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A Day In The Life Of… Amber Scott

Ever wanted to step into somebody else’s shoes for the day and see what life is like as a magazine editor, a professional sportsperson or corporate high-flyer..? Well, SHESAID is giving you the closest thing to your very own Freaky Friday experience with our A Day In The Life Of… series.

RELATED: A Day In The Life Of… Jordan Mercer

Name and role

Amber Scott, principal artist with the Australian Ballet

Tell us a bit about what you do?

My life as a ballerina is a combination of dedicated routine alongside a great deal of travel and performing. From the outside, a life on the stage and performing around Australia and overseas may seem glamorous, but in reality there is a hidden backstage world where all dancers work themselves to peak physical condition every day. Sweating it out in the studio for hours leads to the reward of performing when a new season opens.

When did you discover your talent? Did you always want to be a dancer?

When I was a young girl my mother noted my boundless energy and took me to creative dance classes. I loved these as it was such a fun way to express all that energy. I grew up on the Sunshine Coast QLD so being physical was such a huge part of my youth. I feel all the running, swimming and climbing I did as a youngster really helped condition my body for the life ahead. My parents took me to see Swan Lake when I was five and it was definitely an epiphany, I think that was my fated moment when I knew what I wanted to do. Along the way, the years of training and endless dedication occasionally became a bit tedious and I probably had ulterior careers such as a paediatrician or actress up my sleeve, but my true love of dance always won out!

Inspirational Women, A Day In The Life Of, Career Development, Career Advice, Ballet, Performance, Talent, Theatre

Where do you find your inspiration? Who has had the most impact on you and your career?

I have been inspired by every teacher I have been lucky enough to learn from. My first teacher Anne Fraser was so important in teaching me the pure beauty of classical technique. Eileen Tasker from the National TheatreBallet school in Melbourne gave me the courage to go for it and try new steps and even if they weren’t perfect she gave me a real sense of joy in performing. Marilyn Rowe OBE, Gailene Stock CBE AM and Leigh Rowles picked me out from a room of eleven-year-olds to join their associate program and thus began my life within The Australian Ballet family. Marilyn Jones OBE directed me as young girl and taught me my first solo en pointe. I feel so lucky to have been inspired by these women from a young age. They all gave so generously of their time and shared their ballerina secrets with me. When I think of grace, kindness and humility I think of all these ladies. My mother is also a beacon of light for me. She gave up a lot of her dreams so I could have mine and we had so much fun learning together about this wondrous world of ballet. It’s always so special to perform when my family are in the audience. Thinking of them comforts me and makes me want to express all the joy of life when I’m onstage.

It’s not always bright lights and glory. How do you deal with the challenges and down times?

The toughest times have been when I have been off because of an injury, or having to dance through pain because of one. It is par for the course in our line of work and fortunately we have a brilliant medical team to guide us through these times and keep us strong. I certainly wouldn’t have lasted this long without their care! Sometimes early in my career the amount of shows our company perform each year (160+) would really wear me down and even though we would be performing beautiful works, the grind would be really hard to push through. Looking back I can see how all those years of pushing through endless corps de ballet roles really gives you the grit you need to have longevity in this career.

What role has had the most effect on you? Tell us a bit about your latest projects…

I think the role of Odette in both Graeme Murphy’s and Stephen Baynes’ versions of Swan Lake have had the biggest impact on my career. It was my first big break when David McAllister asked me to be Odette when I was 21. I still feel so grateful for that leap of faith he took in me, it was terrifying and wonderful all at once! I still am dancing that role and growing with the ballet each year we perform it. I think I will always be learning more about her character. The other special Odette moment was when Stephen Baynes said I would be in his premiere cast for a new traditional version. I was a principal artist at that point, terrified all over again but so humbled to be stepping into that iconic ballerina role. I love the score of Swan Lake and always find this motivates the emotions I feel for the ballet.

