MY FRIEND: Chelsea

Chelsea Swain

Empath. Intellectual. House-Mate. Adventure Expert. Mischief Encourager. Photoshop Wiz. Clap-Back Queen. Pesto Pasta Enthusiast.


What do you do for work and study?
CH: I do last minute rush, trying to get things together.

MA: I mean what do you literally study and do for work!

CH: Oh! I thought you meant work ethic. I study International Studies majoring in Development Studies at UNSW and I work at a cafe on the weekends.

You’re also studying Spanish. Why is Spanish important to you?
CH: I initially chose Spanish purely because it is a language spoken by lots of people and I thought it could be useful. Now, however, it means more because I’ve learnt a lot about Hispanic culture and things that are going on in Latin America and I see myself working in those areas in the future and using my language skills in my career.

Do you know any jokes off by heart?
CH: I remember this one really long winded ghost-story/joke. It was my go-to when I was in primary school and it was about a monkey or a gorilla. The crux of it was that you were in a cupboard and you were hiding because there was a gorilla coming to get you and  it took a really, really long time to tell as the gorilla was gradually getting closer and closer to you. Then suddenly it’s like “the gorilla is in the bedroom”, “the gorilla opens the cupboard door”, and then “his big, furry, gross hand comes down on your head and he says ‘tip, you’re in’”.  I would take so long to tell it. That was a good one.

When did you last cry in front of another person?
CH: Probably a long time ago. Like, last year. It would have been October last year.

What are you thankful for in this moment?
CH: My house. Our house. The fact that we live here. It’s a very nice place and I find it refreshing to walk out the front door and there’s a nice street and a happy place. I also feel thankful for my friends.

Favourite Comedy?
CH: Parks and Recreation.

Favourite Podcast?
CH: Hmmmm. Season 1 of Serial.


When did you last lie and regret it?
CH: That’s a hard one. I feel like I’m having trouble thinking of a time and not because I never lie, but because I don’t often regret it!

Pasta or pizza?
CH: Pasta.

Most influential person in your life?
CH: My Mum. She’s been a huge influence on me, which is corny but it’s true. Most of my behaviours are because of Mum.

Who inspires you?
CH: At the moment, Anne Bartlett. She is one of my lecturers at uni at the moment. She is so intelligent and has done such cool things and I totally want to be like her. When I’m older, I want to be Anne.

Favourite item of clothing in your closet?
CH: It definitely changes! Maybe my denim jacket? I think actually at the moment my favourite item of clothing at the moment are those black pants that I was wearing today. I wear them all the time because they’re super comfy and can also be casual, workwear or night wear. So versatile. Yes. Those.

What embarrasses you?
CH: Lots of things. Myself when I’m drunk and I get loud and obnoxious. Damn, oops.

Tell me about a pet.
CH: I had a guinea pig when I was in pre-school and I called her Mini because she was really small. She was black and when I chose her at the pet shop there were two guinea pigs in the pen and the other one was big and albino, just sitting there not moving and Mini was running around chaotically. Mum and the pet shop lady kept trying to convince me to take the other one because they could not get Mini out of the cage. I was adamant I wanted the black one. She lived for like nine years and didn’t die until I was in year seven or eight. She grew massive which was funny because her name was Mini. She outlived my sister’s rabbit and my sister’s guinea pig. Mini lived on. She was a great pet. She was always a little bit scared of me from the beginning to the end.


If you are in a bad mood, do you prefer to be left alone or have someone to cheer you up?
CH: Definitely left alone.

MA: Really?

CH: Yeah. I mean, maybe it’s sometimes nice to have someone cheer me up but it has to be the right person who knows how to cheer me up in the right way. Generally if I’m in a bad mood, I just don’t want to be around people.

Do you judge a book by its cover?
CH: Yeah. I’d like to say I don’t but I think we all do a little bit.

What are three of your best traits?
CH: I’m a good listener. I’m pretty reliable. I’m respectful of people.

What’s one thing that people always misunderstand about you?
CH: These are hard questions. This is more a thing that I think that people think… I often think that when I’m meeting new people I can be shy and that comes across as rude in my awkwardness. I always think that people perceive that as being rude or not being friendly when actually I consider myself a very friendly person.

What is your relationship to self love?
CH: I do face masks and naps and small therapeutic processes to try and calm myself and refresh my mind.

Why is self love important?
CH: Because without it you’d be miserable all the time. You can’t really achieve much if you’re hating on yourself all the time.

Why is feminism important?
CH: Because women are important!!!

MA: Yep.


In What Ways Are You The Same As Your Childhood Self?
CH: The shy thing! Shy doesn’t feel like the right word because it’s not like I come across as timid and cutesy. People wouldn’t call me shy, but I feel shy and I have always been the same. I’ve always been a pretty insecure person. People kind of assume that when you’re a little kid you have this confidence. You know how kids usually seem quite self-assured? I was never like that, even as a kid. I’ve always been empathetic and caring. Not always successfully, but I’ve always been someone who looks out for others.

Talk about bossy
CH: I get really annoyed when I think back to being called bossy as a kid. I don’t think people realised, like teachers or my Mum.

MA: “You’re no-one until someone calls you bossy”

CH: Well exactly, but I feel like all through primary school I was saying to myself “you can’t act bossy, people can’t think I’m bossy”. Even in high school! Now I’m like, that’s so stupid, I can’t believe adults let an eight year old kid feel insecure about how bossy they were being.

What are you good at?
CH: Doing things last minute and doing them well. I’m good at doing the same amount of work that other people do over a week in half a day. I’m getting better at drawing! I’ve been drawing a lot lately. I think I’m good at writing in the sense that I have a natural ability to write clearly and succinctly and well. And my great skill is making FaceBook event cover photos.

What was high school like for you?
CH: Shitty. Weird to look back on. Wait…No. Truthfully, the majority of the times were fun and stupid. However, I went through a lot of different friendship groups and most of my moving on was because someone was being mean or, you know, something bad happened. If I think about high school for longer, I think most of the time was great and I loved school. Yet now, I think those times are overshadowed by the bad ones.

What do you think of when I say the word gentle?
CH: A cat. Someone touching a cat.


What are you truly passionate about? What gets you fired up?
CH: OK! Things that get me fired up! Indigenous issues in Australia. Women’s issues all around the world gets me VERY fired up. Women and Indigenous Australians are my two top things that get me fired up at this point in time.

What’s a nice compliment?
CH: Something genuine and not a compliment for the sake of a compliment. A nice compliment comes when there is no need for a compliment but someone just does or says something that makes someone else want to compliment them on that.

What’s your favourite place?
CH: Home.

Tell me about you favourite book.
CH: I don’t have a favourite book, that’s too hard! Maybe The Catcher in The Rye?

MA: Yes! That’s the book that made me fall in love with reading and language.

CH: Oh really? I love that book.

MA: What are some feelings you associate with reading that book?

CH: I often think of it when I’m in situations like walking through the city at night or having strange conversations with people or feeling really out of place or confused.

Describe hope.
CH: Hope is having somewhere to go or something to look forward to. A sunny sky. A clear sky. A warm sunny sky feeling.





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