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Coast athlete begins long road to recovery

16 Nov

By Nathan Corbett 

A Gold Coast athlete struck down by a crippling disease is determined to return to full health and compete again.

Three months ago, 24-year-old Tom Hill was diagnosed with the medical condition reactive arthritis which is an autoimmune disease prevalent in people aged 20-40.

An upcoming triathlete, Mr Hill said he refused to believe what was going on and detached himself socially from family and friends.

“I didn’t want to believe it,” Mr Hill said.

“I put off every feeling I had because I didn’t know how to deal, I hid, I didn’t see my family and friends, I didn’t know what to do.”

Reactive arthritis is one of four blood conditions that can be traced to HLA B27, which is a common gene found in one in every six people.

For Mr Hill the disease began in his pelvis before spreading down his knees to his feet, attacking through blood, ligaments and all the attachments.

“It is like I wake up in the morning and it’s at its worst, I’m stiff I won’t be able to move,” Mr Hill said.

“Sneezing was one of my biggest fears because you don’t realise how deep of an action it is, when you sneeze you tense your whole body.

“If I sneezed I used to end up on the ground, I couldn’t move.”

It began in October 2016 when Mr Hill said he experienced excruciating pain when he suddenly sat down.

Mr Hill was diagnosed with a fractured pelvis and started rehabilitation for that injury.

However, as the months passed the injury was not improving and by June Mr Hill had completely lost his balance leaving him completely bed ridden.

“One of the hardest things about the disease was my loss of balance,” Mr Hill said.

“I think, for me anyway, being in touch with my body being physically unstable is really scary.”

Mr Hill consulted a rheumatologist who told him his condition was reactive arthritis.

The rheumatologist looked through his previous medical scans and found the disease had been present in his system since 2011.

“These scans were the exact same presentation during the last 12 months when I got diagnosed with the fractured pelvis,” Mr Hill said.

Mr Hill said he has focussed intensively on his recovery.

He said he has been fighting the disease with monthly injections of Cosentyx, a form of chemotherapy minus the radiation, which reduces his pain significantly, but takes away his immune system.

“Over winter, I had to be careful who I came into contact with,” Mr Hill said.

“I couldn’t fight it.”

As well as that injection, he spends four hours a day using a hyperbaric chamber and laser therapy to ensure the recovery process is faster, stronger and more effective.

The whole approach has not just been strictly medical, with Mr Hill paying credit to his incredible network of support for getting him through the long and arduous procedure.

“Mum took a month off work to get me through it,” Mr Hill said.

“She was literally by my bedside, researching every single doctor, every single treatment possible, every single side effect.”

“My yoga teacher Sam, in every dark day she is there for me, she was the one who gave me the tools to move forward.

“And obviously, my partner Shanelle, she has been through every step of the way.

“I’ve been with her almost two years andshe has never seen me 100%.”

Mr Hill’s partner Shanelle Kuhne, 22, said despite the setback Tom’s spirit had carried him through the last few months.

“The one thing that has stuck by Tom which I believe has carried him throughout this entire journey is his spirit,” Ms Kuhne said.

“He doesn’t let the limitations from the disease prevent him from doing what he loves.”

Mr Hill said he had managed to slowly return to moderate cycling, however had been hesitant in goal-setting because he had failed to meet previous objectives before.

“This year I had many goals, little goals and big goals all set out and planned,” Mr Hill said.

“The amount of times this year I have set myself up for something and over-committed and let myself down and let others down, I don’t want to have that feeling.”

Mr Hill said he still wanted to aim high to participate in an Ironman, as well as take part in the Kokoda Trail next year.

“Down the track I want to do an Ironman with no pain, that’s the ultimate goal,” Mr Hill said.

“I’ve also been asked by my mentor to go do the Kokoda Trail in August next year.

“That will be a big step, too.”

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Coast model joins elite with international contract

16 Nov

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By Zac Maher 

Samie Robison was close to tears when asked to remove her makeup for IMG Modelling International, but when the global agency then offered to represent the Gold Coast model she did cry – tears of joy.  

The 22-year-old from Highland Park recently signed a major international contract with IMG models, placing her in the rankings of Miranda Kerr, Lily Aldridge and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. 

Ms Robinson said the contract with the international agency came through her fellow top model friend, Jordan Barrett, who initially asked IMG to sit down and meet with her. 

“I had just finished a day of eight hour shooting and was exhausted, but had a full face of make up so I thought at least I was going to look my best,” Ms Robinson said. 

