I was lucky enough to sit down for a virtual glass of bubbles with Fenella McGowan. You might remember Fenella and her strong social game from Season 3 of Australian Survivor, but she’s also a talented interior designer, new mama, podcaster with her alliance mate Shonee Fairfax, and an all round lovely human being!
Tell us about you and your life and career highlights!
My husband and I welcomed our first human baby this year (we’ve had our two fur babies for over 10 years). I thought design school would’ve prepared me for the sleep deprivation… how wrong I was! Prior to the babe, I was working as an interior designer and loving it! I went to uni three times before I decided what I really wanted to do. I tried my hand at textile design when I first finished of school, then screen printing design. Then seven years later (good god!), I began my interior design path. I’ve always loved space. It’s an intriguing object to play with and something which we move in and out of every day. There are subtleties within all designs that act as cues towards the inhabitants behaviour. That concept will forever be astounding to me! I think my proudest moment to date was having my very first design come in to fruition, something I’d created from conception through to the finish build. It was also the most stressful months of my life (Survivor included!) but to walk through a space which first came to life within my head was so humbling and wild! I’ll never forget it!
Tell us about your wedding! What was your most “memorable” moment?
It was at the wonderful Rupert On Rupert in Collingwood, Melbourne. The whole day is pretty memorable so it’s hard to pick one! I LOVED walking down the aisle to Barry White’s ‘Youre The First, The Last, My Everything’. I mean who wouldn’t wanna walk down the aisle to the sweet chocolatey sounds of Barry White?
I loved that my husband and I each made a signature cocktail for everyone to drink. Mine was labelled the ‘Flirty Fanny’. She was pink, terribly boozy, quite expensive and honestly, just me in a glass. I had eight bridesmaids which in itself is a little memorable! I surprised Leeroy (my husband) with a colourful streamer backdrop for us to stand in front of. He actually organised the whole event, or so he thought… but I had a few little tricks up my sleeve.
And lastly, we decided to have a wall of lolly bags instead of a cake. It was so gorgeous watching people go through their lolly bags, picking out their favourites. Actually our entire wedding turned in to a gigantic karaoke which was hilarious. It all got a bit loose towards the end, but that’s the sign of a good wedding, I guess!
If you could change one thing, what would it be?
I would’ve made my dad make a speech. He’s since passed away and due to ill health at the time, he was unable to walk me down the aisle. So although he was there and we still shared moments together, I feel like I could’ve included him more. Thankfully he and I share the same musical taste so although some people may of felt the disco vibe was overdone, he and I most certainly felt the groove! My advice to anyone is to ensure you include the ones you love. Simple in theory but sometimes hard to action out.
Did you have a favourite vendor?
My favourite vendor is a tie between Bangin Hangins and Georgie Boy. Sarah, the masterful lady behind the colourful streamer wall piece, and Georgina, our florist, were amazing. Talking to both of them felt like I was talking to old friends! I didn’t really give the greatest (if any) directions and yet both somehow knew exactly what I was after and then some. They’re the type of people you just wanna take to the pub and have a few beers with!
Who were your vendors?
My dress was made by my friend Dharsha Maurice. We worked together back in the retail days! Leeroy’s suit was from Briggins Clothiers and his tie and pocket square were by B.TIES. Our celebrant was Anthony Cribbes. We didn’t have a band, just a playlist I’d made. However, so everyone had a little stamp on our day (and to help nudge people along with the RSVPs) we asked everyone to send in a song when they did RSVP. I had great plans to turn all of those songs in to a CD to give everyone but that idea, along with my thank you notes, are still yet to be actioned out. Eeeep!
About Fenella McGowan: Fenella McGowan is an interior designer from Melbourne, Victoria. She lives with her husband, son and two fur babies, and was a contestant on Australian Survivor: Champions v Contenders in 2018.