A Day In The Life Of, Inspirational Women, Career Development, Career Advice, Life Advice, Ballet, Theatre, Performance, Talent

Your workdays are much more exciting than the average 9 to 5. When you’re preparing or performing, what does a typical day involve?

My workday is certainly not the usual 9-5 but it also varies a great deal depending on our performance schedule. Over years of late theatre nights I am certainly not a “morning person”! Because of this I tend to push back waking up until 8am and then dawdle over breakfast. chores and emails at home. After a stop off at a local café for a flat white I get to work about 9:45am to warm up for class.

Class is generally a similar affair each day. We begin at the barre to warm and stretch our bodies and gradually the intensity increases to include turns and jumping in the centre of the room. After a 15-minute break it’s back into the studio for two and a half hours of whatever ballet is coming up. At the moment there are four different ballets being rehearsed so it is a typically busy time at the Australian Ballet. If it is a show day we will stop at 3pm to rest, eat and maybe get some physio before heading to the theatre at 5pm to put make-up on and prepare for the 7:30pm performance. After a big show I like to jump in the ice buckets up to my knees to combat any swelling or muscle soreness the next day. Then it’s time to go home and have a late dinner, usually an omelette or leftover pasta, around 11pm. Not ideal dietary advice but I prefer to relax and eat dinner after the show so I don’t feel queasy during pas de deuxs! On the days when we don’t perform I keep rehearsing after lunch till 6:30pm and then head home to cook dinner or catch up with friends and family if I can. I love cooking, it’s one of my favourite ways to unwind at the end of the day. The Ugg boots go on and then it’s straight to the kitchen to try a new recipe out with my boyfriend. Actually he is more of a “recipe” person and a great cook. I tend to make up dishes depending on what we have in the house. Luckily he is always very encouraging of my experimentation!

A Day In The Life Of, Inspirational Women, Career Development, Career Advice, Life Advice, Ballet, Theatre, Performance, Talent

What are your goals for the future?

My most immediate goal for the future is to give my all to performing Aurora and Lilac Fairy in David McAllister’s new production The Sleeping Beauty. I am loving revisiting both these roles and re-interpreting them with a more mature approach. There have been many rewarding hours spent with David and our Ballet Mistress Fiona Tonkin helping me develop my interpretation. The staff of the company spend so much time with us, they see us at our best and worst, I always feel so lucky to be able to be completely honest in the studio with them.

In the distant future, I would like to study health science and continue learning about human anatomy which is something I am currently studying online. I think it will tie in really well with my ballet background and hopefully enable me to give back to the artform in some way in the future. Of course, I hope to keep dancing as long as possible and hopefully revisit some of my favourite roles such as Tatiana in Onegin, and Manon. Beyond that, I daydream of travels to Europe, having a family, a garden, and staying happy and healthy.

What advice would you give to someone following the same path as you?

As advice for someone wanting to be a ballerina I can only offer advice based on my own experience. I think if I was speaking to myself as young person I would say, be patient and be kind to yourself. It’s natural for dancers to be very self-critical but if you spend so much energy focussing on the negative you lose that feeling of joy and escapism that dance can offer. I would also say to embrace your uniqueness. Forget about lack of physical symmetry, stiff joints, not being flexible enough, and celebrate your strengths. The audience doesn’t want to see all that worry, they want to be swept away into another world.

A Day In The Life Of, Inspirational Women, Career Development, Career Advice, Life Advice, Ballet, Theatre, Performance, Talent

Amber will be performing in The Australian Ballet’s upcoming contemporary triple bill, 20:21. The show in Sydney will run from 5th – 21st of November. For tickets head to www.australianballet.com.au

A Day In The Life Of… Jordan Mercer

Ever wanted to step into somebody else’s shoes for the day and see what life is like as a magazine editor, a professional sportsperson or corporate high-flyer..? Well, SHESAID is giving you the closest thing to your very own Freaky Friday experience with our A Day In The Life Of… series.

