metropol » interview

Tag: interview

Life’s a breeze


Hilary Muir breezes into our interview. Bright, bubbly and full of life; just as she sounds on her morning radio shows. By the time we meet, she’s already done her early morning start at The Breeze, and most of a full day, yet the enthusiasm hasn’t dimmed.

 

 

Enthusiasm for people, for life and for causes are what keep Hilary on the go. She’s always been a people person and her various roles reflect that.

Breakfast show presenter, popular MC, marriage celebrant, funeral celebrant, mother, friend and confidante. And she loves a good anecdotal story.

Those who tune into her show regularly know all this, enjoying the banter between Hilary and co-host Fitzy (Dave Fitzgerald) and their choice of topics. She adores radio and its people dynamic.

“I wake up in the morning, bounce out of bed and make the most of the day. I love people, company and radio.”

Thirty-seven years’ radio experience hasn’t dimmed her joie de vie; she’s still eager to hit the airwaves each morning, seeing every day as an opportunity to bring to life on radio the lives of Cantabrians.

“There’s so much choice whether it is people or topics. Whatever we talk about is relatable to our listeners.”

Originally from the deep south – Invercargill and then Dunedin – Hilary has been with The Breeze since its inception two decades ago this year. She has always worked in radio – 15 years in Dunedin, including seven years also reading news on Regional television, two of which were with Jim Mora, and a parenting programme on TV called Parent Time.

“I’ve always worked with male DJs; it’s an awesome contrast,” she explains, naming James Daniels and latterly Fitzy as her most recent co-hosts.

Christchurch stole her heart several years ago and for Hilary it is home. “It’s such an evolving place; I really love the people. They have so many stories to tell and some have been through so much, yet they still stand strong and proud of their city. There’s a real courage amongst the people here.”

Work hard but take time out to relax is part of her personal ethos.

Time out is spent relaxing with family and friends, and holidaying in her regular go-to destination of Kaiteriteri in Nelson Tasman.

For the last 20 years she has spent summer holidays staying at the same bach and loving its simplicity.

“No dishwasher, no wifi, everyone takes their own linen and it’s so close to Breakers Beach. A perfect holiday bach.”

Then it’s back to Christchurch, swapping ocean waves for radio waves, and the beach for The Breeze.


 

Comedy’s universal appeal


He’s behind some of the most significant television comedy writing of the 21st century, and now Ben Elton is bringing his stand-up to Christchurch. Metropol catches up with the talented Brit behind Blackadder, We Will Rock You and so much more.

 

 

To take a look at Ben Elton’s multi-award winning body of work is to take a look at some of the most well-loved and revolutionary TV series in the last 40 years. Add to that 17 novels, film, musicals, radio, plays, stand-up comedy shows and more, and it’s hard to fathom how the 61-year-old over achiever can find the time to wear so many successful hats.

“Well I’m a writer first and foremost. Being a comedian is a part of that,” he explains.

It’s his stand-up comedy hat that Elton will adorn when he graces the stage of Christchurch’s James Hay Theatre on May 14 and 15. His tour was originally planned for May 2020 but Covid-19 forced a 12 month delay. This has afforded Elton the luxury of adding 14 more tour dates around the country, allowing him to reach an audience who may not have made it to the larger cities.

“I thought bugger it, if I’m doing two weeks in a Holiday Inn staring at the trouser press I’m going to make the most of this tour. I’m going to see more of this incredible natural environment, visit towns I’ve never been to before and play to people I wouldn’t normally get the chance to entertain. I’m really excited about it,” he says.

In spite of his tour being delayed, not even a pandemic can stop this comedic juggernaut from adding to his lengthy resume.

“As a writer I have at least been able to continue to work. I wrote an Upstart Crow Christmas special for the BBC with Shakespeare in lockdown (they closed the theatres in his day too).

Also I’ve been working on the screenplay for a new Bee Gees biopic.”

When asked if the pandemic opened the doors for new material, Elton seemed reluctant to drag people through turbulent times again.

“I had the new routine in great shape after doing 90 dates in the UK and Ireland but of course that was pre-Covid so I will certainly be going through it all so that it’s bang up-to-date in our weird new reality. I’m not doing a lot of Covid material though. I think we’re all pretty f’ing over it,” he muses.

