In the second instalment of our series on women’s lives in lockdown, we talk to a social-media influencer, a busker and a Sydney woman whose family owns a grocery store on how coronavirus has affected them.
‘I’ve realised how much stuff I don’t need’
Martha Kalifatidis is a social media influencer with 323,000 followers on Instagram
“Before Covid, I would literally have had three or four events a week. Sometimes I would get an appearance fee, but not for all of them. I was also filming a show with Chanel Nine. A lot of the rest of the time I was just looking for outfits and things to wear.
I mean, just saying that out loud makes me feel a bit sick.
I’m lucky, I can’t really complain. Life has changed. It’s a lot more simple, and it’s really showed me how much stuff we don’t actually need. We can actually survive with a fraction of the things we had or thought we needed. Honestly, before Covid, we would eat every meal out, apart from dinner, which I would cook a few nights a week. But now, we obviously eat every meal at home.
I hate isolation. I am really struggling. I like to be around people – it gives me energy. I thrive off a group and meeting new people. The highlight of my day right now is waking up and getting coffee from a little coffee shop across the road from my house. Then [my partner Michael and I] will do a workout and we’ll drag that out to two hours.
An influencer is somebody who has a platform and then aligns with brands with whom their principles and morals also align. Right now, I’m working with brands like JS Health and Eco Tan – a lot of beauty brands. My income is going to be impacted by Covid because people aren’t spending money and buying things, therefore brands don’t have money to spend on advertising and marketing.
But I’m actually not feeling anxious at the moment. A lot of my work is online, and I’m actually still busy. I still have a lot of work to do, a lot of editing. You wouldn’t believe how long it takes to edit something simple, like an Instagram video. Most of my day, maybe six or seven hours, I’m making content and editing. We’ll get through it. I miss the freedom though.”
‘With bushfires and now coronavirus, buskers have had a hard time’
Bianca Ivorie, 25, (above) is a musician who lives in Melbourne
“I used to busk three times a week in Bourke Street Mall, right in the centre of Melbourne – it’s one of the most coveted positions in the city and you have to audition for a licence to get it. But since coronavirus hit, all busking has been banned. I also had work lined up for weddings and gigs, and that’s been cancelled, too.
I don’t think I qualify for government help, but I’m lucky in that my partner can support me financially. I could never earn enough busking to rely solely on that income but I did use that money to fund music equipment and recording. Busking also helps you to gain a bit of a following on social media.
There are a lot of costs when you self-fund your own music as an independent artist, such as hiring a studio, a producer and paying session musicians. Also, you need savings for marketing and publishing to get the word out there. It really is a labour of love.
Buskers have had a rough few months with the bushfires, too. People had to cancel sessions and stop busking because of the poor air quality. I’m a singer, as well as playing the piano and guitar, and it really affected me – I lost my voice for a little bit.
I’m in a chat group with other buskers and they’ve gone a bit quiet, but I get the sense from others that they’re using this time to write music, to reflect and look for inspiration. You know, just take advantage of the time out.
I’m using the time to apply for a women in music mentorship, and play weekly live gigs online. I’m feeling quite optimistic – I recently set myself the target of recording 50 songs in six months, and I finished just before lockdown began. So I have a lot of material to upload.
At the very least I hope I can create some happy moments during this hard time and maybe inspire others to pick up an instrument and sing.”
“People are edgy”
Sindouse Assad and her family own a grocery shop in Sydney’s Bronte
“Some people are nice and some people are rude. Everyone’s quite edgy. The other day we had a lady using the ATM and when another lady went to move out of the doorway, she started screaming “social distance 1.5 metres”. I got quite a fright.
I think that if you’re so scared and worried about [coronavirus] then why are you out on the street? Why aren’t you wearing gloves?
Some people are very weird and strange – they won’t let me touch their things and put them in a bag. They won’t give me cash, even though the banks are still charging small businesses a whole heap [for eftpos transactions].
I’m more likely to get it from you. We’re working seven days. I’m spraying everything with Dettol. I have gloves and a mask. We have a right to be scared.
Other people don’t seem to be worried about it. My dad who’s almost 70 was serving the other day and this guy coughed and didn’t even cover his mouth! I couldn’t believe it.
Business is up and down. Everyone’s buying toilet paper, yeast, bread. But one day we double order and have too much bread. The next day we run out. The third day we order too much cream. You just don’t know now. We don’t know what we’re ordering.”