Major Beauty, Comedian, Author and Television Presenter, Em Rusciano talks gender inequality and world domination.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR CAREER PATH?
"Many different things have led me to my career path; it couldn’t possibly be condensed down to one thing. After I finished Australian Idol I was offered a job in radio. That taught me how to tell stories, which led me to writing, and stand-up comedy. I was given words of encouragement very early on by Charlie Pickering and Denise Scott, both incredible comedians and people whose opinions I respect. I have always loved performing; as far back as I can remember. I would put on shows for my family in the kitchen once a week, an extravaganza of costuming and pets being forced to be my back-up dancers".
WHO HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE IN YOUR LIFE?
"The biggest influence in my life changes on a week to week basis! I have an incredible group of creative friends who I run most of my decisions by. I looked up to Madonna from a very early age; I dare say she creeps into the things that I produce on a regular basis. When I first became aware of her when I was 8 years old she was a short haired, muscular, Italian woman with something to say - you could say I related to that! And her backing dancers, pop gold and costuming! I love all the larger than life women who set the world on fire in their own way: Liza, Bette, Babs, Beyonce, Lucile Ball, Tina Fey. My Grandmother Denise was the first Diva I really knew, I mean that in the best sense of the word. She taught me about emotional strength, the art of the perfectly arched eyebrow when you wish to question something subtly and how to cook! ".
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
"Feeling good within yourself, not just a perfectly coiffed outside but feeling good in your guts too. I think I look better when I’m creating things I love, not being a selfish twat and helping other people. I find it easier to look in the mirror and like what I see when my head’s in a good place".
YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR YOUNG GIRLS/WOMEN:
"Don’t change yourself to fit into other people’s versions of you - be sassy, kind-hearted, fierce bitches. Pick great friends who contribute to your experience as a human. Ditch the drainers and the drama queens. You’ve so many better things to do than be tortured by unhappy people. Don’t take shit from anyone, ever. I really mean that. Don’t be afraid to say NO. No is your friend. Don’t ever put the fear of offending someone in front of your own personal safety – emotional and physical. Having said all that, say YES as often as you can! Yes to new experiences, yes to the unknown, YES TO LIFE! Also, try not to spend too much time watching boys do stuff, make sure you get out and do your own thing. Make music, play sport, build things, write; do it yourself. Don’t be relegated to a spectator".
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES TODAY FOR WOMEN:
"How much time do you have?! Obviously gender inequality is still a big issue, while we have made huge strides in this area it is still a huge problem for women. We’re still underrepresented in government and we’re still paid less than our male counterparts. Sexism in film, advertising and everyday life is rampant. I feel it’s the unconscious stuff that is most dangerous, the casual put downs or degradation that occur in small ways every day. Being brave enough to show your strength (as strange as that sounds) is a challenge that women face - if you speak up or stand up our society sometimes seems to react with fear. As though we’re all going to rise up and go on strike… jokes aside, I reckon if every woman in the world put down her tools and just stood still until we were recognised as equals to men there would be some changes made pretty quickly!".
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN:
"Stay on your own tracks". When I first started out in stand-up comedy I was spending way too much time looking around at what everyone else was doing and achieving. How many tickets they were selling, the jokes they were telling, and I also desperately wanted acceptance from the comedic community. I was wandering around the Melbourne International Comedy Festival one night feeling very anxious and I bumped into Sam Simmons, who is a GENIUS and one of our most uniquely talented stand-up comedians. He made the mistake of asking me how I was; I took that opportunity to verbally spew everything onto him. When I was done he grabbed both of my shoulders, looked me in the eye and said “Em, look straight ahead, stay on your own tracks, f%$k what everyone else is doing.” That was a revelation to me; it was permission to be exactly who and what I wanted to be".
IS THERE ANY WOMAN YOU LOOK UP TO?
"I look up to all kinds of women; I look up to women who are unapologetic and brave. I come across these women all the time. I look up to women who help other women, I look up to women who go after what they love, who are passionate about life and work. I find inspiration and drive from ladies who get shit done, most of the time they are not famous, they’re just doing good things brilliantly".
ON YOUR DAY OFF?
"I hang with my kids, dogs, gays and husband. I try to do nothing; I’m very bad at that. I’m working on it though".
YOUR DAILY BEAUTY ROUTINE
"I wash my face in the shower, then I moisturise. I go through phases of expensive serums and eye creams but I end up forgetting to do it or run out of time. If I eat well and drink enough water my skin looks good. I reckon I could get away with no routine if I stuck to that".
YOUR BEAUTY/SKINCARE ADVICE
"Take your make-up off before you to bed. DO it. I know you’re tired and just want to sleep but unclog your noggin first, it’s just better".
YOUR FEEL GOOD INDULGENCE
YOUR FAVOURITE DESTINATION OR HOT SPOT?
"Venice, Peggy Guggenheim is a hero of mine and I was able to go to her house there and the arts festival. I can’t remember being happier. Oh except for giving birth and getting married blah blah blah blah...".
WHAT'S NEXT FOR EM RUSCIANO?
"World domination or complete emotional breakdown... I’m not sure yet. Maybe a little of both"!
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