What do you called an unemployed Actor?

….still an actor

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Greetings! And welcome to my Monday evening post, fuelled by the realisation that we are now almost at the end of June. For the duration of this post, I will be portrayed by the fabulous Titus Andromedon, a fellow struggling actor who accurately represents where I am in life at the moment.

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Life as an actor can be a pretty big roller-coaster – one week you’re drowning in auditions, dashing from place to place and feeling like the whole world wants a piece of you and your big break is mere moments away, and the next you’re watching the dust bunnies roll through your voicemail as you wait for that call from your agent that never seems to arrive.

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And with the unique combination of unfailing confidence and endless self-doubt that only artists seemed to have mastered, the quiet periods can be hard.

If you’re the sort of person that still has bills to pay between gigs (ie. probably everyone- if this isn’t you, please let me know how you’re doing it), the lull probably also means that you’re working twice as much at your day job, which can be draining. Sometimes you get home after a full day, look at your optimistic ‘to-do’ list of self tapes, acting classes and unpaid work, and then accidentally end up four hours deep in YouTube documentaries on the minutiae of life as a Mennonite (or is that just me?)

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I mean, you’re past the age of 23, so it’s probably too late to make a serious go of it anyway. Maybe you should just spend the rest of the evening with some Korean fried chicken and the course prospectus of a grown-up degree in something practical. You’re fine with this change of path. Totally fine.

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But then you hear that Kathy Bates didn’t score her breakout role until the age of 43. And that usher from the cinema down the road just had a feature role in Alien: Covenant!

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Maybe you’re not a dried-up, shrivelled old hag after all! And while I might be past my prime Home & Away high-schooler age, I guess there’s still hope that I can replace Dame Judy in the Bond franchise.

So what do you call an unemployed actor? Maybe foolish, maybe unrealistic. But also driven, dedicated, and above all things – still an actor.

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What do you called an unemployed Actor?

Micro saving for micro-investing

What’s this- a second blog on Acorns? You betcha. And no, I’m not working with them- I’m just a little obsessed.

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I didn’t meant to write any more on the matter, but after my last post I was marveling at just how much money has accrued in my account through tiny top-ups. And then I got to thinking about how many equally tiny payments I make on a regular basis. You know the ones I mean- they’re the charges we tend to write off as the cost of convenience – $2 or $2.50 to the bank to draw money from an ATM is just a little sting when I get the money out, but that can easily add up to $200 across the course of the year. The same could be said for any time that I just grab a ‘quick bite’ because I wasn’t organised enough to bring something from home, or when I forget to pay a bill early and lose that discount.

While this could descend into another discussion on the Latte Factor, what it really reminded me of was this fantastic app that surfaced just before I left NZ (skip to about 50sec in for the real details).

 

The concept is beautiful to a compulsive saver. One big red button and the money you were going to spend on that avoidable little convenience vanishes from your account and pads out your savings instead. Isn’t that magical?

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It occurred to me that Acorns can serve the same voodoo hoodoo function. After all, most of these tiny expenses are ones that you’re already absorbing into your weekly budget, so if you’re not struggling financially you probably won’t even notice they’re missing (you do have a budget, don’t you?)

Decided to skip your afternoon coffee? Drop that $3.50 into your app instead. Walked the extra block to get to an ATM that doesn’t charge you withdraw fees? Squirrel that $2.50 away, baby.

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Now Acorns is my app of choice here (because as far as I’m aware, in Australia it’s the only choice) but the Red Button saving technique that I’ve definitely just invented can transfer to any of your savings efforts.

Operating in cash? Physically take that money out of your wallet and tuck it somewhere else. Make sure to keep it separate from your daily spending money, and transfer it out of your bag as soon as you can- As they say, out of sight, out of mind, and on your way to a million buckaroos!

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…I may have made up that last bit.

 


Thanks for reading! This post contains an affiliate link that rewards us both with $2.50 if you choose to sign up. Don’t forget to subscribe for updates, and if you want to see more of me, come say hello on my Instagram or Twitter, I would love to see you there!

Micro saving for micro-investing

Acorns goes Green!

Acorns has released their new socially responsible investment option, the Emerald Portfolio, huzzah!

I’ve been using Acorns since they announced Beta testing in Australia last year, and I don’t think I’ve shut up about them to friends and family since. For those not in the know, Acorns works by micro-investing your money in diversified ETF, rounding up every purchase to the nearest dollar and investing that change in your chosen portfolio.

And it is GREAT

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This is my portfolio at the moment:

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Not enough to retire on yet, but that +$152.81 is the amount of money I’ve amassed just from upward movement in my shares. Not a bad return for parting with a few pennies here & there, is it?

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This figure is also after withdrawing $600 to have a play around with BrickX – a new crowd-sourcing approach to property investment that sounded intriguing (BrickX isn’t exciting me so far but let me know if you would be interested in hearing more about it anyway!)

My one reservation with Acorns has always been that you have very little control over exactly what is sitting in your portfolio – you choose the level of risk you are happy to take and the algorithm takes it from there. Which is why when this email landed in my inbox on Thursday, I did the biggest happy dance I’ve done all week and rushed to change my portfolio over! As someone who’s trying to educate herself on living a sustainable life, knowing that I can work towards my financial goals and invest in line with my beliefs has made my obsession with Acorns even stronger.

If you live in Australia and want to give micro-investing a go, you can sign up with my referral code here (we’ll both get $2.50 in our Acorns account as well!) 

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Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe for updates, and if you want to see more of me, come say hello on my Instagram or Twitter, I would love to see you there!

 

Acorns goes Green!

