“Life doesn’t just come to you. You have to shake it, seize the moment and make it happen – Megan, you did just that! Awesome job” Henry Roth, 2014.
Such profound words of wisdom from a man who knows that life isn’t always handed to you on a platter. Opportunities and hard work pay off. The message Henry delivered summed up his thoughts about life and opportunity perfectly, to a captivated audience of young teenagers at the Australian Teenage Expo, held at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds last Thursday, 28th August 2014. (btw, please excuse the quality of some of the images. They were taken with my mobile phone. Perfect for uploading to social media at an event, but not so great in my blog.)My association with Henry came about after my daughter, Megan Rose Fettke, was asked to intern for him at the event. As a first year fashion student, studying at the White House Institute of Design, Megan had touched Henry’s life through a series of ‘degrees of separation’ over the years. He had judged her fashion designs at the National Apex Fashion awards in Sydney and Melbourne from New York when she was in Year 10 and 11 and she had listened to every word of his critique. She watched him work on ‘Project Runway’ and ‘Beauty and the Geek’, and caught up with him recently through the White House. When Henry asked Megan if she would like to be his intern for the austeenexpo as part of #teamroth, Megan jumped at the chance. Somehow, an offer to photograph them both working together, saw me on a plane and there I was in Melbourne at the Expo, too.
The event, Australian Teenage Expo, is now in its fourth year. The three day event is organised by two incredibly motivated and passionate women Sonya Karras and Sacha Kaluri, both leading professional speakers in the youth market. Their expo encompasses advice on careers, resilience training, education options, the latest products, entertainment and celebrities. There were motivational guest speakers and performers from Big Brother, The Voice and X-Factor. Vivica and Tyler Wilford did an amazing job co-hosting the event. Vivica, as a 15 year old singer/songwriter signed by David Caprice to a Global Management contract and coached by Venetta Fields, showed a maturity beyond her age and kept the momentum going with Tyler, also a singer songwriter and an ambassador for Teenage Expo and Bully Zero Australia Foundation. What a powerhouse combination! Henry worked his magic from 11.30 – 12pm, following musical performances, student challenges on stage and a guest cook-off between Masterchef Alice Zaslavsky (2012 season) and the Hon. Ryan Smith, Minister for Youth Affairs. Tough acts to follow, but from the minute Henry was introduced, entering the space by walking through the centre of the two seated areas, chatting naturally to the audience either side with stories and humour, he had them completely engaged. His energy and enthusiasm never dampened and I loved photographing him interacting with the students. I am still smiling remembering how he jumped onto the stage, landing firmly on his butt, legs crossed, vans shoes on display. He was exactly how he needed to be. He spoke with the young people in the audience, not at them and it won them over. Henry carried out a “makeover” on Brooke Cairns (reigning Miss Teen Galaxy Australia) and Alexander Bourgazas, explaining the reasons why he wanted them to take care with their appearance and presentation and encouraging questions from the crowd. Alexander has an account on LOOKBOOK The #1 Source of Fashion Inspiration from real people around the world, with great images of fashion styles that inspire him on his Hype Boards and was a lovely young man.
Brooke impressed me with her maturity and convictions. As Miss Teen Galaxy she wants to lead by example and be the best role model she can be to other teenagers. She is committed to youth and charity events and is well suited to become a beautiful mentor and secondary school teacher through her studies.
We moved from the booths to the stage hall and watched an amazing multimedia presentation. We got to see and hear Thando perform, which was such a treat. She has been dubbed the “soul sista” of Melbourne, following on from her appearance on The Voice. She honestly blew me away with her talent and the depth of her vocal range, singing from a place ‘deep within’ that held the audience captivated.
Rachel Costanzo performed with back up dancers. Sonya and Sacha both talked about the reasons that had led them to develop the Australian teen expo and the importance it held in giving young people strength and belief in themselves. The Expo went way beyond my expectations and I would love to congratulate the organisers, volunteers, booth holders and performers for such an amazing event full of diversity. I believe healthy food choices also help to make healthy minds. Hopefully bottled water will be an option next year.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude and to say it was an absolute pleasure for Megan and I to work with Henry Roth as part of his image and branding consultancy, Henry Roth Presents, at the Australian Teenage Expo 2014. As Australia’s “go to” Lifestyle and Fashion authority and THE “Makeover King”, Henry was a powerhouse of energy and enthusiasm that captivated his teen audience.
What an amazing experience for Megan to be a part of.