I wondered whether audiences are even more thirsty than usual for good comedy due to the added stresses of recent times. Elton laughs, “Ha! People always need comedy and I’m excited to be getting the chance to spread a bit of laughter.”

I first encountered Elton’s work in the mid-eighties with The Young Ones, a show I can almost quote word-for-word. Elton co-wrote the series and was surrounded by comedic geniuses like Alexei Sayle and the late Rik Mayall, but you need to look further back for comics who have influenced his style.

“My favourite comics when I was a kid were Morecambe and Wise. [Monty] Python hit in 1969 when I was 10 and changed comedy forever,” he says.

“But I think my greatest influence was the comic novelist PG Wodehouse, I think I learned more about comic timing from his stories than I ever did from an actual comedian!”

Elton spends his time living between Perth and East Sussex, and when asked if living there and being married to an Australian makes appealing to Kiwi audiences any easier, he explains that comedy is universal.

“I never try to please some imagined audience, I only try to please myself and hope it clicks. I did that when writing The Young Ones and Blackadder, and still do today.

“I write about our shared human experience. Of course there are always local nuances and they are fun to play with, but basically if the act lands in Canterbury, UK I’m guessing most of it will land in Canterbury, NZ. It had better do!”


 

Strait for Christchurch


Her eponymous brand is one of New Zealand’s most recognisable fashion labels, and has long been inspired by the landscapes of the south. Now Juliette Hogan has put down roots here with a new store The Crossing. Metropol catches up with the designer about bridging the Cook Strait, where her love story with our city started, and navigating an industry in flux.

 

 

What made you choose Christchurch to open up your first store in the South Island?
“The Juliette Hogan brand has always had a strong affinity to the textures and palette of the South Island landscape, and it has been a longstanding dream location for a store. The more we travelled looking for the right location, the more perfect Christchurch felt. I have to admit, it’s my favourite store so far. I absolutely love the curved oak wall, to me it feels so welcoming and protective, and hope this is how our customers respond to it as well.”

 

J.H store at The Crossing, CHCH

 


You’re a business owner and a mum – which must be busy enough without lockdowns thrown in the mix! What’s your philosophy or approach to making sure you have the time, space and energy you need and want to balance your business and family lives?
“My life is what I have made it and I feel so fortunate that I get to do what I love. For me that means being challenged and busy as a mother, partner, and business owner. I do work hard to keep a balance making time for family, work, and myself. I walk every morning; podcasts keep me learning and motivated and good books and travel give me both escape and creative inspiration.”


The pandemic has fuelled the movement to support local. You manufacture almost all your garments locally, why is it important for you to be New Zealand made, and why should Kiwis get behind this?
“At Juliette Hogan, our clothes are predominantly NZ made (97 percent). I’m proud to be part of Mindful Fashion NZ. Co-founded by Emily Miller-Sharma of Ruby and Kate Sylvester in 2018. We are working together on a number of initiatives to help create a thriving and sustainable future for Made in NZ clothing including developing a meaningful garment manufacturing apprenticeship programme to fulfil skill shortages and create more jobs within our clothing industry.”

 

2021 collection

 


Can you please tell us how the last 12 months has impacted the Juliette Hogan brand, and how this is reflected in your latest designs?
“2020 certainly presented us with some extraordinary challenges, but the surprising outcome for me has been the genuinely rewarding learning and growth opportunities that the year has provided. In the 17 years since I launched Juliette Hogan, I have never had such a strong impetus or the opportunity to really step back and make big decisions on where we wanted this business and brand to be, and how we were going to evolve to get there. Reflecting the timeless and enduring design aesthetic of Juliette Hogan, 2021 sees a new approach forgoing the constraints of traditional seasons and what is yet to come. In addition to reworking our seasonal calendar, we also launched our JH Lounge collection in June 2020. This collection had been in development for some time; however, the timing was really perfect to launch to market.”

 

 


So, looking forward now. What does 2021 have in store for you, and the Juliette Hogan brand?
“We have lots of exciting projects in the pipeline including new product lines and working closely with our wonderful brand partners Amisfield, Audi & Bobbi Brown on exciting events and experiences. We are looking forward to being more connected to the South Island with the new store to have a deeper understanding of what our South Island customers need. Personally, I’m looking forward to spending time with my family exploring our beautiful country.”