RELATED: A Day In The Life Of… Anna Flanagan

Name and role

Jordan Mercer, Surf IronWoman

Tell us a bit about what you do?

I am a professional surf athlete. My discipline changes dependent on the time of the year, but basically it’s broken into the sprint season where I compete in the Kellog Nutri-Grain Ironwoman series, before transitioning into the long-distance paddleboard season. My paddleboard specialty is the prone paddleboarding event, which means either lying down on my stomach or on my knees, paddling the ocean.

A Day In The Life Of, Inspirational Women, paddleboard, Red Bull, elite athlete, talent, sportswoman, sport

The sport gene runs through your veins. At a just 13 years old you were asked by the AIS to be a part of their training squad for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. What made your turn your back on gymnastics and head to the water?

Lifestyle was probably a big one – I think deep down I knew that I did love the ocean and that coastal lifestyle. With gymnastics I had to move to Canberra to be at the AIS training for the upcoming Olympic Games – I wouldn’t be able to be at the beach. The big decision was knowing that I had a growing passion for being in the ocean – racing there and the fact that I had such a good group of girl friends. The environment and that team spirit that was created when I did surf sports was something that drew me towards a change of career path at such a young age.

Your workdays are much more exciting than the average 9 to 5. When you’re in season, what does a typical day involve? 

I train Monday to Friday, doing three to four sessions a day. Saturday is my big session, where, depending on what time of season it is, I’m either doing very long board paddle sessions anywhere from four to six hours, or it could be an Ironwoman session, which is over and done with in an hour and 15 minutes and is extremely high-intensity – a real vomitron of a session, and the lactic usually lingers for a day or so. Sunday is ‘Sunday fun-day’ for me. I like to do a light session but usually it’s just family time, spending time with friends and generally being at the beach. I’m not quite over the beach yet so through the week I still like to go down, relax, kick the ball, and go surfing.

6am: Generally, throughout the season I’m swim training for two hours in the morning.

10am: I’ll head off from there – have a little snack and into the gym where I work out for about an hour. I like to do a lot of body weight exercises, lots of balance and strength exercises, and obviously getting the heart rate up with cardio in the gym. Sometimes, I’ve got a trainer throughout the week, other times I might be doing my own stuff in the gym. I also love to do a bit of pad boxing when I get the chance.

A Day In The Life Of, Inspirational Women, paddleboard, Red Bull, elite athlete, talent, sportswoman, sport

12pm: I like to have a nap or a surf. That, for me, is refreshing and a little bit of personal time. After a nice lunch I’ll be ready for the afternoon sessions where I’ll be running, or alternating from run to gym. When I’m running I’m either at the National Park in Noosa or I like sand running. Track running’s always good too. Sometimes it’s nice to go for a flat road run. My runs go from maybe four to 10km.

3pm: For my final session for the day I’m in the ocean. I’m paddling my board or on my ski, or putting all the disciplines together and doing an IronWoman session with a run, swim, ski, board, all in the surf.  That usually goes for an hour or so and it’s my favourite session of the day.

I just like challenging myself, trying new things, being in the ocean, playing guitar, I love listening to music, creating things and spending time with loved ones and family!

When did you discover your talent? Did you always want to be an athlete?

From a young age I was always determined to be the best. Not just at sport but anything I tried, I always strived to do things perfectly. I did a lot of sports through my early years running and gymnastics being my focus. From the age of six until I was thirteen I dreamed of being an Olympic gymnast. That dream came very close to fruition when I was offered a position at the Australian Institute of Sport in the gymnastics team to train for the upcoming games. My dreams and future vision have changed through the years but sport has always remained a very important part of who I am and what I wanted to do. But one of the big moments where I thought I can do this, I can be a professional athlete was when I was 16 and in year 11 at school, when I was just old enough to trial for the professional IronWoman Series. I remember being on the beach ready to race, the surf was huge and the weather pretty wild. I hadn’t been paddling a ski for much longer than three months and my swimming wasn’t very strong. It was going to be tough, to say the least. But I knew there wasn’t one thing that would stop me from giving this trial the fight of my life. I had never wanted something so badly in my life, with every ounce of my being I wanted to become a professional IronWoman and it was going to happen that weekend! I knew I deserved it and I believed I could do it!

