Herban Cura is a collective of healers and herbalists who equip city dwellers with the tools and knowledge to survive and thrive in New York City’s urban environment. By offering sliding scale pricing, hosting events across the five boroughs, and working with teachers who share knowledge from their own lineages, the collective ensure their work is inclusive, accessible, culturally sensitive, and not just for those who can afford a commodified “wellness” lifestyle. We spoke with Herban Cura founders Ana Ratner, a doula, sculptor, and herbalist, and Antonia Estela Pérez, an herbalist and environmental justice educator, about their mission, and small ways to connect to ourselves and our environment.

“Antonia and I met in the community garden of our college in upstate New York and immediately started talking about plants and healing. It was interesting to meet someone who not only also had plant-based healing in their ancestry, but wanted to make sure it didn’t get lost,” says Ana.

“We eventually started a club called Preservation Nation where we hosted workshops about fermenting and preserving food, and survival skills. After graduating neither of us were ready to live upstate full time, but bringing some of the completely new way of life we had learned back to the city felt like an important interchange. In cities it can be very difficult to access a healthy life, and wellness can become another source of anxiety.”

Connecting to nature in New York – a stronghold of capitalist consumption and concrete –  poses unique challenges.

“In New York, nature is understood as a space with a fence around it that you can go into and interact with if you want – even community gardens are cordoned off like this. There’s a whole feminist literature around how “Mother Nature” is feminised and understood as something that needs to be contained and controlled,” says Ana.

“I think we need to broaden our understanding of what nature is and is not. For example, a rat in the subway is nature but most people don’t think of it like that. If we see cities as separate from nature, then we build them to be waste producing, toxic environments. If we can shift to see them as part of nature, we can build them to be regenerative and part of the larger earth ecosystem. On a personal level, it can be easier to connect with a tree or an animal than it is to connect with yourself. Maybe the ultimate goal is to realise it’s all nature and connect back to yourself and be grounded....”

Human bodies respond to and mimic environmental patterns, even when they live in the city. While the idea of syncing your body to natural cycles might feel unattainable in an urban environment, Herban Cura believes that there is much work to be done around being aware of and mitigating how the city affects your internal health and wellbeing.

This can start with something as simple as a cup of tea or coffee:

Morning Tea recipe:

1tsp. Tulsi

1tsp. Nettle

1tsp. Oat straw

A few dry rose petals

A cup of boiling water

Tulsi is stimulating and brings healing to every system of your body.

Nettle is full of vitamins and minerals.

Oat straw soothes and calms restlessness in the body and mind.

Rose will open your heart while helping to maintain boundaries.

Mushroom Coffee Recipe:

After making your coffee, mix in a tsp of mushroom powder.

Use either, Reishi, Lion's Mane, Cordyceps or Turkey Tail, or any combination of these.

Add a healthy fat such as, ghee, grass-fed butter or heavy cream, organic coconut oil, or MCT oil.

Blend if you want a smooth consistency.

Reishi will make your immune system fall in love with you.

Lion’s Mane is the best thing for brain function and nerve regeneration.

Cordyceps helps with kidney disease, stress and depression.

Turkey Tail helps with autoimmune disease and virus prevention.

Sit with your cup of tea or coffee in the morning. It is best to do this before looking at your phone or any other screens. This can be for anywhere between five minutes and 45 minutes, depending on your morning. Try to make this a daily practice as a way to be grounded throughout your day.

Pour boiling water over your herbal tea mix, and try and use a favourite, beautiful mug. Sit as you watch the steam, breathing deeply as it flows up and into the air. Once the tea is cool enough to drink, take a slow breath in and out and have your first sip. Taste the flavour, move it around in your mouth, and notice how your muscles react to swallowing. Notice how it feels going down your throat and the warmth it bring into your stomach. Imagine the medicinal qualities being absorbed through your gut and into your organs and blood stream. Imagine the molecules going to a spot in you that needs healing.

Try and do this for each sip while breathing slowly in between. Focus on being in the moment and what sensations you are noticing. Be kind to yourself if your mind starts to wander, or if you feel the need to move or drink quickly. Bring awareness to whatever happens, especially to judgement, anxiety and other small demons: they need morning coziness more than you do.  

An exercise for meeting your non-human neighbours:

Find the plants that are growing through the cracks. When we begin to recognize the plants that grow around us we become cognizant that we are not the only living forms in the environment. The plants that tend to grow through the cracks are medicinal herbs that can help support our liver, digestion, nervous system, reproductive health, and more. While we might not harvest these exact plants, by creeping through they are letting us know that they can grow here! When we see them, hopefully it will inspire us to start a small garden in our neighbourhood or start caretaking a green space near us, where these plants can thrive.


Go find a plant in your neighbourhood (it is okay if you do not know what it is). Bring a pencil and paper.

Sit with this plant for at least five minutes, and observe as much as you can from all angles. Introduce yourself to the plant, and in your way begin to communicate with them. Take a moment to draw this plant, and once you have finished write down any questions you have about them.

Once you get home you can use a plant guide or the internet to find out what the name of the plant is, although that is not the most essential thing. The time you just spent with the plant is the beginning of your relationship with them.

We opened a SISTER store!

Following the love everyone has shown for our pop up stores we have opened our doors permanently to the sun dappled streets of Fitzroy North.We've created a romantic atmosphere for the Sister lovers, we are so thrilled to be IRL!

We will be stocking current season, classics collection and small runs of garments surrounded by a rotating ensemble of sculptural objects. 

Please come by and visit

105 Scotchmer St, Fitzroy North, 3068

Shahana Hanif interview with Tara Kenny

Shahana Hanif is a Brooklyn born and raised Bangladeshi Muslim activist, writer and community organizer focused on disability justice and diaspora feminism. Shahana currently works for local council member Brad Lander, uses her online presence to reshape our understanding of chronic illness, and champions women’s rights in her local community, having previously focused on housing justice for Asian communities. 

Hi Shahana! You’ve written extensively about living with the autoimmune disease lupus, on your blog and elsewhere. Can you talk about how receiving that diagnosis as a young woman shaped you?

It definitely propelled me into more self and community reflection.

I grew up in Kensington, Brooklyn right near Little Pakistan and Little Bangladesh, which are Muslim majority. I grew up learning Arabic and reading the Quran in the local mosques, and that was where I first saw disparities around gender. I saw how men and women are separated and how men get to belong to the mosque as a second home. It was not in my understanding whether this was cultural or religious, I just observed everything.

And then at 17, I got lupus. I’d been normalizing all these separate symptoms over the summer until I ended up in the emergency room. There was no culture of going to see doctors in my family or community, and we didn’t have health insurance. I was told I had to stay in an intensive care unit.

That would have been terrifying, especially as a teenager.

I was bedridden, in a medical institution that I had no idea about. I had no reference point for being hospitalised, and didn’t know any women from my community who were sick. As I stayed there I started to really interrogate where the stories of illness had gone.

I was also seeing a team of specialists and had people coming in and out of the room constantly. I started thinking about consent in a very different way. Because it’s a medical space there’s inherent consent, which means all these doctors touch you because they need to see you, but they never ask.

On top of that I was dating someone at the time and started thinking about desire, and how we care for sick individuals. A lot was on my mind!

And you had the time to think about it all...

Exactly. Once I left the hospital and was allowed to go home, I looked totally different and had very limited mobility. I couldn’t shower or go up the stairs alone and had to depend on walking aids, sometimes a cane or crutches, and my mum. I was homeschooled and barred inside, and my home became a nightmare for me. I was in pain and tired all the time, and didn’t feel courageous enough to go out in public.

 A lot of teenagers are insecure as a baseline, so for your body to change and become unrecognisable on top of that would be a lot.

Agreed. I have two sisters and seeing them get to live their lives was hard.

I had several options. I could continue to mope in misery, which I did for a very long time. Or I could shift the way I think about access and privilege and inequity, and pick up. In a way, I had this newfound clarity and just felt so lucky to be alive, which really drove me.

I’ve never felt “normal” since then: lupus is a part of my everyday life. Ten years later, I’ve learned to love and get care for myself. The first few years were tough because I needed regular check ups, blood transfusions, and dose adjustments, and had to have both hips replaced and partial knee surgery. I had to really rely on this capitalist idea of wellness from pharmacies who are banking on different medications.

We look at health and wellness like this: if you are well you are perfect and able bodied, if you’re not, something is wrong with you.

Was it difficult to negotiate all of that without initially having health insurance?

Because I was a pediatric patient I was able to get on Medicaid.

For chronically ill adults, workplace health insurance is difficult. I used to work at a social justice nonprofit where I had to pay $60 for every specialist I visited, which is a lot when you’re chronically ill and earning less than $35,000. Advocacy is important for these issues. The bulk of workers don’t experience chronic illness, but we don’t have preparation or protocol for when it does happen.

I use the hashtag #thesickwait to chronicle how I experience the healthcare system as a chronically ill person, even when I’m in remission or when people can’t tell I’m ill by looking at me.

Can we talk about how being visibly or invisibly ill changes how you experience the world?

