Inspired by Humans of New York Republic of Brisbane shares portraits and short stories of everyday people on the streets of Brisbane.
"I worked with Lady Gaga in 2014. I was working away quietly on Instagram and had about 200 followers. In my tiny little studio in Gympie. One of my hand-crafted hats caught the eye of a stylist at Brandon Maxwell Studios in New York and they started following me. By the time I’d woken up the next morning to get my kids ready for school, there was an email telling me that they loved my work and wanted me to join their international team. Next minute, I’m helping to style Lady Gaga for her Cheek-to-Cheek tour. When Lady Gaga posted my work on her Instagram page it was life changing. I will probably never ever get that feeling again. It’s actually really hard to describe. It was a massive amount of creative relief to be acknowledged. I was 40-year-old single Mum with four children. I doubted my ability to re-enter the fashion workforce. And so I became one of the contributing designers and started putting together directions and collections for lady Gaga. I was given access to their FedEx account and started shipping stuff to New York from Gympie. So much work went into that time, there was so much adrenaline and disbelief that it was even happening. It was absolutely just 100 percent work and deadlines and barely sleeping. Art fashion is the most rewarding application for fashion. My pieces will live on forever. I want to keep doing work like that. Work with artists whose outfits will one day be featured in the Guggenheim, who value the pieces and wear them and love them."
"I’m on exchange from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. I study psychology but it’s not what I want to work in once I’ve finished. I want to do something more artsy, like interior design or visual arts but psychology applies to everything. I want to create spaces where people want to be, that can actually increase their well-being. Ever since I was little, I don’t know if this is a normal thing, but once a month, I would change my room around, I turned it into a hobby with my friends. Even when I’m back home, after dinner, me and my Mum will spend an hour just moving the furniture an inch, and looking at it, and we’ll have music playing and it’s just become such a relaxing hobby of mine. I miss my Mum. We talk weekly. She keeps asking me when I’m booking my plane ticket, I don’t think she actually believes I’m coming home, because I don’t want to! My favourite thing to do is to walk to the river and follow my intuition and see where that leads me. I had this magical day – my birthday actually – where me and my friend got on our bikes and rode around Southbank through the botanic gardens and ended up at New Farm."
"Ever since I was in primary school I’ve loved the feeling of being on stage, acting and having the attention on me. I just love acting, the idea of acting and being in front of people, impressing people and making people smile… that’s my biggest motivation. I like to be myself on stage! I do like getting into another character, but I do love to be myself and portray myself up on the stage. I was studying nursing over at Griffith, and it was a massive change coming to QUT. I think if you’re really passionate about it, you can find a way to get in. I want to be a drama teacher, so I need a drama degree and a teaching degree. I really have always been in love with teaching, and drama has always been my favourite subject so I thought why not make a career out of it. Back in high school I had this one main teacher, and he was my teacher since grade 8, and he has been a massive motivator for me doing this, he’s always been really supportive of this. When I went back to school to tell him, he was ecstatic, he was so happy for me. If you have a really good teacher, one certain teacher that you’re really connected to, that will motivate you to do better, and push you to do better. I want to be the type of teacher that can help people, can motivate people and can give people a reason to find their passion. I had one teacher, literally for half the lesson he would tell us that we were going to be on Centrelink for the rest of our lives and how horrible we were, and then he would get onto the learning. If you’re hesitant about doing teaching, just go for it. You could change someone’s life and that could be amazing."
"I’m from Colombia, I’m in Brisbane for uni, majoring in business management. I’ve been here for four months and I’m going to stay for three years. Brisbane is very different to where I come from. Here, it’s very calm and relaxed but in Bogota, people get up very early, it’s noisy, you have to move very fast, going from one place to another. It’s different here because I’m by myself. Back home, I used to have a lot of friends. You’re never alone, people always hang out with you. If you’re going home, someone will come with you to hang out and do homework together. In Brisbane I’ve had more time to discover myself. I think there are some good things and bad things, but I see the good things, like always. So I think it’s positive. I do think that it’s better to be with other people and have fun."
"My parents sent me to hospitality school when I was 16, on the other side of the world, in England. I’ve always been in hospitality. I’ve had my own restaurant, I’ve done venue management, and now I’m back to the café life. If I could, I would go back in a heartbeat and do things differently. I wouldn’t have chosen hospitality it if I hadn’t been influenced. My Mum was terminally ill when I left for England. I knew it was the last time I would see her. I remember sitting on the plane and just crying. She passed away while I was away. Her mother had died when she was 16. Her father cut off her hair and said “you won’t need that anymore”. She took over her mother’s role of looking after the family. My Mum didn’t want history repeating. She didn’t want me to miss out on the opportunity to go and do other things. She never got to finish her nursing training. She went straight into marriage and had her family pretty early on. She was a very contented woman. She had a lovely lifestyle. Lived the majority of her married life on Tamborine Mountain. She was well-loved. She had a great community around her. I’ve spoken to people who say there was not one person who lived on Tamborine Mountain who didn’t attend her funeral. Everybody went, every business was closed."
Left "I used to live in England. I moved to Australia with my whole family when I was 12. It was apparently for a better life. Things were different in England. Australia was portrayed on TV as being covered in red sand. Although when got here, we thought it was really nice. I used to work at Headspace. It was quiet challenging. I dealt with a lot of mental health issues, and a lot of people who live below the poverty line. It’s something that I’m passionate about. I like advocating for all these different people. Everyone needs help but some people can ask for it and some people can’t."
Right "I was an assistant nurse in a nursing home for ten years. It was very stressful. I started to have seizures, that’s how I lost my job. No-one in my family has ever had seizures. My doctors don’t know if its epilepsy or if its psychological. I had just hit the twelve-month mark of being seizure-free and two days later, I had another one. I haven’t had a seizure for nearly six months now. I don’t worry about it happening all the time anymore, because they’ve settled down. The medication is finally doing its thing. My doctors have finally got something worked out. I’m just glad they’ve stopped. I’m happy. I can enjoy life. I don’t have that voice in the back of my head asking 'Is something going to go wrong?'. I’m slowly moving forward."