is a writer, strategist, futurist and creative generalist working in culture, automotive, trends and consumer intelligence.

I tell stories, solve problems and help others unearth and shape meaningful narratives. 
My practice sits at the intersection of things that move us physically + things that move us emotionally.

Here, you’ll find a selection of my (publicly) published work and projects, and an overview of what I do.  




newsis a writer, strategist, futurist and creative generalist working in culture, automotive, trends and consumer intelligence.

My practice sits at the intersection of things that move us physically, things that move us emotionally and things that are moving towards the future.

I tell stories, solve problems and help others unearth and shape meaningful narratives. 

Here, you’ll find a selection of my (publicly) published work and projects, and an overview of what I do.    



Current working timezone: UTC +1hrs (British Summer Time)

ELLE, October 2019 (PDF)

Off the back of fashion’s utilitarianism obsession, we look at the SUVs designed for form, function and to be lived in

ELLE, August, 2019 (PDF)

The clunky 'green' car stereotype is over, with a new breed of luxury electric vehicle entering as sophistication redefined.

“May you live in interesting times.” Six words, appropriate for 2019. Said to be a Chinese curse, the phrase actually refers to war as a disrupter. It means that those fond of war (or “interesting times”), were fond of change; and those fond of change, start wars. Perhaps this is why millennials are always causing so much outrage – we adore change.

So far, our disruption has “ruined”
marriage, the 9-5 workday, oil, golf and cars. But when it comes to the latter three, the automotive industry has been the one to clock our eye-rolls and shift stance. To start, golf clubs, once the standard boot measurement and a symbol of wealthy-dad culture, have been replaced by suitcases in gen Y-tuned cars; and when it comes to the liquid remnants of prehistoric animals, sustainable tech is here, and it’s sexy. Enter: the new electronic vehicles (EVs).

Earlier this year, Jaguar dropped the world’s first luxury EV from a major manufacturer, the handsome I-Pace. Unlike Lexus, BMW or Porsche, Jaguar isn’t a leader in electric technology, but it rolled the dice, following Tesla’s suit of turning the idea of the typically unsexy EV into an object of desire. Like many early adoptions, it’s a problematic space. Australia continues to be awkwardly behind the rest of the world in EV uptake. In America, Tesla’s Model 3 outsold the competition; the UK has banned the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2032 with all new cars to be emission-free by 2040; China has become the world’s leader in EV production and in Norway, 58 per cent of all new cars are electric. Then there’s the state of our publicly available charge. In Switzerland, you can supercharge a performance EV in 10 minutes, while most charging stations in Australia can take hours – like filling your tank with a tear dropper.

Despite the Liberal government’s lack of stance on sustainable mobility, the industry is forcing its hand and change is afoot. Start-ups like Chargefox and Jet Charge are installing roadside power plugs around the country (including European-standard superchargers) and apps like Everty and PlugShare help you find the closest one. In fact, the entire industry, including car companies, energy suppliers and start-ups, banded together to form the Electric Vehicle Council which lobbies and advises government officials on new EV policy.

As for the cars? Luxury EVs are arriving thick and fast to join the mass market brands. Soon, Audi and Porsche’s carbon neutrally-produced flagship EVs, the stylish e-tron SUV and swift Taycan sedan, will land. BMW has pledged to offer an electrified variant (either hybrid or battery-powered) of every model. For city dwellers, MINI has entered the space with a cool hybrid Countryman and a fully-electric MINI is en route. Even James Bond’s go-to fuel- guzzler, Aston Martin, is confident it can match the emotion of a roaring V12 engine with an electric one in the new Rapide E saloon. It aims to tempt its highly traditional customer, while capturing the enviro-conscious millennial who wouldn’t be caught dead pumping petrol – at least from a brand association perspective.
Technology always trickles from the top. So even if you can't afford a $119,000 Jag, it matters. Only a few years ago, one had to cough up a house deposit to get the lane assist or emergency braking tech now found in entry-level hatchbacks, so these stylish performance EVs are the precursors to what we will all soon drive. Even if our government sits on the fence, the pieces are in play. In place of the thirsty and loud cars of yesterday? A new dawn of sleek, environmentally-woke wizardry, hyper-connected technology and a zen silence. The car isn’t dead, it’s just that the new status symbol isn’t a bonnet trophy, but a lightning bolt.