We live in a very ableist society. There are standards of beauty around how normal a person looks. Because of chemotherapy I lost all my hair, and because of certain medications my body completely changed. I was 60 pounds (27 kilos) heavier than I am now. For women –especially brown and black women – who are fat, have pockets of fat in undesirable places, or don’t have hair, there’s this whole realm of not being desirable. Not being looked at as beautiful or in line with normative standards of beauty and femininity.

People saw me and read me as sick, whereas now I’m experienced as able bodied.

Your pain is no longer visible.

Now even if I’m experiencing fatigue or aches, people think it’s like what everyone has, not because of lupus. Even people who know I have lupus experience my life differently because I’m high functioning and produce literature on this stuff. Of course I have very empathetic and compassionate family and friends.

I have negotiated with my workplace to work from home sometimes, whereas initially my old work was worried about knowing I was working if I wasn’t in the office. We really think about productivity in a very rigid way that discriminates against chronically ill people.

Are there specific things about disability and chronic illness that you feel are poorly understood in society?

One of the truths of life is that we all get sick at some point – even if it’s just the flu – so there is capacity to understand. The trajectory of illness mostly takes place as people are getting older, so I know eventually people will understand what I’m going through.

For me it’s really important to write and shed light about not just experiencing lupus in my body, but experiencing it in school, in college, at work, in medical institutions, and when I’m travelling.

Ten years ago I would never have thought I’d be independently vacationing, but I recently went to Arizona. It was amazing. Growing up in Brooklyn nature is adjacent to apartment buildings, but Arizona was lush. It’s a desert, but things are still flourishing even when they’re not well fed or watered. I saw that as a metaphor for my life! I wasn’t watered the first few years, but I was still growing and learning.

Yes, you are a survivor!

So yeah, when I realised that I passed as “fine” it became important for me to not only be happy about that, but also realise that lots of people are chronically ill but not visibly so.

Is it a relief to navigate the world more anonymously again?

Yes, but I still experience harassment as a brown and Muslim woman. From everyday street harassment, to patriarchy in the Muslim Bangladeshi community, to Islamophobia that impacts my community. So my physical movement is easier, but there are other intersections to navigate.

I’m interested in your experiences as a Muslim woman in New York and whether you think awareness around Islam is changing? I’m thinking about women wearing hijab in Nike campaigns, for example.

Of course I think it’s brilliant to show athletes and fashion spreads with or without hijabs, but despite our rich history Muslims have always been this anomaly in America. It’s sad that we have to celebrate the latest fashion spread to suddenly act like a Muslim woman is achieving something, when we’ve always been here achieving and community building.

You briefly touched on how immersed you are in your Bangladeshi Muslim community in Kensington. I like how you both champion and critique your community and have chosen to reshape it, whereas a lot of young people who grow up in tight communities leave them behind. Can you speak to that?

There’s a lot of intention in looking at the place I was raised and the changes I want to see. There are so many other young women who are staying in the neighbourhood and bringing in new values too.

The other night we held our third annual community Iftar in our local plaza. The first two years there was lower turn out and mostly men, but this year there were so many young girls and women, including five or six of us who read poetry. There was a moment when this neighbourhood aunty who was headed to go pray at the mosque saw me and crossed the street to say hello. She didn’t realise that I was about to read my poetry and perform, so she started talking to me and we hugged.

It was such a beautiful moment for me, realising how much the women in my community value my presence. It didn’t happen overnight, it came from speaking to lots of women and being committed to realising our work. Equity in my community isn’t just something that I want. I live for those moments.

You also recently spent time in Bangladesh. What were you doing there?

When my last living grandparent passed away, I realised how little I knew about my ancestry. My dad has been here since the 1980s, and my family’s life has always been the Bangladeshi Muslim life in Brooklyn. I knew I wanted to continue to support the local community in Brooklyn, so I decided to go there to learn to read and write Bangla. I could already speak it fluently, but I wanted to be able to write my own social justice materials.

I spent seven months connecting with feminists in different sectors, from garment workers, to union staff and educators. Americans hold this idea that developing or “third world” countries aren’t capable of feminist movements, so I wanted to learn the feminist history of Bangladesh and immerse myself.

There’s a rich contemporary movement, except it’s complicated by a surge in political extremism which is complicating things for women, sex workers, and the trans and queer community. In my eyes, they’re just getting more creative and working collaboratively.

That’s so great. I have one more question, which relates to your work in housing justice, which obviously has a lot to do with gentrification.

 I’ve recently moved to New York and have been grappling with my position as a contributor to gentrification. I chose to live in Park Slope partly because it’s already heavily gentrified, so there’s less risk of directly pushing a black or immigrant family out of their home. So many people from all over the world move to New York, but do you think you can ethically exist as an outsider?

People come into neighbourhoods without knowing the makeup of that neighbourhood. You need to know what you’re getting into and really invest in living in a space that is not yours yet. You have to understand the socioeconomic context and your place in the neighborhood.

If you’re frequenting community board meetings, side with black and brown communities. Don’t move into longstanding black communities and call the cops as your first protocal. Complain when you see a landlord being predatory to low income tenants.

There have been places, like Williamsburg, where new businesses open up that are not accessible to the people who have lived there for decades. These businesses need to think about who they are serving.

There can be positive things that come with gentrification, like better parks and public spaces. The treacherous part is when landlords use it an opportunity to evict tenants and invite in the new people who can pay more. Gentrification means that landlords stop doing repairs, stop responding to people’s calls, and push people out by making their homes unlivable. They will refuse to treat bed bug issues or demand lump sums of money from immigrants who have a language barrier. When tenants are undocumented and they lose their homes they end up getting deported.

I don’t have a solution. It’s so complex. It’ll never be an easy answer, but there are ways to be ethical. It’s not that nobody wants outsiders to come into New York, people just need to be critical of how they live here.


From Melbourne to New York and Back Again

Mia Abrahams moved to New York in the spring of 2015, and returned to Melbourne just as Tara Kenny was arriving in Manhattan in the winter of 2018. After hitting it off over a night of cocktails and a gay cabaret show during Mia’s last stretch in the Big Apple, they decided to keep the flame alive by sharing their many emotions about building new new and new old lives as email pen pals.

On Sat, May 26, 2018 at 10.05 PM, Tara Kenny wrote:

Hey Mia,

So I got to New York towards the end of November 2017, tragically not long before you moved back to Melbourne. The first days (or weeks tbh) were kind of physically and emotionally punishing for me. Right before arriving I had been in tropical purgatory in Sri Lanka waiting for my visa to come through, enjoying the time with my extended fam but very thirsty for youth contact and excited to start a shiny New York life.

I arrived just before Thanksgiving weekend and pretty much immediately just felt so cold, alone, and purposeless. I wasn’t working for the first couple of weeks and spent a lot of time running around the fucking freezing streets trying to find a workable wardrobe and wondering what I had gotten myself into. Obviously it wasn’t a surprise to not know many people here, but for some I didn’t really think about that too much before arriving and finding myself alone a lot of the time. I think I was expecting that I would just slide seamlessly into my boyfriend Sam’s social life before I built my own world, but in the beginning he was super busy and working really late all the time.

I’d been to New York before, and once for three months, but New York in winter is a whole other thing. I really couldn’t recognise it as the city I had previously fallen in love with. After being in the tropics for three months it just felt like a harsh, grey, capitalist hell (lol). I think it was extra hard arriving in winter not knowing people because everyone’s hibernating with their established friends and I was like, “Who the fuck’s couch am I meant to be watching movies on?” I remember getting a drink with you and being so grateful for the human contact!

Lol, reading over this I sound like a TRUE sad sack, but it was hard so I stand by my despair for the most part. What about you, how were you feeling a couple of months out from leaving New York?




On Mon, May 28, 2018 at 5.54 PM, Mia Abrahams wrote:

Hi hiiii,

Oh yes, winter is *not* the city's easiest time. November & December are okay because it's so festive and Christmassy — my first Christmas I even made my housemate come with me to buy a Christmas tree even though I'm 110% Jewish and have never celebrated Christmas before lol. She was like 'I can't believe you're making me help you drag a tree up our five floor walkup'. I just got so swept up in the season. 

Then the holidays are over, and it's just cold and dark for so long. And it's quite a physical experience that I think coming from Melbourne I was really unfamiliar with. You're constantly doing the dance of wearing too many clothes or not enough, and trying to remember where you put your gloves and scarves and hat. Also ice and snow are hard to walk in! Trying to navigate subway stairs wearing all the clothes you own and not slipping and breaking a wrist while running for the train... every day is a battle. So I feel you.

Anyway, I was having a tough time the last couple of months I was in New York (actually that night we met for a drink I remember I had been crying on the way there and I was like – I hope Tara doesn't think I'm a crazy person for this dramatic tear stained ~lewk~).  I was in between apartments, actually living at my cousins’ place on the Upper West Side. I was sleeping in my cousin's bunk bed while she was at college and eating breakfast with a family and cute puppy every morning then leaving this lovely doorman apartment on Nora Ephron tree-lined street and going back downtown into my shit show of a life.

