What we learned from an inspiring panel discussion with Matilda Rice

28 March 2019
By Fashion Quarterly


At the launch of Jockey’s  ‘She’s Got The Power’ campaign, Team FQ sat down with four formidable women and learned the power of believing in yourself first.


Over a delicious lunch at Augustus by Mudbrick in Ponsonby, Auckland, the star of Jockey’s newest collection Matilda Rice asked a wonderfully wide-ranging panel what they thought each of their superpowers is. While each of the women’s experiences is unique, a common thread in the discussions was the power of believing in your own worth.

We share the most inspiring moments from the discussion that gave us goosebumps:


Taryn Kljakovic, head of promotions at Sony Music New Zealand; co-founder of the community initiative, Women’s Collective.

As the head of promotions at Sony Music New Zealand and the co-founder of the community initiative Women’s Collective, Taryn Kljakovic credits her “unshakeable belief that I can do anything” for getting ahead in her career and trying new things.

“I was naive and I didn’t know better. I really just got stuck in there from a grassroots level, gave it everything I had,” she says. “If you had looked at my life as a child on paper, you would have said that I would have probably amounted to nothing. At age five, I realised that my environment was tough, but there was something in me that knew I could get myself out of that situation. And it was just something I knew. I just read Michelle Obama’s book [Becoming] and she says that failure is a feeling long before it’s a reality. And I think the same is true of believing in yourself to become successful. And like I say, I call it ignorance in a way that ‘I don’t know better, but I’ll just give it a shot’.”

Now Taryn has had enough experience to see the true worth of what she has achieved. “Value what is valuable,” is her advice to the women in the room. “Your contribution to your workplace is incredible and you help them make a lot of money and now the trick is for women to start owning everything they’re creating and to be the ones that benefit. I think if I look back, I’ve been conditioned and raised so that I’m not as prepared to commercialise everything that I create. And that’s changing. Good things can coexist with making money.”


Ruby Tui, Black Ferns Sevens rugby player

Competing in a sport that has historically been attributed with masculine power, the Black Ferns Sevens’ Ruby Tui has faced adversity head-on throughout her career, but says it only makes her stronger. With the poise of a true sportsperson, she shared how being courageous can lead to a sense of pride and self-love that pushes us to do better, and to encourage others to do better too.

“In life, there are so many moments where you think it’s too hard. And I think that’s where you find what your superpower is – that’s where you make the decision. Am I going to go up? Am I going to stay stagnant? Am I going to go backwards? If you don’t have [adversity] in your life, I challenge you to put it in.” she says. “I’ve taken on this [cycle of courage] through my entire journey and we’re currently in negotiations to have 100 per cent equal pay with the All Black Sevens.”

Of course, the Sky TV commentator and mental health campaigner hasn’t done this alone and acknowledged a number of mentors and coaches who cheer her on, something she pays forward. “Encouragement is so, so huge. It’s something that’s only going to drive us up and empower us more.”


Sophie Gilmour, hospitality entrepreneur and business owner

The entrepreneur behind cult Auckland eatery Bird on a Wire and founder of Delicious Business, a new food and hospitality consultancy, Sophie Gilmour has found her niche – but had to do some soul searching along the way.

Starting her career as a top performing lawyer, she took a chance on herself when she realised she enjoyed her role in her firm’s social committee more than her actual office job. Starting your business takes serious confidence and resilience and Sophie says her unique ability to foster relationships and keep calm under pressure has seen her succeed. “The thing that I didn’t know about myself until the shit really hits the fan in the business was that I don’t panic under pressure, which is quite important,” she says.

Another way to find out what makes you special? Listen to the compliments people pay you instead of shrugging them off: “I remember the nicest compliment I was given… a friend said to me, ‘You have a really wonderful energy and thank you for spending the day with me’. And I was so overwhelmed,” she says. “If someone says something to you, instead of saying – ‘Oh no, no, that’s not me’ – I think you should try and stand there for a minute and think about it and think, actually maybe that’s my superpower.”


Matilda Rice, media personality and brand ambassador

At the end of the event, a guest directed Matilda’s own questions right back at her – what would she say is her own superpower? The Jockey ambassador and media personality’s answer was “compassion”.

“That’s something that I’ve always prided myself on,” she says. “It helps in so many situations. It helps in business. It helps in life and in relationships. Just not being so stuck in your own head and being able to see other people’s point of views can really help.”

The women on the stage practice what they preach and Sophie was quick to add that Matilda’s sense-of-humour was another power that sets her apart from the rest. “I think your universal appeal is your humour,” she said to Matilda. “I think you’re a massive LOL and that’s why you’ve got all the fans…”

“Thanks guys, if it’s there – I’ll take it,” laughed Matilda.

Words: Jessica-Belle Greer
Photos: Supplied


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