccadilly, our bags packed with more bubbles, gin, plastic cups and rainbow face paint. Yasss, these Kweens were set!

While we were waiting for our train though, Callum mentioned how he was asked in the week leading up to the event, if he thought ‘Pride in London’ was still necessary?

Allow me to answer that for my beautiful darling friend…

-While Cal was in the middle of explaining this, he also stopped and said to me “Can you see the kind of ‘looks’ I’m getting? Don’t they know, it’s Pride?”

Now, not that any human could ever or deserves to ever, take away the light bursting inside of my gorgeous friend, but it really pissed me off that today of all days, there were still some people willing to make him feel not worthy or accepted (let alone every day of his god damn life!).

Eventually we got on the train and we were stoked to find it filled with people wearing exactly what we were wearing; boys in short shorts, girls with rainbows on their faces, glitter everywhere. Any thought of the small minded who tried to quash our spirits were themselves, quashed.

-When we got to the parade, it was delayed due to anti-trans protestors. These people not only laid down on the ground in front of the march but were still allowed to walk the parade first (police escorting them) holding signs, banners and flyers filled with such awful, hateful messages about transsexuals. It was such an ugly thing to see, especially when everyone who was standing on the streets were there for the exact opposite reason. So, we booed them. We booed the hell out of them!!

-Once the parade finally started, my heart filled with joy and my eyes welled up (they always do, no matter where I’m watching it, Sydney, Brighton). I just love the feeling of when the parade begins; it symbolizing another year of fighting and resisting, yet another chance to shout love and light from the rooftops. It was amazing seeing these humans so happy and so celebrated. Admiration poured from every street corner and scaffolding but I couldn’t help also noticing the other signs that stated that being ‘gay’ was still illegal in 72 countries. 72!

Can you believeee?

So, is Pride in London still necessary? ABSO-FUCKING-LUTLEY!!!

Even if we get to a world where none of the above exists, there will always be a bunch of brave, fearless, strong men and women, who made it a little easier for that other boy to come out to his parents or that other girl to tell her best friend that she likes girls. I imean, that needs to be celebrated not just at Pride but all the freaking time, right?!!

But honey seriously, besides these slight attempts to bring us down, nothing was going to damper our day! We sang, we danced, we hugged, we held hands, we laughed; it was a magical, perfect day. A day simply about love and loving each other.

📸: @calluminos

By surprise, I also saw my other friend Tony strutting past. This made me (once again) explode with pride and strangely also made me feel right at home. Wow, how could I have only been back in London for just over a year and already recognized a familiar face, not just in the crowd, but in the parade!? Tony shouted out my name and gave me a high-five, my eyes got glassy again, it was so special.

Actually, there were many other things that gave me ‘all the feels’.

-Parents parading with their young children (straight and gay), I swear this is something I will do with my kids too. I also feel like if my son ever told me he was ‘straight’ I’d be most disappointed. Ha!

-There were different cultures and religions also parading their gay stuff with utter sass and fun; it was super powerful.

📸: Mike Cash

The only thing that is ‘unnecessary’ about Pride in London is the amount of glitter you will continue to find on your body, in your hair, in your bathroom and in your bed afterwards; no matter how many times you have showered or attempted to clean it up. It’s like a fucking unicorn has shat everywhere. And the cheeky train-toilet-vomit one may encounter on the way back home. Whoops!

Still, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

I grew up in a house where my mum would always invite her gay friends around for dinner parties; my Italian dad would sit at the table and speak to them like he was down at the pub with his own mates. My point is, maybe if everyone had the chance to grow up with ‘gay people’ being treated just like ‘people’, maybe no one would ever question if it was necessary.

So, is Gay Pride still necessary? Yasss Kween! And I cannot wait till 2019. Maybe I’ll be in the parade next time too!!

📸: @jenobeirne
Is your inner cheerleader doing her job properly?

Is your inner cheerleader doing her job properly?

What’s the first thing you do when your friend is feeling down?

Or is not being very kind to themselves?

What’s the first thing you do when someone offends your friend?

Or even looks at them the wrong way?

YOU GO INNNNN.

Yep, you’re their personal cheerleader.

You tell em, ‘shut it!’ Cos you’re ain’t having any of that nonsense!!

You follow it up with every compliment under the sun. “You’re fucking gorgeous. Your body is bang-in. You’re stunning on the inside and out. If I was into women, I’d do you!”

At times you even go down the tough love route. “Oh stop it, you silly cow!!”

Now, what’s the first thing you do when you’re not ‘feeling it’?

Or catch yourself in a pic someone else took?

Or Facebook decides to show you a memory from 5 years ago AKA ‘a photo of when you were much thinner but thought you were fat and gross and disgusting then too’?