ELLE, September, 2019 (link)

Calling all STEM, sustainability and art innovators under 30

“Lamborghini is probably the first [car manufacturer] to think about the female market in a completely different way.” These are the words uttered by Chief Marketing Officer Katia Bassi at the reveal of the brand’s first SUV, the Urus, almost two years ago. Of the Urus, the world’s first and fastest super sports utility vehicle (read: a supercar on stilts), Bassi confirms it was indeed designed with women in mind.

“Normally, when the automotive segment thinks about women, [it] thinks about details like the mirror or some details in pink, that, to be honest with you, is not really what we're looking for, right?” says Bassi, an empowerment enthusiast. “Of course, women also love driving super sports cars, because we want to enjoy it and it's our choice, but we also need a more versatile car…We like to say the super sports utility vehicle is a generous sports car… an experience.”

The Urus is one of those cars you need to drive or be driven in to know what it’s about. From the outside, it’s loud, fierce and supremely angular – a nod to the Lamborghini poster cars from the ‘80s to now - but it is also large and bulky, though it’s portly appearance defies its flex. On the road, it is everything it says it is. Most of all, it’s very, very quick. In a roar it can hit 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds and 0-200km/h in 12.8 and has a top speed of 305km/h. Unlike its cousins, the Volkswagen Touareg, Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q8 and a Bentley Bentayga, with which it shares its platform, the Urus is shockingly athletic, a secret ingredient cooked-up in the futuristic and clinical-looking, specially-built factory in Sant Agata Bolognesea. This is no PR stunt for sales, the brand has ensured the Urus has earned the raging bull badge.

However, and here’s where that versatility comes in - unlike any other modern Lamborghini, the Urus can be taken anywhere – from the dunes to the school run. It has five seats (more than one passenger is unheard of in a modern Lamborghini), six drives modes (including ‘Corsa’ for the track, ‘Neve’ for snow and slippery surfaces, ‘Terra’ for off-road and ‘Sabbia’ for sand) and a decent trunk. All this comes in a bid to appeal to women, families and those whose lives can't be lived in a low-slung supercar. And, guess what? It’s working. The Urus has introduced more women to Lamborghini than any other car, raising global sales by around fifty per cent. It’s even earned pop-culture clout; both Kylie AND Kendall Jenner own one, as does Kayne West and Cardi B.

Granted, the “women buy more SUVs so we made an SUV” can often come off as token, however, the Italian supercar house insists its bid to tip the gender balance isn’t just showroom lip service. Lamborghini is putting its money where its mouth is by launching a new award aimed at female innovators under 30.

Launched as an extension of FAB, Lamborghini’s Female Advisory Board, an initiative involving an all-female network of around 180 influential women in business, culture, creativity and technology around the world, the prize will be presented in three categories: Technology, Sustainability and Art.

It will be awarded to three women who have impacted and made a contribution to the world around them, who also share Lamborghini’s philosophies and approach to ideas: innovation, transformation and a ‘commitment to creating a sustainable future while pushing the frontiers of technology and creative force of art.’ The brand’s most recent reveal, the game-changing V12 hybrid supercar, The Sián FKP 37, is the embodiment of this philosophy, not to mention a hint at why this Future FAB Award is so important to the brand.

“Lamborghini is an organisation that has been able to transform itself continuously, innovating and dictating new rules in its sphere of reference, from 1963 to today,” says, Bassi. “FAB continues along this path, involving women who are leaders in their sectors, whose experience of challenges, successes, and purchasing habits supports us in our market research and provides vital information on the trends of the luxury market and society.”

Of the award Bassi says, “with a view to Corporate Social Responsibility and to give continuity to our vocation as a future-oriented brand, this initiative offers young women under 30 the opportunity to present their projects, to be inspired by the experience of women’s leadership, and to be able to contribute along with us to innovation and progress.”