 

Tricks of the tradies


The remote and rugged West Coast couldn’t be further from Hollywood. But it was Phil Keoghan’s hard-working grandparents from Westport who inspired his latest Tinseltown reality competition, Tough as Nails. Metropol catches up with the Cantabrian about his recent trip home, making TV in a pandemic – and how we could be in for a Kiwi version.

“Railroad Challenge” — Coverage of the CBS series Tough As Nails, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Michael Yarish/CBS ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

Television audiences – and reality competition contestants – the world over owe a lot to Phil Keoghan’s upbringing.

His father’s work as a plant scientist and mother’s teaching skills saw the family live around the world, contributing to the adventurous spirit Keoghan has harnessed as host for all 32 seasons of The Amazing Race.

Now, it is the practical skills of his West Coast grandparents which inspired Tough as Nails, a celebration of the physical and mental strength of tradespeople.

Born in Lincoln, Keoghan moved around a lot as a child – spending time in Canada, Australia and the Caribbean before returning to Christchurch as a teen to board at St Andrew’s College.

He spent his school holidays on the coast with his grandparents and extended family – mechanics, carpenters and farmers – where he learnt how to use tools and tackle practical tasks.

“I got an appreciation for people who work in the trades, and the idea that people had these skills they could use to fix things and make the world work,” says Keoghan, who not only hosts the show, but co-created and produced it with his wife and producing partner, Louise.

The second season – in which tradies compete in a series of challenges to win $276,000NZD and a Ford F-150 Truck – was filmed in Los Angeles during the Covid-19 pandemic and edited, in part, from the Keoghan’s MIQ hotel room in Christchurch.

His paternal grandfather, Jack Keoghan, was a particularly strong influence. He passed on an education scholarship to start working as a mechanic at just 13, and went on to become an aero mechanic in World War II, as well as representing New Zealand in target shooting.

“It always irked me hearing people talk down about people like my grandfather,” says Keoghan.

“That somehow intelligence is measured by where you went to school, or in order to be well read or to be smart you have to have a tertiary education.

“My grandfather was very well read, he was very smart, top of his class, and one of the brightest people I have ever met.

“Sometimes circumstances restrict a person’s ability to follow a certain path but that is not a reflection of their intelligence or contribution to society.

“I see so many people who are being honoured for being able to sing or dance well…but this show is really about acknowledging the people who make sure we can turn our lights on, that the toilets flush, that the roads are smooth, that we have food on our table and the world keeps working!”

The show’s first episode aired earlier this month, making it one of the only pieces of fresh television created during the pandemic – a tough challenge in itself.

Beyond the physical challenges of filming while observing social distancing and increased hygiene practices, the Keoghans were also responsible for the health and safety of hundreds of people working on the show.

The reality of which didn’t sink in until they landed in New Zealand in early December.

“Once we got into a quiet spot the weight of responsibility hit me. I was hugely relieved we were able to get through Covid-19-free, but I couldn’t shut my brain down from thinking what could have gone wrong.

“It was this horrible feeling of relief and also anxiety – it’s very hard to explain.”

Keoghan acknowledges such challenges are “first world problems” compared to those endured by healthcare workers and millions of people around the world who have faced health issues, or lost family members of livelihoods during the pandemic.

He says the idea of filming a future season of the US series in New Zealand away from the stress of shooting in Los Angeles while there is a pandemic, would be incredible.

“If I had my way I would love to make a Kiwi version of Tough as Nails as well, after all, it’s where the idea came from.”

 

Phil Keoghan from the CBS series Tough As Nails. The second season premieres Wednesday, Feb. 10 (8:00 Ð 9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

Juggling priorities


The first foot juggler to come out of New Zealand, Emma Phillips is an expert in twirling, whirling, and tossing umbrellas, carpets and even tables using nothing but her toes, arches and heels. A pandemic-induced return to New Zealand saw her settle in Christchurch, where she recently starred in the Bread and Circus Backyard Buskers Festival. Metropol catches up with the
talented performer.