“When I got there, I met the director and my future booker who handed me some make up wipes and asked me to take it all off. 

“I was mortified but from there they put a contract right in front of me. 

“I went outside into the rain around a corner and called my dad and just cried – I think that was the first time I can remember crying tears of pure joy.” 

Since signing with IMG, the Gold Coast local has been travelling the globe working with some of the biggest brands in the industry – including Nike, Puma, Glamour Publications, Abercrombie & Fitch and Oscar de la Renta.  

Samie said to date, shooting as a global ambassador for the Nike Women’s campaign has been her biggest achievement. 

“Nike flew me from Australia to New York, Portland, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Mexico City and Paris over a few months,” Ms Robinson said. 

“Seeing my face in Nike stores around the world was definitely a pinch myself moment, it was pretty insane. 

“Nike are a great brand that is all about diversity of size, colour and shape so I felt really grateful to be a part of that.” 

Regardless of homing such success now, a modelling career was never on the cards for the Gold Coast local. 

It was not until the pictures from a backyard content shoot were noticed by a local agency that Samie’s career began to take off. 

“My friend’s mother asked if we could shoot some content in the backyard for her swimwear brand, but in the end the photos were basically unusable because I looked so uncomfortable,” Ms Robinson said. 

“For some reason, a friend I had on Facebook, who was interning at a local talent agency called Division, saw the pictures and showed them to his boss, who later invited my dad and I in to meet with her. 

“We were very sceptical, but she seemed like she knew what she was doing, and she offered me a contract that same day – a week after I started grade 11.” 

Six months after signing her first contract with Division, Ms Robinson was flown to Seoul, Korea, where she lived for six months – beginning to gain attention from industry heavyweights.  

Ms Robinson said living in Korea as a 16-years-old was a real eye opener, giving a real insight to the world of modelling. 

“My time in Seoul taught me very quickly that to survive in this industry you must be incredibly head strong,” Ms Robinson said. 

“I was 16 at the time, and having to go home and address the parts of my body that only a few hours earlier I was told were too fat, or wide, for that particular job. 

“Thankfully I realised I am not every client’s idea of perfect and it’s okay because that’s just the industry, nothing personal – Seoul really did benefit my career.” 

Despite the mass of success, and living between Los Angeles and Australia, Ms Robinson is still connected with her roots. 

Long-time family friend Lisa Tate said the model’s accelerated success has not changed who she is as a person. 

“There is no explaining how proud everyone is of Samie and seeing all that she has amounted to so far in her career,” Ms Tate said. 

“The best thing though is that regardless of who she has worked for, she is the exact same girl as before her career took off – and that’s rare to see in someone. 

“It’s only been six years in the industry, so I’m looking forward to see what Samie does in the next six.” 

With a lengthy career ahead of her, Ms Robinson said she wished to stay true to who she is and continue working with individuals who inspire her and bring about positivity.  

“I look up to anyone who is honest, kind, creative and in this industry for the right reasons,” Ms Robinson said. 

“You can always tell the difference between a photographer who’s there to create gorgeous images, and a guy who has a camera and is there to meet girls and bully them and make them uncomfortable while shooting. 

“If I keep surrounding myself with those who work towards self-love and happiness, and who bring about the best in me, I know I’m doing this right thing.” 

Heading back to the U.S. in the next few weeks, Ms Robinson said her bookings were filled for the remainder of the year – and as she put it, she would not want it any other way. 

Coast entrepreneurs hone their business skills

16 Nov

By Tatiana Carter 

 

Five teams of 10 Gold Coast entrepreneurs each set out to build a business in 54 hours as they competed at the annual Global Startup Weekend (GSW) November 10-12 here on the coast.  

Based in Boulder, Colorado, GSW provides entrepreneurs with an opportunity to network, build business skills, and create a self-sustaining company.  

The Gold Coasters’ five companies ranged from helping people in underdeveloped countries gain access to hearing aids to solving rural Australia’s education problems.   

The winner was TradeMingle, a mobile trade show application, with founder, Emma Patterson and other team members Filippa Sekkelsten, Sarah Andrews, Debbie Severiny and Josh Smith. 

TradeMingle now moves on to the regional finals and if they win again, to the global finals. 

Gold Coast resident Timothy Jo, 21, a member of the hearing aid initiative, said he attended GSW to enhance his teamwork skills. 

“What I took away from this event was teamwork,” Mr Jo said.  

“Working with new people and being able to execute their ideas effectively is the most important part of entrepreneurship.” 

