AUSTRALIAN AUTHOR and journalist
We sat down with BEN to discuss his life in THE media and how he is adjusting to today's uncertain world.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you chose to pursue a career in writing.
To be honest, I didn’t dream of being a writer when I was a kid. Instead, I was fixated on a much more realistic goal: being an actor on Home & Away. (This isn’t even a joke.) At the same time, the things I loved doing most as a kid were reading books and watching TV – and then, as a teenager, I was obsessed with magazines. So maybe in a way, it makes sense that I’d end up writing books, screenplays and feature articles. Plus, I’m also a massive nerd; I love learning things, and I like to share. And that’s ultimately what writing is, really: learning things and sharing them the best you can.
What topics do you enjoy discussing the most? And what have you found to be the most challenging?
I like to write about anything I’m interested in: politics, cooking, queer culture, pop culture, the arts, exercise, family. Good writing is a lot like good conversation over a great meal, and I’m pretty omniviorous with my interests. The most challenging thing I’ve written is, hands down, my Quarterly Essay about the media-manufactured moral panic over Safe Schools, Moral Panic 101. Part of the research involved reading nearly 100,000 words of hateful – and often, misleading or false – reports from the Australian newspaper about the queer community. It wasn’t fun.
BENjamin WEARS THE IMPALA SAFARI JACKET IN GREEN SEERSUCKER
You contribute to the Australian media in many different ways. Which of your roles excites you the most and why?
It really depends. I’m really excited that I was part of a team that delivered The Family Law (SBS) the first-ever Asian-Australian family at the centre of a TV comedy. I’m excited that I got to host Waltzing the Dragon, a two-part major documentary about Chinese-Australian history that reframed Australian history altogether and made people understand that Asian-Australian history pre-dates white arrival on this continent. It excites me when I get to help Australians see their country and community in a whole different light.
How would you define your personal style and how has your career in the media influenced your fashion choices?
BENjamin WEARS CUSTOM DINNER JACKET IN CREAM LINEN
As someone who works from home usually anyway, my biggest tip would be to plan out and structure your entire day. Plan your meal breaks, when you want to exercise, what tasks you want to achieve and your rewards before the day starts. Day bloat, your mind unravels and your body feels gross otherwise. Having a planned day or at least a to-do list will give you some well-earned satisfaction.
Finally, Has working from home and adjusting to self isolation inspired you to take on any new projects?