 

Tables are Emma Phillips’ speciality. She juggles them with her feet, deftly kicking and spinning the large dining necessity in the air, while also tossing and whirling umbrellas in her hands.

Emma is the first known circus performer to come out of New Zealand specialising in foot juggling, and has gone on to blaze a trail in the esoteric art.

She is one of the only known Western artists to perform Chinese-style foot juggling in the world, and the first to combine umbrella and table juggling simultaneously.

A career which began, despite her Whangarei upbringing, in Christchurch. The now 30-year-old was introduced to the world of foot juggling while studying a Diploma in Circus Arts at Christchurch Polytech in 2008.

Inspired to take her foot juggling training to the next level, she then applied and was accepted to the Beijing Acrobatic Arts School and Wuqiao Acrobatic School in China.

“My real training didn’t really begin until I got to China,” she says. “And then I realised how hard it was!”

She was taught the traditional art of foot juggling “by China’s finest”. And while it remains her speciality, she is also trained in and regularly performs contortion and aerial hoop, too.

Emma started performing while studying, but it was after graduation that her CV really picks up. She has performed throughout China, Australia, Europe, Russia and the UAE, and most recently accepted a contract for the German and Austrian tours of Roncalli Circus Theatre.

Unfortunately, the contract which she says was “the biggest of my career” was thwarted by Covid-19.

On the night of the press premiere, the show was postponed for five weeks.

“I definitely considered staying in Germany,” she says.

But the opportunity to see her family in Christchurch won out. And the five weeks turned into the remainder of 2020 and, now, into 2021.

“I’m so glad I came home, spending the year with my family and my sister’s kids has been an absolute highlight,” she says.

A highlight the recent crowds at Bread and Circus Backyard Busker’s Festival can attest to, when Emma took her glamorous, vaudeville-styled performance to the streets.

“The New Regent Street Spectacular was amazing,” she says.

“It was such immersive street theatre with the opera singers and the musicians, and I was juggling a table in the middle of everyone!”

She also loved performing with the Topp Twins at the Isaac Theatre Royal gala, “which has always been one of my dream theatres to work in.”

Emma says her favourite part of the whole festival “was the community side of it” as she felt incredibly fortunate to be in one of the only performing festivals in the world.

For all the impacts of Covid-19, the fallout for the performing arts sector has been particularly harsh. So for 2021, Emma says she is trying to spin the lack of strict performance
schedule to further refine her craft.

“One thing I would like to do is have a little bit more fun with performance to just play and explore that creativity.”

 


 

Keeping Well


Starring on hit shows like Shortland Street and Outrageous Fortune, Kiwi actor Claire Chitham is one of New Zealand’s most recognisable entertainers. But behind the scenes, she was battling chronic intestinal disease, Crohn’s, and the pressure to live up to unrealistic beauty standards. After years dedicated to caring for her holistic health, she has teamed with up with health journalist Kylie Bailey to write Good for You, a book about gut and cellular health. She shares their tips for a healthy life with Metropol.

 

 

LEARN TO LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Start taking notice of how you feel every day. Write it down, keep a note on it. Do you get tired every afternoon? Do you sleep well or are you restless? Do you run out of energy every day? Are you often irritable? Are you often sad?
These things are all deeply affected by your health and they can be altered, improved and changed by making small adjustments in your life. I’ve changed so many old, unhealthy habits over the years, but done them all slowly, over time.
You have to make your own health a priority. You’d be amazed at how many people don’t. I want people to start taking action towards great health. To start feeling excited about taking their health into their own hands. It can be so rewarding, and it’s you who reaps the benefits.

FIND YOUR PERSON
I don’t mean a partner, I mean a trained therapist. Of any variety. A massage therapist, a naturopath, a counsellor, an acupuncturist, a trainer at the gym, a pilates teacher! Find a practitioner of health that you trust to help with your body or mind in some way. And try and go as regularly as you can.
When my life gets busy, I might go six months without seeing anyone and I’ve noticed that this is usually when my health starts to play up, or my moods are getting harder to shift. These people are external sources of help, health and healing that I believe are vital and invaluable.

