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.

x

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 🙌🏼

Kween Krush: TONI PHILLIPS “(Lost) It Girl!”

Kween Krush: TONI PHILLIPS “(Lost) It Girl!”

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

Toni, we have a crush on you and it’s not just because you’re one of London’s It Girls or a dreamy DJ with legs for days, it’s mostly how you completely own your ‘sexy’. From your effortless style, cool AF demeanor and hip social life, we’re just utterly obsessed with how you run your shit! We’re equally impressed with how you’re also always up for a laugh and ain’t afraid to tell it how it is!

Yep! You seem to give zero fucks when it comes to what you wear, showing off your body and embracing your sex appeal. Do you recommend more women ooze this confidence?

Well yeah, why on earth not? I do of course have days where I hide under baggy clothes, but I also have days where I’m like: “Hey, you know what? Here’s my stomach everyone.”

I went to Wireless Festival in basically my underwear because I was still hungover from the day before and really didn’t care. I’m not saying that people need to get hungover in order to walk about in lace in public, but I guess I’m just trying to say that confidence is really a state of mind, or the state of your mind. And who controls that? Well, it’s you! So as long as you’re happy in yourself and not harming anyone else, I think you earn the right to do as you please.

Is wearing your ‘sass on your sleeve’ something that came naturally to you? Or did you have to hustle for it?

I think I’ve always had that, although some might describe it as ‘not thinking before I speak’. From a young age, I’ve wanted to make people laugh because I believed that was the best way to win someone over. I’ve always spent more time working on my personality than on how I look.

You always seem to be out and about and living your best life! Is your motto ‘work hard, play harder’?

Erm, well that’s all really just an illusion. Nothing on social media is reality, but I think everyone knows that. I stay in a lot and have gym days. I’ll go to classes, head home and do nothing, but I guess from a social media perspective it would look like I’m out a lot because I just choose to show the fun stuff I do, not me at home stress-eating quinoa straight out of the bag. I suppose I do go out more than most, but I’m lucky because of what I do. My job gives me the chance to get invited to cool events and stuff. I love live music, but I also love going to the local pub with some of my best friends just as much.

What does ‘sexy’ mean to you and what do you find most sexy about women and men?

It’s subjective, like everything is… I’m a big fan of personality though: I’m aware that’s what really counts. I find charisma much sexier than a posed picture or a risqué outfit. Sure, I find the Playboy Instagram account sexy; those girls are so hot, however, if they were fully clothed in tracksuits but were making me laugh that would be equally – if not more – sexy to me. Same with guys.

What’s your view on the theory that women are just as sexually charged as men but have to hide it?

I’ve never heard that before. Is that actually a thing? I don’t think girls have to hide it. I certainly don’t hide it. I probably do the opposite of hiding it, I overshare everything. I will happily tell a sex story and leave nothing to the imagination. Who wants prudes in 2018?

What’s your opinion on the dating game? Are we out of our element now with hooking-up being too accessible thanks to dating apps like Tinder and Bumble?

It’s weird. I mean, it was. Now it’s normal. There’s nothing wrong with it and it’s not anything to be ashamed of, but it’s strange how so many people are meeting on apps. I’ve met all the guys I’ve been seeing over the last few years in person, so I feel like the odd one out. When any of my friends are stressing about having to resort to the apps I just explain how it’s a different world now – it’s a different generation. I have no qualms about sliding into the DMs on Insta. I’ve spoken to some hot guys that way! I used Tinder once years ago, but it was really more like playing a game to me. Never met anyone from it. I do hear some really nice Tinder stories though, as well as some which are hilarious, and some which are frankly terrifying. So really, it’s whatever works for you!

Do you think it still takes courage to be sexually liberated these days? Or is that old news?

I think in the fifties it was courageous to be sexually liberated, but not so much now. Perhaps there are boring sections of the Twitter community that might take time out of their lives to offer their unwanted disapproval. Such as these so-called ‘feminists’ who have single handedly made traditional feminism something that nobody really wants to be associated with by picking on girls who choose to make a career from their sexual liberation. But those kinds of people are of little interest to me. I think anything goes now.

