Occupation: Creative Consultant/Editorial Director — Conde Nast // Vogue, New York & Asia Pacific.
Visa type: American citizen/Permanent Resident, Australia
Aussie Hometown: Sydney
U.S. Digs: New York
Describe your experience of working in the U.S.:
Over the years, I have made periodic visits to NYC with teams of Asian publishing editors/managing directors for training in the Conde Naste U.S. office.
What do you enjoy about working in the U.S.?
The U.S., especially New York, is about working. New York radiates an energy that makes anything seem possible. You can find the highest level of talent, the means to make something extraordinary happen, and surround yourself with people extremely confident in what they do and in their place in the world. The city is not for the weak or the meek.
What inspires your creativity?
People with vision and curiosity inspire me. My drive for excellence inspires me to delve into areas where I can meet people who are achievers. Inspiration doesn’t come from one source — it’s part of dreaming and then allowing oneself to explore ideas and form new horizons.
What is one quote that sticks with you?
This is something that someone sent me once and I will always remember.
From Henry Kissinger after his first visit to China:
“It is not often that one can recapture as an adult the quality that in one’s youth made time seem to stand still; that gave every event the mystery of novelty; that enabled each experience to be relished because of its singularity.
As we grow older, we comfort ourselves with the familiar for which we have developed rote responses. In the same measure, as the world becomes more routine time seems to speed up; life becomes a kaleidoscope of seemingly interchangeable experiences. Only some truly extraordinary event, both novel and moving, both unusual and overwhelming, restores the innocence of the years when each day was a precious adventure in defining the meaning of life.”
Do you have a mentor?
Verne Westerberg: 37 Year Veteran of Conde Nast USA, 3 year Managing Director Australian Conde Nast while I was Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Australia.
Where do you get your news?
The Australia, New York Times, and the Internet
Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were a kid?
Always knew I would be in fashion. There was never any question about that. My best skill was making all of my own clothes and working from an early age to buy my own special pieces.
Where would you like to be in five years?
Living in Amagansett on Long Island, NY, and working for the local animal rescue league.
What do you do when you are not working?
Walking my two Golden Retrievers on the beach or reading.
What four people would be at your ideal dinner party?
Three Americans – Verne Westerberg, Phil Cohen, Max Pinnell. Hypothetical – Bill Clinton.
What would you be eating?
- Menu: Glazed baked ham, sweet potatoes (with marshmallows!), cornbread, giant green salad, apple crumble.
- Wine: I drink anything except a heavy red. Any brand will do!
- Music: Something from Lincoln’s playlist.
What’s your best style advice?
I don’t need to give anyone styling tips. I only like to think of what Coco Chanel said: “If you look at a woman once, she is well dressed; if you look twice she is over dressed”. Oh, how true this is in our day and age!
What are your favourite stores in New York?
Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Ricky’s, Bed Bath and Beyond and Zara.
What’s your favourite bar and cocktail?
Lounge at the Mercer Hotel in NYC. Cocktail – dirty martini.
Nancy’s Sauce – A few fellow Swagmen
Phil Cohen – Business Entrepreneur: Phil embodies all the qualities that an extremely successful man should have. He is larger than life, an eccentric, plays as hard as he works and is generous to his large family and the entourage that comes along with them.
Melanie Baker – Public Relations: Melanie began her career in Sydney, and with an enormous amount of drive and passion went from being the PR in a Sydney hotel to an international hotel chain, and now owns her own public relations firm in New York, which concentrates on launching and promoting new hotels globally.
Baz Luhrman – Film Director: Newly based in New York, because he knows that’s where the opportunity lies for him and his wife, Catherine. Baz began his career in Australia, creating films with low budgets, but that gained him international notoriety. The next step is to move into another level, and that, basically, can only be done in the U.S.
Nancy’s Slice of Advice
Be as bold and confident as you can be and be ready for the competition because it is tough in the Big Apple. It used to be that you couldn’t get a visa unless you could prove you could do something better than any American could. Although it’s not the case for visas now, the premise still holds true. You have to up the ante to make a mark.
The positive is that there is a great posse of young Australians in New York now who have proven that it is possible to make your mark.