MOVE YOUR BODY, PREFERABLY IN A WAY YOU LOVE
I’m not here to tell you which exercise is best for you, or which diet you should follow. I believe in learning about your own body closely enough that only you will know what’s best for you. But movement is vital. Find a way of moving that you love and you’ll do it more often. It won’t seem like a chore and there is joy attached to increasing your vitality.

EAT FOR YOUR METABOLIC TYPE
I don’t follow one particular dietary prescription…but I have learned to eat correctly for my body type.
We each metabolise food and energy at different rates, in different ways, no body is the same. There are loads of online tests you can take, I like www.pilates.co.nz’s quick questionnaire to determine whether you are a Protein Type, a Mixed Type or a Carbohydrate Type.
This isn’t a judgemental thing in any way, this is about how your body processes its fuel best. When you know what type you are, you can make food choices more aligned with your body.


 

Home for summer


Christchurch model Eleni Tsavousis has forged a formidable career in front of the camera. Home from New York for summer, Metropol catches up with the local beauty about a tumultuous year in the Big Apple – and what’s in store for the one to come.

 

Eleni is represented by Christchurch-based modelling agency Portfolio while she is in New Zealand.

 

Tell us a bit about your upbringing in Christchurch and how this led to your modelling career?
“I was born in Christchurch, but then spent my childhood years in Nassau in the Bahamas. At 13, we all moved back to NZ and I started to hear more about how my mum and aunt had worked in the industry, but I can’t say I ever thought about it as a career for me. When I was 15 I got approached a few times. I didn’t pursue either advance, but a year or so later a friend of my mum’s, Sharon Ng, asked me to do a shoot for her. I remember feeling super embarrassed, but also flattered to be considered for her beautiful work, so I said yes and we shared a lovely (freezing) winter’s day shooting in the Port Hills. After that I walked for her in a show and then started working more regularly. It’s been a pretty incredible ride and the industry has given me so much. I’ve been working for more than 15 years now and I am so grateful for the gift of being able to live and work around the world. It’s taken me to live in Australia, Hamburg, Berlin, London, South Africa, Los Angeles and New York. I get to meet new people in new places every day for work which I love. I’m truly so grateful for it and how it has shaped my life.”

2020, what a year. New York has been in the global spotlight for the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the city. What has it been like living amongst the chaos?
“What a year indeed. My partner and I were supposed to have our wedding in April and I had a flight booked home to Christchurch early March to finish my wedding dress with my mum. We ended up staying until July and when we got back to New York it was a ghost town. I walked around Manhattan a few times, which is usually a bustling hub of tourists and business and was shocked to find block after block of homeless encampments. It was a very sobering time.”

Not to mention the impact on the fashion industry. We’ve seen a widespread re-think of the notion of frequent seasonal fashion. What have your observations been about this, and how does it impact your work? What do you think we will see from the industry in 2021?
“In my time in the industry, I have become increasingly aware of its problems, and am very pleased to see companies trying to find solutions that are environmentally and socially conscious. But, I think we as consumers also have to take responsibility. We have power and a lot of choice about how we spend. So I really try to take the time to think twice before I buy. Buy less, buy local, up-cycle, recycle, shop at thrift stores, be the hand that forces change. Moving forward I think we are going to see a push for artisan craftsmanship, for localised production and for an understanding of who made what and where.”

But now you’re back in New Zealand (and Christchurch)! What did you get up to in your quarantine hotel – and how do you plan to spend the summer?
“Home sweet home! I am actually in quarantine as I write this! Shout out to The Sebel Hotel in Manakau! I have been so impressed by the effective and thoughtful way our government has been able to keep NZ safe and still welcome home so many returning New Zealanders. It has made me so proud and grateful to be a Kiwi.
On release, I plan to annoy my mum with as many DIY projects as I can get away with, continue my life long saga of trying to get my dad to teach me French, guilt my brother into taking annual leave to hang out with me, catch up with my wonderful whanau and friends and take my husband on his first Kiwi tramp! I smile just thinking about it.”

And what does 2021 have in store for you?
“2020 was definitely a lesson in impermanence and being flexible with what the world delivers to us. I feel so lucky we have come through unscathed relative to so many we know and many we don’t. Honestly, I don’t know what my future holds; for now I’m looking forward to having a few months at home with my family and working with amazing creative Kiwis!”

