Column and interview Dusk Devi
Photo Priscilla Ong
You already know that STELLA is the Pacific’s premier women’s life and style magazine, covering the gamut of Pacific talent and providing a voice for independent thought leaders, creative game changers, contemporary rule breakers, and evolving style makers. We are status quo shakers.
InterSTELLA is our weekly introduction platform for the shining stars of the Pacific and Oceania, shining bright with everything that they do and are… guiding the way for the protostars…
It is fitting then that the first interSTELLA features our Publisher/Editor Amanda Donigi (who was held at penpoint and forced to be the FIRST! Every ship needs a captain and every captain would be the first to say that her ship can’t sail without her crew… but really, take a bow Ms Donigi… the wheel is yours…)
Amanda Donigi IS the driving force of STELLA, which she launched in 2012 and publishes under her own publishing and content creating house, Pacific Pencil. She is the only female Media Boss/Owner in PNG and one of the few in the Pacific AND Australia!
Needless to say, Amanda is also a writer (with a Graduate Diploma in writing, editing and publishing from The University of QLD in Brisbane, Australia) and in-demand globally as a speaker on indigenous issues and women’s rights.
In addition to media work, Amanda also produces STELLA RUNWAY, a fashion and design extravaganza, which evolved from being an anniversary celebration runway show in 2014/2015 to a launcher in 2016 to an educator in 2017 – stay tuned!
Amanda was born and raised in Port Moresby, the third daughter in a family of 6 strong-willed girls. Her late father was a prominent constitutional lawyer from Papua New Guinea and her mother, a writer from Australia. She loves to hike and swim and wishes she were better at art. Her publicist wants the world to know her. Amanda wants to know the world.
1. Is what you’re doing now what you always wanted to do growing up?
I have been through phases of wanting to do lots of different things at different stages in my life, but I would have to admit they have all related in some way to writing, whether it was wanting to be a foreign correspondent, or a comedian, or to own a bookstore – which would, granted, be absolute reading bliss and less about writing.
I first started writing stories when I was about seven years old. I was very lucky because my teachers and my parents recognised that it was something I enjoyed doing and encouraged me, even though my stories lacked adequate endings in those early days (reading them now is confounding). I thought I would write novels, not publish a magazine, but there is still time.
2. Time travel: when, where and why?
There is not a lot of history that was good times for black, or brown, women but there is lots of time in my own past that I would like to revisit, particularly conversations with my dad.
3. What are you most grateful for?
4. What are your best traits?
I am always good for a laugh.
5. What colour would you use to describe yourself?
I would be a brown mixed from green and orange.
6. Do you read? If so, 3 favourites and why.
I love reading. I am currently getting into a lot of business-related books, which I used to think sounded like the most boring topic ever, but there’s some good stuff out there and I’m a convert now. For every season… right?
I admire a lot of different authors: particularly Rushdie, who I brag about meeting at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival a few years ago, and Austen, whose 200 year-old stories reflect gender issues we still face today in Papua New Guinea.
7. What’s the first place you go online? Your 3 best sites?
I just found a website called Trump Donald and all it is is a picture of Donald Trump in the middle of the screen and the mouse pointer is a trumpet, and when you click the trumpet it blows his hair in different directions. It’s great.
8. How do you deal with stress?
I chase waterfalls.
9. What is the craziest thing you have ever done (so far)?
I think there are too many to compare or find a winner. I have travelled to some dodgy places, paraglided off a mountain in Korea, dived with sharks in the Philippines, and started a business from a rickety kitchen table in Port Moresby. These all seemed like good things to do at the time. In fact, I think it would be crazy not to have done them.
10. What’s your idea of a perfect holiday?
Unplugging and speaking to strangers.
11. Would you rather fly the plane or be flown?
12. Do you have tattoos?
Yes, one, but it’s small.
13. What’s your biggest indulgence?
14. If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Something with seven courses, Korean style.
15. What is fashion to you?
A way to empower and be empowered.
16. Do you have a signature outfit?
It depends on where I am and if I am working or not. But I keep things simple.
17. What do you believe in?
I believe that good will always trump evil, but we have to work hard at it.
18. What do you want to be remembered for?
19. What’s the one thing that people misunderstand about you?
My name is not Stella.
20. What do you wish someone would ask you?
Something that they genuinely want to know the answer to.