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Ellie Hopley

Local Artist and Fashion Designer at shuturp.

Ellie Hopley is the local artist literally wearing her heart on her sleeve with a clothing line dedicated to showcasing real life, and all the emotions that go along with it, through her amusing illustrations.

She’s built up quite the following of online admirers too. We sat down for a chat with Ellie about her brand shuturp’s quirky Instagram feed and why she’s hoping to help people feel less alone through her work.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I moved here from England when I was 11! I’m now 25. I don’t have a calculator with me but I’m guessing 43 years.

What do you love most about living here?
Firstly the weather (obviously) closely followed by the laidback lifestyle, the BEACH, OMG the beach, the cafes, I could go on for a while…

Tell us about what you create with shuturp?
I basically just draw how I feel so it’s really just a funny/ emotional feed that hopefully makes people laugh but also makes them feel less alone during the harder times in life. Then there are the clothes; it just blows my mind people actually wear stuff with my art on it.

How did the business come about, have you always been an artist?
No I never thought I’d be an artist. It’s weird actually, a clairvoyant told me about five years ago that I would be an artist and I left feeling like I had just wasted my money but I guess she was right. I drew a face on a plank of wood about three years ago and thought it actually looked cool, then I made an Instagram account to post random stuff on and here I am!

Is there a message you want to share through your creative work?
Everyone struggles at some point in their lives no matter who they are. I think people think sadness is weakness but it’s not, we all feel it so that’s why I like to share my bad days as well. People are so fake, especially on social media so I’m just trying to be honest over here.

You’re also a musician; do you plan on performing around the Coast?
I was! I’m only a musician in my bedroom now but I am planning on changing that in the near future. The stresses of gigging got the better of me in the past but I think I am ready to give it another go. Keep your eyeballs peeled.

What’s the plan for the rest of 2018?
Just keep going, keep growing, bring out heaps of fun clothes and just enjoy my life 🙂

Best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Everything ALWAYS works out (it’s true).

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Beach: From Broadbeach all the way to Burleigh and beyond
Cafe: Daark in Chirn Park is pretty great
Restaurant: Lucky Bao, Sparrow Eating House and Balboa Italian
How does your weekend usually look? You’ll probably find me on the couch eating pizza if I’m being honest OR sitting on Burleigh hill eating pizza. Anything with pizza. That reminds me, Justin Lane is another yum place to eat.

Amy Shark

Amy Shark is a born and bred Gold Coaster who has taken the music world by storm over the last few months.

After releasing her debut single Adore in 2016, Amy became a household name going on to claim second place in Triple J’s Hottest 100 and last week, announcing an Australia-wide tour.

We sat down for a chat with Amy to find out how her life has changed and what she loves most about being a Gold Coaster.

It’s been a whirlwind few months for you, how are you feeling about it all?

I’m still Amy, but I get to write and play music full time now so I’m in the clouds!

You grew up on the Gold Coast, how has the culture here shaped your musical career?

The Gold Coast music scene was obviously not as savvy as the major cities but in a way it was kind of nice, there was never any pressure and I loved being able to write a song in my bedroom, then randomly ride to the beach and back. Growing up here was all about warm summers, sleepovers, theme parks, beach hangs and pool parties.

How did you come to be where you are today? Any defining moments?

When I finally took myself seriously, focusing on my sound and perfecting what I wanted people to feel when they listen to my music.

How did it feel to hear your song on the radio for the first time?

I was super proud! I will never forget that night.

What’s it been like trying to break into the music scene?

Well I kind of gave up ‘trying’ to get noticed, and it was the best decision I ever made. I finally channeled all my energy on my music.

If I were an aspiring artist on the Gold Coast, what steps would I take to get where you are?

Be brutally honest with yourself. Do you want to be a musician to be rich and famous or do you want to be a musician because you can’t stop making music? Cause if it’s the first one you’re probs gonna crash.

