Guest Kween: LAURA BOUCHET “I’ve Felt Like An Imposter For Most Of My Career!”

Guest Kween: LAURA BOUCHET “I’ve Felt Like An Imposter For Most Of My Career!”

As I sat on the stage, my heart was thumping so loudly; I was certain the whole auditorium could hear it beat through my microphone.

A prickly heat rose through my body, my face was flushed and my eyes stung. I felt like if I took a breath, I was going to throw up right there in front of hundreds of my industry peers.

Let me digress for a second: I’m fully aware that so far this sounds like a middle-aged woman’s version of Eminem’s Lose Yourself but truth be told, I did feel very ‘8 Mile’ at the time. Okay, snap back to reality, I mean, back to my story!

Why was I, of all people, chosen to speak at this conference? “For god’s sake, don’t lift your arms, the sweat marks under there look like you’ve absorbed a swimming pool” Shit, I’ve been asked a question. “Why me? WHAT THE HELL DO I SAY NOW??!!”

This moment was meant to be the highlight of my radio career. I was supposed to sit in front of these people and speak about what I knew.

In a hazy blur (kind of like the camera work on The Blair Witch Project), I fumbled my way through the conference. People applauded, some even thanked me afterwards. Liars. That was a train wreck. I was a total imposter!

The next evening at the industry awards night, the same fools who asked me to speak on stage decided I would also win the highest accolade I could achieve for my job, ‘Best Show Producer’.

It was a huge honour but there wasn’t a single part of my soul that could enjoy any of it. I woke up the next morning with a feeling of dread and a terrible ache in my heart. I couldn’t stop thinking someone was going to knock on my door and tell me there’d been a terrible mistake. That I’d have to hand the trophy back. That I didn’t deserve it.

Hi, I’m Laura and for the past 12-ish years, I’ve been producing radio. Award winning number 1 radio.

Yep, but before I got here, I worked my butt off. From barbecuing sausages at promo events to stuffing prizes into padded envelopes; I got dirty, I woke up early, I stayed back late and I often did it for free.

I’ve now spent over a decade working with some of the most successful and respected media personalities in Australia and won ‘even’ more awards. I’ve also mentored young producers who have gone on to have their own brilliant careers.

Yet no matter how far up the ladder I climbed, that familiar waft of barbecued sausages from my first day would follow me. I was constantly waiting for someone to tap me on the shoulder, rip me down off that ladder and say out loud the words that were continually taunting me in my head “You don’t belong here”.

What I had was a giant, crippling dose of Imposter Syndrome.

To save you googling it, here’s the Wiki definition of ‘Imposter Syndrome’.

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’.

Doubts their accomplishments.  Check.

Fears being exposed as a fraud. Check. Check. Check.

Did I just win Imposter Syndrome Bingo?

Did you just call out “Bingo” too?

Imposter Syndrome is more common than I ever imagined, and it is particularly prevalent among women. Why? Well, probably for many, many reasons.

Here are some of the reasons I’ve identified based on my own experience:

A tendency to shrink around men. I really want to preface this by stating I love the industry I belong to, and the opportunities it’s presented me with. Like so many industries though, it is heavily dominated by men. Strong men with big personalities. Men who shine and command attention when they walk into a room. Have you ever shrunk yourself in the presence of a strong, shiny man? I sure have, countless times. These men, by the way, have every right to shine but it does not mean we have to shrink. Shrinking yourself only fuels Imposter Syndrome.

Common messages we hear, we think, we even say about other women.

They must have slept their way to the top.”

“They’re wearing their ‘close the deal’ skirt today.”

“Grow some balls.”

“You have to be more of a bitch to get ahead.”

You get the idea. Quite often it’s said in jest. But these shitty words are telling us that it’s unusual for women to succeed through hard work, intelligence and a career plan. This too fuels Imposter Syndrome.

Comparisons with other people. For me, that ‘other person’ was my own husband. (Yes, we are the clichéd product of a chance meeting by the office photocopier).

For a number of years, my husband and I were professional rivals, producing the #1 and #2 radio shows in Sydney; from within the same building.

It was a pretty sweet arrangement for the most part. Until my show beat his to the #1 spot.

He was gracious in defeat (at least to my face), but it was the innocent comments from other people that triggered old mate ‘Imposter Syndrome’ to flair up again.

“How’s HE doing?”

“Is HE okay?”

“I bet you’ll be cooking him his favourite dinner tonight!”

