Wednesday, 14 July 2010
actor & shop owner tori dixon-whittle
They might seem like wildly different roles, but Tori Dixon-Whittle doesn't exactly live a conventional life. After all, she started out as an actress and has gone on to renovate more than 20 properties with her partner, David Bromley. [One of them is pictured above - the photos were taken by photographer Mikkel Vang for Harper's Bazaar.] Tori's also a collaborator on the shop she and David launched together, A Day On Earth. And as if that isn't enough (alongside raising three children), Tori is about to do a one-woman play Songs For Sylvie in August.
Which five words best describe you? Determined, loving, calm, life-long-learner, energetic.
What was your first career job and what path have you taken since? This necessitates a long answer as I've walked a very varied path! Firstly, I never really had a "career" job, I've always been interested in a great many things and have sought to explore as much as I can through my work... My first job, though, I had whilst I was still at school. It was at a nursing home, starting at 6am on a Sunday morning (!!). I was responsible for bed-making, food tray delivering, dining room table setting, meal preparation & serving, dishwashing & general cleaning up for 80 patients - it was a hard slog!! But I have never been afraid of hard work. And I realise in retrospect that I've always been interested in the subtleties of human existence, the tapestry of human life & despite the mundanities of this job, it was rich in stories of life. The Russian immigrant who wrote me letters about his past in a wonderful spidery hand, inspired by the fact he had a fresh ear eager to hear his tales; the dear old thing devastated by the betrayal of her memory, slipping through her fingers day by day, unsure each morning if she had had her breakfast or not; the dribbling old-before-his-time sixty-year-old who couldn't understand why I didn't want his help to dry the dishes! I am fascinated by the human condition & here it was an endless source, in fact. Some of the other roads I have walked: I was an actor for 16 years (starting as a little girl) - film, TV & theatre; I set up, cooked in & ran Tin Cat Cafe in Adelaide; I designed & manufactured bed linen & pyjamas for my homewares stores, Hallo Home wares; I have renovated over 20 properties; I have been actively involved in sourcing & importing furniture & objects for my partner, David Bromley & my store, A Day on Earth; I have designed, manufactured & retailed children's clothing under my label Velo Rouge; I homeschooled our daughter Holly for a year; & I started writing a year ago ... from which my one-person play, Songs for Sylvie has been born. Writing allows me to explore and marry many of my passions: from the science & psychology of the human brain through to horticulture, classical literature through to business ... And finally, in amongst this I am involved in the creative whirlwind that David whips up too.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Never give up! There is always a way to make it happen.
What’s your proudest career achievement? It would have to be writing my own one-person play whilst at the same time actively raising my 3 beautiful children.
What’s been your best decision? To have children.
Who inspires you? My partner David - an amazing creative genius - after 17 years together he still astounds me with what he conjures, the breadth & beauty of his vision I find truly inspiring ... and our children - so clear, so passionate, so loving.
What are you passionate about? Those dear to me, learning about & living life fully so as to make the most of my time on this earth. Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Oh there are many people I would love to meet from lots of different fields/persuasions/arenas, from Cate Blanchett (in saying that I have briefly met her,but really its not just about saying you've met someone is it? It's about being given an opportunity to spend some time with them!), to Fiona Wood (Perth neurosurgeon with 6 children!). But I suppose if I had to pick just one, I'd go with Socrates ... and part of the deal would have to be that I went back to his time - to see how he integrated with Greek society, to observe how he dealt with people's scepticism ... to learn from how he did not allow himself to be swayed from his pursuit of the truth.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To fully explore the possibilities within my writing and performing.
What are you reading? This is Your Brain on Music.
images courtesy of tori dixon-whittle and mikkel vang