On the Couch with Yumi Stynes

Yumi Stynes AAR On the CouchWho is Yumi Stynes?
I am a former rock journalist with a terrible addiction to laughter and sex. I am a sometime TV presenter with a penchant for cooking and an active loathing of TV. I am a radio broadcaster with a national show on the KiiS network called The 3pm Pickup (which, weirdly, runs from 3pm, Mon-Fri) and a podcast called Ladies, We Need to Talk. I am a cookbook author and my first book is called The Zero Fucks Cookbook.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I need more time!

Who inspires you and why?
I love Roxane Gay. I watch her every move. She is a writer, a feminist and raconteur. She calls herself a ‘Bad Feminist’. In many ways she’s dealing clarity and I’m buying. She’s imperfect and human but she knows her turf and defends it with such breathtaking  sureness, I watch that, I see that and it gives me strength and inspiration.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Big question. I guess I try on many levels not to be an asshole.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Anywhere with an interesting and proud food culture! I’m mad for a bit of holiday eating, and have in the past had a terrible time going to places where the food is miserable – no amount of postcard-perfect weather and immaculate beaches can polish a turd of a place, where every dish is mealy mush that has been transferred from the deep freeze to the deep fryer, NO THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Last month I was in Spain eating pintxos – it was most excellent, and I try to make regular trips to my mother’s home country of Japan for food and culture and family.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
When friends visit my home city of Sydney I lose my shit because I am PROUD of this place. It’s like when you’re totally horny for your new partner and want to show them off. I think Sydney is a brilliant, ridiculous and gorgeous town.

I almost always take guests to Kinokuniya Bookstore in the city – it’s central and you can disappear there and find something marvellous. It’s a truly international bookstore, so if your friends are homesick, there’s usually something there to take the edge off their longing.

I always take visitors to the Art Gallery of NSW – I like the vibe there and I have some favourite paintings I need to go say hi to. We’ll have lunch at the upstairs restaurant and if it’s hot we might finish with a swim at the Boyd Charlton Pool. All three of these places have secret pleasures for locals but don’t make tourists feel excluded and I dig that because I’m both.

What are you currently reading?
Cookbooks, travel guides, a shitload of stuff about periods and menstruation and a book about women in television called Stealing the Show: How Women Are Revolutionising Television.

What are you currently listening to?
I am listening to my own podcast, Ladies, We Need to Talk because as a broadcaster or any kind of performer it’s really important to aircheck yourself! I’ve never understood people who say, “I can’t bear watching myself back,” or “I can’t stand the sound  of my own voice.”

Right, I get it, but get over it. Nobody ever, ever reviews their own performance without thinking, “I know how I could do that better next time.” If you’re really lucky, you GET A NEXT TIME. And you get to MAKE IT BETTER. It’s a gift! I’ve also spent the first half of the year listening to the album Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae which is like a great big sex infusion.

Happiness is?
Happiness is sprinting after the thing you want. I’m most happy when I have a project that’s challenging me and stressing me out a bit.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m hoping to kiss the armpits of more small children in the near future – probably the armpits of my own children but I’m happy to accept volunteer armpits as I am very gifted at making the owners of said armpits giggle until they’re wheezing and nearly in tears from laughter. I’m hunting for a perfect new bundt tin for my baking pursuits and am hoping to perfect a rainbow cake that has been driving me nuts for the past 3 weekends.

I have a documentary about sexism coming out on SBS – don’t know the broadcast date yet but within a couple of months, and I have a second cookbook, Zero Fucks Cooking – Endless Summer out in December. But it’s another big question. The future holds all kinds of sadness and heartbreak and mysteries I’m sure. But right now, I feel like the future holds so much richness and joy that I’m excited when I wake up every morning.

Yumi brings her hugely popular ABC podcast Ladies, We Need To Talk to the Giant Dwarf Theatre, Redfern on Saturday 4 August 2018. For more information, visit: www.giantdwarf.com.au for details.

Image: Yumi Stynes (supplied)

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