 

 


 

Dealing with stress and finding joy: Dr Libby Weaver


Dr Libby Weaver is an internationally acclaimed nutritional biochemist, author and speaker, and has just released wellness cards to educate and inspire. She chatted with Metropol about her secrets to de-stress, what brings her joy and a new way we can all make health a daily priority.

 

With the silly season fast approaching, do you get stressed?
“There are always going to be stressful situations in our lives that we can’t avoid. But a lot of the daily stress we experience comes from our perceptions and thoughts, so there is a lot of unnecessary suffering and it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve had a period in my life where I was a ‘Rushing Woman’ and that showed me that I had to make some changes – practically, but also exploring where I was creating stress for myself through perceptions of pressure and urgency. That’s where the gold really is.”


What do you do to relax?
“Having some time to myself early in the morning outside, watering trees and vegies, and watching the chickens, is a joy and brings me a sense of spaciousness, even if my day ahead is incredibly full. I also really love to watch the light changing in the sky. I made a decision a while back that I wanted to see more sunsets so even if my work day hasn’t ended by that time, I do my best to take a break to watch it.”


Why is prioritising health and wellness so important – and in particular this year?
“Collectively, I think there has been a realisation of just how important our health is, yet it’s so easy for self-care to sink to the bottom of the priority list, unless there is a health crisis. I think that for many who have slowed down this year, there’s also been a realisation that they don’t necessarily want to go back to how they were living previously.
“Ultimately, if we don’t prioritise our own health and wellbeing eventually it’s going to catch up with us and we won’t be able to contribute and care for others in the way we really want to. Taking great care of the immune system has become a focus this year, and how we eat, drink, move, think, breathe, believe and perceive really does matter—not just to immune system function but to every cell in the body.”


What can we all do to prioritise our health and wellbeing on a daily basis?
“Many people share with me that they struggle to consistently take great care of themselves so I wanted to do something different this year that would help. That’s why I created my new Wellness Cards – I wanted to offer a simple way for health to become a consistent priority in your day or week, even if you feel time-poor. The cards are divided across the three pillars that I focus on – biochemical, nutritional and emotional.”


 

The magic of Marlon


From home in the portside township of Lyttelton, music has taken alt-country troubadour Marlon Williams around the world, from The Yarra Hotel of inner-city Melbourne, to The Troubadour in Los Angeles.

It was the latter where Bradley Cooper spied his Kiwi-born and bred talents, seeking Marlon out to appear in his 2018 Academy award-winning film, A Star is Born.

There have been several film and television appearances since and more still to come out in the New Year. But it’s making music that still has his heart.

Marlon’s new album Plastic Bouquet hit the streets on December 11, his first new music since 2018’s award-winning Make Way For Love, made post breakup from Kiwi folk singer-songwriter Aldous Harding.

Collaboration – a strong theme of Marlon’s career – has once again proven a winning formula, this time with Canadian folk duo Kacy and Clayton’s musical talents providing the
cumulative glue, with the three musicians finding common ground between a lifelong shared passion for western country, folk and troubadour traditions.

It was driving through Europe with his band when he came across the duo’s ‘Springtime of the Year’. “It was an incredible vocal performance and song and it was just one of those musical moments when you get stopped in your tracks,” Marlon says.

“From there I very overzealously reached out to them and asked if we could make music together. Within a couple of days, we had decided to make an album.”

He hopped on a flight to Saskatoon for Christmas 2018 and together they wrote and recorded the bulk of what would become Plastic Bouquet over the course of just three weeks.

“This year being what it is, even February feels like a lifetime ago. So it’s been almost two years to the day. It doesn’t normally take that long, but in this case it has, so we’re super excited to get it out.”

Every December, Christchurch enjoys the start of summer as Saskatoon begins to freeze over. But despite hailing from opposite sides of the world, there was an immediate connection between the trio. “We found a dynamic that worked well, because we all love old Bob Dylan and Merle Haggard and have the same sense of humour,” Marlon says. “We’re kindred spirits.”
If there was a theme to the 11-track project, it was the dichotomy of familiarity and strangeness, he says.