I couldn’t allow myself to enjoy that success. All I felt was that HE missed out on something that he deserved, therefore I didn’t deserve it at all.

Maternity Leave. When I returned to work nine months after having my little angel/spawn of Satan, my Imposter Syndrome was at an all-time high.

It didn’t matter that I had a supportive employer and a team who eagerly welcomed me back with open arms. This stupid stigma around getting knocked up and taking time out to birth a child remained, at least in my head. I felt like an Etch a Sketch. My career had been shaken clean and I had to prove myself all over again. And how on Earth was I going to fool them a second time?! Changing my identity from career woman to mother, to career woman/mother was a complete head-fuck.

Imposter Syndrome is an exhausting beast. It held me back from taking on new challenges. It stopped me from growing. But, the good news… Imposter Syndrome is totally unnecessary and surprisingly simple to let go of.

Here’s how I’m doing it:

I started doing massive cannonballs into swimming pools. I’m being extremely literal here. I used to be the ‘cautious, ease myself up to my waist then stand on my toes and gasp as the cold water hit my ribs’ kind of swimmer. Until I realised I was letting irrational fear and a bit of discomfort get in the way of my swimming time. So, instead, I took a run up and bombed the shit out of that pool. You can see the symbolism here, right? 

When I stopped timidly easing myself into the water, I stopped timidly easing myself into life. I realised I was never afraid that I was not good enough. I was afraid of my own freaking success. I was scared to make a splash. I was scared to shine!

I CHOOSE how I feel. This will freak you out but, an extremely wise woman told me that the physical feeling of anxiety (refer to the first lines of my Eminem-style prose) is the same physical feeling as excitement! Whenever I’m in a situation where I get that response in my body, I change the label to excitement. And it works for me every time.

I celebrate my wins. Big or small wins, it doesn’t matter. I reward myself with a beer, a fancy dinner, or a new pair of shoes. And I make sure I enjoy every delicious moment of it. Not because it might not happen again, but because I earned it.

I repeat weird little mantras to myself. Like this one (you’ve probably seen your grammar pedant friends post a similar line on FB) ‘With Imposter Syndrome, you know you’re shit. Without it, you know your shit’.

This is not a modern day, happily ever after fairy tale by the way. In fact, there’s probably no ending to this at all. I still have many moments where that dreaded feeling kicks in. But it doesn’t control me anymore. I’ve decided that who I am is more than good enough AND if I need a reminder, I find myself a swimming pool.

Bombs away. xx

Laura is an award-winning radio producer who has worked with some of Australia’s most loved media personalities. She met her husband at the work photocopier and together they’re raising a mini-copy of themselves, little Juliette. Laura once got busted asking a colleague if she was ‘prettier than Giuliana Rancic’ by none other than Giuliana Rancic. 🤣

Laura also enjoys making drunk purchases on Ebay, because it feels like Christmas every time the delivery guy knocks on the door with a surprise package.

📸: @laurambouchet

Meet CARMELA CONTARINO: The Power Kween Behind ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…’

Meet CARMELA CONTARINO: The Power Kween Behind ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…’

How much do you really know about Carmela Contarino: the woman behind your fav fem blog ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…‘?

Did you know she’s Australian? (From a small town called Bunbury, Western Australia.) But spent her 20s in Sydney and now resides in London? Yasss, she’s a big city gal now!

Did you know as a child, she was chubby, rocked an afro/mullet, had too much body hair and was teased mercifully for looking a ‘bit like a boy’? Luckily, this birthed oodles of personality, a wicked sense of humour, a resilient attitude and effortless unique style: hello headscarves and colour clashing!!

Did you know as a young girl, Carmela was a competitive dancer and had her own Hip Hop/Funk/Jazz dance school (which opened the door to 200 students) at 19? These days though, she mostly dances like Ellen.

Did you know at the age of 24, she also had her own breakfast radio show in the biggest commercial market in Australia? She’s met and interviewed most A-list celebrities but she has also worked most minimum-wage jobs too, like being a hairdresser’s receptionist, waitress, bartender and shop assistant. Yep, she can pour a mean beer! She’s now the talent booker and entertainment content producer for the Bauer Media Group in the UK looking after radio (KISS/Magic/Absolute), print (Heat/Closer) and digital.

Did you know she auditioned for Idol, X Factor, Big Brother but ended up casting talent for those TV shows instead? Carmela’s vice now is drunk karaoke: better known as Trashioke. 