A Day In The Life Of, Inspirational Women, paddleboard, Red Bull, elite athlete, talent, sportswoman, sport

Where do you find your inspiration? Who has had the most impact on you and your career?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have quite a few people. Children with special needs and disabilities, which I have had the chance to work with through some amazing charities. Noosa Seahorse Nippers is for children with disabilities and special needs allowing them to enjoy junior surf life saving activities. Also, Surfers Healing and Paddle4Autism both program’s which allow Autistic children to surf and enjoy the ocean with watermen and women! Jamie Mitchell one of the best watermen in the world, 10x Molokai2Oahu World Paddle Board Champion and big wave surfer is a special mentor of mine, and a great friend. Mikey Mendoza, skating sensation and fellow Red Bull teammate is someone who makes the most out of every opportunity in life and has a contagiously powerful and positive attitude and my Aunty Jenny, for personal reasons.

What are your goals for the future?

To do what it takes to be proud of the person I am and never stop learning. I know by doing this I will be inspiring people to follow their dreams and supporting those less fortunate. To live a life of giving and learning surrounded by my loved ones, is my ultimate goal.

What advice would you give to someone following the same path as you?

Growing up I’ve been given a lot of advice and a lot of people with great experience in sport have said some pretty special things to me, but the most import piece of advice I was given was to go out there and have fun. I used to laugh it off because I found it very hard to do that with the amount of pressure that I put on myself, and how nervous I got before any event or any race or any run I did. But in the last couple of years I’ve learnt how important it is for me to enjoy myself and have fun out there. My best results have come from when I’m relaxed, when I’m out there and happy to be where I am – and so it is, I think, the most important advice I’ve been given in life and of course racing. So the best piece of advice I could pass on from my experience is hard work will beat talent if talent doesn’t work hard, and there is no easy road to any place worth going.

A Day In The Life Of, Inspirational Women, paddleboard, Red Bull, elite athlete, talent, sportswoman, sport

Images via © Red Bull Media House

A Day In The Life Of… Anna Flanagan

Ever wanted to step into somebody else’s shoes for the day and see what life is like as a magazine editor, a professional sportsperson or corporate high-flyer..? Well, SHESAID is giving you the closest thing to your very own Freaky Friday experience with our A Day In The Life Of… series.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Ellyse Perry

Name and role

Anna Flanagan and I am a player for the Hockeyroos!

When did you discover your talent? Did you always want to be an athlete?

I wanted to be sportswomen from as soon as I could walk- meaning as long as I can remember! I picked up my first hockey stick at four and never looked back! I always wanted to represent Australia and go to the Olympics in something. I did tennis and athletics at national level until I was 15 and chose to give everything to hockey. I always loved the feeling of winning with a team and ultimately enjoyed the sport more. When I made my debut for Australia at age 18, I realised that just playing for Australia wasn’t the goal, but being the best was. Making the team [Hockeyroos] was only the beginning of a huge journey to the top.

Tell us a bit about your journey?

I was selected into the Australian squad when I was 17 and still at school. I came through the junior ranks with two national titles and Player of the Tournament in U18s/21s and in open Nationals before I was 20. My first foray into international hockey I was 16 playing for the U21 Australian team and therefore had to grow up pretty quickly. I moved over to Perth when I was 18 away from all my family and friends and had to learn to look after myself on the other side of the country, without knowing anyone well in the team. The first year I really struggled but had my studies to distract me from being so isolated. I was a late selection into the Commonwealth Games team in Delhi, and from this moment I new I wanted not only to win gold medals, but be the best in the world.

