Perhaps one of the hardest things you can do in life is change careers. It's easy to take the road that pays well, offers consistent work and is easy because you can do it without having to think, or worry. But when there's something burning away inside, all this common sense doesn't matter one little bit. Heather Nette King knew this. She had been working in PR but had a deep wish to be a writer and stylist for interior magazines. Now, she's cornered the market on the "My Space" page for the Sunday Life magazine. She's also a regular contributor for real living.
Which five words best describe you? Bowerbird, resourceful, unpretentious, colour-loving, reliable.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? After school I did the PR degree at RMIT, then worked as a production assistant for a concert touring and actor management company (remember Jason Donovan? I was his PA during the Kylie years – hilarious fun). I then worked as a publicist at Channel Ten for years and years, working on every show from news, current affairs, daytime, dramas, etc. All that time I had a stash of homewares magazines under my desk, but I didn’t really know how to crack into the magazine industry. When we moved to Sydney in 2005 I vowed that as I was moving to the magazine capital of Australia I would somehow wrangle my way in. It was the gorgeous Aleksandra Beare, the art director for Sunday Life magazine who gave me my first break, doing the ‘my space’ page. I built up a folio from there.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Always try to push yourself out of your comfort zone. I can be a bit shy and reticent when approaching people, and have to constantly remind myself that being forthright isn’t necessarily being pushy.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Seeing my first byline in the Sunday Age/Sun Herald was very special, after years of writing press releases.
What’s been your best decision? To stop taking PR jobs to concentrate on styling and writing.
Who inspires you? All of my girlfriends. My mum. My very creative father-in-law Mick King, who at 70, is more out-there than I will ever be. My chalk and cheese daughters – I have a ballet dancing cello player and a guitar-playing Glee-freak. My lovely husband, Jeremy.
What are you passionate about? Colour. I recently spent five twelve- hour days doing a black and white shoot on a white cyclorama and the joy I felt each night when I came home to my colourful home was incredible. A life without colour is like sensory deprivation to me.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Grace Coddington. Her styling is so exquisite it makes me want to cry.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I am currently writing a pitch for a TV show with a very clever and stylish friend. We have a name, a synopsis, a star, and we are currently writing the episode outlines. My dream is to pitch it to, and get it picked up by a network. Then I will most likely have a panic attack at the thought of actually having to make it!
What are you reading? My favourite Australian author is Alex Miller, but I am currently working my way through a pile of orange Penguin classics. It’s a great way to fill any literary gaps you may have. I just read The Bodysurfers by Robert Drewe, High Fidelity by Nick Hornsby, Therese Raquin by Emile Zola and On The Road by Jack Kerouac.
images via heather nette king (my space images mike baker/fairfax; jane hall house chris warnes/real living)