As we start talking, soaking up the humidity, Genevieve Craig takes me back to her childhood. We talk about the importance of keeping an open mind and being imaginative, and about her experiences living in Paris and Hong Kong. We talk about Janelle Monae, unicorns, almond milk, and the idea of cognitive bias. She tells me about the invaluable experiences she has gained from living and working abroad.
Genevieve is a creative who, by definition, juggles a tonne of roles. She works at Butter in Sydney, she acts, and she directs her own projects. I’m drawn to her confidence, her keen eye, and her passion to stay thirsty and break away from the stereotypical ideals of the daily grind. She redefines the idea of the modern-day creative. She studied marketing and finance at UTS, and jumped head-first into the industry immediately after graduating. But she didn’t stop there. Genevieve went on to study acting, PR, and dance, adding to her wealth of knowledge in her passion to push boundaries.
Kristine: What inspires you?
Genevieve: Seeing people overcome their fears and follow their dreams. Seeing people break stereotypes and unite though empathy, compassion and kindness. Art inspires me. Particularly socially and politically inclined art, which reminds me to initiate change and lead. Art that focusses on diversity, women, sexuality, and social morality. I love TextaQueen, and the way she embraces the beauty of mixed cultures, mixed identities.
K: Would you say that travel has played a substantial role where you are now?
G: Living in Paris and experiencing Hong Kong as a local has shaped so many of my passions. I remember the long walk I would take on the way to French school—I would walk past my favourite jazz bar where I drank my rouge vino, then past my favourite boutique, and then buy a croissant before going merrily go on my way to learn. I’m so blessed to have had that opportunity to be submerged in a different culture.
K: I’m fascinated by your Sydney six-part, ‘CHIKAs’. What drove you to start this series?
G: Initially, it was to get more women and more diversity on Aussie television. But now, it’s so much more than that. If and when I had my own little girl, I would want her to see her reaction, and for her to see that she is beautiful the way she is. That she can do anything she wants to. What also I loved about producing ‘CHIKAs’ is that I was able to bring creative women from so many different areas of film all together.
K: What is the idea behind ‘CHIKAs’?
G: ‘CHIKAs’ is a web-series about two Eurasian twenty-somethings living in Sydney. They give the finger to the 9-5 world to seek creative freedom. However, they end up finding themselves—at various times—homeless, hospitalised and heartbroken. They end up using their charm, charisma and ‘enterprising’ ways to feed themselves.
K: What do you want the audience to take from this?
G: That Australia is a beauty of a place, filled with diversity. That ultimately, we are humans made of a whole heap of water, a few red blood cells and a few white. I want us all to celebrate our differences and allow our similarities to unite us. I want us to have fun. My show is fun and tragic, and I want us all to see that making mistakes is ok! That fear is in the back seat—and it’s not choosing the music or the snacks. You are the driver, and fear is only coming along for the ride.
K: How important are passion projects and what do they mean to you?
G: So important. The artistic projects I take propel me into a creative vortex, which helps me gain clarity on what is important to me as a human.
K : What drives you to take this alternative approach to work by working across so many different roles?
G: Scope. Seeing though different windows of the world. I love surrounding myself with a variety of people: blue-hatted engineers, painters, fiery chefs. Mostly, it’s that secrets you gain when you have an opportunity to step into their shoes. Finally, and most important of all: empathy.
K: What is your creative philosophy?
G: Reflect on humans and reflect back on your soul. Use all your resources when creating. Personally, to set the tone of an episode, I need to free-write and then shape it with poetry. Sometimes, the journey is accompanied by drawing. Embrace the creative process, even the dark times that send you into oblivion.
K: What gives you the greatest sense of achievement?
G: Seeing people recognising new horizons, and opening up their minds. I also love when I can inspire people to follow their truth.
K: Is there anything you would pass on to people who want to step outside of their 9-5 work lives, and work within different industries or different mediums while staying true to their passions?
G: Warm the cheerleaders who champion you when you are down. Open up the mind’s eye to opportunities for you to shine. Don’t be scared of being vulnerable, it’s not a weakness—there is beauty held in a tear. Sometimes, the mind is clouded, but relish in the comfort of solitude and allow empathy, compassion and kindness to be your leading light.
K: What was the one piece of advice you wish you were given earlier?
G: You don’t have to smile all the time.
K: What’s the best piece of advice you have heard and repeat to others?
G: In order to be fascinating, one must be fascinated!
All images are by the author.