Did you know at the age of 33, she’s never really had a ‘proper’ boyfriend? (No one she’s introduced to her parents or brought over to the family home for Christmas lunch.) Cue the numerous awkward convos with Uncles: “So do you have a special man in your life? Or woman?”

Did you know her idols are Bette Midler, Whoopi Goldberg, Lena Dunham and Taylor Swift? Because, obviously.

Did you know she’s still close with her friends from primary/high school? That group and the people she surrounds herself with today, are the inspo behind #STFTL.

Of course you don’t! Because 70% of stories on ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…‘ are about and written by other wonderful, fabulous and brave women and men (which Carmela couldn’t be more proud of).

So, how did Carmela end up being who she is today? Is it the roller coaster of her colourful past?

Why does she champion and cherish other women so fiercely? Why is her mum one of her best friends?

Why does she have utter compassion for the underdog or someone down on their luck?

Find out as Carmela exclusively opens up about her world to Greg Stocks on his podcast ‘Life Chats With Greg’.

 

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 🙌🏼

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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!! 

Prince Charming: CHARLIE FOX

Prince Charming: CHARLIE FOX

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 Charlie Fox: 

1) Describe yourself in three words:

Well, I had to take an online quiz to figure this out, but it only came back with empathetic. I would add creative and curious (like the cat, not curious as in strange, then again…).

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

To be honest in this day and age it sounds suss! I imagine Donald Trump thinks he is a ‘Prince Charming’, but hey I get it! Can I add ‘low attention span’ to the above answer? It is just 3 words….?

Ok, so a modern PC would be a man who understands not just women, but humans. I think to understand women you have to try to understand all the sexes. To do this you need to have tons of EI (emotional intelligence) and according to my old workplace when EI was the ‘must have’ corporate fad of the moment and they tested me for it: I had boatloads.

I’ve spent most of my life working in radio, dealing with high profile egos and to do this you need boatloads of EI! (that’s EI not E… although that could also help).

Ok, so I’ve veered off topic again, the simple answer is understanding. Understand what drives females; why they are the way they are. I find all women interesting and fascinating, so I treat them with respect and a slight bit of awe.

Also please understand, I believe a Prince Charming should be a Prince Charming to everyone, not just females. But of course, for the #TheFairyTalesLied I’ll stick to women.

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

Again, understand women!! Well at least try. Think about this young man, a little girl is usually treated like a princess because, well let’s face it, little girls are so damn cute (in a baby bunny rabbit kind of way). Bear in mind, I have a son not a daughter, so parents of girls may not agree with me on this.

The little girl grows up to be a young girl and starts to go through puberty, then the period arrives. At which point, putting myself in that young girl’s sparkly sneakers for a moment, I would be thinking… ‘You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!? I bleed!? For how long?? How often? Fuck off!!!!!’ All of a sudden the cute little bunny rabbit must feel betrayed and horrified. Surely there’s some mistake???

Here she is at her most vulnerable emotionally, trying to look attractive while battling the old raging hormones, acne and then the period happens. Monthly. Faaaaarck me!

So this alone makes me (and remember the website quiz I took told me I am empathetic and don’t forget, the EI part) have enormous respect for young girls, even though some appear to be batshit crazy, I know they have good reason.

Ok, so after that kick in the guts my young male friend should we talk about what it feels like to be penetrated? Why are you squirming?

And just to top it off, after all of that, the girl is now a woman, and pregnant. After watching my wife (whom I am proud to say is a #STFLKween) go through this fun 9 months, my level of respect for women could go no higher!

Childbirth? OMFG!!! The horror!

I don’t want to bring religion into this (well obviously I do) but not only would the christian God be male, he would also be misogynist! Surely, there has to be a way to make life easier for women. Men have none of these problems! Imagine if you were sitting down with a clean sheet of paper to create the human race and went “Right, I’ll have 2 sexes for humans, to procreate, the male will stick it in here for amazing pleasure, the female… well fuck it, I’ll make her life a bloody misery!!”

When it comes to females procreating, wouldn’t eggs be a better solution? Really not my field. But, if I was a woman and made it to heaven, the first thing I’d do is punch God in the face.

Naturally, at this stage, the young man I was giving advice to would be backing away going “Ok, dude, I’ve gotta be somewhere…”

The point is, try to put yourself in the place of the human you’re dealing with. Have a think about how easy the male gets it compared to the female.