I worked really hard physically to earn my place as one of the main players in the team. I then at 20 years old, I was voted World Young Player of the year at the Olympic Games. This brought a lot more pressure to perform but none more than what I placed on myself. From back then, knowing no one the team is like my family now. We train together everyday and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Where do you find your inspiration? Who has had the most impact on you and your career?

My captain Madonna Blyth inspires me everyday at training to push harder and be the best you can. In other sports the females such as Jessica Fox, Caroline Buchanan and Anna Meares because they are pushing the boundaries of female sport and are good role models.

As an elite athlete, its not always bright lights and glory. How do you deal with the challenges and down times?

We train everyday so I definitely have those days or moments where I envy those with a ‘normal’ job. But I try putting it in perspective to realise not everyone can do what I am doing, and that the lifestyle is amazing and the feeling of winning with your team mates is the ultimate high.

A Day In The Life Of, Inspirational Women, life advice, talent, sportswomen, sport, fitness, Hockeyroo

Your workdays are much more exciting than the average 9 to 5. When you’re in hockey season, what does a typical day involve?  

Of course there’s no such thing as a typical day but a standard training day would look something like this:

7am: Rise and shine, I like to have breakfast two hours before training so that it has time to digest before we start a heavy session.

9-11:30am: Full team training on the pitch where we have a mixture of strength, power, speed and endurance exercises built into our drills.

11:30am-12pm: Recovery and ice baths- submerging our lower bodies into freezing cold water to help relieve muscle soreness for the following day.

12-1pm: We have lunch together and a meeting to discuss the figures that we produced in the weeks training session on our GPS and heart rate, and talk about where we need to improve and work harder as well as highlight those who have done well.

1:30pm-3pm: We have gym that consists of Olympic lifting, heavy weights and a crossfit style of work-out, depending on the individual and their needs.

6pm: Is dinner and couch time as I am buggered from the big day of training!

9:30pm: Try to get in bed by this time so that I get enough rest to do it all again the next day!

A Day In The Life Of, Inspirational Women, life advice, talent, sportswomen, sport, fitness, Hockeyroo

What are your goals for the future?

My ultimate goal is to win Olympic gold… the pinnacle of our sport. Individually I want to be the best player I can in the best team I can… therefore the best player in the world in the best team in the world.

What advice would you give to someone following the same path as you?

Always look to better yourself in all areas as an athlete. Whether it be mental or physical or technical, push the boundaries and try do what others can’t. If you believe you can and do everything to achieve it, anything is possible. The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is good things don’t come easy. And if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. For anyone wanting to get into professional sport, I would say, you need to set goals, have a plan, be determined to achieve it and give 100%. But more than that, enjoy what you are doing, the more fun you have the more memories you make and the rewards are priceless.

Ones To Watch: Viktoria + Woods

Everybody is on the hunt for young up-and-comers and here at SHESAID we have been lucky enough to meet a selection of them. These ladies are on the road to success and generating waves within their chosen field. Whether they be creatives, sporting talent, founders of start-ups or someone striving to make a real difference, these young women are definitely ‘Ones to Watch’.

Viktoria + Woods is a partnership between Maggie Woods and Lisa Reynolds that has brought them great success in the Australian market. Since its humble beginnings in 2005, the brand now has over 70 stockists, including retail giant David Jones. Most recently the pair have been listed as finalists for DHL Express’ Fashion Scholarship, quite a feat since entrants have almost doubled since last year. With fans of the label only continuing to rise, there is no denying we must all keep a keen eye on this dynamic duo. This week, we managed to find a spare moment in their busy schedule and see what she’s been up to.

RELATED: Ones To Watch: Genevieve Clay-Smith 

Name and role:

Margie Woods and I am the Founder and Creative director of Viktoria + Woods. Lisa Reynolds and I am the Co-director and Designer of the brand Viktoria + Woods.

Tell us about what your roles. What do you get up to on a day-to-day basis?

