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Aaron Fenech

He’s the Environmental Scientist turned guitar maker who turned his passion into a business and in the last few years Aaron Fenech has created a life he absolutely adores right here on the Gold Coast.

We sat down for a chat with him about making guitars for Amy Shark and exactly what goes into making a great guitar.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Around 20 years – I first moved to the Gold Coast from Cairns in 1997. I did move to WA for eight years when I went to University but returned in 2009.

What do you love most about living in our beachside city?
The Gold Coast is such a culturally diverse place with a broad range of fun things to do. For me, it would have to be the proximity to so many world-class surf breaks.

Tell us how Fenech Guitars came about…
I’d been repairing and making guitars out of my shed for a few years before I decided to let my full time job go as an Environmental Scientist and kick start Fenech Guitars. It was pretty scary at first not knowing how I would pay the bills but it’s been well worth it.

How did your passions combine to create the life you’re living now?
I’d always been attracted to making things from a young age and would have a go at making anything, particular things that I was passionate about like surfing, music and art. I tried my hands at a few surfboards, skateboards and even spear guns but when I tried making a guitar for the first time I knew instantly it would be an obsession.

What goes into creating a guitar and what makes a good guitar?
Lots of aspects go into making a great guitar. The timbers or tonewoods the maker selects, a steady hand, a whole bunch of mathematical and physics equations, a keen eye for detail and a creative vision to bring the whole package together. Of course what defines a ‘great’ guitar will always be subjective but these disciplines are a must.

What does a day in the life of Aaron Fenech look like?
It generally starts with a surf out the front of Nobbys where I live, a coffee from The Yard and then open the workshop and start doing what I love; making guitars!

Why do you think it’s important to do something you’re passionate about for work?
It’s pretty simple really; if you manage to find that thing you simply stop referring to it as work or a job. That doesn’t mean you won’t put in tonnes of hours and energy to perfect what you’re doing but it’s never work. It’s an obsession.

Have you made guitars for anyone we might know?
I’ve made guitars now for loads of people on the Gold Coast, across Australia and we even export overseas but I guess Amy Shark and Cate Blanchett would be a noteworthy couple.

What advice do you have for someone looking to turn their passion into a business?
Just go for it. It’s not the easiest path but it’s way more interesting taking the road less traveled.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Coffee spot: The Yard and Forreal Kitchen
Cafe for breakfast: Forreal Kitchen
Restaurant for dinner: Etsu
How does your weekend usually look: Surfing, playing music and hanging out with my family

Nati Trujillo

Image by Nick Atkins at Hotel Miami

She’s the local gal who lights up every space she steps into, not to mention clever, multi-passionate and creating countless good things for the Gold Coast community.

Nati Trujillo is a yoga teacher, designer and most recently, co-creator of podcast Let’s Wine About It with her pal Emma Hale. Each episode consists of chats about life experiences over a bottle of wine and we are 100% behind that.

We sat down for a chat with Nati about her love of creating platforms for people to express themselves and her upcoming Sri Lanka yoga retreat.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I’ve lived on the Gold Coast since December 2013, always around Broadbeach, Mermaid Beach and Miami.

What do you love most about living here?
My favourite thing is to be close to the beach, the slow life, the people I’ve met here and having amazing places to visit everywhere. That means road trips every weekend! Yay!

Tell us about the podcast you’ve recently started, Let’s Wine About It…
We love wine and realised our best conversations about life, sex and relationships were happening over a glass of Pinot on a Friday night, so we decided to start recording. This podcast is an outlet for us to talk about issues that so many of us go through but don’t always talk about because of embarrassment, frustration or judgement. Our goal is to have our listeners feel like they’re having a chat and a laugh, or even a cry, with their friends over a bottle of wine. There’s no judgement or censors here, it’s just two girls sharing their life experiences, emotions, embarrassing stories and opinions in the hope that people can relate.

Emma Hale and Nati by Nick Atkins at Hotel Miami

Why does the world need your podcast?
I’ve always wanted to start a podcast. A platform where I can just be myself and say what I think without any filters. When I met Emma Hale, I knew I had found my co-host and asked her to be a part of it. I think the world needs Let’s Wine About It because I know there are so many people like me out there that think and feel the same things I do. I think my purpose in life is to create platforms where people can express themselves and feel that they are not alone. I also love that Emma and I have very different ways of seeing and experiencing life, it’s such an interesting thing to see/hear. We have a very special relationship.