And then think about everything else girls/women have to go through. Jackson Katz, a social researcher, asked men what they do on a daily basis to avoid being sexually assaulted. Then he asked women.

Just awful! Once again. Men don’t think, because it doesn’t happen to them. But they can always be aware!!

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

To me, it is standing up for women through fairness. There has been a lot of great stuff to come out of the #MeToo campaign. Not the least of which, was calling out these pricks that gave all men a bad name like Weinstein. I hate that people stood up for them because they’re powerful, celebrity or worst of all ‘creative’. Don’t mention Woody Allen please.

For me, one of the really helpful things for men was the notion that ‘it’s not ok to have a mate who talks about women like they’re sluts without calling them out on it’: this is literally once again misogyny. Why are you hating on women?

For some reason (and it seems to start with young boys), you’re not a real man unless you point at girls and go “I’d love to have my way with that dirty bitch!”. Whoa! Dude!! Hang on, you want to think about that statement? Do you have an IQ of 3? Seriously.

Feminism also means equality. In every way. To be honest, I’ve been lucky working in radio, where some women earn more than their male partners (on-air and off-air). I like to think I treated everyone equally on my staff; although it was and still is a corporate battle wages-wise.

But being a huge fan of Twitter and tech, I follow a lot of geek girls & tech journos. They are forever pointing out horrendous inequalities. Like, serious female scientist being ignored for awards or even basic recognition. Uni scores being marked down for scholars because they’re female.

I don’t understand it. I am always outraged. White male privilege is a serious problem.

Yes, I call myself a feminist.

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

Well apart from my mum Edith, my aunt Aggie and of course, my beautiful wife Ronni; whom I hired not because she was incredibly beautiful and sexy (and still is) but because I thought she was a hugely talented communicator on-air (and still is).

And aside from the 60s boyhood crushes on Barbara Eden (I Dream Of Genie) and Elizabeth Montgomery (Bewitched), I tend to go with current gals. Mainly, because I have a shocking memory and spend so much time on Twitter!

I guess, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, JK Rowling are all amazing humans. I love intelligent women, who are not afraid of a fight, who stand up to (male) bullies and destroy them (verbally).

My current crush right now is Jacinda Ardern: The New Zealand Prime Minister. She is all those things and more. And gave birth while running the damn country!

Amanda Keller, who I worked with at WSFM in Sydney, is an incredible woman and with an astonishing talent. Once again, Amanda is bright, quick witted and a great role model for women (and men to be honest).

6) What are your working relationships like with women?

I pushed hard to get female announcers/presenters on-air. There was a lot of male push-back. They said “Research shows even women don’t like female announcers/presenters”.

Bullshit. It never seemed to bother the U.S stations. They were 50/50.

I prefer working with women. I find them more dedicated and capable of giving great feedback. I guess because women are naturally more empathetic and have lots of emotional intelligence. Whether they are behind the scenes or on-air, I just like working with them more. Radio is all about communication, and I think women excel at that.

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

Simple, equality. Not because it’s enforced but because men wake up to themselves and try to understand the injustice that has prevailed forever and is still in place.

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

Well animated it would be Shrek.

Otherwise, I would be all of the three bears, all played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Scarlett Johansson would play a kick-ass Goldilocks. Pretty much like her Black Widow character in Marvel. The bears would get what’s coming to them for being so whiny and self-centered. Actually, maybe Scarlett is playing me in this… hmmm definitely needs more thought.

Charlie Fox has worked in Sydney radio for a long time but only at three stations, 2SM, 2MMM & WSFM (where he also looked after The Edge 96.ONE); all were #1 radio stations. He was Group Program Director of the MMM network, until he chucked it in to start his own web design company (NetHead): with clients like KFC and network TEN. Charlie then spent a year setting up a streaming radio station in New York before returning to Australia as Content Director of one of the world’s very first streaming music video stations thebasement.com.au. In 2013, Charlie won ‘Best Program Director’ – Metropolitan at the Australian Commercial Radio Awards but apart from radio, he also loves tech & gaming. Charlie is currently a gentleman of leisure.

When it comes to the radio legend that is: Charlie Fox, Carmela can testify to all of the above and more. What Carmela cherishes the most about Charlie though, is not that he simply was the first man to give her that lucky big break in radio (which changed her world forever). But it’s the other things, that she’s sure, Mr Fox is not even quite aware of.