You do not go into cheerleader mode.

You say, think and feel some truly horrid things about yourself.

What a shame.

In the last two years, I was asked by both my best friends if I would be in their bridal party.

Something I felt truly touched by. I was honoured, privileged, thrilled, you name it: I had all the feels. Unlike my sister who has been in countless bridal parties, I have been in a total of three.

So how did I wear that pride?

“I have to lose weight, like yesterday.”

“Fuck, how awful if I’m this size for the wedding.”

“Shit the other bridesmaids are so much skinner than me; I’m going to look huge.”

This dialogue went on inside my head for 14 months in the lead up to my beautiful friend Effie’s wedding. Every month I would calculate the time I had left to be skinner, prettier, better.

I feared seeing Effie weeks before the wedding because I already felt like I had let her down. Why? Because I hadn’t organised the Bachelorette party or I hadn’t given a second thought to the wedding d-floor playlist? Oh no: because I hadn’t lost enough weight!!

On the morning of the wedding, the last thing I said to her before we left for the church was: “Do I look ok? I don’t want to embarrass you.” In hindsight I’m more embarrassed for actually saying that to her. What the fuck did it matter how I looked or felt? This was her day. 🤦🏻‍♀️

When my beautiful friend Pippa asked me to be in her bridal party, I was determined to get it right this time. I was not going to be fat at her wedding. Oh god, I was even bigger. 🤣

I just ballooned in the lead up to it. I had put on so much more weight whilst living in London that when I landed back in Australia two weeks before the wedding, I really had to put on a brave face.

At the time I never said a word to Pippa (a lesson learnt from Effie’s wedding) yet she constantly told me throughout the day how gorgeous ‘I’ looked and she let me get changed half-way through the reception. Am I the most high-maintenance bridesmaid or what? No wonder I never get asked. Ha!

When I got back to London, I was secretly dreading the release of Pip’s bridal photos. I was fixated on what I would look like and I couldn’t stop thinking how once again, I had let a close friend down.

When the photos did finally emerge, what I’d been dreading was to be expected.

Some of the photos I’m in are lovely. Others have so many chins and back rolls, I have to now laugh, otherwise, well you know how this sentence ends.

The day I went through her wedding gallery for the first time, I tried to do the cheerleader thing.

“They’re ok babe.”

“Jesus, calm it, they’re not that bad!”

“Look how much love is in these photos!? Who gives a fuck what size you are?”

And a bit of the tough stuff too: “No one is looking at that. YOU are looking at that. Get over yourself.”

But I couldn’t stop torturing myself and admittedly, I didn’t sleep much that night. I was wracked with guilt.

I reached out to Pippa a few times to confess how sorry I was (I felt like I owed it to her). She responded with:

Fuck me. Is this not the worst part?

Isn’t she a diamond? Am I not the luckiest mole in the whole damn world?!

What the hell have I been putting myself through over the last few years? My friends didn’t pick me to be in their bridal party because I take a nice photo. They picked me for so many other reasons. Why couldn’t I just focus on that?

What a shame.

The first wedding I was ever in was my beautiful friend Caitlyn’s. I was 15-20 kilos lighter but I felt the same then too.

When will this stop? What’s it going to take?

Kweens, it really is this simple: if you wouldn’t say it to a friend, then don’t you dare say it, think it and feel it about yourself!!!

Now, it’s not every day I do this. I’m actually getting a lot better at being kind to myself. I’m definitely a lot better then I was.

These days, I’m better at letting things go. Where before I would see it as I was letting myself go. I would punish myself for having any feelings of self-love (like maybe I was just lying to myself).

Today, I’m wearing skinny blue jeans with a black singlet tucked into it. This is a black singlet I would normally wear under tops to keep everything in and tight.

Lately I have been following some accounts on Instagram where women have been showcasing and embracing their size and curves. Each and every one of these women are sexy AF.

So I feel like the script really is changing. Am I more confident now by chance? By age? Or by the examples around me? The kind of examples that weren’t around me when I younger?

I got up this morning and I put on an outfit that totally emphasized my boobs, butt, waist, stomach and thighs. You should have seen me strutting across London Bridge, I was owning it!

The reality: I packed another looser top too, as I wasn’t sure how long today’s new found confidence would last.

The important thing: you would not have caught me dead in something like that a year ago, let alone 5 years ago (when I was thinner: thanks Facebook).

Growing up as a ‘bigger’ girl you get used to things.

Like: obsessing in the mirror and securitising every angle before heading out.

Like: pulling at your top every time you sit down.

Like: making excuses when your friends invite you to the beach.

Like: walking down the street and constantly fiddling because your dress is sticking to the wrong parts of your body.