Margie Woods (MW): As Creative Director and Founder I have a very solid vision of the brand and V+W future. From a design perspective, I am very conceptual and visionary in terms of my influence on each collection, but not hands on in the day to day perspective as my incredible partner is. My days involve driving the flow and direction of designs, marketing and brand growth. Sign off on many decisions; direct the team, including new projects. Writing collection releases, interviews, signing off on daily marketing activities, design meetings and fittings, organizing photo-shoots and team and management meetings. My role is not very operational, its mostly directional and on the whole wonderfully creative. There are administrative sides to my role, but it’s the conceptual and creative that I am passionate about.

Lisa Reynolds (LR): My role is to head and manage design and direct the production and pattern making team. The day involves a lot of research, mood-boarding, fabric supplier meetings, sketching, and fittings. The design process is quite operational. So its hands on and exciting, but does not come without challenges. Including finding that right fabrication, getting specifications and fits perfect for market release, and troubleshooting any issues. There is a lot of research, and sourcing, meeting with factories that may have specific capabilities we are looking for. It’s a challenging role but incredibly rewarding.

When did you discover your talent? How/when did you realize that fashion and design was an area you wanted to be involved with?

MW: I grew up with a very fashion obsessed family, so it was always part of my life. My mother designed her own clothing growing up, and had a dressmaker sew up or tweak all her special pieces. She still does to this day. I think that history has always been a part of me, and subconsciously this industry was always going to be my future.

LR: I came from an incredibly creative and crafty family. But it was a fashion show with Australian designer Toni Mateveski that I saw during the Melbourne Fashion festival that drove me to study fashion, and never look back.

Where did the idea come from to create Viktoria + Woods?

MW: It was an idea I had to create a line of contemporary merino wool basics, which I felt was a huge gap in the market. At that time, there was very little in the way of modern lightweight options in the market, and I had a strong vision for what the line would look like and where it would be positioned. My then partner helped make this vision a reality, which I am forever grateful for.

What were the initial stumbling blocks getting V+W off the ground? How did you resolve these?

MW: Mostly funding and sourcing the perfect quality merino that I wanted to work with. We were lucky to be able to work with a distributor in early days who helped us get through these hurdles, and support us through the development and growth until we were able to take over the distribution internally.

How would you describe the style of a women who wears Viktoria + Woods?

MW + LR: Our women are chic, classically stylish, confident, and informed on latest trends. They mix function with fashion to meet their busy lifestyles, quality driven and value designer labels

As creative, how do you deal with the pressure to continually design, create and impress?

MW + LR: Trends and lifestyles are always evolving, and so there is always something more we want to offer, and so much more we want to express. In our collections work with concepts that are often driven by feelings of what we want right now, or what we feel our customers wants from us. This is forever evolving. You can never express everything in one collection, so inspiration is constant.

Where do you find your inspiration?

MW: Spending time at the beach around water and fresh air is where I reboot and find time to be inspired. Travelling, reading, and artwork. Right now I am very inspired by ‘objects’ and installations as artwork. I am also exploring photography over painted art. Raw landscape images are contributing a lot to our moodboards at the moment with natural, organic and raw imagery with modern layers of colour.

LR: Inspiration is all around us, from the Australian lifestyle and culture to beautiful piece of merino, fine yarn or organic cotton. We design our collections to be timeless, but with a modern edge so classic tailoring is always inspirational for technique and how we can work this into a collection that has a relaxed contemporary feel.

Do you have mentors? Are there any particular people or designers you look up to? 

MW: Ellery is an inspiration. I love her courageous approach to design and the how she represents the creativity and passion that can come from Australian design.

LR: I respect and admire Stella McCartney not only for her inspired designs, but for her incredible commitment to using sustainable fibres and materials wherever possible.

Viktoria +Woods has recently been selected as a finalist for DHL’s 2015 Fashion Scholarship. How has recognition such as this affected the brand?