Let her indulge…

Carmela once caught Charlie mouthing the words ‘Thank you for Carmela’ to another radio acquaintance (who had recommended her to him). Proving that not only can he nurture talent but be gracious about them being in his company at the same.

Charlie was the first male boss that Carmela wasn’t afraid to be herself around: if anything, he encouraged it. Proving again, that women don’t need to dumb themselves down or look a certain way to be noticed, that good men will always see beyond that.

Even after ‘not’ working for Charlie for 5+ years, he would still pick up the phone whenever she would call out-of-the-blue and be more than happy to help her.

Charlie was consistently firm but fair, he knew just how to empower Carmela, and also how to handle her wild ‘potty mouth’ ways. 😉

Charlie Fox is a great human. The only criticism that Carmela would have towards him, is that he is ‘too’ great. So much, that she struggled with the many bosses that came after him (especially the male ones in radio), because nothing would or will ever compare to being guided and trusted by the one and only, C-Fox.

Naturally, Carmela is beyond thrilled that Charlie Fox is the next #STFTL Prince Charming.

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 🙌🏼

Prince Charming: DANIEL LEACH

Prince Charming: DANIEL LEACH

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 Daniel Leach:

**Before we go near these questions: anyone who knows me knows I hate to talk about myself or talk myself up. And yes, that may seem strange for someone who works in the media industry but it just seems so foreign to me. So let’s see how this all goes… nothing too hard please, Carmela!**

1) Describe yourself in three words: 

Generous, altruistic, sports-mad.

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

Being a ‘Prince Charming’ isn’t to do anything radical. It’s treating everyone the same and that’s not a religious way of thinking (of which I am not anymore), or a philosophical way of thinking, it’s just common sense. So for guys, it’s about treating women the way you would want to be treated. You don’t want to be thought of as inferior, you don’t want to be thought of as unimportant, so why should a woman be thought of in that way?! It’s simply about fighting for everyone.

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

Sometimes men can act a certain way to impress others (particularly other men). Just be yourself. I know that’s not always an easy thing to do but if your mates are acting up, talk to someone about it. In fact, just plain talk. I wish I had done more of that growing up. It’s seems like a weak thing to do but it’s such a strong thing to speak out and sometimes, admit your own faults.

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

I fight for a lot of females that I know. Ones that I work with, ones that I trust, ones that I love. Does that make me a feminist? Maybe. I try to be more a humanist.

The word feminism gets a bad rap, when all it really means is to even up the playing field. For everyone to be treated equally but in order to do that, you need to blow up the norm; which is that men are given a lot of benefits in life compared to women.

It’s the same with African-Americans in the USA with their ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. It is all about equality for all, but in order to make their point, they have to point out that (the bulk of) white lives have mattered more than black lives for such a long time.

The big thing for me is just to have good values and treat others with respect; that will always lead to being a champion of women. It’s important as well for fellow women to have women’s backs too.

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

I grew up with two older sisters and my mum, as well as my dad. Before going to the Kweens: my father Kelvin is an incredible man who worked (and still works) his backside off to allow our family to be able to live a great life.

But we’re talking Kweens, so I have to start with mum, Marilyn. She stayed at home, ran around after all of us, tried to appease my stupid ways as a young kid, made so many sacrifices for both me and my sisters. I know I’ve disappointed her at times (they’re easily the toughest moments) and I know there’s times where she’s thought I’m an absolute idiot but she’s always backed me in, given me support and been there for me the whole way.

Both my sisters, Rebecca and Carly are incredible mums themselves, but also bloody clever people. They also taught me about respect and hard work (that was definitely not a trait I had as a school kid, that’s for sure!)

The great thing of being around women at home meant I was comfortable around girls at school. Not in that way… I have a lot of female friends from high school that I’m still close to nowadays, who are always wonderful to be around and I also learn from too.

6) What are your working relationships like with women? 

I have a really strong working relationship with women in our company, whether it be in management, to strong fellow announcers/presenters and people inside sales and admin.

Partly because of my upbringing at home and through school, I’ve always worked really well with other women. If you can’t work with women well, you’ll lose 50% of the workforce and that’s not all that impressive…

I’ve been lucky to have some amazing ladies who have led the way. My last two direct bosses inspire me a lot and are amazing at getting the job done.

One of my best mates (and I know she won’t want me to talk about her) I’ve known for a decade now, she has been a work-mate of mine and also my boss at times. I’m indebted to her in what she’s done for me, how much support she has given me in work and in life, but also just sharing life’s small fun moments as well.