The teams included web developers, marketers, and individuals interested in learning more about business. 

In three days, companies were able to design applications and propose a business model that would eventually earn them real money.  

Mr Jo said GSW allowed him to gain proper business experience in less time than he would anywhere else.  

“My experience in trying to start a business in the real world have been hard and slow,” he said.  

“GSW allows people to create everything in a few short days and get it in action.” 

Volunteers and mentors who specialise in certain aspects of business also took part. 

Sharon Hunneybell, the host of GSW and a mentor, said the weekend created a culture of giving back.  

“Every GSW there are companies that create something good to help people,” Ms Hunneybell said.  

“I love seeing connections that form, relationships develop, and the businesses that are created.” 

As a host, Ms Hunneybell has been a part of the business community and has helped with every event since 2013. 

“I wanted to support people and showcase what they are doing,” she said. 

“After reading about GSW I knew we needed to bring it to the Gold Coast.” 

GSW takes place in 150 countries and can be put on by anyone seeking to bring the event to their local city.  

Because startup weekend is run on a global scale, companies selected can compete against other winners abroad. The winning Gold Coast team now moves to  

Winners of the overall competition are given thousands of dollars in Google merchandise to help them sustain their business. 

GSW Gold Coast cost $99 per person and $30 for students. 

Sponsors such as Red Bull, High Vibe Water, Opmantek, the Gold Coast Hub, and Envirotech Education helped cover the event by providing refreshments and technology.  

For more information on GSW Gold Coast visit https://startupweekend.org/locations/oceania/au. 

Coast fitness champ now trainer to Hollywood star

16 Nov

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By Michael Ziebka 

A local Gold Coast fitness and bodybuilding champion recently accepted a full time position in California training actor Dolph Lundgren.

Chris Skogberg was a bodybuilding and fitness competitor with multiple top three finishes, most recently placing second in the Men’s NABBA Class One 2014 competition.

He then joined First Choice Fitness Gym on the Gold Coast as a personal trainer.

Dolph Lundgren, a Hollywood actor and director, has starred in numerous movies including James Bond: A View to a Kill, The Expendables, and Rocky IV.

Mr Skogberg said the program he designed for the actor led to a growing bond.

“The bond between Dolph and I grew rapidly, I could tell he was enjoying the programs I had designed for him,” Mr Skogberg said.

“Dolph is a well known figure in the body building world aside from his presence as an actor around the globe.

Mr Skogberg said for the actor to find his program helpful and to invite him to continue training him in the United States was a dream come true.

“He has been dedicated to this [bodybuilding and fitness] for almost as many years as I have been alive, so it is truly an honor to have trained with him even once, let alone be offered this opportunity,” Mr Skogberg said.

He said the training regimen he was in the process of designing for Mr Lundgren, upon his arrival in California, would be “extremely intense”.

“It will likely be two times a day, with a run in the morning and a fairly strict diet,” Mr Skogberg said.

Study abroad student Sam Schlater joined First Choice Fitness in early September and had the opportunity to train with Mr Skogberg.

“My second or third time in the gym I noticed Chris training someone else and it looked like he was really pushing them, which is exactly what I needed,” Sam said.

“I only trained with Chris twice but the day before my first training session was the day he was offered the new position with Mr. Lundgren.

“You could tell he was excited, he wanted to tell everyone about it.

“It didn’t seem like he thought twice about the decision to leave Australia and move to the States.”

Mr Skogberg said he was ready for a change in scenery and was not hesitant to jump on this opportunity.

“I’m more than ready for change, I didn’t have to think twice about this opportunity,” Mr Skogberg said.

“Training Dolph will establish my name in the States and allow me to meet other celebrities and high profile clients that will cause my personal training career to take off.”

Coast quartet to take frisbee to national event

16 Nov

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By Mary Murray 

Four athletes from the Gold Coast have been chosen to represent Queensland on the U22 Mixed Ultimate Frisbee team which will compete for a national championship in Sydney.

Two of those athletes, Bryant Stone and Krysia Davis, both 21 and both Californian study abroad students at Bond University whose home university is in Tacoma, Washington, said they were searching for an opportunity to play ultimate frisbee while in Australia.

“We came looking for ultimate and looking for a group of people we could just hang out with,” Bryant said.

After finding an ultimate pickup league at Griffith University, Bryant and Krysia grew closer with the people there and were told about the opportunity to try out for the Queensland team.

