There’s inauthentic, there’s authentic and then there’s Sara McDonald.
Sara McDonald is the leader of a 22-piece orchestra named ‘The NYChillharmonic’ (pun intended) which has been touring all around NYC with its unique sound (jazz-inspired, but not really jazz). And whilst I have huge respect for everything that she’s achieved (and will achieve) as a musician, what strikes me most about Sara is how directly she speaks her mind.
And whilst that directness might scare some people away or have others frowning in disapproval, I can’t think of any personal quality that’s as undervalued as authenticity (particularly when it comes to young girls and women).
She’s also fierce, unflappable and has a biting quick-witted sense of humor. Better strap into your seats for this one.
In the first episode of the Genie Podcast, Adrian Kwan and Kirby Bridges tackle the large/juicy issue of BODY IMAGE. Specifically, why do so many women hate their body?
IN THIS EPISODE YOU'LL LEARN:
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
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The Next Taylor Swift:
An Interview with Casey McQuillen
Meet Casey McQuillen: American Idol contestant, singer, songwriter, anti-bullying advocate (30,000 students and counting) and self-proclaimed klutz/expert at embarrassing herself.
What’s most disarming and surprising (in a good way) is how honest and authentic Casey is. This is not someone who started an anti-bullying campaign because it was cool, this is someone who fell into it by happen-stance, found she loved it and had a passion for it and has a burning desire to not let children suffer.
And they’re lessons she learnt the hard way, growing up in school and being the victim of bullying herself.
This is one person whom I truly hope changes and reaches the entire world.
Million Dollar Lady:
An Interview with Melanie McDowall
Melanie McDowall says that the thing that turns her off most is ignorance.
She states that she was surrounded by it in many ways in her childhood, and though she found it incredibly frustrating, she eventually transformed it into what drives her today in her role as an online confidence coach for women.
She's also much more than that and works tirelessly with her Million Dollar Ladies to help them create breakthroughs in every area of their lives from mindset, to relationships and of course business success.
And as she states, you won't hear her giving the same tired out well-worn advice that most other people do. This is a lady that thinks big, dreams big and helps other women create lives on an outstanding scale, and that’s exactly why I had to interview her.
The Virtuoso Visionary: An interview with violinist Anna Murakawa
Anna Murakawa, like many of the women I interview, is a study in contradictions.
Brazilian passion with Japanese restraint? Check.
Super feminine and warm whilst achieving absolutely ridiculously huge goals? Yup.
And yet underneath it all, what’s most fascinating about Anna is her story and how she even came to be studying the violin in Sydney at the Conservatorium of Music.
So many things had to ‘fall in place’ for her to pick up the violin in the first place, let alone have travelled the world studying at some of the most prestigious places. But as we all know, there’s no such thing as ‘luck’.
Winners (and visionaries) make their own luck. They set a goal, they don’t know how they’re going to achieve it, they just know that it’s a must.
And that’s exactly what Anna Murakawa has done and will no doubt continue to do.
Panther Poised to Pounce
An interview with fashionista Lena Kasparian
In 2010, Lena Kasparian was forced to defend herself against an alcoholic partner, resulting in his tragic death.
Fast forward to now and she is poised to open her second bespoke fashion boutique in Rose Bay, set to join her flagship store Lena Kasparian Boutique in Parramatta. She has successfully moved past being a DV survivor to combining the roles of single mum, entrepreneur and fashionista... and is in the process bringing her passion to life.
Lena refers to the panther as her totem and her store as ’the Panther’s Den’ and, if the past is anything to go by, this is one panther that’s ready to pounce.
Empowerment Through Pole:
An Interview with Peta Howlett
Peta Howlett first started pole-dancing as a way of recovering from a bad relationship. She now owns two studios, is constantly in demand for both her pole-dancing knowledge and her fitness expertise and has helped hundreds of women find empowerment through the sport.
