There is a bit of inception going on, the day I meet fellow blogger Lucy O'Connor in Miramar on a late Autumn morning. First, we share the same name. From there, the parallels grow.
Apart from our aptitude at sport (she, much - me, none), Lucy and I share a great deal in common. We went to secondary school around the corner from each other. We graduated in the same year. We took the same bus together after school (the Number 3 to Karori I'll have you know), grew up in suburbs starting with 'K' and both have a passion for the written word. We started our blogs within months of each. "It's like I'm meeting myself in a parallel universe" I enthuse to Lucy. Luckily, Lucy accepts my cool comments. Unluckily, my camera is playing up this day so most of our photos come out somewhat blurry.
It doesn't matter though - I know Lucy understands. She, of all people, has made the breaks and mistakes to truly get what it is to fail and come back stronger, and at no time more than 2017. Together, we spent an hour or so fueled with coffee, blog chat and unpicking what makes a girl determined to become a hustler...
WHAT IS MONDAY HUSTLE?
‘Monday Hustle’ is an inspirational blog and social media platform, run by storming babe Lucy O’Connor. Her slogan is ‘Backing you to back yourself’. Since 2015, ‘Monday Hustle’ has been a source of information, hilarity and down to earth stories about growing up as a twenty-something Millennial and the hiccups along the way. Lucy has grown a loyal audience on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook in support of her blog. She also is one of a growing number of Kiwi’s bucking the ‘Instagram Perfect’ trend popularised by mainstream media and traditional beauty blogs, and sharing her own quirky journey, covering everything from personal setbacks to feminism, and everything in between.
In 2016 Lucy snapped her Achilles and after 6 months, last week was finally back on her feet (you can read the full dramatic journey, with all the twists and turns, here). We met in Wellington where she was staying with her family, recovering. While not currently in Wellington, Lucy O’Connor’s mindset and go-getter attitude was set in her hometown, Poneke.
WHAT DOES SHE DO?
Lucy is a jack of-all-trades-and-master-of-many. On top her her blog, and her current job working for radio streaming service, Pandora, she has also produced a speaker event. More recently, Monday Hustle has expanded the blog to introduce piece from contributors, giving people the opportunity. At its heart, Monday Hustle is about kick-ass stories and writing, something Lucy staunchly believes in, despite her multi-media approach. “Video is hot right now, but that doesn’t mean that there isn't a place for a well-crafted story. Even if it sways one way, we’ll always come back to writing.”
“Video is hot right now, but that doesn’t mean that there isn't a place for a well-crafted story. Even if it sways one way, we’ll always come back to writing.”
HOW DID SHE GET HERE?
Lucy was born in Wellington city, one of three girls. She grew up in Khandallah and then came to Karaka Bay Heights. “Mum is in market research and Dad has his own IT company” she explains. “I have an uncle who says I used to jump everywhere. That was how I got around. I loved everything and was into my sports. The world was exciting to me, always” Lucy says, smiling in a way that leaves you in no doubt that she would have been as bubbly as an Energizer Bunny.
“I didn’t celebrate St Patrick day enough”
Lucy went to primary school at St Anthony’s in Wellington, a tiny, tiny Irish Catholic school with less than 100 pupils. “We have a bit of strong Catholic heritage in my family - O’Connor” Lucy laughs. “I didn’t celebrate St Patrick day enough,” she says, pointing at her boot holding her leg in, which clearly has limited her ability to quaff Guinness to an appropriate level.
For secondary school, Lucy attended St Mary’s, continuing the Catholic vibes. “At school, my group of friends were high achievers but not geeks. I was into sports and loved English. In 17th form, I cut all science and just did essay subjects. Everyone else thought it was a terrible idea. I did art history and history and classics. I learnt a lot about things like ‘foreshadowing’ - which so far has not come in handy” Lucy laughs.
[Some might argue otherwise. Since the start of 2017 Lucy has been confined to crutches and only last week was able to wear two shoes. She tore her Achilles and since then has had a host of issues. Whether her high enthusiasm could have foreshadowed the challenges she has now had to battle, fighting to keep her spirit high in the face of supreme agony. I don't think my interpretation of foreshadowing is spot on but I just wanted to make it fit into this article. Continue reading - Lucy R]
About to go to Victoria University, Lucy had a quick change of heart where she was worried she’d just stay at home through her time at Uni and not push herself to her own limits. She decided to go and study Psychology in Dunedin (she also dabbled in first-year law but found it wasn’t for her). “I loved the first year” Lucy explains. “It was all so easy in a hostel - all our food was prepared, cleaning done. I just had a ball.” In 2010, She didn’t know what she was going to do for a job when she left until her mother called her telling her to apply for an advertising internship. “I got the job, but I really hated it.”
