GLOSS Issue 21 APRIL 2015 - Page 9

Dear Tracey I have to admit, I was literally dry-mouthed-having to wipe my palms with a tissue-nervous when I picked up the phone to call you. There have been a few ‘oh this is going to start-go-end badly/they are going think I am an absolute moron/what am I playing at, I’m not a journalist, I’m just someone who likes getting into people’s heads’ moments when it comes to facing up to GLOSS interview subjects, and you were definitely one of them. Why? Hmmm, let’s see. You’re one of the most articulate women (or men for that matter) on social and traditional media. You challenge the status quo on a daily basis, and speak up for minorities - not just women - when you see inequality. You make it acceptable for a woman to be herself without having to turn into a bimbo in a beehive in the workplace. You took off all your makeup in front of a crowd (incorporating virtual numbers here) of almost 1.2 million people. And you took on Arianna Huffington. In person. IN. PERSON. And you’re still alive. No wonder I had shaky hands as I misdialled your number and spoke to someone called Ranesh who had no idea why I was calling him about his thoughts on the gender pay gap, although he did tell me he thought that it wasn’t very fair. Thanks, Ranesh. After I finally dialled the right number and stopped freaking out and making stupid jokes, I realised that you were in fact a normal person and not a minor deity, plus you swear nearly as much as I do. This was mildly reassuring, but doesn’t change the basic facts; that achievement wise, we are sitting in very different camps. However, an interview is an interview, and your time within the media has brought some significant changes; from the rise of the internet and multiplatform, 24/7 news availability, to the downturn in traditional journalists and the prevalence of ‘first responders’ and ‘exposure’ rather than salaries. It’s also brought changes in perception throughout the media industry - of women by men, of women by women, and of your passion for causes outside your key work. I wanted to know what had changed for the better, if anything, from your beginnings as a cadet journalist, to now. Plus... there’s that talk. You know. THAT talk. Starts with T, ends in edX. I cunningly asked a very original question about where you were at 21. “At 21? Gosh... I was still studying journalism at what is now QUT (Queensland University of Technology) – and I was er, quietly marching the streets against the concept of paid uni fees – the Labor government had just started talking about bringing in fees at that stage. I admit I was on the ‘quiet’ side of active! This was in the days of Joh Bjelke-Petersen and it was quite dangerous to protest against anything in Queensland, particularly as a student.” Being a big wuss at university, I had no comeback to this, being far too busy propping up the bar during tutorials on thrilling subjects like Keynesian theory, so I still admire the quiet demonstrating. As we were moving into the workforce in a similar time-frame, however, and in a similar environment (media and PR), I asked you if you had the same kind of introduc F