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

Corny, I know, but it’s all about men and women being equals.

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

I of course would be a supporting character. So let’s choose Sebastian from The Little Mermaid: there to offer advice and be a comforting ear (well, for the second half of the film at least).

And if someone’s going to play me in a movie, it better be Jack Black, preferably from the School of Rock era.

Daniel Leach is currently the workday announcer and sports broadcaster at Triple M for Regional Western Australia, part of the Southern Cross Austereo group. He’s had the opportunity to live his childhood dream of being a sports commentator for AFL, Basketball, Athletics, Motor Sport and more, as well as being a 2-time ACRA (Australian Commercial Radio Award) winner for his sports broadcasting, which included sports coverage of the Western Australian Women’s State Basketball League Grand Final back in 2012.

Sports aside: Daniel is also known around town as a bit of a local hero. Dan is always the first to put his hand up to help or to shine a light on a worthy cause and not to forget, will always stop and talk to anyone on the streets, including my father (who doesn’t like ‘anyone’ but has a lot of time for Dan).

Daniel is the ultimate gent and someone Carmela has had the extreme pleasure of working with on two occasions throughout her career (which were all the more richer and enjoyable because of Dan).

Leach is not only the true meaning of a sports freak (seriously) but has an effortless knack of being the funniest and kindest guy in the room. He loves a chinwag, will gossip with the best of them, can pick a ‘tune’ and is not afraid to show you up on the d-floor with his moves.

Daniel Leach is no secondary character but the leading man in most people’s lives. For a guy who spends most of his time celebrating others, Carmela is thrilled to give Dan some well-deserved love and recognition in return as ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied’s’ next Prince Charming.

@thesportsfreak

The reality of being unemployed past your thirties.

The reality of being unemployed past your thirties.

friends-unemployed

In my twenties I hit the ground running, I was focused, zealous and fearless. Some would even say I ‘peaked’ too soon. I landed my dream job at the age of 23 and was on more money than my parents combined at 24, but by 25 it all came crashing down. It wasn’t completely dire afterwards, though I had to rebuild. Everything I thought I knew was no longer. Everything that used to be, now was different. I went from co-hosting a Sydney radio breakfast show which had me interviewing celebrities and getting dressed up for red carpet events to someone who worked at a newsagents, a clothes shop and a jewelry store just to make her rent.

Eventually I got another job in radio, but it came with half the profile and therefore half the money: so I had to keep working one of my part-time gigs. I was also lucky enough to land a manager who booked me regular spots on national TV shows (which straight after I would run to the newsagents and be confronted by customers with: “Didn’t I just see you on TV?”).

Slowly but surely and by that, I mean with a hell of a lot of persistence and tears, everything went back to the way it had been. Bigger radio and TV jobs came along. Some would even say I was ‘back on top’.

My point is, this definitely isn’t a bust out the violins story but, in my twenties, I thought I knew what it meant to struggle and to have ups and downs in my career.

Enter my thirties.

When I was 29, I left my life in Sydney and risked it all for a new, happier life in London. Looking back on it now I can understand why my friends were constantly saying “I don’t know how you’re doing this, I could never!” “Are you fucking mad?” “You brave bitch!” I was moving to a new city, with nowhere to live, no job prospects and no support network.

Also enter a new phase of my career: where I was basically starting all over again. I became familiar with the term the ‘British guard’ meaning: anything I did in Australia didn’t count unless I had done it in the UK. So, while I took meeting after meeting with different TV/production companies and radio stations, I was working in a pub earning a minimum wage of 6 pounds an hour, pouring beers, rolling cutlery and dodging mice.

I came over with some coin to get me started but the conversion rate at the time was shocking: so more than half of what I saved was just gone. Yes, I should have researched more. Yes, I should have put aside more money before I left and I know I’m ultimately responsible for my own life, my own choices, my own actions and therefore my own shortcomings but in my (slight) defense: I was the first in my immediate family to do this. My Mum and Dad had just as much of a clue as I did. Cousins who had done it before did talk about their own ‘London war stories’ but they were from over a decade ago (therefore outdated) and I guess if I had really looked into how fucking hard this was all going to be, I may have chickened out and never done it. Blind hope and a little bit of that fearlessness that I had when I first moved to Sydney at the age of 21 was what I needed again at the age of 31.