It’s a story of both personal and business success, as well as a reminder to never judge a book by its cover... and to never knock something until you’ve tried it.
Leading Generation Next:
An Interview with Alicia Van Schoonhoven
Alicia Van Schoonhoven: from hiding behind the legs of her mother to hosting the closing ceremony of a leadership symposium of over 700 delegates, Alicia is someone who has an absolute passion for helping influence the lives of others. Catch her interview here as she heads to Sydney to compete in the Finals of Miss Grand and Miss Supranational Australia!
Bollywood, Big Dreams & Aiming for the Top:
An Interview with Tammy Bartaia
Tammy Bartaia: international actress, presenter and model.
If you ever meet Tammy in person, you will likely be blown away by her energy, enthusiasm and spirit. She moved from her native Georgia to Australia to study at NIDA and now has her eyes set on making it big in Bollywood.
Catch Tammy in her film UnIndian... and right here!
• 1:03 Tammy’s movie ‘UnIndian’
• 3:00 Beginnings in Georgia
• 4:25 The importance of Tammy’s grandmother
• 6:03 Haters
• 6:59 Modelling
• 9:19 Tammy’s inner strength
• 10:40 Moving to Australia, NIDA and acting
• 13:36 Bollywood
• 18:39 How to get in touch with Tammy
• 19:29 Ten questions with Tammy
Soul, Survivor, Inner Beauty:
An Interview with Julijana Nikolis
Have you ever reflected on how small decisions you make can impact your life?
I was doing some research for interviews on Facebook one day. I happened upon the page for an activewear company. They happened to have a photo of Tasha Ross in one of their outfits. I then researched more into Tasha’s background before extending an interview invitation to her (not that I thought she’d say yes).
To my surprise she did say yes. During the interview she mentioned the high tea she was doing for charity. I’d never been to an event like that before, so decided to attend to show my support.
I turned up to the event and was directed to sit at a particular table. And at that table happened to be sitting one Julijana Nikolis.
As we got to talking, I knew I had to interview this young lady. Not because of her achievements (of which there are many – acting, modelling, pageantry to name a few), but because I realised how rare it was to meet someone so young who had so much poise, humility and self-awareness. In fact I was completely floored (and still am) that she was only sixteen years old.
Having worked with hundreds (if not thousands) of teenagers by now, I can tell you there aren’t many who’ve been able to turn such a challenging upbringing (shaped by domestic violence) into the passion, perseverance and determination that Julijana personifies.
Normally they’re just complaining about how they don’t have the latest iPhone.
And whilst Julijana is not ‘better’ than any other teenager or anyone else, the beliefs and values she has truly make her stand out.
So keep an eye out for her name. You’re sure to hear it in the years to come. :)
Tennis, Passion & Big Dreams:
An Interview with Kirby Bridges
Most of us have a passion in life. In fact I daresay that every boy and girl growing up would have at least one thing they’re passionate about; it’s only as we get older that some of us get a little jaded and forget what really gets us going.
Tennis is one such passion for me. I got to play it once a week when I was growing up with my Dad and his friends. I loved it so much I eventually became a tennis coach.
So it should come as no surprise that I leapt at a chance to interview Kirby Bridges.
Kirby caught the tennis bug early on and grew up playing, competing and coaching. She’s currently combining her love for tennis with her passion for broadcasting and helping people through her work at Essential Tennis, one of the biggest and most successful online tennis coaching sites in the world.
Most importantly, Kirby found a way to turn something she loved into a unique career path through vision, persistence and sheer hard work.
So if you’ve got a passion and you’re wondering whether you could turn it into a living, you’re going to want to tune in for this one.
Contacting Essential Tennis
From Journalist to Web Developer: the Best Year of My Life
An Interview with Amy Simmons
There are some qualities that are universally admired in people. Courage is one of them. Passion is another.
Amy Simmons has both those qualities.
She had the courage to leave a higher-paying position in journalism to pursue something she was passionate about.
