What are you loving most about Sydney?
CRUZ-MARTIN There is this sense of community. People are realising that everyone is doing it tough. It’s a different way of life at the moment, but there is this sense of family so we feel very safe here.
JACOBS There’s plenty of opportunity in Perth but I also think there’s a lot of opportunity here. And that was really why we decided to move over, just to see what else life has in store really.
Stevie, tell us a bit about The Tailings. The story is about women and was mainly made by women. Was that an important aspect to you?
Yeah, definitely. I think when you work with marginalised voices there is a sense of community there. And it’s something I’ve always really loved about working with women. Most of our key creators, they’re all women on this show and that made for a really beautiful experience. Women are so layered, we’re complex beings and often I don’t think you feel that in the way women have been explored in the past on-screen. So I hope you get that sense of complexity in The Tailings.
You’ve dealt with a number of under-represented groups in your projects. Is that one of the driving forces for you in telling these stories?
You know a lot of the times people talk about cinema dying and I think that is because it’s coming from the same people and the same stories were being told – people want more. And the way to get that is to make sure there are different stories and different people behind – and in front – of the camera, that’s really important to me.
How was it working with SBS?
I felt like they really trusted the vision and the team that we’d assembled. It was very minimal, in terms of the notes that they gave. I felt that whatever they put forward, it really aided the story and that was important. I feel really fortunate to have worked with them on my first TV project.
Narelda, you’ve also worked with SBS by hosting their coverage of the Mardi Gras. How was that experience this year?
It was incredible. I think on the night of Mardi Gras everybody was looking at each other and going, “This is pretty amazing.” And in terms of doing a pandemic pivot, I can’t think of a better example.
You joined Studio 10 last year, how has the swap from newsreader to panellist been?
I find it a challenge every day to find my words, in a way that will win people over. Because we’re all just fighting for equality and 2020 has presented so many opportunities to do that. There are so many battles that are happening at the same time: you know this week it was all March4Justice, 2020 it was Black Lives Matter and before that it was #MeToo.
The heart of it is, we’re fighting for equality but it’s a battle you can only win by trying to win over people’s hearts and their minds. Going from just reading autocue to suddenly sharing your opinions, it’s been a challenge but I’ve really enjoyed it.
Do you both feel a responsibility to speak up about these issues?
CRUZ-MARTIN I just feel it’s a part of who I am. Like, I don’t think “I have to be an activist today” or “I need to post something today” – it’s just in me.
JACOBS For me, it’s definitely a sense of responsibility, but it comes from a genuine place as well. Because I think any Indigenous person, you can’t separate personal from political – it’s their lived experience. And what’s really hurtful is when people say, “We don’t see racism – it doesn’t exist.” So that’s why we have the responsibility to open people’s eyes and say, “Hey, just because it hasn’t happened to you, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened to anyone else.” I think our job is to allow people in a safe way to understand their privilege, which sometimes can be difficult.
You definitely appear to be each other’s biggest cheerleaders …
JACOBS When you’re as busy as Stevie and I are at the moment, you need to be completely united and be supportive of one another. Because if we didn’t have a healthy relationship, then you wouldn’t be in an authentic place to try and communicate to others about all the messages about equality.
CRUZ-MARTIN There’s a big sense of support, but there are moments when she really needs to shine and you create that for her and you allow that to happen. And then there are moments when I need to shine and I feel that with Jacobs, there’s just no ego, there’s no competition in this relationship – there’s just a lot of love and that is very rare.
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