MICHAELLA IS A CREATOR, CONNECTOR, AND CAN-DO-ER. ORIGINALLY FROM AUSTRALIA, SHE FOUND HER 'KALLING' ON A TRIP TO NEW YORK. SHE'S NOW MATERIALIZED HER DREAM JOB MERGING CREATIVE DIRECTION, PRODUCTION, AND MUSIC PROGRAMMING FOR BRANDS LIKE SONOS, RAY-BAN, SOHO HOUSE, AND NEUEHOUSE....NOT TO MENTION SHE IS A STUNNING AND WARM SOUL.
SHOT AT NEUEHOUSE BY PATRICK MACLEOD
You describe your role as a combination of production, creative direction, and programming…and probably a lot of other things depending the project. What innate prowess remains consistent no matter your task?
A creative, collaborative approach. Doing what I do - experiential marketing - means no day is ever the same, and creative problem solving and managing people is a huge part of my every day. I've also just launched two new initiatives that support and celebrate independent entrepreneurial young women, and so I feel like supporting women is always inherent in everything I do.
If you were hired to do the programming for the launch of yourself as a brand, what would that look like?
What a dream! All of my favorite things and people in a room together. It would probably include a family style dinner party at Brooklyn Grange catered by Marlow and Sons with food from the garden, followed by live band karaoke featuring my mega talented musician friends. Let's find a way to make that happen!
What is your favorite dish to eat in public?
Whats is your favorite event or project that you’ve worked on…
Taking Spotify to SxSW for the first time was definitely a highlight - it was a really exciting time for the brand and we had a great team on the project. Producing Sonos Studio NYC last year was a really important project personally, because it brought my focus back to music and made me realize how much I had missed that world after a year working outside of the music space.
Who is your dream client?
My dream client is collaborative, female friendly, open to taking risks, and understanding that best successes often come from learning from your biggest failures. I'd love to work with Everlane because I think what they are doing for retail is really interesting and I'd love to introduce their philosophy into physical environments and experiences. I also have huge respect for Red Bull and what they are doing in entertainment experiences and content and would love to work with them one day. I'd also love to work with a brand that has a passion for food education, like sweetgreen.
What is your most gratifying ritual?
My husband runs a restaurant with his business partner in Bed Stuy and they're about to open their second spot, so we don't get a lot of time together. The restaurant is closed on Mondays, so our Monday nights together are definitely something I look forward to each week.
Currently obsessed with?
My house! My husband and I just bought a house in Bed Stuy and we've been renovating and decorating. I'm an incredibly impatient person and buying and renovating a house as been a true test but such a rewarding one. There is a new challenge everyday.
Empress Of. She's a super talent and I'm really excited for her debut to drop on Terrible Records this fall.
Food. If I wasn't in music marketing, I'd be in food in some capacity and helping to educate local communities on sustainable food practices. Good Eggs, sweetgreen, Brooklyn Grange, Dan Barber... call me!
You’ve made a myriad of exciting career moves since your start as a breakfast radio host in Australia and now you run your own creative agency, No. 9….what was the pivotal moment or who wasthe pivotal influence that set you on the path you’re currently on?
I think there were two pivotal influences that set me on this path ...I was in love with a guy who worked a music magazine, and we were dating long distance from Sydney to New York. During one trip to New York he introduced me to the head of marketing at Beggars Group who happened to be looking for a direct marketing manager. He offered me the job and I moved to the US a month later.
I was also given the opportunity to work under an incredibly smart creative director at a small marketing agency here in NY called Splendid. That really set me on the career trajectory I am on, because she introduced me to the agency world and let me lead experiential projects, and was an incredible mentor to me. We are still close friends.
What is the most loyal piece in your wardrobe, and what makes it special?
Right before I moved to the US five years ago, I bought myself a black silk blazer. It's still one of my favorite pieces because I can wear it with anything and its held its shape perfectly. The other piece is a gold bracelet my grandmother gave me on my wedding day that I've worn every day since.
If you were producing your dream project but only budget for one thing...where or how would you get creative and where would you use your budget?
I'd spend the money on talent and an incredible sound system and call in my chef and bartender friends to handle the rest.
Enjoying a glass of wine at my husband's bar, late night
What is your first thought in the morning?
Most often than not my first thought in the morning is a task-list for the day (and lately that list feels interminable!) Always straight to business. I'm often heading to a gym class in the morning, so I'm rushing out of bed and to the subway where I catch up on emails from Australia and the UK.
What do you wish you could say to every woman?
You do you! Do what you need to do to find comfort with yourself, and then help other women to do the same.
What is your Kalling?
To create experiences that celebrate and empower beautiful minds.
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