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When Steph Huang took a leap of faith by leaving her home in New Zealand for Melbourne she didn't know what might happen next. All she knew was that it was time to spread her wings and try something new. Over the last few years she has been busy making a life for herself. She's volunteered, re-established a career in science and started a PhD. She also founded of the social enterprise Homegirls Melbourne - a start-up that collaborates with women who have sought asylum in Australia to produce handmade jewellery.

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Updated: Apr 8, 2019

In episode thirteen we speak with Faustina Agolley about her experiences of growing up in Australia and how her career is now shaped with the intention to create positive and inclusive experiences for herself and others.

In the newly released anthology of short stories ‘Growing up African in Australia’, Faustina Agolley writes about exploring her cultural identity alongside the story of her father Samuel Agolley. We are introduced to her father through his tragic passing and it is with Faustina’s curiosity; the love her parents shared, and the connection to her Ghanean family that she is guided in her understanding of what it means to be growing up African in Australia.

We also chat about the creative process, how establishing boundaries within our personal and professional network creates space to bring our complete selves to our work, and the various influences helping to guide this thinking.

Faustina also shared an amazing collection of musicians, plays, and films which have guided her work, especially developing her voice as a writer.

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In episode twelve we speak with the radiant beam that is Monika Singh Gangotra. Monika is a trained psychologist who has researched cultural identity as well health psychology for her doctorate. If that wasn't interesting enough, she’s now designing a new career and way by combining two of her many passions; culture and fashion.

Monika lives in Birmingham with her beautiful family, but prior to that she grew up on the coast of New South Wales. The experience of moving between cultures has given Monika an open mindset of curiosity and self-expression, one which is now transending into her creative practice as a designer.

If you’ve watched the The Big Family Cooking Showdown which she appeared in with her family, you’ll see how her kind presence absolutely shone and I can’t wait to see how that translates into her design line. It’s inspiring to see smart and creative people finding ways to represent themselves and their culture.

When we asked Monika to share who inspires her work her thoughts didn't stray too far from her heart. In Monika's words;

It’s my dad. He is truly the most incredible human I’ve ever had in my life. A true feminist at heart he raised us three as absolute equals, never making me feel anything less than my brother and ensuring I fought and pushed and worked to do anything I ever wanted. I grew up in a house with no gender roles - my father cooking and cleaning and combing our hair. The kindest and most patient and selfless person I have ever met. He is everything I aspire to be as a parent, a partner, a friend, and most importantly as a human. P.s - His sense of style is impeccable. 

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