You’re also a yoga teacher and a designer, what does a day in the life of Nati look like?
I did my first Yoga Teacher Training in 2009 and I opened a yoga studio in Chile in 2010 and since then I’ve been a full time yoga teacher. I do a bit of freelance graphic design, and I love to draw and do creative stuff. Right now a day in my life starts with yoga in the morning at 6am either by myself or at Hotel Miami with my friends. Then we go for a coffee and hangout until everyone goes to work. I come home and work on my own projects and then I do four to five hours of graphic design a day at an office in Bundall. I come home and either go for a walk, gym or work a little more on my things, create content for yoga/podcast and then cook dinner with my husband and relax.

Tell us about the yoga retreat you’re hosting in Sri Lanka next year…
I’m super excited for this retreat because Sri Lanka is one of the places I’ve always wanted to visit! It’s on in the first week of February with @thearthlinks, it’s a full vegan retreat in Hikkaduwa where there’s also surf and a cool little town for activities. Retreats are something I want to do more in the future because I get the chance to meet people and connect with them on a deeper level and that’s my favourite thing about the yoga experience. I’ll be teaching strong Vinyasa classes, handstand/headstand workshops, backbends and open-heart releasing. Most of all I’m excited about the times in between, where everyone gets to be themselves and that’s when the magic happens. You can still sign up directly with @thearthlinks on Instagram.

You’re a pretty big part of the local Miami community, what does that mean to you?
I’m so grateful for all the people in my life, especially the guys from Hotel Miami – Jessie, Nicka and Darran – they are doing amazing things for the community and they have been so generous and loving to me. Hotel is my home and I’m blessed to be a part of it. The crew at Granddad Jacks are all incredible people doing amazing things too, definitely helping Miami and the Gold Coast become a creative, fun and inclusive scene in Australia.

What advice do you have for someone else who’s multi-passionate and not sure how to make things happen?
My advice is to just go for it. Stop looking at what other people are doing. Stop comparing yourself and start now, today. Baby steps, one day at a time. You’ll get there. Start with a simple goal and work towards that. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and surround yourself with people you admire. And above all, be nice to yourself, don’t feel guilty if it doesn’t happen fast enough. As long as you are doing things that you love and from the heart, you can do anything.

What’s on for the rest of 2019 for you?
Build up the podcast! We just bought new gear and it’s going to be amazing! I want to take the podcast on YouTube, get great people in it to interview and travel. My husband Nico and I are travelling to Chile in November for my brother’s wedding and I can’t wait to hangout with everyone and celebrate. We come back in December to celebrate my birthday and from then onwards it’s a bit crazy until new year haha

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Coffee spot: Burleigh Co-Op, Board Culture Surf Shop, Stable Coffee Kitchen
Restaurant for dinner: Greenhouse Canteen, Justin Lane, Bonita Bonita, Burleigh Pavilion
After work hang spot: Burleigh Hill, Burleigh Pavilion, Apres Surf, at the beach with a bottle of wine
How does your weekend usually look: Always a workout in the morning then brekky/brunch and hangouts at the beach. Drinks at someone’s house and out in Burleigh if we feel like it

Hugh Sheridan

Hugh Sheridan is Australia’s golden boy; an actor, musician, presenter and winner of four Logies, most notably for his role as Ben Rafter on Packed to the Rafters.

Soon though, he’ll be gracing our Gold Coast shores as part of Home of the Arts (HOTA) showing of the revolutionary rock musical, Hair.

We sat down for a chat with Hugh about what we can expect from the contemporary version of a 50 year old classic and what he loves most about the Gold Coast.

What do you love most about visiting the Gold Coast?
Honestly, it’s my beautiful friends that I’ve made while working on films over the last few years. I have always loved the Gold Coast for the weather and the beaches!

HAIR is coming to HOTA in October, what can we expect from the show?
Expect the unexpected! Hair can be hard to follow at first but stay open and free and you’ll enjoy the ride. There’s amazing songs and themes – all honest and heartfelt.

Talk to us about some of the social issues it touches on?
Women’s rights, climate change, sexual identity, racial clashes and the ongoing war. All, tragically, sound very relevant today.

