Are you interested in hearing the real stories behind successful people who seem to have it all? Are you seeking inspiration, motivation, reassurance, courage or confidence in achieving your goals or making change? Do you enjoy meaningful, honestly raw and humorous conversations with friends? Each week, join Australian actor and lawyer Sharon Johal speak with her community of celebrities, friends and persons of expertise in various fields with unique knowledge and challenging yet ultimately triumphant life experience, whilst vulnerably revealing much of her own on an intellectual and emotional level. Whether you are curious to delve into the mind of high-achievers, are looking to feel inspired, or just want to be entertained, then this is the Podcast for you.
Jelena Dokic - Survivor of war and abuse, defined by none.
For the finale of season 2, we have none other than world tennis champion, coach, best-selling author, and commentator Jelena Dokic.
What you may know about Jelena is that she is of course, a tennis superstar having defeated Martina Hingis at the tender age age of 16 providing one of the biggest upsets in sports history, playing major grand slams including the US Open, Australian Open, French Open, Wimbeldon and achieving top 4 in the world as well as representing the country in the Olympics.
What you may not know is that she has endured so much more in one lifetime than anyone should ever have to. A refugee child not once, but twice, escaping war-torn Yugoslavia moving to Australia at 11, enduring poverty, racism and extreme psychological and physical abuse at the hands of her alcoholic father whilst achieving greatness in the tennis communities worldwide is an unbelievable story to be told. The courage to pull away from him and face her demons, working throughout managing her depression and suicidal ideations and share this with the world is awe inspiring. You would’ve most recently seen her in the news online and commentating for Wimbledon and beyond speaking up against fat-shaming trolls and in support of Ash Barty’s familial support, which she did not receive.
This is a timely conversation given what’s happening in Afghanistan and Haiti at the minute and from the perspective of a former refugee, twice. Jelena shares so many truth bombs here as well as perhaps surprisingly managing to always find the light through the darkness and simple joys to help us get through lockdown number 6. You’ll be excited to what she’s got coming up next too!
Trials and Tribulations with Tim Robards
I met Tim Robards in the process of having a TV affair with him (and well, another bloke pretending to be him) ALL during Covid. A unique circumstance, perhaps in line with his OWN unique journey on becoming an actor, growing up in Newcastle and working as a chiropractor to finding love (and consequently marriage and a beautiful child) from his stint on reality TV show “The Bachelor” as the first Australian OG - to other reality television appearances on “I’m a Celeb get me out of here”, “Dancing with the Stars” and a “Ninja Warrior”.
We talk about Tim’s upbringing and experiences in his early life and how they shaped him into his career as a fellow “slashie” chiropractor/model and now as a media personality and actor. We talk behind the scenes of the Bachelor and how he managed that morally, about the trials and tribulations of being in the public eye with a young family and what he/we went through in the lead up to his departure from Neighbours resulting in the last minute recast with Don Hany and whether he’ll be back! There’s some interesting juicy yet honest stuff here I’ll think you’ll really enjoy hearing this side of Tim, as I’ve always known him.
Deni is MAGIC in a world where we need it, and them.
They’re magical. Engaging. Endearing and one of a kind. They’re many things. A celebrity stylist, fashion editor, content creator but perhaps most importantly a vocal activist for Queer and Human Rights.
You would’ve seen them everywhere right now, and rightly so. They speak openly, frankly and with courage about sexuality, gender, equality and beyond constantly on their platforms with a view to effect change. Their pronouns are they/them, and having just celebrated their year anniversary, they identify as Non-Binary and Queer. Knowing They were gay when they were 4 years old and growing up in a strict Jehovah's Witness home to a Serbian family was difficult. That’s an understatement. We talk about how they came out as gay to their parents when they were 19 and again last year as Non-Binary and how this time it was even harder.
It's like the chat you have with your bestie over a wine, no holds barred and as if no-one is listening. We don't hold back as we talk incredibly honestly about about our struggles, sex, politics, race, equality, pop culture and we talk as friends. Because that’s what we are and that’s how you feel around Deni Todorović. Accepted. Embraced. Loved. It's SOUL FOOD.