Gratuitous Gratitude Time

I’ve been doing some writing recently for a great little startup that involved creating a series of emails to guide their customers through a very basic mindfulness practice. The most recent dispatch introduced the idea of gratitude and the importance of acknowledging the great things in life as you look back (or forward) over the day. It was only as I sat down to write this post that I realised that’s not something I’ve been practicing regularly in my own life! So here they are, the three things I’m grateful for today:

  1. That the $13 I have left in my wallet to last the weekend just means that I’m sticking to my budget and watching my savings grow
  2. That I can afford to rent my beautiful little apartment to share with my sassy little fluffball and no-one else (introverts unite!). It’s been 18 months now and I still get an overwhelming sense of peace every time I put my key in the front door.
  3. That I have a week in Tasmania coming up with a bunch of amazing girls! Two weeks to go until whiskey tours, endless cheese and late nights around a fire with the best company a gal could ask for.

You know what? It felt really great to write that list! I think it’s so easy to get swept up in what I still need to achieve, that it’s nice to sit back and look at what I’ve already got.

What are you grateful for this week? Let me know in the comments below!

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Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe for updates, and if you want to see more of me, come say hello on my Instagram or Twitter, I would love to see you there!

 

 

Gratuitous Gratitude Time

The danger of a single story

This post was inspired by a fantastic talk of the same name by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which I will embed below for your viewing pleasure.

The single story creates stereotypes,and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”

For a period of time a while back, I worked at a disruptive transport startup company that we will call…Youba. Brought on as a general hand around the office while they set up a local branch, I ended up staying for twelve months and watched the company grow from an incredibly hands-on approach to the more remote systems that one would expect from a technology company.

The thing is, during my time at…Youba…I accidentally ended up exposing myself to just one story, over and over again, and as Chimamanda says, it became my only story.

Let me explain.

As you may have noticed during your own experiences with this company, while drivers come from a range of ethnic backgrounds, the majority do seem to be what politicians would describe as ‘immigrants’. And most of them were lovely! Unfortunately they weren’t the drivers I got to hang out with. The majority of the drivers that came to spend time in our offices were the ones that had to be brought in to be ‘spoken to’. The ones that were brash, argumentative, frequently dismissive of me as a female, and occasionally very upsetting. The troublemakers. And these trouble makers were more often than not middle aged men with an ethnicity other than my own, who spoke English as a second language. Day in, day out, this was the story I was exposed to. It’s been years since I left that role, but I still struggle with the stereotype I built every time I interact (or even walk near) someone who matches the demographic of those drivers. It’s been ingrained and it is sometimes incredibly hard for me to put those thoughts aside and focus on the personality traits of the person actually in front of me.

But that’s a real-life series of interactions that led to my misleading impression of an entire group of people (and to be completely fair to myself, I had to deal with a -lot- of horrible people in that job). As Chimamamda points out, it’s the stories we are told that are much more instrumental in shaping our views of the world.

Like many people, I went to see Hidden Figures when it was in the cinemas (mostly because the costumes looked amazeballs. I was not disappointed). For those not in the know, Hidden Figures tells the stories of some of the ‘Coloured’ female mathematicians who helped to put man into space. It’s a great movie, I highly recommend.

But it wasn’t the way the women were treated in this movie that shook me, it was something much more subtle than that. As a couple kissed on the screen, it occurred to me that I had never seen a black couple kiss on film before.

Hand on heart, I have been racking my brains for the past few months, and I still haven’t come up with a single film I have watched where two lead characters of colour were allowed to express themselves in a romantic way. Please send me your examples so that I can track them down, please.

I know that as a white female, I enjoy a privilege. The stories I see told are my own. The histories I learn are those of my people (except for my Maori blood, but that’s a story for another time). I see my life reflected back at me in every medium I choose to consume. The only stories I have about people different from myself are those the media has chosen to present to me.

If we are what we eat, then we are also the information we digest. In the technologically driven age, that information is force fed to us – when was the last time you had to actively searched beyond your phone screen for your news?

The classic example is the Muslim terrorist. You may not be the sort of person who thinks that everyone who practices one of the largest religions in the world is a terrorist, but how many times has that image been presented to you as the truth?

There is an advertising rule of thumb that says that a products advertising has to reach a consumer at least seven times before it makes an impact on them. After that point, I guess the brand has managed to imprint on your brain, forever reminding you of hot, salty fries when you see the golden arches.  So if I can think of seven times I’ve been presented with a Muslim stereotype in the last week, what truth am I being convinced of?

When it seems that every force in the world wants us to barrel towards WWIII at the moment, how do we become the bigger person? How do we fight back against the single story?

As the old adage says- Our first thought is who we were conditioned to be, our first action is who we are.

Challenge yourself. Reach beyond what the popular culture is preparing for you. Read from authors of a different country, watch movies that weren’t specifically created for you.

Prior to meeting me, my other half discovered that he held a negative stereotype of Asian baristas (yes, he takes his coffee seriously). What did he do about it? He went out of his way to only drink coffee made by the many many wonderful (and some terrible) Asian baristas of our fair city  until he had taught his subconscious the lesson I think we all still need to learn- some people make fantastic coffee. Some people make terrible coffee. Race has nothing to do with it.

I refuse to let the media tell me what to think as the world seems to descend into chaos around me- because if we’re learned anything from pop culture, that is definitely how any apocalypse starts.

 

 

 

*If you find any of the terms I have used above to refer to people of various ethnicities offensive or derogatory, please enlighten me so that I can be sure to make appropriate corrections. Please also accept this clip from comedian Aziz Ansari, because I find him hilarious *

 


Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe for updates, and if you want to see more of me, come say hello on my Instagram or Twitter, I would love to see you there!

 

The danger of a single story