Entries for the Lamborghini Future FAB Award in technology, art or sustainability are open now, until October 14. Enter here:

VOGUE, September 2018 (PDF)

Make-up hauls, front-facing cameras and making that highlight pop: why an entire generation’s obsession with beauty YouTubers like James Charles is not as shallow as it seems. By Noelle Faulkner

Picture this: you’re in an auditorium full of teens and pre-teens bubbling with anticipation. They’re shifting nervously in their seats, which, for those in the front row, have cost $499 each. Some are on the brink of crying. Many are accompanied by a parent, and almost every single larynx will soon quiver to emit a frequency that only dogs and adults born after 1972 can hear. Now, who do you think this audience is here for? A rock star? A hot actor? A teen dream pop sensation? Nope.

A decade ago, sure, the above would probably hit the mark, but in 2018 puppy love thirsts for a different type of celebrity, one who blurs reality with aspiration, speaks brutal truths, uses the word ‘extra’ as a self-description and comes armed with a front-facing camera and a subscribe button. In this particular instance, they’re here for 19-year- old American beauty YouTuber James Charles, who is taking the stage to perform a live make-up tutorial and a Q&A session. Soon, the athletic brunette, with fierce brows and chiselled cheekbones, will emerge, exclaim a big, warm “Hi, sisters!”, his catchphrase that addresses the tribe (every ’tuber has one). Screams, stamping and tears like nothing you’d ever expect, considering the context, will follow. “I’m so excited to be here,” he soon says. “Let’s get glam!”

At the time of writing, Charles has over 6.8 million subscribers on YouTube, 1.32 million Twitter followers, 6.7 million Instagram followers and 125,000 likes on Facebook (which tells you a lot about his demographic’s preferred platforms), and has his own line of merchandise, Sisters Apparel. He has one of the most engaged followings on YouTube, many of whom, as one learns when attending his live show, are not afraid to call him out on, well, anything they see fit. “These kids know me,” he later says. For example, during the Q&A session, one attendee calls him out on his filthy beauty blenders. Savage, but Charles doesn’t flutter. And so he shrugs and says: “Oh, I know! I’m so disgusting!” And someone from the audience tosses a new one onto the stage from their goodie bag. Everyone laughs. It’s hard to imagine being so blunt with a teenage celebrity role model, but this connection is different – it’s personal. I doubt Taylor Hanson or Justin Timberlake would have stayed up all night replying to messages and creating an online fan community nearly as big as Charles’s Sisters ... Alas, them’s the breaks as a YouTuber: you’re held accountable at all times, from the products you peddle to what you say, as Charles (along with many other creators) has learnt the hard way, via with a few miscalculated, racially insensitive comments that have resulted in major call-outs by fans and big apologies by him.

Having had a beauty channel since 2015 (besides an “unfunny comedy channel” prior to that, which we’re not to talk about, he jokes), Charles rose to fame with a meme about being so extra that he brought a ring light (a portable LED light famously used by Instagrammers and Kardashians) to his prom photo shoot specifically to pop his highlight. It later came out that the meme was a joke, but not before he was appointed CoverGirl’s first male face, appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and became a viral sensation. Along with make-up related content and tutorials, he also produces a show, Brother & Sister, with his younger brother Ian Jeffrey, where they talk about growing up, sexuality, relationships and fashion – a casual breakdown of family, youth and brotherhood, with an sensitive undertone of James’s coming out as a 12-year-old. It’s adorable, to say the least.

According to internet statistics portal Statista, Charles’s content is a drop in an ocean of 88 billion beauty videos annually uploaded to YouTube. However, not everyone has the influence that this Los Angeles-based teen does, and certainly few could charge $499 for a front-row seat at a live make-up tutorial, breakfast, selfie and goodie bag. That is a feat in itself. “I could speak all day with reasons why James is so successful,” says Ellana Byers, founder of cosmetics brand Be Coyote, the headline sponsor for Charles’s Australian tour. “He is charismatic, ridiculously talented (and not just in make-up), extremely hardworking and he appreciates his millions of fans.

