On the Couch with Ghenoa Gela

Ghenoa Gela - photo by www.jamesphoto.com.auWho is Ghenoa Gela?
My island name is Genua, that’s the name I was given when I was born. But when I got to school, one of my teachers changed my name to Ghenoa. Now I prefer to be called G. I was born and bred in Rockhampton, in central Queensland. My parents were born in the Torres Strait. I’m a first generation, mainland-born Torres Strait Islander.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I’m not sure if I would be anything different to what I do now. Probably would have loved some more skills to assist what I do now I guess! Lol… I really love being in the arts.

Who inspires you and why?
I am constantly inspired by the hard working people around me. Whether it be my sister saving for that overseas trip, my mentor landing that funding round, my friend reaching that fitness goal or a colleague creating a creative program for young people. I get it. I see the hard work and results and it makes me want to work harder to achieve my own goals. On a creative note though, I am inspired by anime and reading sci-fi fantasy books!

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I am trying to do it! Lol… I am trying to be more aware of how much plastic I use and am trying hard to go plastic free – work in progress! I am also trying to eat less meat and I am trying to creatively connect with our young blakfullahs to hopefully instill them with some confidence (if lacking) and validation that they are deadly, they have a voice, their story is valid and that cultural identity is proper important.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I want to go to Japan! I have always been a massive fan of their culture! I love anime and gaming, their food, their Taiko drumming and their martial arts!  & they have an anime tour and a real Mario Kart Experience where you drive through Tokyo in actual Mario Karts! Clearly a big fan of Japan. I’m also currently trying to learn Japanese. So when I go there, I can be as respectful as possible to their culture.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to,and why?
Depends on how much time they have! If they only have a short period of time, I’d take ’em to something like Escape Room or Putt Putt or my favourite restaurant. Also, grabbing a feed and sitting down on the beach where I live is a nice go to too! Otherwise, if they have time, I always send people to the Blue Mountains – which lies on the Gundungurra and Darug nations. Those countries give off such a gentle, calming spirit that always takes away any stresses – whether it’d be mental, emotional or even physical. There’s just something magical about that place! There’s heaps of treks and walks to do and waterfalls to see – just proper beautiful place to go. The biggest reason I’d choose these particular things is coz I love to have fun with my mates, but mostly, I like making really good memories with them!

What are you currently reading?
Becoming – Michelle Obama.

What are you currently listening to?
At the moment I’m switching between: Rent – The Musical, Hamilton – The Musical and old skool 90’s R&B! Lol… I’ve actually made a playlist just for this combo.

Happiness is?
Happiness is many things! Hanging out with my family, hanging out with my girls, hanging out with my friends, having a day in to watch my anime, playing my Nintendo Switch – solo or with friends, finding time to go to the movies – solo or with friends, sitting down with my book, listening to my music, having biggest laughs with family and friends, lying down and watching the clouds float by, sitting at the beach watching the water ripple in the sun, sitting in the rain, walking in a city at night, being creative in a studio with friends, learning a new skill, walking through the Bush to find that waterfall, eating good food, eating good food with good company, travelling all over the world! Performing all over the world! Oh! When that one person, especially a young person comes up and says that I inspire them or that they said that I gave them advice and they’re doing amazing things now, that makes my heart proper smile hard!  There are many things I am thankful for – therefore happiness is in abundance.

What does the future hold for you?
Opportunities and adventures!! I am very aware of where I am at in my life. My parents generation are slowing going back to the earth or onto the next life depending on how you look at things – and I am aware that my generation is next, so what am I doing for future generations!? The future is always going to be more then me, so I intend to work hard at the things I’m good at, but also try harder at the things I’m not so good at, to hopefully give VISIBILITY. This country still has so much work to do to break down stereotypes of our First Nations people. I intend to break as many of those as I possibly can, to do my part for our community and young people.

Ghenoa will present My Urrwai as part of the 2019 Darwin Festival: 9 – 11 August. For more information, visit: www.darwinfestival.org.au for details.

Image: Ghenoa Gela – photo by www.jamesphoto.com.au