What do you love most about the Gold Coast lifestyle?

It’s chilled, it’s warm and there’s avocado on every menu.

You’re not a Gold Coast local if you haven’t…. 

Thrown some tins in your bike basket and rode to Burleigh Hill.

Being a local we have to ask for your favourites…

Beach: Currumbin

Restaurant: Romanos

Pub: D’Arcy Arms

Coffee Shop: Society of Florida

Music venue: NightQuarter

Tour dates and tickets available here.

Matt Okine

He’s one of Australia’s most beloved performers; a comedian, author and actor, and he’s coming to the Gold Coast for GC Laughs Festival on Sunday March 21st.

We sat down for a chat with Matt about what he’s excited most to do while he’s on the Coast and how one juggles doing all of the epic things he does, while also being a new Dad.

What do you love most about visiting the Gold Coast?
The beach, the sun, the surf, but also the food. I love sitting in Rick Shores on a sunny day, eating a bug roll and looking up along the beach towards the high-rises of Surfers. Followed by a session at one of the local taprooms. There is seriously no better spot in Australia to spend an afternoon eating and drinking.

What can we expect from your GC Laughs Festival show ’Solo Diner’?
Most people only know me from the radio, or TV, so they’re always surprised when they see me do a full-length stand-up show. This is where it all started for me. I guess this year’s show is about the journey from being the solo diner on tour to being the person requesting a high chair and boiling water to heat breast milk in the restaurant. It’s about lying on first dates. Its about crime podcasts and bird seed thieves. It’s about birthing classes and finding a good parking spot when your partner is 10cm dilated. It’s about all those things and more. It’s hard to explain a stand-up show! It’s about everything and nothing at the same time.

You recently wrote and starred in hit TV series, The Other Guy, can you talk to us about the premise of that and how it all came to fruition?
The Other Guy started as a stand-up show that actually won the Director’s Choice Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The stand-up show was based on the breakdown of a relationship that had happened in my life, and we made the TV show into a fictionalised version of what happens in the aftermath of a breakdown. You see my nude butt in it quite a lot though, so if brown peaches ain’t your thing, then stay away.

Is writing a TV show something you’ve always wanted to do?
Absolutely. When I was growing up I was obsessed with Seinfeld. He’s part of the reason I even wanted to become a stand-up. TV is hard work though. On the radio, you can look like crap for your whole shift and nobody knows. But on TV, that pimple or that bald patch is forever.

You also hosted a cooking show… is cooking a passion of yours and what are your favourite dishes to cook?
I think cooking and joke-telling are pretty closely related. It really comes down to creating things that you hope other people will enjoy. Whenever I’m not performing or writing, I’m eating or thinking about food. As we speak, I’m in Adelaide at the food markets, trying to digest a huge pork roll that I just bought. I think I’ve eaten half a kilo of crackling.

Oh you also wrote a novel, talk to us about that…
My novel, Being Black n Chicken & Chips, is about a twelve-year-old boy, trying to start high school while his Mum dies of cancer. It’s based on my very first award-winning stand-up show of the same name, and I wrote the book whilst my partner was pregnant. One of the most incredible things I’ve ever been able to do is dedicate it to my daughter, Sofia. That’s the very first page of the book, but it was the last thing I wrote. All the struggling I went through to create and actually type a story became worthwhile when I realised that it’s ultimately a way for my daughter to connect with the grandmother she’ll never get to meet. I’m really proud of it.

How does one juggle all of the things you do?
Just do it. I know I stole that motto off Nike, but seriously, you just have to do it. There would be times where I would be writing late into the night and waking up at 4am to be on set by sunrise. You just have to block all the negative voices out in your head, and focus on what’s the most important thing in the moment. Stop worrying about the mountain, just worry about where to put your foot next.

If you had to choose one of the above as your greatest passion, which would you choose?
Being a good Dad.

