Stuntwoman in Shophouse

Genuine, passionate and inspirational - 20 year old Michaela Hartley from South Australia is one of the most beautiful soul we've chanced upon at The Shophouse. Here's what went down during our one hour conversation!

Michaela Hartley, Adelaide

Words by Syafiqah J -- Images by Amiera Raushan

What brings you to Singapore?

I'm in Singapore because of an event called Lion City Gathering - it's the biggest Parkour Gathering in Asia. It is amazing because I get to meet people from all over the world and there are number of events organised, including several competitions! I'm not competing this year but I definitely will next year!

Oh yes, I parkour and do stunts for a living. I have a certificate for personal training so I'm qualified to be a fitness instructor. I've been working as an instructor for Bounce, a trampoline park originated from Australia, for quite some time now!

Anyway, I love Singapore and decided to extend my stay here at The Shophouse. To anyone who's reading this and is considering to stay at this particular hostel, please do because you will get aspects of various cultures - its truly multicultural. I've been here for a week but I feel like I've travelled to three different countries already!

Pursuing a career as a stuntwoman at the age of 20 years old is pretty unconventional so why and what made you choose this path?

I woke up one morning and decided that I had to I do something major for myself. Firstly, I did one of the hardest thing in my life which was to end a five and a half years relationship with my high school sweetheart. It was painful, and still is but if we are still together now, I don't think I'd be sitting here in Singapore.  It was only after the breakup that I moved to the city and started pursuing parkour.

I knew had to pursue things for me and that was when a gateway of amazing parkour/stunt opportunities opened - I've appeared in a couple of TV shows and worked on a Buzzfeed video for Bounce. I've even been on the local papers!

I did apply for university and I got into the degree of my choice - paramedic science but in the end decided to pursue something totally different which is professional stuntwoman. I'm glad that my parents have been so supportive of my decision. Oh, they're amazing! They've always been big on the saying "do what makes you happy" and that is simply what I did.

I strongly believe that all women (and men too!) should pursue something for themselves. If your partner is supportive of you then go ahead and do it. Even if your partner is supportive of it but you feel like you have to do it on your own, then by all means.

I think we live in a day and age where women are very much liberated - we have plenty of opportunities to do what we want if we believe in ourselves. I did boxing for eight years and that is very male dominated but that did not bother me. I went on to try parkour and stunts which are male dominated as well but I refuse to let that stop me. In fact it pushes me to work harder.

If you have a calling, never be afraid to pursue it.

What a lovely chat we had with Michaela! We hope to have you back soon, perhaps for next year's Lion City Gathering - we're rooting for you to win if you're competing! Check out Michaela's amazing moves in this Buzzfeed video, we're impressed! https://www.facebook.com/BuzzFeedOz/videos/2027416954156657/ and follow her on IG @mickyyhartley.

The Wayfarer in Shophouse

Recently, we caught a mysterious guy typing away behind his laptop and decided to have a chat with him. Turns out, the American-born Iran-Jamaican was a guest at The Shophouse! 

Mateo Askaripour, New Yorker

Words by Syafiqah J -- Images by Amiera Raushan

Tell us more about yourself.

Cliché but in 2016, I took the leap of faith to quit my job simply because I wasn't happy with what I was doing.  I was the Director of Sales Development in a successful company for four years and was earning a sh*t ton of money. Sure, I earned a six-figure salary and I was living the high life. Yet, life just did not seem fulfilling.

I started travelling and writing. I'm currently re-writing my novel. I sent the first draft to a number of publishers and I did receive some positive responses. I'm not fully satisfied with my manuscript so I've decided to give myself more time to polish up the plot. While I am at it, I earn money though my travel writing and articles on both my blog and other websites. I don't earn much, but it is enough to keep me going. Before every writing assignment, make sure that I research extensively so that I am knowledgeable enough to present accurate information to my readers.

I try my best to produce things of high quality yet engaging for all. I've agreed to do things that will only bring benefit - not to do things for money or just for the sake of it. I'm doing what I love and I couldn't be any more blessed.

You've travelled to a number of places before. What brings you to Singapore and how are you liking your stay so far?

Honestly, Singapore was never part of my travel plan. I was in Indonesia when I took a look at the world map and thought, "I've never been to Singapore!" I went online to check on the reviews but decided that I shouldn't judge a country until I visit and witness it for myself. Since the flight ticket was cheap, I hopped on the next flight to the little red dot (or should I just say Singapore).

I expected Singapore to be wealthy, superficial and business-oriented. It did still seem like it on the first day yet the more I explored the country, I was exposed to the real deal. For instance, Singapore's population is multi-racial. I've assumed it to be just the Chinese and maybe some Indians.

I was amazed by how clean the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is. Back in New York, people would rush into the train but here, people actually lined up! Best thing is, internet is still accessible which isn't a privilege if I was taking the Subway back in my hometown. My first interaction with a Singaporean was heart-warming.  I was short of change to buy a ticket - ten cents short to be exact. I was saved with the help of a kind stranger. Simply said, I was blown away.

I also gave the National Museum of Singapore a visit. Learning about the history made me, I wouldn't say fall in love, but reaaaaally like this country even more. I'm actually extending my visit for another day before I continue my journey to Thailand!

Thanks for the lovely chat Mateo! We wish you had a safe trip to Thailand and we look forward to reading your novel in the near future. Don't forget to visit us in Singapore soon! Check out Mateo's blog at SwagPapi.com and follow him on IG @AskMateo.