I think loneliness in New York is an interesting thing because obviously, you're constantly surrounded by people. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you are having meaningful interactions, or connecting with people outside the barista or the deli guy. And there's really no substitute for friends! And it takes time. I think the thing I underestimated about making new friends as an adult person (outside the structure of college/school/work) is that you have to ask someone to hang out then ask them to hang out again then hang out again and so on. And that was definitely a new thing for me, coming from Melbourne where friends just kind of happen by osmosis.

One of the things that became quickly apparent to me about settling in New York is that you need to establish your own world – whether that's a physical space or a person or people — so you can anchor yourself to something.

I'm curious, has NY started to fulfil your expectations? Or is it becoming a different city than what you imagined it would be? What was your first "oh wow this is so New York moment"? What else has surprised you about the city?




On Mon, May 30, 2018 at 9.31 AM, Tara Kenny wrote:

Hey :)

Firstly, your tear stained look was definitely relatable content! Praise be, things have definitely picked up for me since those early (literally and metaphorically) dark days.

I think you’re totally right about the need to create your own world, and seeing that come together has been one of the most rewarding things about New York for me. I’ve been working mainly remotely for the last six months – from co-working spaces but not on projects with people in my physical space – which was quite isolating at times. Luckily a couple of months ago I joined The Wing, a women’s only co-working space, and it has really revolutionised my social and work life. Being new to the city and finding myself in a lot of unfamiliar spaces has really made me reflect on what makes a truly safe and welcoming community space, as opposed to one that just brands itself as such.

I’ve also been able to do some amazing courses and pursue friendships through side projects and shared interests: writing for a South Asian diaspora publication called Kajal which is based here, volunteering at collectively owned bookstore Bluestockings, and taking a short course designed to help you access your subconscious mind at the New School. Literally everything for everyone exists in New York, so once you find your groove it’s pretty intoxicating, as you know.

I’ve also had to become really proactive about making friends, because there is literally no other option. In the beginning I had a couple of really nice chance encounters but failed to close the deal (lol) and then regretted it afterwards. So I’ve become a lot more upfront about exchanging contact details with people I vibe, and through that process have realised that a lot of people also haven’t been here for that long and are down to connect. At the same time, I’m also getting a lot more comfortable with not having the same depth and width of relationships I have in Melbourne, having only been here for a hot minute.

Most of my friends in Melbourne are from a fairly homogenous socioeconomic, cultural, racial, and everything else background, so the sheer diversity of people I encounter here is one of the most enriching things. Another thing that really impresses me about America is the nuance of the cultural conversations that take place. I mean, diversity in Australian media pretty much doesn’t exist, where as here you have Cardi B, a pregnant black lady from the Bronx, leading popular culture. Not that there’s not huge social discord and inequality, but I think that representation and idolisation of black culture is important, and something that Australians are evidently not yet capable of with our minorities.

As for New York moments I sat behind Ed Sheeran at Miss Lily’s, if that counts?

I’m interested in your reflections on Australian culture with (three?) years of distance, and how you’ve generally found that transition… Are you making a new Melbourne life or sliding back into your old one? How are you adjusting to the pace, the socialising, the physical space?

Tara xxxx



On Mon, June 10, 2018 at 8.55 PM, Mia Abrahams wrote:

Hi hello! So sorry for my tardy response!!

Ed Sheeran at Miss Lily's is a MOOD. I saw Jake Gyllenhaal at Kikis one time and I nearly melted into my taramasalata.

I'll dive right in. I totally hear you on the nuance of cultural conversations that exist in New York (and maybe more broadly in America?). I wonder if that also has to do with making friends or being around people, like you said, that aren't from the same background — which is so different from life in the Melbourne bubble.

I'm not sure whether people are more comfortable talking about things like race or there's just more vocabulary for it in New York. And perhaps Americans would disagree with this anyway, in a time when their country is so divided over these issues — I acknowledge the NYC bubble is real, too.

I think it's a really interesting point you make about ~our lord and saviour~ Cardi B and media representation in Australia vs the US. What do you think is stopping Australian media from celebrating our own Cardi B or Ava Duvernay or Atlanta or Insecure... because obviously we have talented women and people of colour making art... I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on this because I think it's something I've been rolling around in my brain since I've been home.

I think even the way we've dealt with visiting overseas artists/authors of colour (the Roxane Gay/Mama Mia fiasco comes to mind) is maybe an interesting indicator of where we're at with this stuff.

Having said all that, I think I have noticed a shift since I've been gone from Australia, and either these kinds of conversations are happening more here now, or I'm just paying more attention to them — most likely a bit of both. So that's a positive. Going to the Solange concert in Sydney recently was an interesting experience actually, and I was happy to see a pretty young diverse crowd there. And I was also glad The Guardian chose Nayuka Gorrie to write their review!

In terms of my reflections on Australian culture — and lol talking about "Australian Culture" reminds me of that meme that's like, "think white people don't have any culture, um try again sweetie" — I think I'm still figuring it out.

The first couple of weeks everything felt very bright and light and like fresh after the grime of New York. My parents live in Richmond and everyone's ponytails looked particularly bouncy and butts were firm and the flowers in the florist were highly saturated and it just felt like — wow it's NICE HERE. Even now I live in Carlton, it's very niiiiiiiice but so quiet compared to the constant noise and energy of New York that I found mostly invigorating and sometimes tiring.

I was just listening to Nights (Frank Ocean) and it took me right back to when I first heard the album Blonde — walking out of my old apartment on Avenue A and really. listening. to. the. music. and. feeling. the. feelings. I think all my experiences with music, books, movies — whatever — were really intensified by the background of the city around me.

I feel like New York is a city that’s made for artists, in that it’s so inspiring, energetic, and full of creative people (even though obviously it’s now so hard for artists to live there bc gentrification and it’s so damn expensive). How have you felt writing in New York compared to writing in Australia, or consuming art in general?

Sorry if that was so many thoughts in too many directions.

xxx Mia



On Mon, June 11, 2018 at 11.48 AM, Tara Kenny wrote:


No worries re the delayed response, I’m in Barbados renewing my visa with a lot of time on my hands so I’m going to eagerly respond right now.

I think it’s fair to say that Melbourne is multicultural, mainly in specific enclaves, whereas in New York over 50% of people are black or hispanic plus there’s all the other really visible religious and immigrant communities. So that’s just a level of diversity I’ve never existed within before. I think being around people from all walks really breeds self acceptance which has been another positive side effect.

Here I have more direct interaction with people who have totally different life experiences to me, whereas in Australia accepting intense differences was often abstract. Of course people shouldn’t have to be best friends with a Muslim person or a trans person to accept their experience as valid, but I think there’s a whole other level of understanding when you can talk directly to people about what it was like growing up in a post-911 America, or taking hormones as a teenager to transition. Obviously these communities also exist within Australia and around the world, but for whatever reason I have greater exposure to more here.

I think the dominant (ie white) culture of Australia has a really unfortunate habit of erasing or expecting everything else to just fall into line with its practices, which may be one reason that the mainstream cultural conversation around race is still at the first stage of the expanding brain meme. Our whitewashed media is just another manifestation of that. Benjamin Law’s The Family Law, which came out in 2016, was the first Australian show with a cast of Asian main characters despite the fact that there’s been significant waves of Asian migration for decades. It’s a joke, but thankfully things are marginally improving.

In the United States it’s pretty phenomenal to witness how black culture leads popular culture. That doesn’t mean that it actually results in real improvements for the black community, but at least you have pop culture figures shining a light on inequality really prominently. Donald Glover was recently quoted in the New Yorker saying, "Rap is ‘I don’t care what you think in society, wagging your finger at me for calling women “bitches”—when, for you to have two cars, I have to live in the projects.’” I feel like in Australia when media personalities speak out really frankly they get thrown under the bus, a la Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

As for consuming art in New York, I certainly feel incredibly enriched by the access to amazing big and small fry art and culture spaces. In terms of New York as a city for artists, I think most of the creatives I meet here are absolute hustlers who are chasing commercial success rather than the kind of “artistic lifestyle” that I associate with New York back in the day, which is for sure a lot about gentrification. I’ve had to really examine my place here as an outsider who is inevitably contributing to the city’s gentrification. That’s part of the reason why I chose to live in Park Slope (which I love) but is basically a bougie mecca for young couples with babies and appears to have heavily gentrified decades ago. I would love to live somewhere like Harlem or Bed Stuy, but quite frankly I don’t think I have any business living there and pushing an immigrant family out of their home so I can have my “authentic” New York experience.

Overall this whole experience has been an incredible lesson in learning, unlearning, and discomfort, and one that I’m so grateful for. To sum up, do you feel like you have clear takeaways from your time in New York? Are you more grateful for how NICE and cushy Australian life is? More eager to continue to challenge yourself now that you’re back in Melbourne?




On Mon, June 13, 2018 at 1.27 PM, Mia Abrahams wrote:

Clear takeaways! Ahh! I thought this might be the “year of realising things” a la Miss Kylie Jenner, but surprise suprise, it hasn’t been.