From where do you find inspiration for your work?
Trying to find inspiration is like trying to find a partner. The more desperate you become, the more likely you’ll be going home alone (without a joke/story/etc). I try to just live my life and hope that I bump into inspiration when I’m out shopping, or catching the bus, or drunk in a bar somewhere.

Anything you’re super excited to do on the Gold Coast while you’re here?
Drinking wine and eating bug rolls at Rick Shores. I better wait ‘til the day after my gig though…

Cleo Massey

She’s the Gold Coast gal who began her acting career on much-loved series H20 Just Add Water and from there, Cleo Massey’s career has absolutely skyrocketed.

Not only has she starred in a web series created by her Mum (talented fam), she’s also recently written her very first comedy feature and produces a blog to spread her good vibes far and wide.

We sat down for a chat with Cleo about growing up in the film and television industry and hosting her very own event in the coming weeks. 

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I moved up from Tasmania just after my fourth birthday! I’ve lived here ever since.

What do you love most about our beautiful beachside city?
The beaches and the relaxed vibe the whole city gives off. 

Tell us how your acting career began…
I was always into drama inside and outside of school. When I was 11, I auditioned for a show, H20 Just Add Water. I got the role, and filmed it for four years! After such an amazing experience on H20, I was sure I had to continue acting and was cast in a few different series, films and commercials. I secured some great representation in the U.S. and was sponsored for an acting visa. Over the past three years I’ve been back and forth between the Gold Coast and LA for pilot season, meetings and writing sessions. I recently filmed a comedy pilot, Cursed funded by Screen Queensland, which was so fun to film! The majority of the actors cast were comedians, which made the set a hilarious one to be on.

What have been some highlights of your acting career?
H20 Just Add Water was really special and still to this day, gives me so many opportunities moving forward in my career. Stage Mums was also definitely a career highlight.

You had a starring role in a web series created by your Mum (Stage Mums), what was it like working so closely with her?
It was so much fun! She created this series four years ago and worked so hard to get it off the ground. It was so interesting being a part of it and watching the process behind the scenes for so many years. Well, hard work does pay off! Stage Mums has just been picked up by Network 10 and will air on Channel 11 later this year! We want to show people in the TV and film industry that if you believe and persist, you can make incredible things happen. We’re so excited for Australia to see Stage Mums!

Your blog is a very inspirational space, why did you start it and why is it important?
I started my blog, Pass Around the Smile, four years ago to help myself get through some hardships I was facing within the Film and TV industries. After a few blog posts, I realised I was helping other people, and that felt so good. Four years later I’m still creating feel good blogs and I have just sold out my first Pass Around the Smile event! My goal is to inspire and encourage people to realise their full power and potential. I write and talk about all things positive, I love teaching people about the law of attraction, self-love and meditation. I want to spread positivity as far and wide as I can! Having a positive outlook on life is so important and I want people to realise they can change their life by changing their mindset.

Tell us about the comedy feature you’ve written recently…
I discovered my love for screenwriting while in the States waiting around for auditions. I decided I would create my own dream role and the story just fell into place around that. It’s been finished for a while now, but it’s constantly changing after having incredible people in the industry read it. It’s so important, whatever industry you’re in to utilise your contacts and accept constructive criticism. I’ve learnt so much that way.

What’s on for the rest of 2018?
My first Pass Around the Smile event is next week! I’m so excited, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I can’t wait for people to feel inspired, relaxed and confident in themselves. The event is being held in a beautiful candle factory and I have so many amazing creatives helping me make it the most perfect night.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Beach: Miami/Tallebudgera Creek
Restaurant: Oh no, this is so hard. Can I choose two? Gemelli and Lucky Bao!
Cafe: Hand Coffee in Broadbeach! The best coffee and the BEST jaffles ever!
How does your weekend usually look: Coffee with the fam, walk my doggy, dip in the ocean, bit of a read of whatever feel good book I’m on, and a night out with friends.

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