“It’s the idea that we both come from the same place musically, but obviously culturally and geographically from somewhere very different, having faith that everything would blend together in a way that makes sense.”

Music has been something that has always made sense for Marlon, whose career has been a natural evolution. “I’m not a well organised person,” he laughs.

“I don’t plan a lot and I don’t think about the future that often, life just keeps rolling on and now this is what I do; I don’t do anything else.”

But he admits there came a time in his third year at university when, with a tour on the cards, he had to make a call between committing completely to music and finishing his degree – the only caveat from mum, visual artist Jenny Rendall, that he take it seriously and commit as much time to his musical pursuits as he had been committing to university.

This lack of planning ahead mirrors his approach to making music as well. “I don’t go into it consciously with intention, unless I’m collaborating, then it might be more systematic.”

Right now, he’s driven by the freedom to explore. “I’m most thankful for this time in my life, being where I’m at right now I’ve got time to figure things out, make mistakes, try and give things enough space to go somewhere new.

“Simply put, freedom of creativity.”

Marlon has been hunkered down in his homeland during the global pandemic, which thankfully fell outside a big tour cycle for the singer, who spends eight to nine months a year on the road. He’s spent the time writing, reading, working on a film soundtrack and learning te reo Māori, the latter for an album he’s working on that will be exclusively in the language.

But for now, he’s enjoying some down time in Diamond Harbour before his New Zealand tour kicks off in February, that will take him from Invercargill to Auckland. He’ll be performing locally at the James Hay Theatre from February 25 to 27.


 

Making moves


Brodie Kane has been a fixture on New Zealand television screens and radio waves for the past 13 years, earning her success and respect for being relatable, unfiltered and unashamedly herself. Metropol catches up with the much-loved local about losing her radio job just before a global pandemic, starting her own media business in the middle of one – and everything in between.

 

 

Losing a job can be one of life’s toughest challenges – let alone doing so in the public eye. But that’s exactly the position much-loved broadcaster Brodie Kane found herself in when The Hits’ Brodie and Fitzy was cancelled in February.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but it is the nature of the beast. I made the decision to work in the public eye and this comes with the territory.”

Brodie has taken her shock redundancy, like most things, in her stride.

“There’s no shame in being made redundant, I think a lot of people think you should be embarrassed or feel like you failed, but sometimes you’re just a cog in a wheel.”

Instead of ruminating, she took the opportunity to fast track a long-held career goal.

So, using her 13 years of experience at the country’s largest media outlets including TVNZ, NZME and Mediaworks, she launched Brodie Kane Media.

“I always wanted to try and create a business which is just me and focuses my skillset in other professions, not just traditional media.”

So far, she has worked with the likes of My Food Bag, Interislander, Heritage Hotels, and Duco Events.

“I still want to broadcast, it just looks a little different now.”

As well as her Kiwi Yarns podcast, Brodie also co-hosts The Girls Uninterrupted, with Gracie Taylor and Caitlin Marett.

The show has gained a strong following for its discussions on everything from pop culture and politics, to sex, relationships, navigating single life in your 30s, and mental health.

“Women have, for a long time, felt uncomfortable or uneasy to talk about certain things,” she says. “What we have found is, the more we have talked and jumped into difficult subjects, the more support and positive feedback we have received.”

A recent sold out tour in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch highlighted the importance of creating space for such conversations.

“We had women coming up to us saying we had changed their lives, that they finally left an abusive boyfriend or quit their job and gone back to uni.”

One area Brodie – a keen runner and endurance athlete – has been particularly outspoken on is body image and self-acceptance.

“Health, fitness, and body image – it is such a tricky one, and at the moment the term is ‘self-love’.

“I find self-love interesting; I think that every one should absolutely embrace and love and celebrate themselves and all that, but it is almost just repackaging the fact that women still have to always think about their bodies.”

She says the conversation is still dictating to women how they should operate their bodies, with the potential to introduce even more pressure or feelings of failure should they not love every part of themselves.

Instead, she wants women to focus on their bodies “for themselves, not for anyone else.”

Brodie has been candid about her own use of cosmetic injectables and is one of a growing number of public figures dismantling the stigma around such procedures.

“You can want to be better, you don’t have to beat yourself up. If it’s for you – fill your boots!”