I guess it’s been strange to come home to a place that is so much my *home*— because I was born here, my family live here, my friends (who I adore) live here, but I also still feel like a stranger in many ways. I’ve read a bunch of articles about “reverse culture shock” (mainly written by stressed out post French exchange students lol) so I guess I’m not alone…

And I hate being the person talking about New York all the time (she says, 3000 words into an extended email exchange about New York — at least she’s self aware lol!) because I feel like I can’t think about anything else and I’m so conscious of people getting sick of me, but, I’m still so homesick. I miss my New York friends. I miss the feeling of opening my apartment door and stepping onto the street and being immediately part of something. Time has helped, for sure, but the first month or two or three homesickness was like a hangover pulsing at the back of my eyes.

I am grateful though, of course. I’m grateful for my friends, and my sister and family, and Edinburgh Gardens and the ocean and health care. But I like what you said about learning and unlearning. I think that moving myself totally out of my comfort zone from Melbourne to New York and then moving myself out of my little world in New York to come home to Melbourne again has really just been a lesson in learning and unlearning. Learning about myself as a person, learning about the world around me and the world that’s not around me, what I take for granted and what I need to do more work on. I’m absolutely not the person I was when I got on the plane three and a half years ago. So maybe I am realising things after all!



Tara Kenny currently works in advocacy for incarcerated youth in New York City, writes for South Asian diaspora publication Kajal Mag, and hosts a woo-woo positive podcast called Mystical Sweeties. Her New York life is a work in progress.

Mia Abrahams is a writer, editor, and the co-founder of e-newsletter for Australian women ToHerDoor.com.au. She lives in Melbourne (for now)


Emma made our third glorious mix for Hope st radio last week. Hope st radio is a community radio project broadcasting from Lazer Pig in Collingwood. The station has a live broadcast on Mondays which can be streamed all day long on their website.   Listen to Emma's new alt mix here. You can also listen back to her previous hip hop mix here.  Thanks for having us Hope st :---)

My Aachi Amma’s Easy Beetroot Curry Recipe

Words and Photos by Tara Kenny

Ayubowan culinary cuties! I need to preface this recipe with a warning that self respecting Lankans would never make just one curry at a time. If you want to eat like a true aunty from the island, you must be prepared to rise at dawn to prep your five to ten curries plus sambol for the day ahead (and you must also like coconut in all forms). For now, give this easy beetroot curry a go, delicious with just a super easy pol (coconut) sambol and some form of carbohydrate (another non-negotiable Lankan staple). Just don’t say it tastes like Indian food!



Two large beetroots

One small red onion, or half a big one

One cup coconut milk

Two small green chillies, finely chopped

Two garlic cloves, finely chopped

One teaspoon chilli powder

½ teaspoon curry powder

One teaspoon ground coriander

One cinnamon quill

One teaspoon sugar

Three teaspoons white vinegar

Couple of curry leaves (sometimes these are really hard to find or $$$, go to an Indian-Pakistani-Lankan grocer, but if you can’t find them go on without them)

Salt for seasoning

Oil or ghee for frying

Lemon or lime


1.     Peel, wash and cut beetroot into cubes or thin sticks.

2.     Chop onion into small pieces.

3.     Over medium heat add a solid swig of oil/ghee and onion, garlic, curry powder, curry leaves, chilli powder, chillies, coriander, and cinnamon to a large frying pan or deep based saucepan. Fry until onions turn translucent and spices blend.

4.     Add beetroot, vinegar, sugar, and coconut milk. Cover, turn heat down to moderate, and leave to cook for about 20 minutes, or until beetroot has softened.

5.     Taste and season with salt and a squeeze of lime or lemon, as you desire.

6.     Serve with rice, roti bread, sambal, and ten other curries (lol).

A day of masks by Lucille Corbit

A day of masks by Lucille Corbit 


For as long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with all things skin care. My first ever beauty purchase was an “overnight restorative cream” that my 8 year old self certainly didn’t need- I would sit applying it just as the packaging told me every night while I searched through magazines for DIY masks and read about the beauty benefits of foods I had not yet come around to the taste of.

Fast Forward a few years, and while I’m still digging through recipes and throwing my money at face masks with cute packaging, the one major thing I’ve learned is the importance of self care and how that translates into caring for the world and people around you.

So, I’m here to share what I know (and what I’m still learning) with all of you.


First up… A day of masks.


Breakfast : the most important mask of the day.

For this mask you’ll need…

  • 3-4 spoonfuls of coffee grounds

  • 1 egg yolk

  • ½ teaspoon of coconut oil


The first step in this mask is to make yourself a cup of coffee...or two.

The same way we use coffee to wake up our brains, we can use it to wake up our skin. First and foremost, coffee is full of antioxidants used fight free radicals, which are one of the main contributors to our skin looking tired and dull. Free radicals disrupt our skin’s DNA to cause things like dark spots, collagen loss, and wrinkles. Coffee also contains caffeic, which aids in collagen production which increases firmness and elasticity, making this the perfect “bounce back” mask after the weekend.

Once you’ve finished brewing your coffee, remove the wet grounds and drain as much of the liquid from them as possible.


Next, take an egg and separate the yolk from the white (set aside and use as a hair mask, or make a single egg white omelette) and combine with the coffee grounds.  Egg yolks contain an immense amount of vitamins and nutrients, including Vitamin A which helps fight dry and flaky skin, Vitamin B3 which hydrates and combats inflammation, and zinc which treats existing breakouts. Egg yolks are also full of protein, which helps skin repair itself.


Lastly we add in the coconut oil. A natural antibacterial, antifungal and moisturizer, coconut oil probably has over a million uses for the skin- However, it’s main purpose in this mask is to cleanse. Between air pollution, public transportation commutes,and last nights makeup, our pores can end up completely clogged. Coconut oil is incredibly gentle and it’s texture allows it to seep into your pores and soften everything trapped inside. When you combine this with the exfoliation of the ground coffee, you’re getting an incredibly deep clean and removing dead skin cells without using any harsh chemicals.



Combine your ingredients into a paste, drain any excess liquid, and set to cool in the refrigerator while you drink your coffee and read 10 minutes of a good book. Once your mask has set, apply to your face until it has a very thin translucent layer with bits of the ground coffee on top. Leave for 10-15 minutes, and then rinse off with lukewarm water scrubbing in a circular motion. Pat dry, and finish with your favorite toner or facial oil. I like to use witch hazel, followed by vitamin E oil.


I think most of us would agree that we all need a little bit more simplicity in our lives. That’s why this next mask only requires one ingredient - a spoonful of honey,preferably raw or natural- anything but the kind that comes out of a little plastic bear.

Honey is a natural antibacterial, which helps treat acne and breakouts. In addition to  soothing irritated skin, honey boosts your complexion with mild exfoliation that clarifies by opening and unclogging your pores. While this can be beneficial at any time of day, I like to use honey as a “getting ready” mask.


One of the most unique things about honey is that it’s a natural humectant, meaning it has the ability to attract and hold moisture. When used on the skin, honey is able to deliver the moisture it’s pulled in where it’s needed, leaving your skin soft and hydrated without making it feel oily or over lotioned. To do this mask, simply wash your face with warm water, remove any makeup, and apply a thin layer of honey to your face. Leave for 10 minutes. Bonus points if you leave on in the bath or shower, the steam is your friend. Wash off in a circular motion, pat dry, and continue with your routine for the night.



Last but not least is, in my opinion, the most useful and versatile skin care product you should have on hand.

For this mask you will need...

  • 1 ½ cups water

  • 2 TBSP sea salt

  • A sanitized spray bottle

  • *Optional dried herbs*


While sea salt is most commonly used for skincare in scrubs and soaks, using it in a simple overnight face spray is a great way to nourish and refresh your skin. Sea salt works as a deep cleanser, and when left on overnight it can work to balance the oils in your skin, as well as combat bacteria that causes breakouts.


To make this spray, you just need to boil a cup of water, add in the salt and stir until dissolved, let cool and then transfer into a clean misting bottle.


If you want to make something a bit more fancy, you can add dry herbs to the boiling water and strain before combining with the salt. I recommend either chamomile or lavender, as they both have external soothing properties as well as aromatherapeutic properties that help with a good night's sleep, which is possibly the best thing for your skin, as well as one of the hardest things to come by.


Annie is a clever women who is creative in all avenues of her life. From the kitchen bench she build with her Dad to her work with the Design Files. This true Maltese beauty is also one of our endless cooking inspirations. Read about this sweet sister below.  

Full name: Annie Portelli

What does work mean to you and what do you do?
For me, work equals a nice blend of versatility and unfamiliarity, especially from a creative point of view. I spend so much time working so it’s really important that I end each day feeling like I’ve learnt something new, and created something that I’m actually proud of. I am lucky enough to be the Art Director and Graphic Designer for The Design
Files - where no two days have ever been the same. I’m always being faced with different tasks, testing different skills everyday, I really love it.

Tell us a dream you’ve made come true?
It sounds ridiculous, but I have to say, my kitchen benchtop! It’s my one true love.