Like: having mini-meltdowns in bathrooms during a party because you feel so uncomfortable.

Like: not getting changed EVER in front of ANYONE.

Like: dreading seeing an old mate because you’re not the same size you were the last time you saw them.

Where was my inner cheerleader then?

Where is my inner cheerleader now?

Well, she’s pretty strong today. She’s getting stronger and louder every day. She’s doing high-kicks and all kinds of fancy shit.

If you’re the same, can’t you see a pattern? You weren’t happy when you were 5 kilos lighter. You weren’t content when you 10 kilos lighter. You were still miserable when you were at your lightest.

When’s it going to stop? What’s it going to take?

Will my inner cheerleader always be around? No. But I genuinely believe that if I’m ever going to be truly happy that I need to love her just the way she is right now.

I need to learn to let my inner cheerleader do cartwheels, no matter what size she is!

Will my inner cheerleader be around tomorrow? Oh, I bloody hope so!! And I hope yours is too.

Goooo ‘Team You’!! Yaasss!

Big love,

Carmela

Guest Kween: FAYE LYONS-WHITE “The Best Day Of My Life Was Not (For A While) The Day My Daughter Was Born.”

Guest Kween: FAYE LYONS-WHITE “The Best Day Of My Life Was Not (For A While) The Day My Daughter Was Born.”

The best day of my life was not (for a while) the day my daughter was born.

Even seeing that written down gives me an immense feeling of guilt. I feel anxious writing this.

With time and perspective (and probably some minor memory loss) it has become the best day but for a while, it really was not.

Before I had Aifric, I was told that having a baby would be the best day of my life; better than my wedding day, better than the time I was 16 and saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the London Arena, better than the day I danced with Jeff Goldblum (husband Simon will be rolling his eyes here), even better than the day Ryan Gosling shook elbows with me (even more eye rolling, but that’s another story for another time).

Let’s not get confused with the best day of my life and the best thing that has ever happened in my life. Because Aifric is certainly that. She is the best thing that has ever happened to us and I am overwhelmed with the magnitude of love and pride I have for her.

But the day she was born was awful. She was 10 days late. Eventually after 9 days of waiting, I went into labour in the early hours of the morning and by all accounts, it started off well.

I was contracting every 3 minutes, all while still able to have conversations about what was trending on Twitter and Trump. Who wants to talk about him during labour? Hand up: this fool over here! I even had time to eat a lot of Party Rings. The phrase ‘she’s made for labour’ was even bandied about (which is weird in itself, does that mean some women aren’t?!).

Suddenly I wasn’t making any further progress, I couldn’t dilate past 7-8cm because the baby was sitting on part of my cervix. Cue syntocinon drip, and an epidural. Then all of a sudden: chaos.

The baby’s heart rate dropped without warning and didn’t recover. We had an emergency episiotomy and forceps delivery and I got a third degree tear, losing two litres of blood. I was immediately taken to theatre and spent the first two and a half hours of our baby’s life away from her.

Later, when the feeling came back to the lower half of my body, I was in immense pain. So who can call that the best day of their life? Please. No one would describe severe haemorrhaging as the best day of their life!

It has taken me some time to allow myself to breathe and appreciate that thought. Even now my memory is playing tricks on me: was that the best day of my life? Maybe it was.

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine, we were swapping labour stories and I said that this ‘best day of your life’ stuff is just total rubbish. Aifric is the best thing to ever EVER happen to us and we cannot imagine life without her but the best day? It certainly was not!

The next day I sent this friend a follow-up message saying how guilty I felt. How much I felt I had let Aifric down by saying her birthday wasn’t the best day of my life and that really it was a great day because we got baby Aifric out of it. I wouldn’t want Aifric to ever think I resented any of it. Ever. Because of course, I don’t.

This lovely friend of mine replied. She told me that I hadn’t let Aifric down just because I didn’t enjoy the labour. That the labour was a reflection of my love and appreciation for her. A testament to my love for her; that I could go through all that and still think she’s the best thing I have ever done.

Thank you to that friend for helping me manage that funny guilt, one which I think is probably going to stick with me for a little while longer and may possibly change in its appearance, cloud my judgement and my memory: but it’s ok, I am ready for you!

And thank you to my friend for teaching me (us!) yet another lesson. To be a little kinder to ourselves, a little softer, in this totally and utterly crazy journey of parenthood.

Faye is a showbiz correspondent living in London with her husband Simon and 6 month old daughter Aifric. Life was all about the red carpets and interviews: now it’s Napisan and nipple shields.

Faye started blogging about life as a new mum on her site notsoshowbizmum. She very much enjoys an instastory, a good gin, netball and is pleased TayTay and KP have finally made up!

@posh_faye