Cybele Malinowski - scenestr of the day

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What do you do? I'm a photographer and director, and I've been working in the industry for almost 15 years now.

I am also the founder of Agender, a platform for female photographers within Australia. We are advocates for change and equality for women within the industry, and shining light on all the amazing work of the incredible women within photography in Australia.

Why do you do it? I am a photographer because I had no choice in the matter. For years I searched for a way to communicate my ideas and feelings and philosophies, and when I discovered photography there was no turning back for me. It's my passion, my work, my life.

I started Agender because from a very early point in my career I could see discrepancies between how men are treated in photography compared to women. Once I was pregnant and had children, these gender inequalities stretched further and further, and it is my goal to not only highlight these issues but also work with brands and companies and people to work out how to shift to parity within the photography field.

I am happy to say that since we started Agender there has been a huge shift in gender equality in the photo industry. The AWMAs for example.

What do you love about the city you live in? I would normally say the sunshine, but let's be honest Sydney has been more like London recently. It's my friends and my family that keep me in this beautiful city.

Where did you go for your last holiday? My last holiday was mid last year where I went and shot a gorgeous fashion campaign in Perth for Miss NAIDOC, and then I drove eight hours due north to shoot some aerial photography over the pink salt mines. I always try and tie in a personal art it with any travel that I do.

What's your favourite item of clothing? I have this amazing oversized silk pyjama top from Romance was Born with native birds adorning it. I wear it all the time; you can dress it up, dress it down.

What was your favourite TV show when you were a kid? (If you've got kids, what's your favourite show to watch with them?) 'The Simpsons'. One of those a-ha moments of being a mum myself was when I had both my baby girls on either side of me laughing with me and watching 'The Simpsons'.

The fact that we can enjoy the same cultural icons, that it's still relevant for them, 20 years after I loved it when I was a kid it's just the best.

If you could travel back in time for a day, where would you go? I would've loved to be around LA in the '90s. Just walking around soaking up the vibes, rocking my Dr Martens, heading to the Château Marmont to hang out, before hitting Sunset for a night of grunge.

If we were coming over to your place, what would you cook us? I'd get my husband Dan (Boud) to make his famous home-made pizzas, and I would whip up some salads and make sure we have plenty of wine. I don't really have a favourite meal; it just depends on the time of year and who my company is.

What's the best lesson you've ever learned? To give less f...s. Everyone is so busy worrying about themselves, they don't really give a sh.t about you, so don't worry about what they think because chances are they're not even thinking about you.

Tell us one thing about yourself that nobody else knows... I'm an over-sharer, so I really can't think of a thing.

Are you happy with your work/ life balance? I love my work so much. I've never really stopped until right now. I'm just luxuriating in the baby bliss of my new bub, and taking stock and enjoying the company of my two older girls Lilya and Lulu. It's been really interesting just stopping and letting go of work for a while.

With my first two I was back working within weeks of the girls being born. Now, I've hidden my laptop and have implemented a rule to say no to all work for at least three months.

I've never felt confident enough to be able to do so, but one thing that I learnt from COVID is you don't have to work yourself to the ground, you can take time off and the work will still be there, as long as the passion is still there.

How do you define success? The trifecta. Creative satisfaction, mortgage re-payments and happiness.

What's your spirit animal? Siberian tiger.

Cybele Malinowski is a finalist in the Music Photographer Award at the Australian Women In Music Awards which take place in Brisbane at Hotel X (conference) 17 May with the award ceremony at The Tivoli 18 May.

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