Speed Dating
Speed Dating:
Rachel Hehl, Holly Leonardson, Sandy Hsu
and Naomi Barnes
Saturday 29th August, 2020
Ahead of their online event later today, we managed to squeeze in a quick date with four of the artists involved in the launch of the 17th issue of F*EMS zine - creative writer Rachel Hehl, dream-pop expert Sandy Hsu and visual artists Holly Leonardson and Naomi Barnes.

A creative collective for women & non-binary people, F*EMS is run by Tegan Iverson, Freya Alexander & Anna MacNeill, and the latest edition in their ongoing zine series - which centres around the theme home - hopes to give readers a sense of comfort, connection and community in these strange times.

F*EMS zine issue 17 is being launched online today from 2 to 8pm - head to @femszine to tune in.

Rachel Hehl

Where do we know you from?
I’m that girl with the funky hair and galaxy overalls that’s always stomping around the local shopping centre (pre-2020, anyway) looking incredibly off-with-the-faeries. Or you might have seen me on Twitter, nerding out about my armada of fictional ships and writing enormously overblown fanfictions for them. Or maybe from that time I was briefly on TV at a Guy Sebastian concert in Federation Square (my mum dragged me to that concert, I swear!)

What do you do with yourself?
I write stuff. Sometimes it’s fiction, sometimes it’s poetry, sometimes it’s fanfic (often that’s the most fun). I’m one of those people that is very into aesthetics, so I like to write about colours and light and aliens and stars and other vibey things. If there’s ever a poem with my name on it and it doesn’t use the word ‘stars’ at least once, I did not write that poem and there is an impostor somewhere out there and we must expose them.

Lay your best ice-breaker on us.
“If you were a prisoner on death row, what would you pick to be your last meal?” Morbid AND we get to talk about the best thing in the world aside from Taylor Swift = food. More often than not this just makes me hungry and with the desire to leave the conversation in search of food.

What’s your go-to creative process?
Drink iced coffee. Think about all the things I’m not writing. Panic. Procrastinate writing by going on Tumblr. Obsess about whichever fictional ship I’m currently into. Think about writing fanfic to get my blood pumping. Listen to moody music. Annoy my boyfriend by explaining to him in detail how our Venus in Scorpio means we’re perfect for each other. End up writing one nice sentence (maybe for a poem? who knows) in my phone notes because I’m inspired by astrology at the moment. Go down the astrology rabbit hole for further inspiration/validation. Whoops it’s 2am.

What’s something you’ve been meaning to do for ages but haven’t got around to doing yet?
Go to space. The second they accept people into the Mars missions I’m gathering up my nearest and dearest and I’m out of here y’all. I was only sticking around on Earth for the last Star Wars movie and, well… look how they massacred my boy. I’m gonna go set up camp on Jupiter with my lover and drink star-milk every day.

What’s your perfect Sunday?
Waking up at the decadently late time of 1pm, curling up with an enemies-to-lovers romance novel and a really well-made iced latte. Having enough creative juice at the time to jot some words down for a story I’m thinking about. Playing some videogames in the afternoon - at the moment I’m making my way through Dark Souls 3 - then pizza and pina coladas (god tier combination tbh) in bed with my boyfriend and a classic horror movie on TV.

Rachel will be reading at the F*EMS online zine launch at 2:25pm.

Holly Leonardson

Where do we know you from?
You’ve probably seen me digging around the op-shops in Noosa, Tassie, Melbourne, Newcastle and anywhere else in between.

What do you do with yourself?
I make collages with a strong preference towards analogue over digital, and create small objects and jewellery with found objects and craft materials.

If you can’t beat them, should you join them?
Only if you share the same values and goals.

What’s your most unlikely influence?
My collages tend to be pretty colourful and lighthearted but I am probably listening to classic Melvins or Black Sabbath, Constant Mongrel or DIÄT while I’m making them, for example.

Tell us your best piece of advice that you don’t follow.
Recording my income/expenses as I go would be great, but I usually just sort it all out at once over a few very boring days.

What’s your perfect Sunday?
Really good home cooked breakfast and coffee, a lazy flick through a book and a trip to the beach or out for a bush walk, bonus points if it’s a new or favourite spot and it’s hot enough to swim. Would be extra special if our interstate friends could join us!

Holly will be exhibiting at the F*EMS online zine launch at 4:30pm.

Sandy Hsu

Where do we know you from?
I might have been that girl you saw that one time in the full Melbourne black getup on the Hustbridge line...

What do you do with yourself?
In this current climate, I mostly spend my time scheming, cooking, facetiming friends, reading, watching Law and Order: SVU and taking myself out for my one-hour government mandated walk.

Tell us something you shouldn’t tell us for risk of incrimination.

What do you do when the good ideas just aren’t coming?
I'll most likely go for a walk if the weather permits it, whilst listening to something that gets my synapses firing... Maybe a podcast or a favourite record.

Got any life hacks?
Read more books. And get a Japanese rice cooker. I don't know if these are life hacks, but they are definitely both for your own good.

What’s your perfect Sunday?
Cooking and eating a yummy meal whilst sitting outside under the sun, maybe while chatting with a friend, or just listening to the birds sing around my area.

Sandy will be performing at the F*EMS online zine launch at 2:55pm.

Naomi Barnes

Where do we know you from?
For three years now I have been a contributor to F*EMS zine, submitting work in photography and illustration. You may have seen me hanging around at their issue launch parties across the years (usually with a glass of wine in hand) and have also been given the opportunity to have some artwork displayed at some of their issue launch exhibitions!

What do you do with yourself?
To save up for that next travel adventure I usually split my time between graphic design work and nannying two small girls. In between, I like listening to the radio while playing around with my creativity or watching a thriller movie.

What’s the worst idea you’ve had lately?
Letting our cat fall in love with this cardboard box we had sitting in our living room when we first adopted her. She uses it as a play tunnel and always looks a little lost when we take it away. We don't have the heart to get rid of it, so this now flimsy, old box has just become a permanent part of our living room furniture.

DIY or professional job?
Both. I like the idea of having a very structured professional job while also having the flexibility of a DIY/freelance style job on the side. Although I am likely to constantly change what I'm doing in that DIY job, as I like any opportunity to learn new skills and mix things up.

What’s something you’re bad at?
Cooking... I can still do a good veggie pasta, but don't ask me to follow some complicated recipe, I cringe at the thought of it.

What’s your perfect Sunday?
Staying in bed a little longer with a good book and cup of tea while our cat curls up next to me. Then heading out for lunch with friends or family and coming home to bake cookies or cupcakes with my partner.

Naomi will be exhibiting at the F*EM online zine launch at 6:35pm.

The new issue is available to purchase now via femszine.bigcartel.com.