I’ve always been creative. I attended a Steiner School from prep to year five. My days were filled with breadmaking, painting, drawing, and pretty much any other creative endeavor you could think of. I am so grateful for these days, in hindsight, as I realise now how much they shaped me into the person I am today.
When I was nine, my mum heard me singing out the car window, I thought it was disappearing into the buzz of traffic but turns out it wasn’t. I was painfully shy – like couldn’t speak to my friends at a birthday party shy – but my mum was desperate for me to share my voice with everyone. She bribed me with an iPod Touch, and I sung at the school’s Spring Soiree. I could have cried I was so nervous; 10-year-old me was shaking life a leaf.
Nothing routine about choreographing your own dance routines as a 3yr old
A few years’ later, I began busking in Surfers Paradise, placing 3rd in the Australian Street Entertainment Championship. From there, my guitar and I went on to play weddings, restaurants, cafes, and events. I also started getting into TV work; working on set for commercials including Warner Bros. Movie World, Heritage Bank, QLD Health and Amart Furniture (we’ll circle back to this one later).
At 17, fresh out of school I began my Business Management Degree. I planned to complete a dual major in Advertising & Marketing at the University of Queensland, hoping my creative flair could bring something exciting to the advertising world. On the commute from the Gold Coast to Brisbane, I would write lyrics and doodle in my notebook.
My second year of uni saw me venture into Brisbane, the city I thought I would never fit in. I missed the beaches, the salt and the sand, but I traded them for the Big City and a nightlife you can’t miss.
That’s me, Emily from The Martin’s Family
Third year of uni, I was hungry for more… working in sales for a Telecommunications company wasn’t stimulating me enough and I yearned to put my creative flair to use again. My friend posted an advertisement ‘Alternative Rock Group Seeking Vocalist’, I DM’d the guy on Insta, instantly!
He replied: ‘Write me a song over one of the band’s tracks’. I listened to the track and had written a song within the hour. My creative side exploded after being shadowed for so long. I sent the demo back and they told me I was in the band – I’d made the cut. Our EP will be released early 2021. Look out for ‘Candra’. We’re reaching for the stars.
Learning on the job now, as I did back then
I promised I would come back to the Amart Furniture ad, so here we are. In 2016, Amart rolled out a huge TV and content campaign, and I nabbed a talent role. I featured as The Martin’s Family’s teenage daughter, Emily, who rolled her eyes way too much (pretty similar to the then 16-year-old me!). On set I met Dan Adler aka ‘Head Honcho’ at nextThursday; along with Creative Director aka ‘Lightbulb Moment Chief’, Andy Iles; and Charles Schaefer ‘Senior Writerist’. I friended them all on Facebook and thought nothing more of it.
Four years’ later, and a lot more knowledge behind me; Dan posted on Facebook about nextThursday moving to Eagle Street. I messaged him asking to grab a coffee and he replied almost immediately, “Want to intern?”. I almost fell over backwards.
As a third-year ad. student, an internship is pretty darn hard to come by. I couldn’t believe it. I don’t know what he had seen in 16-year-old me all those years’ back, but it had been something. Perhaps it was the eye rolling. I reckon it’s a pretty good asset.
That’s how I eyeroll, in my role as Emily for Amart
So, now I sit with the team at nextThursday. The office looks over the Story Bridge and Brisbane River, the city I thought I would never find my place in. I’ve gone from Amart talent to their ‘Agent 99’ (if you hadn’t realised – we’ve all wacky, creative, and/or unreasonable descriptors for our roles – rather than the run-of-the-mill ones). I’m helping them with a little bit here and there – actually maybe I should say “a lot” – it’s all about the ’sell’ in advertising, right?
I couldn’t be any happier and I’m so excited for where this journey will take me. Who knows where I’ll be next Thursday… perhaps I’ll be rolling my eyes on-set as talent for their newest campaign? Or helping my team make your next campaign. Or both. You know how to get hold of us.