Ten years ago, Jodie Marsh went out wearing a belt over her tits and a t-shirt with the names of all her conquests on. So when you’ve grown up seeing that kind of thing splashed all over the news, you’re probably only going to go one way. I mean, it’s not necessarily gonna encourage you to do the same; my friends and I certainly didn’t start walking around like that, but if that is the more extreme end of the scale, it means you can do something which you consider sexually liberating and it wouldn’t even register. If that makes sense? Basically, if in doubt whip ‘em out! You know you want to.

Do the the terms ‘one-night-stand’ and ‘multiple-sex-partners’ empower you or annoy you?

If they didn’t apply to me then yes, they’d annoy me massively. I’m just kidding, of course – but not really. If I was reading an article and a female was described as having ‘multiple sexual partners’ I’d just think good on you girl. I choose to let people live, so long as it’s safe and not hurting anyone. And there ain’t nothing wrong with a one-night-stand. What if you didn’t set out for it to be? Maybe you would have seen them again but it didn’t happen? Maybe you just woke up the morning after the night before sober and you didn’t connect? Not really a big deal is it? It’s just a term to me.

Have you ever been slut-shamed for acting exactly the way men do?

Not to my face. I don’t think so, but to be honest I’d have owned it first anyway. If someone were to attempt to shame me, it would be very likely that I’d have already acknowledged it in a more interesting and louder way than they could. So it’s hard to see why anyone would bother trying.

You’re a presenter on Capital XTRA, a voice-over artist and a DJ in an industry that’s hard to get noticed and survive in. Mind sharing some of your secrets to success?

Well firstly, I’ve been doing it for a long time since I was very young, so I think that definitely helps. When I was about 21 I was on a huge radio station and doing all the big music shows on TV. Sadly, it went to my head a bit to be honest. I thought I was the shit, and I can confirm that if you walk around thinking you’re the shit, that’s just not going to work out well for you. As a presenter, likeability and relatability are both kind of important. Perhaps I wasn’t mature enough to be graceful and appreciative of the opportunities I had been given, and my boss at the time didn’t really tolerate egos like that; it wasn’t the radio station for that kind of attitude. I realised very quickly that acting like that may work for a while, but not for long. These days I always witness in others the mistaken notion of self-importance I once adopted, and it predictably leads to their downfall. They’re here today, gone tomorrow.

The secret to success? Be nice to people, it’s not hard to do. And concentrate on the actual job – the one that pays your bills, not all the other fake shit around it. Having said that, I would guess about 90% of the people I know have all purchased fake followers on social media, and it’s seemingly kinda worked for them. Turns out people are believing the hype, but the trouble is you need to have the talent to back it up.

I didn’t have social media when I was starting out, I was simply hired for being good at what I do, and I guess that’s how I survived. My advice: don’t buy fake bits of attention, because it means nothing. And don’t be a dick. It sounds easy, but you’d be surprised.

You’re the creator of the blog LostItGirl, what message are you trying to convey here and who the hell is ‘LostItGirl’?

LostItGirl was originally my alter-ego I suppose, but since it gained in popularity it’s something that I have taken a back seat with and have left to the professionals. I still have an involvement, but it’s now in the hands of people far more interesting and clever at the internet than I.

I started the blog because I found a lot of radio presenters had blogs and honestly, they were all so boring. Just boring stories about boring stuff and I could’t get past a sentence without wanting to cry at how dull and narcissistic it all was. So I created a character who has that bit of crazy in her that we all have, and I tried to centre it around offering a bit of tongue-in-cheek advice based on my own experiences.

Some of the stories are true, some are made up, but everything is exaggerated. It can’t be taken seriously and it’s certainly not for everyone. But I will say some of the people behind it now are guys, so legitimately some of the advice is great on there because you get both a female and male perspective.

Any dating deal breakers or dating disasters you want to confess to? 

Millions. You’d have to read my blog for that. We simply don’t have the space here.

What women are you krushing on at the moment and why?

I love Bella and Gigi, which is a cliché I know. But I like their style. I’ve always held Victoria Beckham in high esteem. She’s chic, funny and she understands the power of being dignified in silence when faced with people who want to trash her and her private life. There’s so much dignity and grace in saying nothing. The world is full of angry little people who love to talk and threaten, but who just end up embarrassing themselves. I also like Kylie Jenner. I think she’s hilarious, but I don’t think she means to be. She’s an accidental genius. I’ve got a lot of time for her.