*Apologies in advance for the squealing, I do that a lot with them.
Narelda Jacobs - the now loud, but ALWAYS PROUD Queen of current affairs
*MUST LISTEN MUST LISTEN MUST LISTEN
To celebrate PRIDE month I couldn’t think of anyone I wanted more than to bring to you guys than the icon that is Narelda Jacobs. She’s been an inspiration to me for many years - she is a proud Whadjuk Noongar gay woman who has been in the media industry telling the news and now her opinion on the news for about 20 years now. She is the epitome of “self-made”, working all the way up to achieve the incredible success she has.
I am personally so grateful to Narelda for her complete honesty and frankness in this podcast where we usually don’t get this privilege from someone in her position. We talk about being silenced, being told she would not be accepted (but loved) by her mother when she came out at 21 as a single mum, standing on the shoulders of her community and elders, experiencing racism, the identity struggle being both Aboriginal and Irish and what that means for her on “Australia/Invasion Day”, her fathers legacy, and how even employers had a say in her “public coming out”. We talk about how she’s ready to have the “tough” conversations within her friendship groups because “thats where the world is at” post Black Lives Matter and challenging life situations she faced and continues to face just by virtue of who she is. I’m just obsessed with Narelda's attitude to life and invigorated by her passion for the cause, how she continually finds and owns her truth and is just so damn authentic, positive and real about it.
The Importance of Speaking Up and being an Ally with Jamila Rizvi
It’s been a hot minute but I am thrilled to introduce our next guest - the exquisite Jamila Rizvi.
An intellectual powerhouse, Jamila has been recognised as one of Australia’s top 100 Women of Influence and her list of achievements is endless. She’s a reputable media personality, best-selling author, writer, presenter and equality advocate, just to name a few.
This podcast was actually recorded in March, initially with the intention to celebrate international women’s day that month however as you may be aware, there was little to celebrate. On the 15th Jamila made an incredibly impassioned speech at the March for justice in Melbourne where Australians nationwide protested against sexual abuse and harassment and violence against women in the country. They were spurred by a recent wave of allegations of sexual assault, centred around Australia's parliament. Jamila worked in parliament for years under the Rudd and Gillard government and she shares her insight and experiences in this problematic space. She also talks about her advocacy and activism, her journey into her heritage and identity as a biracial woman, her extreme adversity undergoing brain tumour treatment (surgery) not once, but twice within the space of 12 months and the impact this continues to have on her physical and mental health.
Jamila is a woman who has worked tirelessly and relentlessly to make positive change against incredible adversity and I adore everything about her! This is a friendly, open and warming chat amongst two women, who are allies of women. Enjoy.
Lana Wilkinson - Fashion is not frivolous, darling
What a couple of weeks it’s been for the powerhouse that is Lana Wilkinson! As you might’ve seen Lana absolutely crushed it at the Melbourne Fashion Festival, the first major fashion festival to hit the stage since everything went down, appointed as the Creative Director for the Final Runway, whilst showcasing her personally designed shoes at the same time (um who can say they’ve done that?!)
I’ve known Lana for years and in fact we recorded this podcast in lockdown when things felt pretty dire in Melbourne. I was saving it to share with you at the right time and I feel that time is now. The tone is just so telling, we were in a stage of real uncertainty and I think this chat is even more valuable to experience now, as Lana shares her vulnerable moments and fears for her family along with the issues she was facing with her new shoe business. What’s cool about this is we are experiencing in real time what happened post lockdown - her triumph in releasing her second drop of her chic af shoes and back in fine form celebrating a DECADE as one of Australia’s leading celebrity stylists, stronger and more powerful than ever! Who doesn’t love a happy ending?
Lana shares so much valuable information here about her reluctant and unplanned journey into becoming a leading stylist, creating her empire whilst maintaining her integrity along the way, reading the play, body inclusivity and the future of sustainable fashion - and trust me, this chat is anything BUT frivolous!