How many Identities do you have?
Family member: This is by far the most important as family is everything to me. I cherish their love and support as this provides me with the foundation to build my goals and visions on.
Illustrator: I love being creative and I channel that into my drawings. Seeing how happy people are when I can create something for them is such a rewarding feeling
Business Owner: Certainly not easy but incredibly worth it. I am growing and learning, and the best thing is that I am going to continue to do so along this journey.
Legal Assistant: I learn from passionate and hardworking professionals and assist them to create documents that are important when making crucial decisions.
Tutor: I loved English but soon realised that it didn’t come so easily to others. Getting high marks was a wonderful sense of satisfaction but watching a younger person become confident as their grades improve is indescribable. I feel like a proud mother!
Mentor: I’ve inspired others and not known it! However, when someone takes the time to ask me a question or let me know I have inspired them to do something, I can’t help but smile. That is what I want; to let other people know that they are capable!
Tell us about your story and how you got to where you are now?
I completed a Business degree in 2017 and absolutely loved learning all about Business Management. I enjoyed my time at university and really did thrive. Around this time, I had just finished working in a Business Incubator where I was exposed to and assisted individuals involved in start-up businesses. I loved this and always wondered what had motivated these people to want to start their own business. Following this, I made the transition to a Law Firm where I currently work as a Legal Assistant. I have always and still thoroughly enjoy my work here however early on in this role, I was not feeling fulfilled. I had some free time and one day sat down and began to draw. As I continued to illustrate, I decided to create an Instagram page that doubled as a fantastic platform for me to share my work. I was nervous at first but there seemed to be a genuine interest in and curiosity about my illustrations. I received an invitation to exhibit as an emerging artist and it wasn’t long before an email arrived asking me to create a custom illustration. From there on, I was fortunate to be asked to participate in several other exhibitions before I got my first taste of Live Sketching within the fashion world of Perth at a VIP afterparty. I loved the feeling and as my confidence grew, so too did the number of illustrations I was being asked to do. I reached out to people, networks, people I wanted to work alongside and those whom I wanted to learn from. What I never realised was how many wonderful people I would meet!
Most challenging moment in life thus far?
My most challenging moment in life was late last year. My grandfather who lives overseas suddenly became ill, so my parents travelled to Europe to be with him and the rest of my mother’s family. He spent many days in and out of hospital. When he wasn’t in the hospital, he was at home in a small village with no Wi-Fi that made contact between my parents and I very difficult. At times, days would pass and we wouldn’t hear any update. The silence was awful and I struggled and it showed. The emotional exhaustion was something I’d never experienced before. It sapped life out of me. I didn’t draw for almost a month. The one thing that brought me so much joy couldn’t at this time. I believe in ‘pity parties’ whereby I give myself five minutes to process negative emotions but, in this case, that was not enough. I felt sad that I wasn’t being creative, but I knew I had to let the emotions come out in this way and not force it. When my grandfather passed, I didn’t know what to do. This was occurring just as my illustration business was gaining momentum and coincided with an exceptionally busy time for the firm. I rang my parents one day and cried uncontrollably but my dad told me that my grandfather would not want me to lose focus. That stuck with me and after an extended pity party, I really focused on looking after myself so I could perform to the best of my ability. It took time but I certainly learnt that it is important to listen to your body and your emotions, particularly when you are facing something that challenges you.
How do you feel stereotypes have affected women in society so far?
I could liken this to being under a microscope at times! I feel as though stereotypes have long held the ability to distort a woman’s ideals about her role as a woman, a professional in her field, a partner, a mother, a sister and just about everything else. There are expectations and I feel that they have given women a pre-determined idea of what they are capable of. However, I would also challenge this because I feel that as women collectively become more confident in their abilities and what they are able to contribute, these stereotypes do not seem to be so intimidating. Women are certainly creating the change needed! There is still a lot of groundwork to be done, but it is comforting to know that we can break through the glass ceiling AND wear glass slippers should we decide to.
What are you doing to affect change?
I think being the change you want to see is what I would say I am doing. I was thinking differently and so I thought well why not me? I love law but I realised that I live to draw. Being able to build my own business whilst working in the corporate sector is difficult but if I spent my time only thinking about it and admiring others doing it, I would never know what I could achieve. Doing rather than thinking. It is that first step that is often the hardest but when we talk about those who have done it before us, we often learn that they wanted something to change and they knew that they needed to be the one to do it. I am doing this first and foremost because I want to create my future but also because I want others to not feel afraid of pursuing their passions.
How have you grown as a person, mentally, emotionally and spiritually after starting your career?
Mentally, I have developed so much resilience! In the past few months, events that occurred have tested me. I know for a fact that had these happened twelve months ago, I would have handled them quite differently. These days, for me it is all about taking it in my stride and saying to myself “it’s okay, you’re allowed to have bad days, you’re allowed to have bad moments”. I try not to let things get the better of me and rather look for ways to solve the problem and learn from these experiences. My emotional intelligence has developed incredibly. I am less naive and instead am learning to be assertive when I need to be and not let my lack of extensive experience impact other people’s perceptions of who I am and what I can do. Spiritually, I feel that we have a purpose in life. Before moving into my illustrative career, I really didn’t know what it meant to wake up and have a purpose that drives you in life to follow your dreams. I realised that ‘I love law, but I live to draw’. I love learning about law and the ability my role gives me to assist others, but I go to bed dreaming about art and I wake up thinking about new ideas. Spiritually it has helped me find what I feel I am meant to do, and it is such a difference sense of satisfaction and gratification. I believe it really comes down to that question, “If you had no fear, what would you do?”
What would you say to all the women out there who are in the corporate world and who have creative passions but are too afraid to pursue them?
Don’t ever let that transition or career jump scare you. I believe that women who are in this position must not let the perceptions that are embedded deeply in society about what a career is overwhelm them. Life is far too short to only do what you think is expected of you. It is a challenging transition and it can be daunting at times, however if there is drive, persistence, a willingness to work hard, the understanding that failure is okay and can be a positive thing as well as a true underlying passion, it is astounding what people are capable of. You can have the best of both worlds and for those women who may be torn between the two, it does not have to become a choice. If you desire to do something creative as a hobby, that is more than okay too! I encourage women to talk to other women. Talk to others who do what you do, talk to other women who are doing what you would love to do. Do things that scare you. You’ll find that you may just love it! If you’ve created something and you are proud of it, share it. If there is an event of interest to you, attend. Become familiar with the community you seek to be part of. You never know what it could lead to! Above all, the number one thing I would say to the women out there in this position is to take that very first step! It is the hardest step to take, but guess what comes next? Another small step. Keep going and you will be amazed at what you are able to do.