How do you unwind?
I love walking, it’s the best way to start and end your day! I walk to and from work every day - it’s become an integral part of my routine. It gives me time to plan the day ahead on the way up, and walk it off on the way back home. However, the best strolls happen when you have nowhere to be, or any particular route in mind. Complete bliss!

How do you wind up?
Good company with my closest pals, accompanied by the perfect spotify playlist. When the perfect mix of these two elements are combined, you know you’re in for a good one!

What can friends count on you for?
Being a good ear...and nose. (I have a really good sense of smell)

What does the word sisterhood mean to you?
I have two older brothers and a predominantly male extended family - so naturally I grew into a tomboy - with a confused sense of fashion, and the ability recite any Tupac song. So the idea of sisterhood never really stuck me until a couple of years ago where I suddenly accumulated a really strong group of amazing gal pals in my life. In this time I’ve also learnt that Melbourne is so intertwined, there’s an ongoing ripple effect with all the sister’s in this town! Once you
meet one, she’ll introduce you to another, who brings in another - and before you know it you’re surrounded by an ocean of incredibly supportive and warm hearted souls - and there you have it - a sisterhood is formed!

What does your dream house look like?
Has anyone seen that interview of Devendra Badhard in his home on Nowness? Well THAT’S my dream home...Devendra Banhard included <3Banhttps://www.nowness.com/series/my-place/devendra- banhart-barbaraanastacio

What’s baking in your oven/ Specialty?
Recently I’ve really gotten into making a soup each week! It’s such a daggy choice of meal but it’s actually the best, so easy, nutritious and so scrummy and it takes me through the week! There’s also something nice about picking up a bunch of seasonal veggies from the market each week, popping them in a pot together and hoping for the best! I’m yet to be disappointed.

Favorite food?
This is an almost impossible question to answer...however I have a sever case of ye’ol sweet tooth so I really can’t turn a slice of ANYTHING-from- Beatrix-bakery! Best and worst thing I’ve ever done is follow them on instagram. Big mistake.

Describe your favorite piece of clothing and why?
I love anything that wraps; a wrap top, wrap skirt a wrap dress I even have a pair of wrap pants! I have so many different variations of ‘wrap’ clothing! Maybe it’s the comfort of being ‘hugged’ by your clothes that I really like. Whatever it is, I’ll never stop wearing them.

How do you keep a healthy mind, body and soul?
I find that speaking to my family really levels me out. They’re collectively some of the most healthiest and happiest people I know. I always feel at ease after chatting with them. They bring me back to reality, tell me what to cook for dinner based on what’s left my fridge and they always have a story! In saying that, a little alone time goes a long way for me too. It depends on the day.

Your most memorable holiday?
Italy, June/July 2017 - I lost many instagram followers that holiday - no regrets.

Ocean or desert?
Ocean for sure! It’s in the blood.

Apertiff or digestiff?
Apertiff, especially if there’s a platter of cheese involved.

Sunrise or sunset?
Sunrise...whether you’re waking up fresh, or seeing the night through - Everything is more memorable during a sunrise. I’m also a very early riser, so mornings are always my preferred choice for anything.

Dance party or dinner party?
I feel like everyone will agree when I say - Dinner party, followed by an impromptu dining room dance party. But the party must not leave the dining room, no exceptions.  

Favorite smell?
This depends on the time of year but right now - (Mid September) Jasmine flowers! I also love the smell of a mandarin being peeled.

What’s on your bedside table?
An odd and conflicting selection of unfinished books which I’m currently trying to get through.

The first album you ever bought is…?
Ha well, yes having two older brothers did certainly ‘influence’ my early taste in music, so no surprises here that my first album was ‘All Eyez on Me’ by 2pac. I bought it so they thought I was cool. I think it worked?

What are you listening to now?
I’m currently listening to Connan Mockasin’s Live boiler room set. I know it’s old news but this tab has been permanently open on my web browser since it’s release!

One or two things you want to do before you leave earth?
I have heaps of little things that I want to do rather than big goals to work towards. I actually have a running list which I check back with on the 17th of each month. I’ll share two things from my list:
#4 - Enquire to learn a new language (oh dear...this has been on my list for over 5 months)
#7 - Grow hair long enough to be able to style into a long, chunky plat. (Work in progress)

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 8.20.23 PM.png

We first knew of Thea through her incredible label TLC. Now we share memories of California together, driving out to scary middle of know where's then finding ourselves at the Palm Springs Ace Hotel.  

Full name:

Thea Charlotte Graham Blocksidge 


What does work mean to you and what do you do?

Work is keeping mind and body active to better your world and world around you. 

I make art, textiles and clothing using found materials. I am also a stylist. 


Tell us a dream you’ve made come true?

Living on a houseboat under the Californian sun 


How do you unwind?

By the sea reading, yoga, long baths, cooking 


How do you wind up?

Dancing 60sBoogaloo


What can friends count on you for?

Big love 


What does the word sisterhood mean to you?


Women open heartedly working with one another (not against) and embracing their divine feminine selves... An exchange of support, encouragement, understanding and wisdom. 


What does your dream house look like? 


I'd like to create a home made of little Spanish style pods - adobe brick walls with built-in lounges, arched doorways and large windows up on a hill near the ocean surrounded by native trees and food bearing plants, loft levels throughout with big circle windows and viewing decks on top, breezy and open with old Persian rugs, big cushions, draped curtains...pathways of antique tile remnants shipped in from Marrakech joining the pods and a communal courtyard in the centre with a salt water pool, clay oven and a large bench table for meals under the sun and stars with my loved ones. 


What’s baking in your oven/ Specialty?

Whole baked local fish 


Favorite food? 

Fresh herbs for their magical abilities to make anything and everything delicious! 


Describe your favorite piece of clothing and why?

Some of my most treasured pieces I found in an old wooden box at my beach house on Stradbroke Island. The house has been in my family since my dad was a boy and this box preserved the holiday outfits of my grandparents, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world uncovering these special family belongings that perfectly embodied a wonderful time in their lives mid 1960s/70s. A red two piece linen suit with blue and white stripe details and matching boating hat that belonged to my grandfather and a rainbow bikini set with matching rainbow hotpants that belonged to my grandmother are some pieces I still wear today. 


How do you keep a healthy mind, body and soul? 





Nue au soleil  

Nature swims no matter the season


Your most memorable holiday?

My most recent holiday that will always stick in my mind was last October, I met my sisters in Costa Rica where Lydia had been living. We rode the bus San Jose to Osa Peninsula - one of the worlds most biodiverse regions - to stay remote beachfront in a traditional bamboo house. A small surfing retreat occupied the same property and luckily it was the off season with nobody in sight, boards were a free for all and the three of us spent days surfing the gentle waves out front over spotted stingrays and sea turtles until the torrential rains came over and forced us in. Afternoons spent laying listening to the rain falling on the grass roof and the distant calls of howler monkeys and scarlet macaws. It was a very grounding and comforting place to prepare for my next chapter in Los Angeles. 


Ocean or desert?

Ocean always, California's been a nice balance of both


Apertiff or digestiff?



Sunrise or sunset?

Equally magic hours of the day 


Dance party or dinner party?

Dinner party into dance party 


Favorite smell?

Tibetan Sal Dhoop


What’s on your bedside table?

Pile of books I'm slowly reading 


Oil burner 


The first album you ever bought is…?

Simply the best 60s 


What are you listening to now?

Always reggae golden era


One or two things you want to do before you leave earth? 

Speak many different languages  

Make art to help fund nature conservation and preservation 





Lucy kindly welcomed us to LA with a big heart and stories of her relatives psychic experiences and astrology calanders. Thanks for being a friend across the ocean. 

Full name: Lucille Corbit

What does work mean to you and what do you do?

I work for a shop called Courtyard LA, and I would be here all day if I tried to describe exactly what I do.  I know that for a lot of people work ethic comes from passion and interest in what they’re doing, and while I am currently lucky enough to have a job that I love and find extremely fulfilling, for me work has always been about putting in 110% and being proud of myself no matter what.

I think that especially with social media being the huge force that it is right now, women in particular are made to feel like if their job isn’t cool or impactful then it’s not worth much. Sometimes you’ve got a shit job, but working hard and supporting yourself is something you should always be proud of. Having a career you love takes hard work, but it’s also an immense privilege and I think you can really only get there in a real way if you hold space to respect both your own work ethic, as well as that of those around you regardless of how interesting it may be to you. Remembering this allows us to get where we want to be without losing our minds or stepping on other people to get there.


Tell us a dream you’ve made come true?

It hasn’t come true yet, but my birthday is in a few weeks and I think we’re going to a farm to play with baby pigs.


How do you unwind?

With a hot bath.


How do you wind up?

With a cold bath.


What can friends count on you for?

I’m always hungry so I always have snacks and am always down to go get food.


What does the word sisterhood mean to you?

To me sisterhood has a lot to do with communication and the power that comes with listening to one another. While it absolutely is a unifying word, it’s also one of difference in the sense that you may have 9 things in common with your sisters but that 10th piece you don’t share is where actual “sisterhood” begins. That’s when we get the chance to learn from others and see the way we operate from an outside perspective while still within a supportive and open framework. It’s important to remember that “sisterhood” can take a million different names and forms, and that it above all must create inclusive and constantly developing environments.