After leaving that job, Lucy jumped into a string of unrelated jobs, feeding her multi-passionate hard working nature, and has never looked back. “I have had the weirdest range of work experience. Writing a CV for me is my worst nightmare. I’ve done so many things. I think I am a commitment phobe! I’ve worked in radio (on air and in promotions), sales roles - I travelled to the US with a sales role once which was really cool - PR, advertising obviously, working at TVNZ in agency sales….even actual cherry picking!” Lucy moved in 2014 to Auckland where she has been hustling ever since.
Still not in the all-clear, but in the last 24 hours, at least I can say that life has improved dramatically. For the time being, I can ditch the 'moon' in 'moonboot' and add an 's' to the end. Yup. You got it. I can wear BOOTS! PLURAL!! For the first time in 6 bloody months!! I tried to recreate the last old snap of me wearing two shoes, but failed to nail it because rather than looking over to the horizon like last time, I can't stop staring down at my left foot. Is this is what it's like to have a baby?? Hustlers. Thank you for your support through this. Finally. FINALLY!! Not only do I feel like I'm making progress - but I feel like my old-self again - and to say the least - it's a little overwhelming 😭#MondayHustle
HOW DID MONDAY HUSTLE START?
“Monday Hustle was never meant to be a thing” Lucy explains. “I had a fear of social media. But I somehow wanted to be this overnight success and I auditioned for a role as a new presenter for ‘What Now’ where they required you to create a social media presence. Around that time, I’d been thinking about Monday Hustle for about of year. I hadn’t done it and had resigned from TVNZ. I needed to create something to keep me accountable and grow an audience. I wanted people to think I had my shit together.” Monday Hustle - a blog - was also a perfect solution because Lucy didn’t need to rely on anyone else to do it. “I started posting on Monday’s, every week” Lucy explains, “I didn’t think about it until someone pointed it out.”
"I wanted people to think I had my shit together.”
The blog became an outlet for Lucy as she shared the experience of resigning from her job, to see where the journey took her. People quickly took an interest. Lucy was doing work with ZM and presenting as a freelancer. Since the end of 2016 she’s taken a role with Pandora, an internet music provider.
“I think its important to be on social media, in a world which can be so fake, and to be real. It is a space where you can be real” Lucy says.
IS IT HARD FOR OLDER PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND MILLENNIAL JOB HOPPING?
The longest Lucy has stayed in one job is a year. “Everyone has their own opinion,” says Lucy. “My parents have stayed in the same job since forever. People used to stay loyal for years and years and years. It is the same now - but people are changing so quickly, skills are changing quickly, roles are changing quickly. People are getting in and out of jobs much faster than. More and more, people are realising that there is a multitude of ways to be valuable and make money - and frequently these have to be self-made. You need to have things on the side, just in case.”
WHERE DOES SHE GET INSPIRATION FROM?
“I think it is from living this whole experience, having to work things out on my own,” says Lucy, looking into space and pondering the question. “I’ve had to learn social media skills - and that’s taught me so much. I’m a big one for trial by fire. I believe things come out well. I now read blogs but I didn’t at the start.”
“Tony Robbins says ‘People overestimate how much they can achieve in a year, but underestimate how much they can achieve in a decade’. You need to focus on the bigger picture and see your life as a cumulative process” Lucy explains.
WHAT DOES MONDAY HUSTLE MAKE OF SOCIAL MEDIA ROLE MODELS?
Lucy admits social media influencers ‘petrify’ her - especially when she thinks about the fact that young girls see highly put-together girls from such a young age. “It was another reason why I wanted to start Monday Hustle. To show that I’m just me and that’s not perfect. Kylie Lip kits - it’s not me and a lot of people. I think it is a real juxtaposition - this social media perfection - with feminism. To me, the two don’t work. I honestly had a minor crisis last year wondering ‘What is Monday Hustle doing?’ I didn't know what value I had. Then I snapped my achilles. I was speaking to a friend on the phone who I told me ‘Lucy, you are crazy - you’ve created an audience and that want to find out what happens to you next, whatever that it! Monday Hustle is YOU.’ Since the, I’ve felt much freer just to be me.” Lucy admits the pressure she felt to be a niche has been difficult to express.
HOW HAS MONDAY HUSTLE HELPED LUCY GROW AS A WRITER?
Having a structure has helped Lucy, through the blog. “Writing has always been a passion. Having a deadline has been really good for me. How your writing develops is amazing - you make a structure and develop a template and through that your writing style starts to shine through.”
WHAT DOES SHE DO OUTSIDE OF BLOGGING?
“Op shopping. Drinking coffee. Eating food. I love to leave the city and go on day trips” Lucy explains. “Pretty standard stuff!”
WHY IS LUCY STILL A WELLINGTONIAN?
Wellington gave Lucy her passion and soul. “When I come home, I have coffee and I wander around op-shops and it makes me really happy. Auckland has all those elements but Wellington made me and it gave me the confidence to be who I am.”