MW + LR: It has been incredible to be recognised as a label with potential for success and growth by DHL. The mentoring, advice and assistance this scholarship offers is an incredible opportunity for us to stay focused and on path.

What are your goals for the future?

MW + LR: To inspire our staff, our customers and our followers with beautiful clothing and an honest approach to design. To represent Australian fashion globally. We are incredibly excited to be stocking Bloomingdales from August this year. We hope to continue to evolve as a uniquely Australian brand, and hopefully support our local industry for many years to come with Australian made designs.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

MW: Don’t rush success. Know who you are and what you represent. Work with the best creative people you can. Inspire and empower your team to be better each day.

LR: It is such an exciting, passionate industry that is filled with challenges, lots of highs and of course there are lows. But always stay true to not only yourself but to the vision you have for your label.

To view Viktoria + Woods latest collection, shop online or find your nearest store, visit: viktoriaandwoods.com.au


Ones To Watch: Gordi

Everybody is on the hunt for young up-and-comers and here at SHESAID we have been lucky enough to meet a selection of them. These ladies are on the road to success and generating waves within their chosen field. Whether they be creatives, sporting talent, founders of start-ups or someone striving to make a real difference, these young women are definitely ‘Ones to Watch’.

At the tender age of 22, singer/songwriter Gordi is not your average musician. With brains to match her talent she studies medicine full time, however it is music that has really stolen her heart. Born and raised in country NSW, the now Sydney native is creating talk within the music scene. Featuring in March as a Triple J Featured Artist, there is no denying that Gordi’s unique and ethereal sound is taking her places. This week we managed to find a spare moment in her busy schedule and see what she’s been up to.

Tell us a little bit about you. Where are you from, what is it that you do?

I’m Gordi, a Sydney based singer-songwriter. I’m originally from a little town called Canowindra where I grew up on a farm called ‘Alfalfa’. I’ve always loved writing and playing music but released my first single “Nothing’s As It Seems” at the end of last year and since then music has become more like a career than a hobby (albeit financially it looks more like a hobby than a career).

When did you discover your talent? What made you want to follow it into a career?

As soon as I knew what words were I started to sing, and along the way I picked up guitar and piano. In high school I sort of found my feet in terms of performing and absolutely fell in love with it. There’s no other feeling like playing your own original music to a crowd who wants to listen.

Describe your sound.

In a word – folktronica (please excuse the wankiness of that term). The production we’ve explored for my tracks has combined acoustic instruments with more synthesised sounds with the main focus on the vocals.

As a singer/songwriter, where do you find your inspiration?

From personal experience. As a songwriter you really have to abuse your own emotions. If I’m feeling upset or angry about something I make myself sit down and channel that into a melody or lyrics. If my life starts is going through a mundane or uninteresting patch then I turn to film and poetry. Anything can trigger an idea and then you just have to let that idea take hold of you and lead you where it will.

Who has had the most impact on you as an artist? Do you have a mentor?

Musically my two main influences are The Tallest Man on Earth and Asgeir whose styles of music and writing have really inspired me. Megan Washington and Missy Higgins are two people who I see more as mentors as they are two female artists that have really shaped the musical landscape in Australia and have had such an impact on me and my interest in pursuing music as a career.

What have been your stumbling blocks, initially getting started and since then? How did you overcome these?

My main stumbling block has been trying to balance music with uni and the rest of my life which I’m still overcoming. The course that I’m studying at uni is quite demanding and music is becoming more so, so it’s hard to give 100% of myself to everything all the time. I’m just taking it as it comes and I have a great support system with my friends and family so just make it work. Though unlike other musicians who are getting drunk before shows, I’m often whipping out my laptop to do a few readings. Rockstar or what.

The music business is known for being cutthroat and a hard industry to crack. How do you deal with the pressure to continually create, preform and impress?