Watching him backstage, as well as in the meet-and- greets, you could see a genuine love for every single person. That’s what makes a difference. Fans can very quickly see his authenticity, and that, mixed with his unbelievable talent, is what makes him truly influential, and a force to be reckoned with.” But to anyone over the age of 25, the question remains: what is it about YouTubers that appeals to this generation? And aren’t they a little young for make-up? Well, to understand the rise of A-list beauty YouTubers, you need to look beyond skin-deep.

“YouTube as a platform has a particular appeal to teenagers/pre-teens for a couple of reasons, but it is mostly because of the immediacy of the platform and the feeling that it could be them one day,” says Daniela Walker, foresight editor at the Future Laboratory, a trend forecasting agency in London that looks closely at the behaviour of millennials and Generation Z (those born in the late 90s to early 2000s). “All these young YouTube stars fit the mould of being ‘just like them’,” says Walker, “rather than the unreachable heights of celebrities on TV or in the cinema. [This is] despite the fact the likelihood of actually becoming a famous YouTube influencer is just as low as becoming a famous actor.

A large part of Charles’s success is that he runs deeper than your run- of-the-mill beauty blogger. He shares personal stories – his failures, successes, family and his private life – all while engaging with his young audience and talking directly to the camera, creating a sense of eye contact. He also happens to do great make-up.
“I get a lot of fans who deal with poor mental health,” he says, mentioning a girl he took a selfie with at the Sydney live show who hugged him and confessed, through tears, that his channel stopped her from taking her own life. “But that’s the good thing about the internet – that there are so many kids who can confide together and help each other out. I try to be a role model to these kids and so it’s really important for me to explain to them that I love them, that so many people love them and that no matter what, eventually, this will get better.” The star himself admits to his own dark clouds, often leaning on his fans for support. “The fans are the only reason I do this job,” he shrugs. “As much as I love make-up and the creativity behind this, the internet can be a horrible place and sometimes with so much negativity and hate, it’s hard. Sometimes the only thing that keeps me going is knowing I can help inspire young kids to be themselves, that they’re waiting for me to put out awesome content for them. I love make-up, but I’d probably just be doing it in my apartment if it weren’t for this community. So it’s a two-way street.” And this is where another allure of YouTube comes in – the community, something mainstream media rarely provides teens.

“As long as there are teenagers, there will be a ‘find your tribe mentality’,” says Walker. “YouTube and the internet has just made it easier to realise you are not alone. Prior to that accessibility, role models were very mainstream, and for a kid from a small town in the middle of nowhere, they may find that they have no-one. Whereas now, they simply have to turn to their computer to be able to find like-minded people. Social media has given different communities more exposure, and made it easier for people to find a niche where they feel accepted.” Hence Charles’s ‘sisters’. Walker adds that it’s not that mainstream media has done anything to lose this audience, it’s just the nature of YouTube, the intense accessibility and immediacy. “It’s funny, because now most of these influencers have a lot of money, expensive equipment and production and yet there is still a feeling that it is home-made. Plus, they are available after their YouTube video is off. There’s Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Instagram, etc, so the storytelling and the relationship between them and viewer never ends, making it much more intimate than a fictional television show/star.”

The misconception that many beauty content creators are shallow, vain and lazy is a common one. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. “A lot of people just don’t understand what the life of a YouTuber really is,” says Charles. “It’s
not just sitting down in front of a camera, pressing record and uploading it 20 minutes later. It’s a full-on process, and I do three videos a week right now. Two beauty videos, plus our full production show with my little brother. Then, I’m also working on Instagram posts at all times, product launches and projects.” Charles has a team of four people, and a production company that helps out with Brother & Sister. “I really don’t get that much sleep! I love it, but it is a lot of work and so many people don’t understand the pressure that actually comes with it – to perform well, to look good on camera, to put out really great content, to always step your game up. It’s hard.”

