Sylvester Sessions #102
Auckland, New Zealand
Kanoa wears Angel Dress
How do you approach getting dressed for television vs day to day life? And what are your goals in terms of feel and function?
I often talk about my “real life” clothes versus my “work life clothes”. They’re quite different although I’ve learned so much about what I love in real life through my work wardrobe. My colleague Sarah Stuart, who has styled me for about five years at Three, pushes me to try things I thought I could never wear and she has helped me realise that I have features I should celebrate, like a waist!
I’ve even learned how to wear heels for special occasions - I used to resemble a newborn foal - but now when I put them on I feel ready to werrrk!
When it comes to real life, I try to invest in pieces that will bring me joy for many years to come. I have dresses and coats which I associate with a certain person or a special place and I love revisiting that feeling when I put them on again. Overall I’m a bit less polished and maybe slightly more masculine than at work. I love a day old blow wave, a pink suit with sneakers or a dreamy dress with boots - I like to feel special without being overcooked.
What is your take on personal ritual? Do you have any that help switch between the public and private elements of your life?
I think a personal ritual is so important. Sometimes I wonder if the uptick in mental illness is due to the decrease in ritual and ceremony in our society. I think that’s what people are searching for now as they turn to mindfulness. I do get real pleasure out of simple rituals - things like carefully washing off my makeup after the show, cooking a favourite recipe and laying a dinner table for friends, or going to a yoga class. When I make room for these things in my routine I feel my best.
I’m trying to get out of the ritual of a glass of wine or a cold beer after work. I rarely have more than one or two but I’ve come to associate it with “switching off” at the end of the day and that makes it feel like a habit, rather than a treat.
Something you’ve done this year that scared you, but ultimately helped you grow:
I went home to the East Coast for the first time since I was a little girl. I was really nervous to meet my whanaunga again, but it was beautiful just to be on that whenua and to stand in the river that runs past my Nanny’s old house. It was the first step on a really important personal journey for me.
What are you reading / watching / listening to that is inspiring you at the moment?
I love Lizzo and Billie Eilish! Amazing women making perfect pop tunes. I’ve also been listening to Duran Duran a lot lately. I just want to drive around in the rain and listen to Ordinary World all the time.
I’ve really enjoyed Sally Rooney and her two novels Conversations with Friends and Normal People. The only bad thing about these two books is that now all others feel boring in comparison.
What is a book that has always stayed with you?
I’m not even kidding but one of the books I think about the most in the world is Sherryl Jordan’s Winter of Fire and I nearly cried real tears when I read this on The Spinoff recently! https://thespinoff.co.nz/books/01-07-2019/rejoice-the-best-book-in-the-world-is-being-republished-today/
Do you have any secret escape portals in the internet for procrastinating?
I am not that sophisticated… it’s just a lot of Instagram. I tend to follow potters, florists and artists because seeing their work is so soothing. @muckfloral (who did my wedding) @michelecoomeyfloral @georgesandstudios and @wundaire are a few faves off the top of my head.
I am finding real inspiration from cool Maori creatives too: @marangapodcast @plantbasedmaori and @tylrjade
What advice would you give your 20 year old self?
Go to bed! Nothing good happens after 2am.
Interview & photography by Greta van der Star.
Check out Kanoa here.