What tunes should we be listening to right now?

I’m liking Cardi B. Aside from that, it’s best you just listen to Capital XTRA between 1-4pm (that’s when I’m on in case that was unclear).

Any tips on how to ‘rock what you’ve got’ and love yourself (even on your darkness days?)

Everyone needs to stop caring so much about what people they’ve never met think about them because it’s really not that deep. A good tip I think for 2018 would be that if you are having a day when you feel ugly, maybe just don’t post a social media that day. I love a day off socials.

Be yourself, understand that people are and always have been mean, and it’s usually because they are in love with you but can’t admit it. There’s also a lot of jealousy which manifests itself in such a way that those who are will do their best to deny this to themselves by telling you that you’re a piece of shit. It’s whatever. Just do you, and those that are worthwhile knowing will naturally gravitate towards you. Also, hang out with more animals. Animals are cool, humans are generally not very cool at all.

Carmela and Toni used to work together at the same radio station in London. Initially Carmela was too shy to introduce herself to Toni because she thought Toni was the f**king tits and was not at all in her realm of awesomeness. Thank god Carmela finally mustered up the courage to say hi because it’s been love and lols ever since.

For your daily dose of cheek and chic follow Toni on Twitter here!

Guest Kween: TONI LODGE “My Membership To The Dead Mums Club.”

Guest Kween: TONI LODGE “My Membership To The Dead Mums Club.”

“Hey Mumma, sorry I missed your calls, I just finished work, do you need me to grab something for dinner?”

“Toni, it’s Dad, I’m at the hospital with Mum – she’s not feeling well, they’re saying she’s had a stroke. I need you to go home and feed the dog and your sister is going to meet you there and you can drive here together.”

“Toni are you there???”

I went to the hospital with my twin sister (who, coincidentally, is actually 12 years my senior) and we arrived with a stuffed bear and all of my family in one little hospital room. There is no way I could forget the smell of that room, or the sticky feeling on my cheeks from crying in the car with Libby.

“What’s going on, what’s happening?” we rushed in and asked, grabbing Mum, all six of us, looking at each other.

“Um.. Mum didn’t have a stroke” my Dad said. “Fuck me, that’s amazing! Awesome! Well come on mum, let’s go home, why are we still here?!”, I said (tenderly). She looked at me, and my big brother gave me this shoulder squeeze that silenced me.

“I didn’t have a stroke”, she said, starting to shake and fight back tears, “I have a brain tumour.”

My whole world crashed. This perfect world I was living in where the only reason I could have a few missed calls from my Mum would be because ‘she needed something extra from Coles’ was gone.

I was in my first year of uni and feeling pretty damn invincible. After going to every WAAPA open day since I could understand what university was, I was there. I’d been accepted and I was on my way. I also had a job at Coles at nights and on the weekends, which gave me enough money to buy clothes, fuel, booze, and cigarettes to socially smoke (because that’s what you did at uni).

As soon as Mum got sick, that money changed to having just enough to buy fuel for my red Hyundai Getz to take me from the hills of Perth, to Mount Lawley, to Nedlands (where my Mum was in hospital), to Maddington (where I worked), and back to the hills. Paying for hospital parking and trying to look after myself as best I could to take any burden off my parents. (Definitely get private health insurance if you are reading this, it saved us.)

Eleven months later, she died. I had a Mum – this amazing Mum. Like, ah-maz-ing. And then I didn’t. Huh?

We got called into the hospital at around 3am on the 9th of September 2013 and she’d died. My Dad drove him and I, and we met my brother and his wife, my twin sister and her husband, and my other sister in the wee hours of the morning in the hospital car park to clean out her hospital room.

And then I just needed to prepare for my first funeral – my Mum’s.

I went with my sisters to buy a dress for this thing that we could barely believe had even happened yet. The shop assistant did the age old “Oh that’s pretty, what’s the occasion?!” and when I told her it was for my Mum’s funeral and she clocked all of our dreary faces she almost shat herself.

I wrote a eulogy and tried to fit my Mum’s amazing life into a couple of pages.