How did your role in HAIR come about?
I was actually in an ashram in India when I first heard about the production. It felt right given I was already in India where Berger intended to go.

Your career and life, have spanned both music and acting, talk us through some of the highlights so far…
Winning the four Logies was a dream come true as it solidified my feelings that I had chosen the right career. My one-man shows on Times Square and at the Sydney Opera House were pinch yourself moments too!

What’s the plan for 2019 after HAIR finishes up?
I’m booked to sing in Egypt, as well as the George Michael Listen to your Heart Symphony on the Gold Coast. My brother is getting married in Adelaide at Christmas so maybe I’ll do Carols. I can’t believe the year’s almost over!

Christina Armstrong

Christina Armstrong is one stylish Gold Coaster, not to mention the owner of stunning local homewares and clothing brand Moss Living.

We sat down for a chat with Christina about her high-end linen bedding, sustainable sourcing practices and the new Moss Living wearables about to hit the market. 

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I’ve grown up a city girl mostly. I was born in São Paulo, Brazil and travelled the world with my parents. I then spent my teenage years in Brisbane, came here for a weekend away in 2002 and never left. I worked at Swinging Safari, then moved to the southern Gold Coast to manage Elephant Rock Cafe and after meeting my fiancé in 2005, I started to call the Gold Coast my home.

What do you love most about living here?
I’m a nature lover. I love the birds, the wildlife, the fresh air and sea breezes. Our home backs onto the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary so I’m lucky to be surrounded by the most stunning flora and fauna. It’s my own little piece of paradise. My home is my haven. The beaches here are just so beautiful and clean and I love the proximity to all the best swimming spots. The community is just like a small country town, so many creative people and incredible local support.

How did your business Moss Living come about?
I’ve always been encouraged to make a house a home. From very early in life my parents gave me freedom to arrange and design my own space. I was encouraged to decorate, repaint and style my room as a kid. My mother always had the most exquisite furniture and homewares she had collected from around the world and I always appreciated the quality and uniqueness of her pieces and the way she styled our homes was just divine. The ‘good room’ was always pristine, it was her pride and joy with stunning Brazilian timber furniture, hand carved, exotic fish sculptures and fresh roses she grew herself. I’ve always remembered the fine detail and the feeling of warmth and comfort. I carried this feeling throughout adulthood. She taught me to be stylish and proud of my home. I’ll always be grateful for that. With Moss Living I’ve found something I love and I’m just so happy to be able to work with such a beautifully raw, sustainable material.

You sell beautiful, high-end linen, towels and clothing, from where do you source your fabrics?
All of our linen is ethically grown in and sourced from France. It’s the highest quality linen available on the market. Linen is a part of a movement back to the belief that simplicity and quality are paramount. We have a close relationship with our supplier and we’re always interacting with each other over new developments and concepts. Our supplier is one of the leading providers of fine linen in the world. They deal directly with France to source the best raw flax linen and in the dying process, our supplier uses AZO-free dye which is very friendly to human skin as well as the environment.

Can you talk to us about any upcoming colour trends you’re noticing for the new season?
I’ve never been a real trend follower. If you’re running a business and marketing high end products I think it’s important to understand trends however I don’t want to be someone who follows the market. I love to be innovative and aim to come up with a unique palette. In saying that, I’m influenced by my surroundings, Australia has the most beautiful landscapes and I’m always looking at colours that represent a personal experience and the love I have for nature.

Any advice for someone looking to start their own business?
Be yourself. Follow your heart. Don’t compromise quality. Surround yourself with positive, happy, supportive people. Do your research and understand it takes time. Business is a balance.

What’s the plan for the rest of 2019 for you?
We have some amazing new Moss Wearables in the making and I’m working on new colours for bedding. I’m always working on new shoots with my photographer Jenna Agius to keep it fresh and relatable.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Cafe for breakfast: I’m lucky enough to be able to walk down to Cornerstone at Currumbin, amazing healthy food especially breakfast
Coffee spot: Saltmill at Currumbin and Dust Temple in the industrial area
Restaurant for dinner: The Fish House at Burleigh and Hellenika at Nobbys Beach
How does your weekend usually look: Coffee first then morning chats with our fur babies. We get produce from our local farmers market at Palm Beach every Saturday morning and I usually have a glass of bubbles or two with my fiancé. I’m often in my ceramics studio creating.

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