Aside from changing how an entire generation consumes media, the community is shaping how that generation thinks about beauty and how the beauty industry is thinking about them. No longer is the industry focused on changing you or making you into someone better, but on how it can slot into the life of you, the creative individual. “I think it has had a major shift in a positive way,” says Charles. “Now it’s about really supporting each other, being inclusive and how this beauty product can make you feel better. It’s long overdue.” Byers echoes this. “It’s the biggest change I’ve ever seen in the beauty industry,” says the cosmetics CEO. “The level of influence that some YouTubers have is unbelievable ... Gone are the days when a product was released, marketed and ultimately consumers tried it out. We now live in a world where entire brands can be made or broken on reviews from YouTube stars. New brands and products appear daily, and these modern-day celebrities get to decide what wins and loses.”

And so the beauty industry has had to rethink its business. The YouTubers with integrity will not stand for sub-par products, because if they gain a big enough audience on trust, the money from views rolls in, which lures the big fish they actually do want to work with, but all it takes is one false review to make it all fall down. And the kids all have noses for frauds. “I’ve built up my integrity so much over time, and it was so hard to earn my fans’ trust, so I have to make sure I’m only recommending good products,” insists Charles. “For me, first and foremost, I have to love the product. I absolutely have to. Obviously, with YouTube, let’s be real, you can make a decent amount of money and it’s a great job to have, but there’s no pay cheque I would ever receive in exchange for sacrificing my trust with my followers.”

“The beauty industry has made massive strides in recent years when it comes to inclusivity and rethinking its campaign models,” says Walker, noting how the representation of people in beauty campaigns is also changing, thanks to this generation. “There are so many facets of this, but if we are talking about YouTube specifically, then I think, yes, they have to work harder on their formulations and products, because now you have popular YouTubers doing things like ‘unboxing’, hauls and reviewing products – breaking it down for the consumer. They trust these people. The internet overall has bred a review culture, and also a space where you can contact brands directly. If a brand does something wrong, never before has it been easier for a consumer to shout about it, whether that be on YouTube, in an Instagram comment or through Twitter and retweets.” That said, YouTube, Instagram and the other image driven apps have been driving change within the beauty industry for some time now. Walk into Sephora or Mecca and really look around. The days of glamorous golden palettes are fading, replaced by a more creative culture of beauty. Almost everything looks like an art supply or is designed to be ‘photo-ready’, optimised for personal photo shoots instead of daily life. Kim Kardashian West’s KKW Beauty line looks like a range of chic pastel crayons, and then there’s Pat McGrath’s cult-status otherworldy sheens, glitters and molten hues, sold in bags, palettes or pots. There is a graphic connection to artistic expression here, not beauty as our mothers knew it. This might seem vapid and narcissistic on the surface, but this movement is rooted in individuality, belonging and a confident sense of self. “It’s the long-lasting impact of everything else we’re talking about that matters the most,” says Charles. “And all this,” he says, motioning to his perfectly contoured, highlighted and baked look. “You can do anything you want, because at the end of the day, it washes right off. It’s just make-up, after all.”


Discreetly hidden in the heart of Rome, this boutique luxury hotel is an intimate, tranquil sanctuary known only to a few.

With an average of seven to 10 million visitors every year, Rome is one of the busiest cities for tourism in Europe. Something that that anyone who has bustled their way to the Trevi Fountain to toss in three coins, lined up for hours at the Vatican, forgotten to pre-book tickets at the Galleria Borghese or casually sought a meal (only to be bowled over with maî·tre d waving menus and promising the best pizza or pasta in town, will know to be a heavy truth. And so, Rome is home to many a famous hotel with ostentatious entrances, designer names on the door and bustling foyers made to be seen in.

Villa Spalletti Trivelli, situated just a seven minute stroll to the Trevi Fountain, Via del Corso and Via Condotti shopping districts and 15 minutes to the Pantheon, on the other hand, possesses none of those things.