“We had to enrol online, which was a questionnaire where we had to pretty much say our skill level, our previous experience, and all of that,” Krysia said.

“We got a request for a tryout day, which, if we accepted, we had to go out to Brisbane.

“They put us through a whole bunch of drills and scrimmages, and it was just four coaches watching us and taking notes the whole time.”

Bryant’s process was a little different since he had an exam on the same day as the selection camp.

“I had to go late, so they had me do a questionnaire and then they took some player references, so people that they could email to ask about me, and then they saw how I played at the selection camp,” Bryant said.

Bryant and Krysia found out they made the team about two days after the selection camp since the coaches had to submit a roster for the tournament soon after that.

“This tournament is going to be in Sydney – it’s Nationals,” said Krysia.

“Each state gets to send one team from three different age divisions; one mixed team, one men’s team, and one women’s team, and they compete against the other states in Australia for a national title.”

“The tournament starts November 24, but we’re flying down the morning of the 23rd,” Bryant said.

“Our whole team’s never played together before because there’s a bunch of people from Townsville and there’s people down here, so we’re going a day early to practise together.”

Krysia, a Sacramento, California native, said she is most excited to represent Queensland and to play with Australians since she has never done that before.

Bryant, from Elk Grove, California, said he is most excited for the adventure and the whole experience of the weekend.

Bryant and Krysia both play in an ultimate frisbee league at their home school, and have been playing ultimate for almost two years.

While playing ultimate, Krysia is pursuing a degree in business with a minor in psychology and kinesiology, and Bryant is studying economics with a minor in math.

“Coming from playing soccer and basketball in high school, which were super fast-paced and pretty physical, it [ultimate frisbee] is right along that line, which is why I think that I love it,” Krysia said.

“It was something that, since I did pick up at university back home, I knew I needed to find it here because I wanted to continue it.”

“Everybody says it’s like a mixture of soccer and football, which is kind of interesting,” Bryant said.

“It’s pretty free-flowing; basically, you play until someone scores a point, you start over and then you kick off and play until someone scores another point.”

In ultimate, there are seven players on each team who play at one given time.

The goal of the game is to catch the disc in the opposing team’s end zone, scoring a point and restarting with the scoring team kicking off.

Games of ultimate are typically played to 13 or 15 points, but in tournaments, there’s usually a time limit.

Ultimate is self-regulated, so players make their own calls, but there are refs for particularly important games.

The central theme in ultimate is for players to maintain good sportsmanship, going along with ultimate’s ‘spirit of the game’.

The Australian National Championship will take place November 24-26 in Sydney, with the winner being crowned the national champion.

For more information on Queensland Ultimate Frisbee, visit their website at qldultimate.com.au.

Diamond ring proposal in sold-out cinema goes viral

10 Nov

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By Zac Maher 

A Gold Coast public relations firm has hit the big time with their latest publicity stunt in which a local man proposed with an $85,000 diamond ring to his unaware girlfriend in a sold-out cinema. 

The Pineapple Republic, run by Brooke Smith and Kat Orchard, executed a statistically successful activation for long-time client The Diamond Concierge, with the campaign video racking up a collective 50 million views online. 

The activation saw a lucky Gold Coast man win a 2.14 carat diamond ring from a ‘in 25-words-or-less’ competition run by The Diamond Concierge, valued at $85,000, to propose to his unexpecting girlfriend in a sold-out cinema.  

After a cleverly-filmed commercial which played to the audience featuring the diamond ring winner, he dropped down to one knee to receive an overwhelming “yes” from his partner. 

Senior account manager Brooke Smith said she knew the activation had to go viral to achieve the best results, which led to the decision to go with a big and public cinema proposal. 

“In all honesty, my husband jokingly came up with the idea for a cinema proposal, which now I think about it is quite funny,” Mrs Smith said. 

“Leading up to the proposal we were doing traditional tactics, pitches and a lot of trend pieces in glossy magazines, but we knew we needed something bigger to get the full effect we were going for. 

“We did some research running off the cinema idea and we saw that the stunt had never been done well in Australia yet – so we locked it in.” 

The Diamond Concierge, client and publicity recipient, was completely on-board with the idea of a cinema proposal, giving the green light to the publicity stunt.  

Gold Coast manager Kat Orchard said the campaign could be attributed to the complete creative control the firm was granted by The Diamond Concierge CEO Frankie McDad. 

“We’ve done scaled flash mobs, worked with digital influencers on stints that have gone international, but this one was so different – it was bigger than ever before,” Mrs Orchard said. 

