At risk of sounding positively clichéd, interviewing Brooke Darling is actually a dream come true.
We think Brooke is one of the nicest, most infectious and giggle-worthy people we’ve met – despite never actually meeting in real life.
Readcity has worked closely with Brooke for a little over a year and it has been a real hoot – plus we’ve learnt a bunch of cool stuff. Like how to best connect with staff, how to collaborate on projects and how to connect up with local businesses without intruding on their time. This lady is one seriously creative, witty and impressive writer for one of Australia’s biggest online directories, The Urban List. Each piece Brooke writes teeters the perfect balance between humour, effortlessness, and personality – we just sit back and shake our heads with delight.
Before Brooke left The Urban List for maternity leave a few months ago, she was the head honcho – the editor. Business owners knew her name, new restaurants opening their doors raved about how sweet she was, and us? Well, we followed the candy trail of Brooke’s compliments right back to our inbox and chatted there. The powers of the internet, right? A real-life Charlie from Charlie’s Angels!
We teed up this interview with Brooke before she left to have her beautiful little lady, Ella Eva van de Riet (big congrats!). Here’s what she had to say about the life of an editor, writing styles and inspiration.
What’s a typical day like for the editor for The Urban List?
“I’m fortunate to work from home, which can also mean from a cafe if I’m up for a coffee and breakfast while I tap away on the laptop. The majority of my day is a mix of writing articles and uploading to the website, researching story opportunities and chasing leads, responding to emails, outsourcing, and editing contributor submissions, posting to our social media channels, tracking results plus Skype meetings if scheduled that day; while visiting new venues/photo shoots or the occasional event and media dinner is always a highlight of the week.”
Photo Credit: Hayley Williamson
What’s your #1 piece of advice for someone looking to pursue a career in writing?
“My advice is that you don’t need a journalism degree to explore a career in writing. Sure, if you want to write hard news for newspapers it’s kinda essential, though so many creative avenues exist these days from travel writing and blogging to copy and content writing. If you have a solid grasp of the English language and grammar, can engage a reader and speak their language, there is plenty of freelance work out there given the ever-changing digital landscape and content marketing.”
Who is an inspiring business woman you look up to and why?
“That would have to be the CEO and founder of The Urban List, Susannah George! I’ve never worked under a more inspiring, fierce #ladyboss who cares equally as much for the happiness and satisfaction of her team, as she does for the bottom line. From starting The Urban List in her spare room six years ago, to today where she has 50 team members, seven sites across Australia and NZ (including dominating the digital markets in Sydney and Melbourne where she was told she’d ’never make it’), and a finalist gong for Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017, all while inspiring to be Australia’s leading independent media brand. Oh, and she’s only in her mid-30s and about to welcome her second child like it’s no big deal. Amaze, right?”
What’s your favourite thing about other Gold Coast businesses?
“One of the best parts of my job is regularly connecting with local small business owners and helping to spread the word with our readers. In contrast to the cutthroat, every man for himself culture that one anticipates exists in the capital cities, generally the Gold Coast’s SMEs (small and medium enterprises) have a heartwarming knack for being supportive and encouraging of others in the industry.
Seeing each other not as competitors, but instead growing the critical vibrancy of the local scene and community.
Several local owners have gone on to open second and sometimes third and fourth businesses, all while instilling skills and determination in their own star employees, who have in turn opened their own ventures. Also, I admire the unlimited opportunity to be creative and explore your passions on the Coast. Given our affordable cost of living and focus on lifestyle… pursuing a creative career or side hustle would otherwise be near impossible if trying to make a living in an expensive rat race of a capital city or a less encouraging/inspiring regional town.”
You’re able to have one superpower to use in everyday business – what is it?
“Oh, that’s fun, I’ve not thought of acquiring a superpower before… Perhaps the power to create a second version of myself?! With so much great stuff happening and opening on the Coast, I could definitely use a second set of hands on occasion. Of course, I’ve often had wild dreams about flying over the years, but that one’s just for selfish personal pleasure!”
While Brooke is off being mummy instead of being the rad editor for The Urban List, catch her on Instagram
and keep up with her living story – a tale of one helluva gal.