After that, so many people changed the way they spoke to me. Things like “I’m having the worst day, I missed the bus” or “I was late because I forgot to get fuel” or “My life is over this guy will NOT message me back” was always quickly followed by “Ohhhh Toni, I’m so sorry, you’ve just lost your Mum, this is nothing in comparison.” As much as this chubby girl with a brand new membership to the Dead Mums Club is horribly appreciative of the fact that my life seemed SO horrendous that it was the benchmark of shitness, everyone also has their shit too. Just because my shit is my mum being dead and your shit is that you were late for work, or a waiter said “Enjoy your food” and you said “Thanks, you too”, that’s okay! Your bad thing is your worst thing. We shouldn’t be on this planet to fight about who has it worse.

When I started at WAAPA I remember telling Mum that all I wanted to do was leave Perth and make something of myself. Then in 2016, I got my first job away from home (she’d been gone for a couple of years) and by this point, I was with my incredible boyfriend Alex, and we’d had been living away from home for a few months anyway. I moved a couple of hours south of Perth to pursue my career. I was finally doing it– making my Mum proud! Even though everything I’d done so far was coupled with her telling me she was so proud, it was the first big thing I had to do without her.

September rolled around and I spent the anniversary of her death away from my family. I dealt with problems at work, triumphs both professional and personal without her, and desperately wanted more than anything for her to be able to give me advice. Something I took comfort in was being able to imagine what she would say to me, or hoping one of my older siblings had gotten into the same mischief at some point and asking them what Mum said.

I made so many promises to my Mum as I grew up. I was the youngest child by a number of years which meant we spent a lot of time alone together. I told her all about my hopes and dreams, how I was going to have an amazing job that was going to move me around the world so she could come and visit whenever she wanted, how I would be famous (that one’s coming along really fucking well), and how I would be happy (workin’ on it. getting there).

But one thing is for certain: I took everything that happened to me on board and am now stronger and better for it. I am, of course, so heartbroken that my Mum is gone. In my moments of weakness where I miss her so much, I feel like I don’t know where my next breath of air is going to come from but somehow I always manage to inhale and exhale once more.

These days everything I engage in has a part of me that does it for her. Nothing changes your perspective and state of mind like recovering from loss, whatever the case may be.

Right before I jumped on the plane to my new Sydney life, I dropped in to visit my Mum. I cried. I wished she was here with me, then I realised she was, because there’s no way in hell I could have even thought about getting on that plane without her. Yep, for the second time, I was moving (across the country) to pursue my career. I am here for me, I’m here for my future, but she’s here too. And now here I am writing this for me and my fabulous Mum in my new fancy Sydney office instead of doing the job they hired me for (wait, is this being published somewhere?).

So my promise is to see the world with Mum in my handbag. To achieve everything I promised her I would because I’m fucking tough and I’m fucking strong. I am who I am because I knew my Mum, and also because I lost her.

Toni is a young 20-something year old trying to have it all. After the comedown of a brief brush with internet fame for having a Harry Potter event shut down due to it’s unfair under 15 age limit, she now spends her workday producing many National night radio shows for KIIS and iHeartRadio in Sydney.

@tonilodge

Kween Krush: BREE TOMASEL “From Hiding My Humour To Going Viral!”

Kween Krush: BREE TOMASEL “From Hiding My Humour To Going Viral!”

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

Briannnnna, we have a crush on you because you’re funny AF! In the last few years you’ve become this viral internet sensation, as well as a national radio star and co-host of the best kind. What came first? Wanting to be internet famous or your love for radio?

All these compliments! I can feel my head swelling. Haha! Radio has always been the dream since I was a little girl, but I never thought it could be a reality. I literally pinch myself all the time and still can’t believe I get paid to make a dick of myself on the radio and do something I truly love everyday. Making people laugh is something that gives me so much life and happiness and the video thing was just a natural progression that gave me another outlet to do that. Seeing people engage and enjoy what you’re doing is the best feeling.

Did it take you by surprise when your videos started to be shared and liked worldwide? Some have millions of views!

I still remember opening my page and seeing one of my videos Sober Uber home Vs. Drunk Uber home going ‘viral’ for the first time and it was the strangest feeling. It got thousands of views a minute and I thought Facebook had a glitch and then I realised what was happening. I still get shocked every single time a video I post goes well.

On your social platforms you broach crude hilarious subject matters (mostly ones that involve your Mum); was this a planned attempt to do something different as a female or something that just came naturally?