Upon entering the 119-year-old mansion (young by Rome’s standards but still old enough to impress) you’ll be greeted warmly by the villa staff, a double Roman staircase and a floor adorned in the most beautiful ancient mosaic of primary-coloured marble. Of course, that is, once you find the place –the outside bears no branding, no logos, no public entrance and not a slither of a giveaway that you’re about to enter what might be the most tranquil hotel in Rome - just heavy wooden doors with a highly discreet buzzer. So don’t be surprised if you exhale a long deep sigh of relief to escape the chaos of Rome, you’re not the first to do so.

“This is our family home,” explains Andrea Spaletti Travelli, director of sales and marketing. “My great, great grandmother [Gabriella Rasponi Spalletti] bought the land in 1896; as her husband, Count Spaletti-Travelli, was elected into the Senate.” The house is opposite what used to be the Quirinal Palace (now the Palazzo del Quirinale, the official presidential residence), which was intentional as the Spalletti Travelli matriarch (a feminist, President of the National Council of Italian Women and fierce supporter of the suffrage movement) was also the Lady-in-Waiting to the Queen Elena of Italy. “This house became the family centre for everyone travelling to Rome – it was born for hospitality. Initially for family, but now for international travellers.”

Now part of Small Luxury Hotels, Spaletti Travelli has gone to great lengths to ensure the 15-room villa’s homely hospitality echoes throughout the property– from the exceptionally well-stocked, self-serve bar in the hotel’s drawing room and rooftop lounge areas (the latter complete with a spa), to the tranquil library and plush garden, and through to the charming and highly personal family photographs, heirlooms, sculptural busts and artwork that adorn the property - including a Rubens and two 15th Century Flemish tapestries, formally owned and commissioned by King Charles the Fifth of France (two of twelve that are divided between Spaletti Travelli’s cousins, the Villa and New York Metropolitan Museum of Art).

The owner also reveals that his housekeeping and service staff are actually trained in the art of running a home, not a large hotel – a detail that is very important to the villa. “It takes our staff 55 minutes for two of them to clean a room. That’s the level of detail we want here, as if they were cleaning their own home, not just a fifteen-minute clean in someone’s hotel room,” insists Spaletti Travelli. “It makes a difference, even if you’re not a travel professional or not used to it – you’ll soon notice.”

And for those wanting to seek a heightened respite, after hours trekking the stony, ancient streets of the bustling capital, downstairs, in the former servant quarters, a Turkish bath, sauna and a day spa with a number of treatments awaits. And if you ask nicely, Mr Spaletti Travelli and his staff might even set up a tasting at his award-winning, private organic winery and olive farm, near Tuscany.

The rooms themselves are sumptuous and magnificent, with heavy wooden doors and styling that acts a reminder of the aristocratic history that has been breathed between the walls. Ranging from romantic rooms to magnificent suites and regal garden apartments, each room has large windows that either overlook the leafy backstreets of the quiet, presidential district, gardens or the city, bearing enormous mahogany shutters that ache to be swung open.

In addition, Italian travertine marble bathrooms with a separate bath and shower and L’Occitane toiletries; a smart handheld map at your disposal to take around the city (to save you on data), a complimentary minibar (in case the self-serve bars on the roof and ground floor are too far), excellent Wi-Fi and a huge, luxurious bed that Roman dreams are made of.

“People who look for us don’t look for the same thing that large hotels provide,” says Spaletti Travelli. “If someone wants to stay here, they want to be away from the chaos, the noise. When it comes to luxury, everyone is different - to some people, those big five-star hotels are luxury – but to me, that would be a living nightmare!”, he laughs. “You come here not to be seen. You can take one of our drawing rooms, or sit in the library and you will be the only person there. It’s exclusivity and privacy, without giving up on a central location in Rome. That is very important. We are in the very heart of Rome.”

If you’re seeking serenity in a city that is notoriously chaotic, this charming villa ensures calm and possesses a heightened sense of intimacy and Italian aristocratic history that is rarely found, though often manufactured, giving the phrase “home-away-from-home” an entirely new meaning.

Via Piacenza, 4, Rome, Italy