I think there are a lot of people who don’t have the courage to follow their passion and I believe the world is a poorer place for it. Particularly in the modern world, finding your passion isn’t simply a trite-sounding option. It may very well be your only competitive edge.
We live in a truly global community where businesses can appear and disappear overnight. The same goes for careers and supposedly secure positions. In that sort of environment, it’s even more important that you be doing something you love.
So maybe you’re not in a position to leave your day job. Yet.
So start a blog. Or a Facebook group. Or just join in the conversation about something you’re passionate about, or meet up with a group of people who share the same passion as you.
You never know how much good could come from that one decision. Just ask Amy.
There's something unreal about meeting beauty pageant winners.
Of course there's the ethereal beauty, the constant smile, the impeccable sense of style and the well-spoken answers to just about every question you can think of.
Tasha Ross is all of that... and more.
I think what struck me most was just how down-to-earth she was despite all she's accomplished in her young career.
I have to say I was wary of interviewing models in the past. I had a stereotype in my head largely (but not wholly) due to society and mass media. I was particularly concerned as to whether they would have anything to say and whether they would be positive role-models for body image.
Having now interviewed Tasha Ross for this issue and Monique Shipp for our previous one, I can safely say that THAT stereotype has certainly been shattered for me to a large extent.
I think you can always find individuals who conform to and perpetuate the stereotype, but although I do believe that making generalisations can help us make faster decisions, the downside of that is we can also dismiss people without ever getting to really know them.
So whilst all stereotypes have some element of truth to them, make sure you're aware of their inherent limitations too.
Until next time,
I've never interviewed someone where I had to print out their bio/blurb because it was so LONG.
Well, I guess there's a first time for everything!
Life-coach, dancer, model, business owner, inventor... we covered everything from how Monique organises her day to her favourite swear word.
Check it out and enjoy! :)
• 0:00 Intro
• 1:30 How it all started
• 3:30 Sacrifice
• 6:39 Moving on to the next season
• 8:02 life coaching and its importance
• 9:10 volunteering with Lifeline (suicide prevention)
• 10:29 how to move on when it’s tough
• 12:30 Monique’s vision and goal-setting process
• 17:09 A life-coaching story
• 19:38 The fun Q&A!
You can reach Monique at her website:
Cassie White is a personal trainer, Strala yoga guide and a health journalist. She's also generally awesome and tells it as it is, what really works and what doesn't.
In this interview she tells us:
Plus we discuss her e-book (Get Your Swagger Back), find out just exactly what 'swagger' is and finish with a fun Q&A.
You can catch Cassie at her website:
In this interview, Vicky Chapman gives us the low-down on all things yoga including all the important things to look for when starting out your practice. Also we find out how she started down the yoga path and have a fun Q&A at the end!
Get in touch with Vicky at:
Learning to not only deal with adversity, but actually use it as a stepping stone for success, is a HUGE part of becoming successful at anything, whether it be your body, your finances, your career, your relationship or anything else.
Learn how Niro Thambipillay went from having $17 in his bank account and being hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, to becoming a successful author, speaker and businessman.
Laura Louise Persichetti is looking to capture 7 BILLION good deeds, one for every person on the planet.
Discover how a youth suicide prevention and awareness program transformed into a coast to coast trip across the USA in this fascinating interview.
Connect with Laura at:
An interview with Jenni Madison of Coconut Magic.
Discover everything there is to know about coconut oil, what it can do and how to pick a good quality product - even how it can help you BURN off unwanted fat!
You can connect with Jenni at:
In this interview, personal trainer Erin Goodare recounts her struggles with body image, weight gain and trying to find a quick fix. She now lives and works as a successful PT, motivating and helping women to become healthier, stronger and fitter.
Check Erin out at:
I interview Alex Ranieri from CrossFit Wellbeing to find out just what this CrossFit craze is all about. We also get some pointers on what to look out for when choosing a GOOD place to give CrossFit a go.
Connect with Alex at: