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. Wednesday, 5 December 2018 .

I've got to be honest with you - this post was actually going to be something different. I have it saved in my drafts and all, wrote around 500 words on it, have the photos loaded and everything. And then my granddad died. It felt like the whole post in itself became pointless to me. It was a whole lot of complaining about how I was feeling unmotivated and not like myself lately. It was a word vomit of how crappy I've been feeling since turning 27, how my world feels so upside down lately, and how exhausted I was. But then what's the point? I am here. I am alive. 

That's not to say all my problems have magically disappeared with this realisation. No, things are still in the spectrum of awful. It feels as though every aspect of my life is stressful - work has been so unbelievably exhausting and stressful even more so than usual, our dealings with ANZ Australia has been physically and emotionally stressful and frustrating (but more on this story to follow). All I ever seem to do now is go to work, come home and do more work while dealing with this ANZ situation. Somehow between that I've been managing to make dinner, shower, etc. You know those basic things humans do.... yeah. That. 

I am exhausted. I am feeling numb. I have reached my limit. Right now when something shit happens, I'm kinda just like.... yes. Hey look, here's another bad thing*. What's another bad thing on top of the other, eh? There's that. It's happening again. 

Needless to say, I am looking forward to having a break from everything. It really cannot come soon enough. 

But on to the good bits now. I've been going to a lot of media screenings to different films and I've been saying yes to ones that I wouldn't normally go for because I want to try new things. Last week I started and ended the week with movies. Monday night was a special screening of the new JLo film Second Act (it's got Milo Ventimiglia in it too and it's a good time) with Roadshow. I've got a special post around that coming up - a review, giveaway, and interview with one of the stars of the film! I'm so so excited to share that with you. Legit just waiting for the embargo to be lifted now so watch this spaceeee. 

Then Friday night was spent at the Paramount Pictures Christmas party and special screening of Instant Family. Ok but let's talk about this real quick - I felt so, utterly spoilt at this party! There was a Krispy Kreme donut wall (I ate like, 2, and then got a few more to bring inside the theatre for the movie), a photobooth with instant prints (because Instant Family = Instant Prints. I don't make the rules), a caricature artist who drew us on the spot (!!!!), all the canapes and drinks, plus your standard movie snacking like popcorn, drinks, and ice cream. I was stuffed. And then there was the movie. I wanted to see it again and was gutted it doesn't actually open until January 10 next year. More than a month away! How am I going to last that long?! All I can say is it was devastatingly beautiful, heartwarming, and is easily one of the best films I've seen this year. 

So ya know, it's not all doom and gloom here. I feel like I'm going through some very painful growing pains (yes, the redundancy of this statement does not escape me) and I'm barely surviving. But I'm here and I'm trying. She's exhausted but she's doing her best. 

This December I'm trying to enjoy the little things - especially those little things that make me forget everything even for just a little while. Whether that's a film, arranging flowers, listening to music with my eyes closed on the train... it's good for the soul. 

Sometimes all you need is a good escaping in your head. I started the month couped up in bed, binge-watching all episodes of Bodyguard. The rain was falling and all my windows were open. I stood in the balcony for ages and watched it all fall from the sky. It was lovely. On Sunday I ate ice cream for breakfast in bed. I had a slow morning, trying not to be on my laptop or phone, catching up on magazine articles. The ultimate Sunday morning activity, to be honest. A few weeks ago Ben and Jerry's sent me a few of their new non-dairy flavours to try and let me tell you now that they are amazing. I don't even like coconut in ice cream but I enjoyed the coconut seven layer flavour! The real winner for me, though, is the peanut butter and cookies. Oh good lawdy. This is divine! Since trying it, I've probably gone out and bought a tub of it thrice already. Excessive, I know, but you'll understand once you've tried it. I actually prefer this now. It's not too sweet, the cookie bits are massive (I feel like an archaeologist digging up an ancient artefact when I uncover a big piece of cookie in my ice cream tbh), and non-dairy means it's tummy friendly. I get mine from the Ponsonby scoop shop and you can find out more here. Thank you Ben and Jerry's for bringing this into my life. You have single scoopedly handedly saved my sanity these past few weeks.

I want to put together some death resolutions. It's not as morbid as it sounds, I promise. You know that feeling you get when someone close to you dies and all of a sudden it's like a switch has been turned on? You are jolted awake, suddenly all too aware of our finiteness and how fragile life is. How life is happening now and the present is all we're ever promised so we must do it now. Don't wait. Don't wait. Don't wait. That's been echoing in my mind for these past few weeks. Don't wait. These resolutions will maybe be that - a list of things I will no longer be waiting for. Or maybe it will turn into something different. All I know is right now it feels like life is short and I want to live it fully. Maybe once my body catches up on sleep. But then would that be a form of waiting, thus going against everything I've just said? I don't even know. 

It's 12:08 am and I really should go to bed. I have to be up soon to do this all over again. I kind of don't want to. Good night. Don't wait. 

. Monday, 29 October 2018 .

"Massey and I are the only straight guys in the competition."

I believe those were one of the first sentences designer Matt Costello from Stelloco Clothing ever uttered to me the first time we met way back in September at TVNZ for the Project Runway New Zealand launch party.

 I laughed. And then we took this photo:

I was immediately drawn to their lack of pretentiousness. I sometimes feel that fashion events can have a certain vibe, and it's especially intimidating to go to these events alone. There's something about 'fashion' that some people interpret as being unapproachable. Even I felt a bit intimidated at the start of the night as I walked in alone, not really knowing anyone. But these guys - along with the other designers - made me feel so welcome. Matt was the chattier of the two and I could tell Massey was taking it all in. It was their big night, after all, and all eyes were on them.

We talked about how they were feeling ahead of the launch, got to know a bit about them and what made them tick, and of course we exchanged instahandles because who even has business cards these days?

Needless to say I was very curious to see what these guys are made of. I was rooting for them to succeed. I still am! There's something so fresh about their perspective and I think that's important in fashion. I especially loved Matt's top in his last challenge on the show and thought that he stayed true to who he is as a designer while also going with the brief. Aren't briefs meant to be interpreted after all?

I (and the rest of my lovely gang who commentates live with me on Monday nights) cheered loudly when Massey won the second challenge. I was proud of the way he dust himself off from the previous week and emerged victorious.

See what these guys have is something unique and so needed in the NZ fashion landscape right now so I'm really excited to see what the future holds for them.

To the straight guys of Project Runway New Zealand, thank you for shaking things up! I've loved hearing what you had to say through your garments. Monday nights are not the same!


How are you feeling right now?

I feel very humbled and honoured to be a part of the first season of Project Runway New Zealand, however I feel that the decision to send me home was the wrong one. Personally, I like to think my edgy forward thinking designing could of really been refreshing as a final collection on the show. The brief for this challenge was to not make it look like wearable art and felt the other bottom look was exactly that. But hey, win or learn!

What was the highlight of being on the show for you?

Getting to push my skill sets in a very intense environment. It has helped me realise my place in the fashion world and once again if you put your mind and heart into something you can achieve – but working in the team challenge was actually a highlight for me, because it’s the one that has defeated me, I want to learn from it and grow as a designer!

What garment would you have loved to create in this season?

I had some really awesome concepts in my mind to shock the public for the red-carpet challenge , and to find out that’s the following challenge I was pretty guttered.

Where to next? What have you got coming up?

I am now taking on the 2IC roll at the new barkers store in Nelson , this is really exciting time for me but also I am going to be driving my fashion line “Stelloco Clothing” to the top.

Where can we follow your work?

If you loved what I do and can see my passion – come join the culture and positive movement:

Instagram : stellococlothing

Facebook : Stelloco


How are you feeling now?

I'm gutted that I'm leaving but so proud of what I was able to accomplish and learn in this time.

What inspires you?

Action! I love watching action movies – adrenaline sports; anything that gets the heart pumping and questions ones ability.

Dream collaboration/dream person to design for/dress?

I have always fantasised about designing for the likes of Balenciaga or Yamamoto; they are the pinnacle for me. Despite having a rather polarised aesthetics, I feel they tie really well into my design style.

Advice for those wanting to pursue a career as a fashion designer?

Live, love and learn.

Where can we follow you and keep up with what's next?

Follow me on my Instagram @discipleofdiscipline. I'm working on two different collections at the moment as well as doing film projects in Christchurch – we’re helping develop and promote Christchurch City.

Project Runway New Zealand airs every Monday, 7:30 pm on TVNZ 2. Watch it On Demand here. Images by Tom Hollow.

. Wednesday, 17 October 2018 .

"Do we really need another remake of A Star Is Born?" I pondered hours before the New Zealand premiere held last Wednesday evening, a week before the film finally premieres in our side of the world. This is the fourth retelling of this tale so I was incredibly curious as to what made this so special that it had to be retold every few years. The original version first came our in 1937, then in 1954 with Judy Garland, and again in 1976 with Barbra Streisand.

What was it about this film, then? Are we really that lazy to come up with 'original' storylines and are we doomed to spend our days watching remake after remake in film and TV? Yeah, maybe. But do 'original' ideas even exist? Or do we just go down the same creative paths over and over again, offering a new perspective each time our stories are told?

Not that I'm complaining. I'm a sucker for these plotlines! Give me a story with fallen stars and undiscovered artists any day. I don't know why I like this so much. Is it because I'm fascinated by this glamorous world as an aspiring actress myself? Is it because I really like seeing two attractive, heterosexual, caucasians fall in love on screen? Again, I don't know.

All I know is that even though we've been down the same road before, I still found myself getting giddy at the inevitable meet cute between Bradley Cooper's "Jackson Maine" and Lady Gaga's "Ally". Maybe this is what makes this movie so magical - the fact that everytime this story is told, while the foundations and themes are the same, the story always ends up different. I had not seen any of the original versions but after doing a bit of research, I found out that none of them followed the exact same plotline. They didn't even all have the same character names!

This latest version is set in a contemporary world. Jackson Maine is a troubled musician, a true blue rockstar who ticks every single stereotype of the word. Ally is a struggling artist who has somewhat given up on her dreams of being a musician. By day she works in a restaurant (every artist can relate to this scenario of taking day jobs to pay the bills while we hustle to make it big), and at night she performs in drag bars. Jackson discovers Ally and as her star rises we see his decline.

I liked it but I expected more. The more I think about it, the more frustrated I am about how it all ended. The movie started off strong but the middle made me feel a bit restless. It's a long movie (2 hrs 15 min to be exact) and I felt that it was gratuitous to keep dwelling on Jack spiralling down. To me that wasn't the story. I would have loved to know more about Ally's life. Even though it's 2018 and more women are at the forefront of their own stories, I still feel like the film carried over its past patriarchal ideologies in this version. Ally's life seem to only center around a man, whether that's Jack or her father. Her career was only a second priority. And even though there were a few scenes with her and her friends, it still feels like those scenes were only focussed on Jack and not really on her.

I wanted her backstory. I wanted to get to know her as a person, her hopes and dreams deeper than what was explored. I wanted to know the family dynamics and her relationship with her dad. All throughout the film we only know her as "Ally" - no last name or even a clue to what it is. Then in the end she introduces herself as Ally Maine. She didn't even have her own identity beyond Jack.

I think not showing her full character development did this film a disservice, especially considering how it ended. I didn't feel as strong of an emotional connection as what I should have felt after that climax. The last 20 minutes is intense and while I'm a highly emotional person who cries over everything, I felt nothing once the credit rolled. Well, maybe not nothing because I'm not a heartless person, but I didn't feel what the movie was probably hoping it would make me feel towards the end. I couldn't help but think that it was a complete waste of a roller coaster and that the events that happened to get us to that ending was all for nothing.

I also think the contemporary setting could have been embedded more in the film, perhaps incorporating the modern way we consume 'celebrity' these days. Sure there were mentions of YouTube and algorithms in a heartwarming scene between Ally's dad and her friends, but where were the celebrity gossip blogs? The depiction of Instagram and it's relationship to the overall celebrity culture and identity? I think incorporating those would have really left a mark as a very 2018 thing to do so that when we watch it in the future before it gets remade again, we can feel nostalgic for 2018 and how the world was back in that era.

All this being said, though, I feel like I'm one of the only few people to share this opinion of liking the film but not really loving it as much as I thought I would. So far on social media all I see are people raving about it, talking about how it's the best movie of the year etc etc. To each their own, I guess. It IS a must-see though purely for the acting (Bradley and Gaga are sensational in this film, their chemistry so believable and genuine that I forgot she was the Lady Gaga for most of the film), the gorgeous cinematography, and Anthony Ramos' portrayal of Ally's loyal bestfriend Ramon.

Then there's the soundtrack. All original, mostly written and performed by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. The music feels organic to the film and I think if I had listened to the songs before I had seen it, I probably would have been more connected to the film. I'm planning to see the it again, this time more familiar with the songs. It might change my view of the film. The like might just turn into love. After all, if I've learnt anything from this movie, it's that a song can change someone's life and that music and love are two of the most powerful, magical forces in our human experience.

A Star Is Born opens in New Zealand on Thursday, 18 November. Watch the trailer here. This review originally appeared on