None of my stuff is super planned, it’s literally just me exploding onto video. My content is real, raw and authentically me. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Haha.

How important is it to you that different representations of women are showcased online?

OMG, so bloody important and one of the reasons why I’m so thankful for platforms like social media, as it showcases people of all shapes, colours, ethnicities and backgrounds. When I was growing up there wasn’t really anyone like me portrayed in the media. I always felt different and a little out of place. Sometimes I would hide the funny side of me as I was told it’s not attractive for a girl to be funny, so showing young girls and women that it’s ok to be the ‘funny female’ is so important to me.

Do you feel any additional pressure? Do you think it’s harder as a female to make your mark in the big bad world of web?

There are so many amazingly funny women in the media and on the internet these days. So many are making their mark in their own way which is so encouraging for younger girls who are wanting to create content. I think the hardest part about putting content out there is being original and different because so much has been done already.

Do you get approached on the street by strangers/fans? What’s their general reaction to your content and was it weird to receive this type of attention at first?

It’s still so humbling when someone comes up to me on the street and says that watching one of my videos brought them out of a bad place or they watch them with their friends and family. It’s always super surreal but the most amazing feeling knowing you’re making even the tiniest difference in someone’s day.

You’ve spent the last two years doing breakfast radio in Australia with Gawndy but you’ve just been offered a new kick-ass radio gig in New Zealand. How does it feel now knowing you’re dealing with a different audience?

I’ve been in NZ for about 4 weeks and it still doesn’t feel real. Some people would call me crazy and they’re probably right, it’s been a long and pretty difficult process. I’ve had to open a new bank account, get a driver’s license, phone number, find somewhere to live, all whilst starting a new job, so it’s been a full on experience. My new radio show won’t start for a couple of months which will give me some time to settle and learn the Kiwi lingo. It’s daunting knowing I have to win over an entire new audience and to them I’ll be a foreigner which makes it even harder but I’m up for the challenge.

Are you worried about making new friends and setting up a new life in a different city/country?

Of course, it’s a big thing to move your entire life but it’s also exciting. Radio gigs are one of those things that you have to be willing to truly chase and that means probably moving your entire life multiple times, starting over and getting used to constantly making new friends. Anyone who has chased a dream in radio will tell you the same thing, it’s not easy but it comes with the gig.

Who inspires you and what can we expect from you next?

I think anyone who has gone against the norm and are their true selves are the people I look up to. I’ve got a lot of different things in the works, like some hidden camera/people reaction videos which I haven’t done much of before, so I’m pumped about that. I’m about to release a ringtone on iTunes of my Mother screaming my name “Oohhhhh Briannnnna” and some merch which my Mum will pretend she isn’t stoked about but will secretly love. I also have a goal to do my first stand up gig this year which I’m shitting my pants at the thought of. Lol!

Carmela’s first memory of Bree was MCing at a radio/schoolies event on the Gold Coast in Queensland. Bree spent most of the time rapping into the mic. Carmela thought she was hilarious then and knew it wouldn’t be the last time we’d hear from her. Fast forward a mere 5 years later and Carmela is still utterly in awe of how freaking hysterical and genuine Bree is. Finally, the rest of the planet has caught up and now gets to ‘lol’ at her daily too.

If you want to laugh till a little bit of pee comes out then follow Bree on Facebook, ditch the cat videos and check out her YouTube channel and chuckle while she continues to harass her Mother on Instagram.

Kween Krush: HEIDI ANDERSON “Learning To Love Myself.”

Kween Krush: HEIDI ANDERSON “Learning To Love Myself.”

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

Heidi, we have a crush on you because you’re about to embark on a pretty important year. Not only are you fronting a new radio breakfast show (an honor normally given to the opposite sex) but you’re about to marry the love of your life, all whilst still vigorously working on yourself.

How different is the Heidi now, from the Heidi 5 years ago?

Same same but different.

I’m still loud, out-there & bubbly but I’m much more chilled & content. Radio has relaxed me a lot. I use so much of my energy in my job that outside of work I’m much more silent. 5 years ago, I operated at 100 million miles per hour. These days, a lot of that energy I use creatively and to bond with people. How I am when I’m drunk is how I used to be 24/7. No wonder I was single for so long!