What does your dream house look like?

My mom has this recurring dream where she lives in a house that has this big room with all of her favorite books, movies, and albums in it- and she knows that they’re her favorites, but she hasn’t read, seen or heard any of them before. I think I’d really like to live there.


What’s baking in your oven/ Specialty?

I really love cooking and I try to make new things all the time, but the one thing I think I’ve perfected is a really really good mac and cheese.


Favorite food?

I probably only eat cereal once every two to three years, but every time I do it’s amazing so I think maybe cereal. Cinnamon toast crunch if I had to pick one.


Describe your favorite piece of clothing and why?

I have a sweater that belonged to my aunt who passed away that’s cropped off white angora and has little pearls along the neckline and I think I love it so much because it’s so completely not my style but I can see her wearing it when she was my age.


How do you keep a healthy mind, body and soul?

I keep a lot of lists. Things that make me happy, things that make me cry, things that make my stomach hurt or my eyes feel weird. I try to be as aware of all my feelings as I can be so that I can be present in the choices I make.


Your most memorable holiday?

When I was in middle school the class would go on a short camping trip every year, and they were always science focused. When I was in 7th grade the teachers took the whole class on this little night walk out to the water and we all laid down to look at the stars. I walked next to this boy who I had a huge crush on and he held my hand the whole time and I just remember thinking it was the coolest thing in the world to have someone like you back.


Ocean or desert?



Apertiff or digestiff?



Sunrise or sunset?



Dance party or dinner party?

Dinner party


Favorite smell?

Wet plants/dirt


What’s on your bedside table?

I don’t have one but I keep lip balm, a scrunchie, and a good sleeping t shirt on the floor next to my bed.


The first album you ever bought is…?

The Destiny’s child Charlie’s angels soundtrack and Blink 182 take off your pants and jacket. I bought them at the same time because I couldn’t borrow my sisters copies, and my cd player was shaped like hello kitty’s head.


What are you listening to now?

The podcast my favorite murder


One or two things you want to do before you leave earth?

I’d really love to feed and hang out with a baby giraffe. I’m sure I could think of a million more important and meaningful things, but I just think giraffes are the coolest.


The first time we met Zeina, she strolled into our photo shoot in a huge heirloom fur coat and white go-go boots looking so fresh. Everything this babe touches turns to gold. 

Full name:

Zeina Geneivieve Thiboult


What does work mean to you and what do you do?

Well as of yesterday I am technically unemployed, but it feels damn good. Work is good for your independence and I think it's good to have some responsibilities and whatnot to keep you in line. I've had a bundle of jobs! In Australia I was going between cafe jobs and modelling but over here I have been involved in some more creative type projects whilst also being a salesperson in a glorified sex shop (they call it an erotic boutique). Specifically, my partner and I have been working together to rebrand some labels on a freelance basis. 


Tell us a dream you’ve made come true?

Having a penthouse apartment that overlooks Paris... straight up.


How do you unwind?

I guess anywhere between a glass of wine and a cigarette on my balcony to netflix and chill with my partner. 


How do you wind up?

Having something big to do! I always look forward to future travels or contracts which gets me really eager for the future.


What can friends count on you for?

Not checking my emails.


What does the word sisterhood mean to you?



What does your dream house look like?

90% windows.


What’s baking in your oven/ Specialty?

Despite our apartment being so damn good our oven is currently out of order. lol. But in a metaphorical sense, if that is what you're asking, I am working on creating some advertisement campaigns for some brands over here!


Favorite food?

Vietnamese or Senegalese.


Describe your favorite piece of clothing and why?

Ones that Australian labels send me for free. ;) 


How do you keep a healthy mind, body and soul?

Being in love, eating a shitload of chia, lin and sesame seeds and idk about soul, I figured that was the same as mind. 


Your most memorable holiday?

2015 - some nice guy shouted me a 2 week vacation in Melbourne (coming from Paris at age 18). He woke me up every single day with a block of Whittaker's peanut butter chocolate in bed and we would go off on weird adventures in your weird country in his Ford Falcon. That doesn't sound that wonderful when I write it down but I promise it was.


Ocean or desert?

Dessert ;)


Apertiff or digestiff?



Sunrise or sunset?

I sleep too much, so the sunrise is more special to me becasue I see it like once a year.


Dance party or dinner party?

Dinner party which turns into a dance party and then finishes by midnight.


Favorite smell?

Washed clothes


What’s on your bedside table?

Will Smith - Big Willie Style (CD). My partner's puffer, a vanilla candle and a bottle of water. 


The first album you ever bought is…?

Tracy Chapman... I can't remember the title. 


What are you listening to now?

Tracy Chapman because I'm playing it for my partner. 


One or two things you want to do before you leave earth?

Live in Japan for a bit and learn Japanese!


Reane welcomed us in a big straw hat with a huge smile to her childhood and current neighbourhood, Los Feliz in LA. Raeane is an artist and works for an art school in her city. A special friend during our time in Cali who we hope to have more celebrity spying coffees with in the future. 

Full name: RaeAn Medina

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What does work mean to you and what do you do? To work is to commit to your passion. As an artist, I have to consciously remind myself to work everyday. Whether its sketching a doodle, mixing paints to discover a new shade of pink, or reading a poem - to work is to stimulate your mind in a way that will inspire you, make you more productive, and essentially contribute to your self-growth. 

Tell us a dream you’ve made come true?  I always dreamt of creating  a  platform where I can not only share my own work, but develop a community where artists who share a common lust for the arts can come together and share their work as well. I made that dream come true my creating Serious Boyfriend.

Painting by RaeAn Medina

Painting by RaeAn Medina

How do you unwind? With a margarita and good company. 

How do you wind up? A lot of cold brew.

What can friends count on you for? Making guacamole for the dinner party.

What does the word sisterhood mean to you? Sisterhood is accepting, supporting, and helping the fellow women in my life flourish. 

What does your dream house look like? A Spanish-style bungalow overgrown with ivy, tons of natural light, a garden, a large porch with a hammock, and a painting studio in the back. 

What’s baking in your oven/ Specialty?  I probably couldn’tbake to save my life.

Favorite food? Chilaquiles

Describe your favorite piece of clothing and why? This vintage ¾ sleeve baby pink beaded top from the 80’s. I  feel like it represents my personality the most accurately of any piece in my wardrobe.   

How do you keep a healthy mind, body and soul? Drinking sparkling water, eating fruit, doing yoga, making art, and surrounding myself with like-mindedpeople.

Your most memorable holiday?  Every time I get to go to New Mexico with my family.

Ocean or desert? I could never choose. I was lucky enough to grow up around both, and both are very special to me for their own reasons.

Apertiff or digestiff?   Apertiff because if champagne is involved, bet i'm going to pick champagne. 

Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise because I never get to see it.

Dance party or dinner party? Dinner then dancing, duh.

Favorite smell? Earl gray tea  and fresh flowers. 

What’s on your bedside table? A “boy smells” candle, milk & honey by Rupi Kaur, a couple succulents, and lip balm.

The first album you ever bought is…? It was most likely Aaron Carter (yikes)

What are you listening to now?  Lots of Childish Gambino and Anderson .Paak 

One or two things you want to do before you leave earth? See the world and have a family.


Whilst we were in California, we had the pleasure of working with talented photographer and all round clever babe, Sisiilia Piring.  Sisilia took us to her favourite park in Pasadena and we chatted about the beautiful worlds she creates that we get to live in with our eyes. 

Full name: Sisilia Piring

What does work mean to you and what do you do?

As a photographer work means seeing things a different way, from a different perspective, seeing beauty in the everyday ordinary things.

Tell us a dream you’ve made come true?

I think being able to make my passion of photography into a career has been the biggest dream come true.

How do you unwind?

Reading a book, listening to a podcast and spending a day outside in nature is one of my favorite ways to unwind.

How do you wind up?

Making a detailed action plan always winds me up.

What can friends count on you for?

My loyalty to those closest and dearest.

What does the word sisterhood mean to you?

I think what I mentioned earlier about loyalty, being there for someone without judgement or without any selfish intention. Celebrating life and each other’s accomplishment.

What does your dream house look like?

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch home is the epitome of my dream house!

What’s baking in your oven/ Specialty?

I don’t cook much these days as my husband is better in the kitchen than I am, but used to make a mean slow cooked Chicken and Thyme dish.

Favorite food?

Indonesian food is hands down my favorite. Peruvian and Italian are pretty up there too.

Describe your favorite piece of clothing and why?

I’ve never met a jumpsuit I didn’t like. My favorite are linen jumpsuit. You’re basically set as it’s one piece, all you have to think about is what shoes to pair them with and you’re out of the door. Plus, they’re so extremely comfortable, especially when I’m on set working.

How do you keep a healthy mind, body and soul?

For me taking a few days off a month to just be outside in nature is an important balance for my mind and soul. The downtime, lack of internet, and change of scenery is what I need that to recharge. There are months where work is extremely busy and life demands doesn’t allow me to take a few days off, journaling and writing helps with the noise.