So, slowly but surely (but with a hell of A LOT more persistence and tears this time) everything went back to the way it was, I started to get those TV and radio jobs again. I bet you’re thinking that this is where the story ends but either there’s something wrong with me or the saying ‘be careful what you wish for’ really is true.

After 8 months of being ‘back in the game’ I was more miserable than I was when I first moved to London. I was working 14-hour days, 6-7 days a week, my time was filled with catering for the same narcissistic evil radio hosts I came to know and loathe in Sydney and my life was no different to what it was in Australia. “Why was I here?” “What was I trying to prove?” “Was I really doing this for me? Or was I doing it to show those assholes back home that I could do it without them?” (even though the folklore goes that they were ones responsible for my success overseas **eye roll**).

So once again, I packed it all in for the search of something more. I returned home to Australia. I was back under my parents’ roof. I was living in my childhood bedroom (that I shared with my nephew whenever he would sleep over). I went on the dole. I then got a full-time job at the first radio station I ever worked at (which ignited that bright-eyed naive-of-sorts passion again). I got my Italian passport. Cleared my credit card debt. Saved more money to come back over to London with (this time fully aware of what the f**king conversion rate was). Reconnected with my family and friends and prepared for London 2.0.

Initially, I thought I had ‘cracked the code’. Yep, thanks to my new-found research and life experiences London 2.0 was off to a much better start. I aligned myself with recruitment agencies that got me work in environments that were not media-based. I was on better money. I had a better work-life-balance. I was home by 6pm every night. I didn’t work weekends. I had savings for the ‘just in case’ and most of my travels booked for the rest of the year were already paid for. More importantly, I learnt that what I did for a job didn’t define me. I was kicking London in the dick.

So I thought.

Unfortunately London 2.0 hasn’t also been without its psychotic flatmates and work contracts ending unexpectedly.

In the last few months, I was let go at work, forced to move out of the flat I was living in, put all my belongings into black plastic bags and have had them sitting at Carly’s place while I rent out her Airbnb room. I also had to finance two trips back home to Australia. In this time I applied for 60 jobs on LinkedIn alone and woke most mornings with the anxiety that if I don’t find a job soon, I would be homeless and broke in the very near future. Fun! Yeah, London 2.0 has been just as hard at times too.

The good news? I have finally secured another job and I’ll move into my new pad at the beginning of next month. Phew! Today also marks another year that I’ve survived this bad-ass city. Yaasss!!

So the real moral of the story is: while I was home back in Australia for those months in 2016, I witnessed my 60-year-old Dad (who also happened to find himself unemployed) get up every morning, look at the job vacancies online, check his emails (to find no response from any of the jobs he applied for the previous day), and muster up the courage to do it all over again: it nearly broke him.

There is something utterly soul-shattering when you find yourself unemployed past the age of 30. The constant putting yourself out there. The way your heart skips a beat and then sinks when you check your inbox. The realisation that there’s now a much higher chance of someone younger and possibly more qualified than you going for the same role. The acknowledgement of how big the gap is getting from when you last did the job you love. But mostly, ignoring the constant feeling that you’re failing. It got me real dark most days and I had to really try to find the quick wins in life. I can only imagine how my poor Dad felt during his period. If I was struggling with this at 30, what was going through his mind at 60?

The truth: I’d love to wrap this up with something hopeful and with the reassurance that everything is always going to be ok, but I didn’t have the courage or the energy to put this down on paper till I was employed again. It’s funny how that 9-5 life gives you that feeling of purpose and how necessary that is for your mental health and self-care. So I get it: if you’re going through this or have gone through this in the past, it’s hard to hear or take comfort in those words, especially when you’re in the thick of it.

The real truth: I can’t guarantee everything is going to be ok, no one can, in my experience it hasn’t always been. Things that make it a hell of a lot easier? Take those FaceTime calls from your family (even when you can’t bear to actually ‘face’ them), have a good chin-wag with your nearest and dearest and get that ugly off your chest, have someone in your life that encourages you to remember all the things you should be grateful for and have those cups of peppermint tea on the reg.

One piece of advice: in these times of trouble try and avoid alcohol and drugs, if you can. I’m not a saint and it’s absolutely the first thing I reach for whenever I’m in despair, but I read this great quote and it’s really changed my mind set.

‘If you drink to numb all the difficult things in life, you’ll numb all the good bits too.’

Remember, every next level of your life will determine a different you.

Peace out Kweens!

Stay strong.

Big love,

Carmela.

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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 🙌🏼