Your brand is ‘Real Heidi’, a declaration of authenticity. Was opening up on an honest and raw level something that came naturally to you or was it a conscious choice?

It happened quite organically to tell you the truth. I have always worn my heart on my sleeve & spoken very freely & openly but when I was setting up my social handles after being on Big Brother, they told me to change my name from ‘Fake Heidi’ to ‘Real Heidi’ as people would know who I was. So ‘Real Heidi’ was born & it just fitted my brand. Working in commercial radio some of the topics I love to chat about were too taboo. My past male co-hosts found it too uncomfortable to discuss some topics on-air as well, so I started sharing them through my socials & people loved the real chat. I’m not one to just chit-chat, in fact I get awkward & anxious just chit-chatting. Getting real is where I’m at.

Why do you think as women we struggle to love ourselves? And what are some easy things we can do daily, to remind ourselves to cherish our heart, body and mind?

Oh god, it’s bloody tough for us women, comparison is huge for me and others! We compare ourselves to everyone and everything. Every girl on social media, at school, at work, on tv etc. We don’t do ourselves any favours by comparing & that’s something I’ve struggled with immensely.

Tips:

-Try & follow people on social media that don’t trigger you. If they’re causing you to have negative thoughts & feelings, simply unfollow. I did that a year ago; there was nothing wrong with these women and it wasn’t their issue, it was mine.

-Find something you like about yourself, your smile, your wit, your butt, etc. and celebrate it, whatever it is!

-Stop with the negative self-talk, it’s only holding you back, and stop giving so many fucks. We get one life. Enjoy it! It’s easy to say, but start pulling yourself up every time you do it. You’ll notice how bad it is.

-Rock what you got! As soon as you like yourself, you start to look after yourself.

With everything you have achieved, what are you most proud of?

Ha ha! I always think I haven’t achieved enough. How sad is that? Because when I stop now and think about it, I’ve achieved a hell of a lot. I think probably overcoming my anxiety & embracing it was my biggest achievement. It was honestly one of the darkest times, but now I look at it as a positive, as I have met some incredible people and it’s opened up many doors for others to share their stories. Connecting with people every day and making them feel something is pretty special too.

How does it feel to be a female leading an all-new-radio-breakfast-show in 2018? Nerve racking? Empowering??

I’m excited. I felt I lost my voice for a while, so it’s a new adventure with a whole new team. These guys are fun, vibrant, supportive & like my brothers. I’m pumped to see where it all goes.

What’s the greatest challenge being a female in the media industry?

As I mentioned previously, finding your voice & being supported. When you work with so many men and such big personalities you sometimes are made to feel misunderstood. It’s a tough industry, predominately male, so having them try to understand you can be hard.

You’re set to be married this year. Tell us one thing that excites you about that and one thing that scares you?

Just being his wife. Celebrating our love and commitment excites me. I just want a party & everyone to be together.

The one thing that scares me is saying the wrong name when exchanging vows. I told my partner Griffo this and he said “Oh well if you say your ex’s name, we’ll laugh and move on.” What a gem!

Tell us something about yourself that you haven’t shared on social media before?

Oh fuck, that’s a hard one, as I do speak so openly. Let me think… got it!

I do singing lessons for fun. Not because I’m good (far from it) but it makes me be mindful, present & in the moment. I love it.

What are your goals for 2018?

-Sober for 3 months (at least) for health reasons. On Sunday, I started a sobriety challenge and spent most of that day at the pub drinking soda. I got this!!

-Grow Real Heidi

-Walk more

-Do more yoga

-Continue to believe in myself

-Not give so many fucks about bullshit things that shouldn’t matter

-Love, live & find three things to be grateful for everyday.

-Oh yeah and write a book!

Carmela and Heidi have actually never met, but with them both working in radio and both constantly on the ‘socials’, it was only a matter of time till they would stumble across each other and bond over hashtags, lady-stuff and their favourite city London.

Obsessed with this Kween as much as we are and want to hear/know more?

You can catch Heidi 6-9am weekdays as one-third of ‘Heidi, Xavier and Ryan’ on Hit 92.9 in Perth. Also get a dose of kind-hearted honesty with Heidi’s podcast Real Heidi, Real People, Real Stories, follow her ‘lols’ on Twitter, and never miss a #inspoquote on Instagram.