Your most memorable holiday?

So far it’s been our family trip to Zion National Park in Utah. I rented a house near the park and my Mom, brother, and his girlfriend was able to make the trip. It was so amazing to spend that time with them cooking, exploring, and bonding over our trip. Which we haven’t done all together since we were teenagers.

Ocean or desert? Desert.

Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise.

Dance party or dinner party? Dinner party.

Favorite smell? Jasmine.

What’s on your bedside table?

Candle, jewelry, and my collection of straw hats piled on top of each other.

The first album you ever bought is…?

I honestly do not remember =/

What are you listening to now?

Like everyone else, I’m obsessed with Solange’s new album. Right now it’s summer in the states, so been listening to a lot of french music on Spotify and a lot of Lana Del Rey. She’s my summer anthem. My summer isn’t the same without Lana.

One or two things you want to do before you leave earth?

Roadtrip through all 50 states and to be a grandma- which will be in a very long time from now, but that would be so amazing. I want to be that kooky grandma who just dresses in these crazy outrageous looking clothes and have super white hair and say things like “I remember when you had to drive yourself, now you have autonomous cars” hahaha!


Behind the lenses of everyones dreams is Adrianna from Pom's. We first noticed Poms when their fluffy pom pom earrings started bobbing around. Since, creator Adrianna has collaborated with Pared eyewear to make the Gatto sunnies! Looking at the world through these shades makes everyday fabulous whether it's riding in a convertible, sunbaking at the rave or just life. As well as all this, Adrianna is a Mama and has generously shared some of her life with us here. 

Full name: Adriana Francesca Giuffrida


What does work mean to you and what do you do?

To me, it means having the freedom to look after my little ones, fulfill my creative fantasies and having the lifestyle that I always dreamt of.


Tell us a dream you’ve made come true?

Creating a beautiful loving home and an exciting business. 


How do you unwind?

Cooking and eating food with a glass of wine watching a new TV series I'm obsessing over.


How do you wind up?

Attempting to change my little dudes clothes in the morning... 


What can friends count on you for?

A nice meal, a good time and a shoulder to cry on


What does the word sisterhood mean to you?

Everything, there is nothing better than laughs / tears with your best sisters. 


What does your dream house look like?

3 Roslyn Street, Brighton - one day! 


What’s baking in your oven/ Specialty?

Last thing I baked was a spiced pumpkin cheesecake, it was yum! 


Favorite food?

A close tie between Chocolate & ice cream.


Describe your favorite piece of clothing and why?

My DRESS UP denim cape, it's from one of the first collections from Steph Downey and from a collection where I made my first ever accessory, which was a giant friendship band scarf. I'll never forget that collection and Steph is a dear friend. 

Also my SISTER lace up dress, cause it the most comfy! 


How do you keep a healthy mind, body and soul?

Is a glass or two of wine an acceptable answer?


Your most memorable holiday?

A 3 month sojourn to Europe me and the hubby did before the little angels arrived. We spent some amazing time in Italy and Paris, it was unforgettable and we made friends for life. 


Ocean or desert? Ocean!! 

Apertiff or digestiff? Aperitif 

Sunrise or sunset? Sunset

Dance party or dinner party? Dinner party w a dance party.

Favorite smell? Rose / tuberose / anything rosy 


What’s on your bedside table?

Books, magazines and kids toys


The first album you ever bought is…?

I was lucky to be the youngest of 5 kids with great taste, so i pilfered loads of classic 80's albums from them. But I think a Mariah Carey cd was the first I really bought for my own collection? 


What are you listening to now?

I'm loving old Outkast, erykah badu and fugees at the moment, as well as some trap music, to make me sound less old and more hip.. 


One or two things you want to do before you leave earth?

Watch my kids grow up and fulfill their dreams and fall in love. Also to visit the northern lights, and id also love to see a flamingo in real life, in Mexico.  :) 



Rose is our very talented friend who shares our design aesthetic and appetite for pasta. Emma first met our dear friend Rose in 2008, both girls had moved from the country with big dreams of glittery life in the big smoke. Together they studied fashion at RMIT and shared many late nights working on folios and many afternoons skipping class to sun-bake by her pool. Skip forward a few years and Rosemary now makes our look books delectable and has been a big supporter of Sister from the start. A graphic designer by trade, when she's not travelling through cyber space, she's exploring far away places on earth. 

Full name: Rosemary Catherine Leahy


What does work mean to you and what do you do?

Work for me is an outlet to express my creativity; solve problems and be surrounded with like-minded people. I’m a communication designer, with a background in fashion.


Tell us a dream you’ve made come true?

Later this year I’m doing my dream trip through South & Central America with my best gal.


How do you unwind?

A glass of red, a cheese platter (I do a mean platter) and some giggles with my pals.


How do you wind up? ^see above question + plus a few more glasses.


What can friends count on you for? A good cup of tea and I mix a great punch.


What does the word sisterhood mean to you?

Everything…. support, encouragement, laughter, loyalty. My mum has always said to me to surround myself with wonderful women and life will be grand, and I have some pretty incredible sisters in my life.


What does your dream house look like? It’s a stroll to the seaside, with a big veggie patch, high ceilings, a large wine selection and lots of loved ones drifting in and out.


What’s baking in your oven/ Specialty? I love making vegan desserts. I make a yummy chocolate cream caramel slice…. I’m not vegan; but my logic is I can eat more guilt free haha!


Favorite food?

My nonna Rosa’s pasta with her red sauce.


Describe your favorite piece of clothing and why?

My SISTER joy jumpsuit always makes me feel happy and my collection of vintage tees I’ve found throughout my travels. They remind me of the beautiful places I’ve been and the people I’ve met along the way.


How do you keep a healthy mind, body and soul?

Mind – alone time, Body – Pilates and Soul – a bowl of pasta and a glass of red.


Your most memorable holiday?

A few years ago I spent new years in Eaglehawk Neck / Tasmania with a big group of pals. Our days were spent swimming, sunbaking, hiking and fishing…the boys slept in the little beach shacks while the gals stayed in my girlfriends childhood home. It was such a magical way to bring in the New Year. Other places that will always hold a special place in my memory – Tulum for its dreamy beaches, sunset rose’s in the Cinque Terre, visiting the Valley of Kings in Egypt and bringing in my 21 st birthday at carnival in Rio.


Ocean or desert? Ocean with desert temperatures ;)

Apertiff or digestiff? I’m an afternoon aperitif kinda gal.

Sunrise or sunset? Sunsets

Dance party or dinner party? I love nothing more than hosting a dinner party (I’m my mother’s daughter) but definitely some post dinner dancing, always.


Favorite smell?

- The smell of my Nonnas/Mums pasta sauce cooking on the stove all afternoon.

- I kept my nonnas perfume bottles when she passed away a few years ago. She wore Dior – Dolce Vita, every time I open the cap I’m flooded with beautiful memories of her. I love that scents can transport you to a person, a time or a place.


What’s on your bedside table? A collection of jewels, hand cream and books.


The first album you ever bought is…?



What are you listening to now?

My favourite Murder podcast, my latest obsession… its sounds super heavy but these two gals are hilarious!


One or two things you want to do before you leave earth?

Go to Italy with my Mum and visit her families’ town.



Where do we even start with this woman! Kim stokes the fire that is Sister Studios. She is a beloved friend and the director of Welcome Creative, the sales and creative agency that is accountable for Sister Studios. Kim is the sweetest peach on the tree with an open perspective on all things, she is our voice of reason. Kim is the ultimate go to sister for a party night and can throw down the moves like no one else on the dance floor. 

Full name: Kimberley Jane Lewis


What does work mean to you and what do you do?

It has always been important to me to work in an environment where women are the leaders and the drivers of their own businesses, and I am thankful that I encounter this within my work everyday. I feel so lucky that my job schedule allows me to surround myself with some of the most driven and creative women that I know.


Tell us a dream you’ve made come true?

 Immersed myself in some of cities that I used to dream of as a kid.


How do you unwind?

Whether I am cooking a meal at home or going out for dinner with friends, good food and great company is my favorite form of therapy.


How do you wind up?

Dancing. Always.


What can friends count on you for?

A shoulder to cry on, a vino, a laugh and a serious boogie session


What does the word sisterhood mean to you?

I do truly feel women are the driving force for change in this world. I think, right now it is especially important for us to be looking beyond our immediate group of sisters, because we are ALL connected and when we work together we will be an unstoppable force.


What does your dream house look like?

Loved ones, all my favorite foods, a fully stocked cellar, ocean, trees, warmth and a constant sense of calmness.


What’s baking in your oven/ Specialty?

My secret chili recipe ;)


Favorite food?



Describe your favorite piece of clothing and why?

The SISTER merino wool skivvies have been my lifesaver this winter. I literally layer them under and over everything!

I also adore anything my mum has handed down to me, as well as a couple of dad’s tees from the 70’s. I am a Cancerian so I cling to anything with meaning and that reminds me of home or loved ones.


How do you keep a healthy mind, body and soul?

