Blogger at The Residents

Who or what did you want to be when you grew up?

First, of course, I wanted to be a ballerina. Then an artist. And finally a writer. Now, that’s what I do for both my ‘jobs’ but never in the way I imagined. I’m both a blogger and a policy advisor in the financial markets. An unusual combination to say the least. However, for both words are vital! My currency is my vocabulary.

What is your professional background?

I studied an LLB/BA at both University of Auckland and Victoria University of Wellington. After studying Art History, Italian and most of the soft law papers at Uni, it made zero sense that I got a job working in Banking and Finance at a large law firm. But I did and it taught me some valuable stuff (one of which was I was never going to make it as a Law Firm lawyer), like seeking out risk, writing a good letter and being confident about what you know. After two years, I took a job working in the Ministry of Justice policy department. I wanted to leave my old job and they were the first people to have me. I was also starting to suspect that maybe lawyering wasn’t for me, more generally. I worked for two years in Civil Law and Human Rights policy, and around November of that same year (2015), revived my blog I’d abandoned while at Uni, The Residents. I decided it was now or never and so gave it everything I could. Now, two years later, I have clocked 300,000 unique visits and counting 10.1 K Instagram followers, 6,000 Facebook likes and almost 1000 followers on Twitter. I love that people read my stories and value my opinion about Wellington and other things that happen in life while you’re in your twenties and beyond. (Here’s the braggy bit: I’ve won an Absolutely Positively Wellingtonian Award and was nominated as a finalist in the New Zealand Social Media Awards this year – braggy bit over). Day-to- day I work as an in house policy advisor for a major New Zealand organisation in the finance world. My work is interesting, particularly because there is lots of change in the world of Fintech and Green Finance, all of which have implications for my work.

When do you feel the most creative or inspired?

Just after or during a yoga class. It’s where I come up with my best ideas, so I always need to give myself a prod to remember to keep going along when life gets busy.

When are you happiest?

With my best friend Maria or with my lovely boyfriend Matt*

(*and if the house is clean and we’ve been fed or otherwise it doesn’t work)

What’s the best stress relief advice you’ve ever been given?

Exercise. And that if you value it, you’ll find time.

What is your most treasured possession?

I’d love to say my blogging equipment (iPhone, Macbook and Canon 700D) – however I feel that’s a bit pathetic. I might say the little statue of Buddha that my Grandma owned who wasn’t a Buddhist but it attracted me around the time she passed away and reminds me to be calm – I’d been learning a bit about Buddhism and liked its philosophies. It reminds me of them, and her.

What is the most important thing life has taught you thus far?

No linear road exists. And those who take the straightforward path often don’t end up happy. The joy of life is the zags in the road.

What is your number one business tip for surviving (and thriving) in your industry?

In blogging, consistency is key, and constantly seeking inspiration to upskill from others. Surround yourself with good people. Internationally, I look up to Lily Pebbles, Carrie Santa De Silva from Wish Wish Wish and Anna from The Anna Edit. I also like Jessie Bush from We The People – her style is impeccable. Closer to home, I look up to Carmen Huter and Danijela Unkovich from Healthy Always. Amazing women, with impeccable integrity. There’s also some great women working to support blogging in PR, too many to name.

What is your big project or goal for 2018?

I never know what will come into my inbox for The Residents day to day, so who knows what 2018 has in store. No matter what, I’ll keep interviewing The Residents of Wellington and sharing my stories of the city for others to find and learn from.

Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?

Eleanor Ozich’s book, The Art of Simple. I want to throw everything out of my house. Also, David, my hairdresser from Matt Foresman inspires me. He’s like a walking human rose quartz crystal – so many good vibes.

What do you continually ask yourself?

Why do I put myself through this? But then I always know the answer – Because I am uniquely me and that’s an awesome thing.

Who do you collaborate with best?

Ashley Church – Dinosaurtoast is amazing and she takes my photos for me. Hire her for your creative photographic work! We keep meaning to simply catch up for a drink but we always seem to get busy. I also adore working with Annabelle Wilson of Wilson Trollope.

Who has challenged you to be better than you once were?

Myself.

How does courage manifest in your work?

Putting yourself out there can be tough. You’re opening yourself up to criticism from others. I’m lucky my work is so awesome about my blogging, or it could be a lot harder. It can also be hard to feel like you fit in. There was a crap time this year where I started getting trolled by a Wellingtonian stylist who has an ego. In the end I blocked him. It can also suck when some other Instagrammers aren’t friendly or are cliquey to you and don’t talk to you at events when you aren’t sure why they don’t just say hi. Nowadays I brush it off. Life’s too short to worry about people like that. I just want to collaborate with awesome people and be nice.

When has mentorship played a role in your life?

I have had a few mentors in my blogging and work, too many to mention, some for a long time and some for a short time, but equally valuable. Every resident who I interview is like a mini mentor. I also watch lots of YouTube and feel like people like Marie Forleo have been mentors to me (less so now). Today, I talk to my friend Ben Woodward about blogging stuff and I also talk to my friends (as mentioned above). Matt is wise, even when he is silly, and helps me out. I haven’t found a mentor yet who is doing the exact thing I am with blogging, but I look up to Nik Speller, a UK guy who I worked with that knows everything about how influencer marketing works and where it’s going. The great thing about life with digital technology now is we can have mentors everywhere, and for all things. I just want to keep growing and challenging myself to be the best I can be!