Ones to watch: Sunshine Coast entertainment success stories

Gone are the days when people have to work 9am-5pm. People are now creating jobs they love, doing things that are out of the ordinary and making a living from new and exciting careers.

Here are three Sunshine Coast locals who are on their way to big things in the entertainment world with jobs that are far from standard.

Carla Neves McAlister – makeup artist

By Madeleine McKinlay

While most school leavers are focusing on getting into their desired university or into a trade, Carla Neves McAlister was focusing on something that at the time seemed impossible. Hollywood cinema graphic makeup artistry is an extremely competitive industry but Carla, at the age of 18, defied all the odds.

On what led her to choose this profession:

“I loved film and TV at high school and my ideas were always so elaborate that it wasn’t always achievable on a school budget but I used Halloween and dress up parties as an excuse to play with prosthetics and fake blood that I bought off eBay. I always knew I wanted to be creative and perhaps work as a director but it wasn’t until the Christmas after I left school that I knew for sure that makeup was going to be the path I’d take.”

On her success:

“I didn’t think I would be successful. But now as more and more opportunities are coming up and the harder I work, so many more doors are opening for me. It’s all about dedication. It’s also great that Australia is a prime movie location so it means more Hollywood opportunities for me without having to travel overseas.”

On thinking of her job as a hobby she gets paid to do:

An example of McAlister’s extraordinary work.

“I love it. Some days are hard being awake at 2am and not getting home 24 hours later but I wouldn’t dedicate myself to that if I didn’t love doing it.”

On competing for a job:

“It’s not really about being unique, however the more variety of movie sets you’ve been on, the bigger your portfolio is, which is more appealing. I just try and get along with as many people as I can on movie sets and go the extra mile so when it comes to new jobs I have connections.”

On the limited career opportunities on the Sunshine Coast:

“I am constantly travelling to Brisbane and the Gold Coast for jobs. I think eventually I will move to America, even if it’s just for a little while, just because of the opportunities it offers.”


Ash Davis – digital influencer

By Tiama Kimlin

Ash Davis @ashelizadavis, Followers:  16.4k, Creative director and editor of Collaborative @thecollaborativeco

Ash Davis’s Instagram home page

As a University of the Sunshine Coast student, Ash Davis fell in love with creating digital content after collaborating with bikini brand, Triangl Swimwear.  Four years later and the blog she created with photographer Luke Smith, Collaborative, was born.  This online journal showcases their creative talents while collaborating with cool people, brands and businesses. Although Ashlie would love to take her blog to the next level, she doesn’t label what she does as a career, but more as a hobby or weekend activity.

On her start:

“I found myself blogging about fashion and my lifestyle after my first ever collaboration with Triangl Swimwear. They sent me a bikini in exchange for promoting their label on my personal Instagram account @ashelizadavis. It really took off for me after that, with brands and businesses paying me to promote their labels and products. Social media blogging can be tricky to tap into unless you’re offering something new and different. I honestly think I was lucky and got in at the right time!”

On why she does not see herself as overly successful despite her growing following:

“I have really good followers that are always positive and supporting me. I’ve never had any negative comments or feedback on what I share, so I consider that as a success (or just boring!). You can’t attribute success with where you live. Some amazing bloggers and social media influencers are from the coast, such as @oraclefox and @abbey_ginns. I think if you can find and define your style, and create some really good content, you can be successful anywhere. You just have to have an eye for detail and creative mind.”

Ash Davis

On whether the being on the Sunshine Coast limited her opportunities:

“Not at all, like I just mentioned it’s all about making the most with what you’re given. All my photos are taken on my iPhone. Some people find that hard to believe, but iPhones can produce really good quality in the right surroundings. You don’t need expensive photography equipment or Barbados beach backdrops to be a social media blogger. The Sunshine Coast offers some amazing locations to shoot content, from beaches to cute cafes and little laneways.”

On the importance of optimism:

“You can make anything of yourself with the right attitude.”

On what she considers her biggest success, her blog The Collaborative. 

“This website stemmed from all my collaborations with brands like Sommer Swim, Number Nineteen, Alterior Motif, Sabo Skirt, and other businesses that I have worked with over the years. It is a four-year-in-the-making project; I wanted a permanent visual space for all of my photography and written work. I am lucky enough to be really good friends with a very talented photographer, Luke Smith (@luke_gsmith), who I can thank for all of the photography featured on the site. We both share a very similar vision in what we want to achieve in our shoots, so we work really well together. Social media has contributed to this success, by being the platform that started it all. Collaborating is such a new and still-developing concept, of essentially people just welding together their talents and visions. Social media started that, and it’s a forever growing and developing concept that I’m really excited about.”

On the corrosiveness of self doubt:

“If you are doubting yourself or your work, take a break from it. Stressing and over analysing yourself or comparing yourself to others is one of the biggest negativities involved with social media, and I am talking from experience! You are you, not someone else, so as soon as you tap into that and just start creating and sharing content on what you love and enjoy, you will be successful within yourself.

On quality and quantity – of followers:

“As for the whole success on ‘how many followers you have’, I don’t think social media is really about that anymore. I have seen so many pages and followed heaps of bloggers who only have a handful of followers, but their pages are insane! Amazing photography, personal style and originality (even funny/witty captions), that’s how I determine if I’d like to follow someone and support their work.”

Tiah Twomey – photographer

By Melissa Halsey

Twomey has worked with models including Skye Wheatley. Photographer: Tiah Twomey

In the eight months she has been in the photography business, Tiah Twomey has gained over 7000 Instagram followers, a huge achievement in an industry that so many are aspiring to be a part of. In this short amount of time she has had the opportunity to work with models that have huge followings, such as Alexandria Lillian (785,000 followers) and Skye Wheatley (292,000 followers). So what is her secret? Passion. She absolutely loves what she does.

On her beginning:

“My mum enrolled me into a photography course and my dad got me my first camera back in 2010. I didn’t finish the course, nor did I keep using my camera.”

On the influence of her partner Declan:

“Seeing what Declan could do and create, I desperately wanted to create something of my own.”

On leaving what she thought was her “dream job”, full-time hairdressing, to pursue photography:

“Obviously with anything it has its ups and downs, but it’s been amazing, I’ve finally find something that truly makes me happy.”

Tips for aspiring photographers

Twomey encourages others to express who they are through their photography by making sure they love the work they do because it brings fulfilment and happiness. “Chase what you want and don’t let anyone devalue your work,” she says.

On Sunshine Coast limitations:

Twomey believes her opportunities are definitely limited living on the Sunshine Coast. She finds herself going down to the Gold Coast fortnightly, sometimes even weekly for days at a time to organise business opportunities there.

On social media:

Twomey’s work is more risqué than your average, and as a result her brand is skyrocketing. She showcases all of her work on her Instagram page, which helps her to reach a larger audience. “Social media enables me to have business opportunities at my finger tips,” she says.

On achievements:

“My biggest achievement would have to be getting my images published in the Daily Mail.” But overall Twomey is most proud about the “beautiful girls” she has had the opportunity to work with so far.

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