I am currently trying to master meditation haha! I’ll also try to squeeze in yoga or a Pilates class when I can.


Your most memorable holiday?

Hiking in Guatemala and sipping coconut rum in Belize.


Ocean or desert? The ocean! I wish we would take better care of it 


Apertiff or digestiff? A spritz in the sunshine please.


Sunrise or sunset? Sunset


Dance party or dinner party? When does a dinner party not turn into a dance party?


Favorite smell? Mum’s house and eucalyptus


What’s on your bedside table?

Rose water, a handful of essential oils, my notebook and a pen.


The first album you ever bought is…?

Destiny’s Child – The Writing’s On The Wall


What are you listening to now?

A bunch of BBC podcasts including the ‘The Inquiry’, ‘Great Lives’ and ‘Desert Island Discs’.

SISTER mixes will always gets me in the mood for a boogie J


One or two things you want to do before you leave earth?

Be more creative for my own personal enjoyment. Adopt a dog. Make the time to volunteer. Travel more with my love.





Back in the old days of Sister, we used to share a studio with Melbourne design heroine, Ellie King. Ellie's sassy ambition and all round hustling is contagious you just wanna share every possible Rose' and chicken & chips with her. 

Full name: Elena June King but call me Ellie


What does work mean to you and what do you do?

Work means making art and selling secondhand clothes


Tell us a dream you’ve made come true?

Having my own baby in the form of a dog called Coco


How do you unwind?

Drinking wine with my friends and going to the op shop to uncover some hot ticket items


How do you wind up?

Drinking wine with my friends and talking trash 


What can friends count on you for?

Some gossip and second hand presents 


What does the word sisterhood mean to you?

Good women looking after each other and sticking together to achieve great things 


What does your dream house look like?

Something small and cosy with big windows and a great vegetable garden 


What’s baking in your oven/ Specialty? 

Vegetable lasagne!


Favorite food?

1/4 chicken and chips


Describe your favorite piece of clothing and why?

A pair of vintage high waisted wool woven cropped trousers that I wear pretty much every day.... 


How do you keep a healthy mind, body and soul?

Keeping busy with lots of projects on the go, try and not eat junk every day and only smoke 2 cigs a week.


Your most memorable holiday?

I love home holidays the best, ones when you can just stay in bed watching movies and eating food with nothing else you should be doing. I love travelling but getting home is always the best part! If you had to push me I'd say Paris because it was like the movies


Ocean or desert? Woah neither can I say city?

Apertiff or digestiff? Aperitif

Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise

Dance party or dinner party? Dinner party

Favorite smell? Wonderwood!


What’s on your bedside table?

Lamp and rings 


The first album you ever bought is…?



What are you listening to now?

Bjork - debut 


One or two things you want to do before you leave earth?

Go in a helicopter and learn to drive so I can go on a road trip around America !


One of our dearest friends, Jazz! Born with an old soul, Jazz is a vessel of ideas. She understands people, the world, nature and siphons them into language we understand. She is a great teacher who nourishes us with her words and will be releasing a book of poetry in the near future. 

Full name: Jazz Ash Money

What does work mean to you and what do you do?

Work is the way to keep the class structure in place. A charismatic capitalist system that keeps the rich rich and the poor poor.

Sometimes work is the interference to the life I want to be living, other times it is the impetus.

Usually I work using the written word. Currently I am learning about nature and teaching creative classes with Nepali children while putting together a book of poetry.


Tell us a dream you’ve made come true?

When I was young I would dream about being the big proud queer global Indigenous babe I now get to be every day.


How do you unwind?

Immersed in a body of water.


How do you wind up?

Big Baby D.R.A.M.


What can friends count on you for?

Dream-plan making, proofreading, sky gazing, hand holding, rambling conversations, being in love, being enraged by Australian politics, dancing.


What does the word sisterhood mean to you?

My world in a word.


What does your dream house look like?

Lots of windows on to green, artwork by friends, a big kitchen table, a place for my books, Australian flowers and fresh food.


What’s baking in your oven/ Specialty?

Right now I am living in Nepal and we are baking with local fruits, lots of apples and apricots.

My best trick at home is risotto with pine mushrooms and slippery jacks collected on my mama’s property (the bougie secret is to use Martini Bianco instead of white wine).


Favourite food?

Last year I ate a kouign amann at the Rennes Saturday market that changed my life. But, failing that piece of hot heaven anything cooked in my mama’s clay pot.


Describe your favourite piece of clothing and why?

Clothes with a story are my favourite - gifts, pieces found while travelling, things made by friends. My favourite might be a gold lace dress with sleeves that hang below the hem. I designed it for a big love party. It hangs on my wall to remind me that life is for celebrating.


How do you keep a healthy mind, body and soul?

Good conversation, walking every day, lots of time away from the city, cooking with friends, love.


Your most memorable holiday?

Road tripping around the South Island of New Zealand with a carload of babes. At sunrise going straight from the crowded dark of the club to the crowded light of the Tsukuji fish markets in Tokyo. Motorcycles in India. Bicycles in Denmark. Buses in Vietnam. Walking in Nepal. Swimming in Greece. Pasta in Italy. Pastry in France. Dancing in a Croatian amphitheatre. Black Bike Week in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Haunted cabins in Australia. Life in New York. Walking home in the early hours of the morning watching the tropical flowers open themselves to the dawn light.


Ocean or desert?


But, there’s nothing quite like pondering your earthly insignificance while pissing in the desert at night, hearing your steamy stream hit the sand while you look at those forever stars.


Apertiff or digestiff?

Yes please.


Sunrise or sunset?

Sunset with a drink. Sunrise with kissing.


Dance party or dinner party?

Together but not in that order.


Favourite smell?

Onion and garlic frying in the pan before you’ve put anything else in, summer rain on jasmine, Comme des Garçons 71, my babe.


What’s on your bedside table?

Too many books, journals, sketch pads and photos.


The first album you ever bought is…?

With my babysitting money, Gwen Stefani’s Love.Angel.Music.Baby.


What are you listening to now?

On repeat, Les Amazones d'Afrique - République Amazone.


One or two things you want to do before you leave earth?

1. Be helpful.

2. Have a garden to call my own.

3. Be present at a puppy calendar photo shoot.


This dream sister, Roula is the founder of Melbourne institution Monk House Design. Roula is one of the main reasons SISTER is where we are today, her guidance and encouragement from beginning has been an inspirational source for us. If anyone has ever met Roula, her calm aura is unforgettable and radiates love through the universe. 

Full name: Roula Tzidras


What does work mean to you and what do you do?

My work means spending time with people I like and admire and cloths that I find inspiring and beautiful.

I own and manage a business called Monk House Design.


Tell us a dream you’ve made come true?

Many years ago I was a single mum and always poor. I had a dream that I’d take an overseas trip every year. It seemed totally unrealistic at the time but somehow it happened soon after and I’ve have that yearly overseas trip ever since.


 How do you unwind?

Getting out into nature.


How do you wind up?

I love music and I don’t mind a drink. They do it for me!


What can friends count on you for?

I think I am a pretty loyal person – but you’d have to ask my friends.


What does the word sisterhood mean to you?

To me it is that special bond that exists between all women. It’s hard to define but I feel its there and I love it!


 What does your dream house look like?

Open, light and lots of plants.


What’s baking in your oven/ Specialty?

I have been trying to master my mums (Macedonian) baked lima bean dish.


Favorite food?

I am a sucker for pasta!


Describe your favorite piece of clothing and why?

It’s always my latest new piece. At the moment I am looking for my new favorite.


 How do you keep a healthy mind, body and soul?

I have practiced yoga regularly for about 15 years and I meditate. Sounds very zen but I’m not that zen at all – in fact the opposite, which is why I keep up the yoga and meditation.


Your most memorable holiday?

My now partner, invited me to accompany him to his sons wedding in Italy a couple of weeks after we got together. He offered to pay if I agreed. Obviously, I said yes and it was so much fun!


Ocean or desert?

I love the ocean. I often daydream of summer sunsets – especially in the winter.


Apertiff or digestiff?

I love a pre-dinner drink or two!


Sunrise or sunset?

I’m not a morning person so definitely a sunset.


Dance party or dinner party?

Dinner – I Love food.


Favorite smell?

Old style dark red rose.


What’s on your bedside table?

Always a pile of books…


The first album you ever bought is…?

I didn’t buy my first album, I unintentionally won the entire Santana collection when I was 13.

I arrived home from school one day, went straight to the phone and called the radio station to request my favorite song, so I could hear it as soon as I switched the radio on. There was apparently a comp going and the switchboard was jammed – the DJ was so surprised that I got through, that even though I had no idea what the question or the answer to the quiz question was, he said I deserved to win.  He had a good sense of humor. I won 12 Santana albums!


What are you listening to now?

At work - Syd by Fin

In the car – Live From The Dentist Office by Injury Reserve

At home – 3 Gymnopedies by Erik Satie


One or two things you want to do before you leave earth?

Learn to make ceramics well.

Live in a random country other than Australia for a year or two.

Here are some holiday snaps for you…