I have to constantly remind myself why I have chosen this career, and that is because I love writing music and performing it. Occasionally I get too caught up in trying to write something that other people will like it that will fit a mould, but the best songs are always the ones that I write without an agenda. It is a tough business but I’ve had some great fortune so far and enormous support from people and organisations whose opinions I really value. The deeper in you get, the more the pressure seems to build, but who doesn’t love a bit of pressure!

What drives/motivates you to keep going?

The fact that I can’t imagine not doing this. I can’t imagine not writing music or playing live shows. I really love doing it, it’s loads of fun and writing music keeps my head from exploding. Funnily enough the only time I really relax and let go is when I’m on stage.

Outside of music what do you get up to?

Between music and uni, I find I don’t have an abundance of free time, but when I do I spend it catching up with friends or heading home to Canowindra to see my family.

What are your plans and goals for the future? For instance, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Hopefully I’m onto my second album by then! My main goal is to build up a bit more of a fan base, get a few music festival slots and work towards putting out an album. In between now and 5 years I’d love a few international tours too but one step at a time for now!

To listen to Gordi’s music and to receive updates on show dates and locations click here

6 Celebrities Who Fluked Their Way To The Top

We’ve all been there, wondering just how that celebrity became so damn rich and famous. They appear to have fluked their way to the top, without any real confirmation of their talent when first discovered, but were picked out for being good looking, a gift from the Gods of genetics.

We say fluked because these people have played the game of chance and won, think of the world of celebrity like playing a game on SuperCasino – when you win big you go all the way.

So who has fluked their way to the top and is now living a lavish life after seemingly doing, well…not very much to get there?

Charlize Theron

We’re not saying Charlize isn’t a fine actress, you just have to watch the 2003 movie Monster to witness her talent, but Theron wasn’t having much luck making it in Hollywood when she initially started out. She was actually discovered in a bank, shouting at a poor assistant behind the counter, who wouldn’t or couldn’t for some reason pay out money to her. A talent agent enjoyed her making a scene so much he gave her his business card and the rest, as they say, is history.

Steven Seagal

Seagal is best known for his highflying, highly dramatic (and just a tad ridiculous) action movies, where he spends a good portion of a film kicking the bad guys in the face, repeatedly. Steven is actually a master in aikido and because of his skill in the martial art was discovered by talent agent Michael Ovitz. It’s been claimed that Ovitz wanted to prove a point, that he could make anyone famous and so took Seagal to Warner Brothers Studios. The guys there were so impressed with his martial arts skills they let him choose a film to make, from a pile of scripts. Thanks WB.

Scott Disick

We could reel off a long list of the Keeping up with the Kardashians ‘cast’, who have fluked their way to the top, but for now we’ll stick with Scott Disick. His fame has come mostly from dating Kourtney Kardashian and their public spats and constant arguing. Their toxic relationship keeps viewers coming back for more and constantly puts Scott in the spotlight. From his exposure on the show Scott now does paid nightclub appearances and public events and revels in the party lifestyle his fame has brought him, much to Kourtney’s displeasure.

Jamie Oliver

Whilst his talent as a chef can’t be questioned Oliver found fame by pure luck. A BBC Camera crew who were filming Christmas at the River Café, where he worked, spotted him in the background making pasta. Apparently they liked his look and pasta-making skills so much that later that year his show The Naked Chef debuted, along with a cookbook. Right place, right time.

Justin Bieber

Bieber is a celeb treated much like Marmite, you either love him or hate him. It’s usually the latter, because only 10 year old girls love Bieber. We think. But the Biebs was actually discovered through a stroke of luck, after crooning to a small fan base on Youtube. Apparently his current manager saw a video of the boy popstar and contacted his mum about working with him. So thanks to a video camera and a floppy haircut, Bieber is now available for us all to enjoy.

Coleen Rooney

Marrying Wayne Rooney is one life decision Coleen will probably never regret. From her marriage she has launched perfumes, a clothing line and has reportedly jetted off on ten holidays this year alone. How the other half live, eh?