“The best thing in what we do is when a story gets picked up and goes like a bush fire, and it’s very few and far between that a concept and a client will let you have complete creative control to make something like this happen. 

“Frankie let us do exactly what we envisioned, and working with such a good team made it much easier for the story to be picked up by outlets.” 

The success of the activation was unparalleled for the firm, with the stunt gaining both national and international media coverage by outlets such as Sunrise, Ten News and online forum the LadBible. 

Mrs Smith said due to LadBible’s reproducing the story so heavily, the firm was finding versions of the story online translated into different languages. 

“We found a Croatian version of the story, which we had to Google translate to work out where in the world the story was being read,” Mrs Smith said. 

“It was definitely something we had not yet experienced.” 

Aside from running viral publicity campaigns, the firm of two has recently joined forces with the McCann Advertising Agency, one of the most renowned advertising houses in the world. 

The Gold Coast pair attribute the company merge to their hard work and tireless efforts since opening their doors. 

“The merge really shows that if you work hard and don’t allow yourself to get distracted by your competitors, you get recognised by the top firms and in this case, get snapped up,” Mrs Orchard said. 

“It’s one of the greatest things to happen to our little firm.” 

Both Mrs Orchard and Mrs Smith believe that the PR and advertising merge is perfect given the current media landscape, and will allow the firm to provide a fuller agency service to their clients. 

Mrs Smith said firm wants to continue their blend with advertising as the combination will allow the company to stay at the forefront of emerging trends. 

“Pineapple’s catchphrase is to do things differently, but always be fresh – so staying true to our core values is what we will always aim to do in future, while having fun, of course,” Mrs Smith said. 

“We have been lucky enough to book some of our dream clients, like the Marriott for example, and we want to continue working alongside companies that will think outside of the box with us.” 

Bond students work at Com Games for Channel 7

10 Nov

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By Mary Murray 

Network Seven has hired two Bond University students to work as paid interns during the Commonwealth Games this coming April on the Gold Coast. 

This is not the first time the Commonwealth Games have been hosted in Australia, but this will be the first time they will be hosted outside a major city like Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, and Melbourne. 

Journalism student Niamh Sullivan, 20, will be accompanying the CEOs of Network Seven’s sponsors to the events, as well as helping catering to these guests. 

“I want to gain a bit of insight into the broadcast journalism industry, and I couldn’t think of a more exciting time or event to get experience from,” Niamh said. 

“I’m most excited about the opportunity to meet people in the broadcast industry and just be a part of the incredible vibe that will inevitably consume the events.” 

Niamh described the Games as an opportunity to celebrate sport, achievement, sportsmanship and teamwork in a fast-paced and exciting environment. 

“The Gold Coast will be the perfect place to host the Games because the weather, culture, and people are very special,” Niamh said. 

“It’s such a diverse location because we have beaches, rainforests, countryside, and a city.” 

Niamh found out about the opportunity from one of her lecturers, who encouraged her to apply. 

A Kingscliff native, Niamh said her biggest accomplishment was travelling through Southeast Asia alone. 

“It was challenging to have to be so dependent on myself, especially when things went wrong because there was no one to turn to,” Niamh said. 

“But the freedom and independence taught me so much about myself and how to appreciate my surroundings.” 

Niamh said landing the Network Seven job came as a huge surprise to her since because so many people had applied.  

Paris Laurence, a 20-year-old public relations student, will be hosting Network Seven’s guests during the Commonwealth Games. 

“I think the Gold Coast is a great place to host the Games as it’s a beautiful city offering not only brand new facilities to host the events, but amazing beaches, rock pools, mountains and local culture,” Paris said. 

“These all make the Gold Coast an amazing place for the athletes and guests to stay while the Games are on.” 

Paris got the job through a Network Seven interview process at Bond. 

“I wanted to work at the Games as I recognised it would be a great learning opportunity to benefit my career path,” Paris said. 

“I’m also a huge fan of the Commonwealth Games and thought it would be enjoyable.” 

Paris was born in York, England, and moved to the Gold Coast when she was two-and-a-half years old. 

She said she used to play touch and tennis and was involved in athletics; she also ran a half marathon. 

Countries will gather and compete in events like athletics, beach volleyball, diving, artistic gymnastics, hockey, swimming, and weightlifting. 

Some 70 nations will be represented in the Commonwealth Games, ranging from small island nations like the Seychelles, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Fiji, to larger nations like South Africa, Canada, India, England, New Zealand, and Australia. 

For more information on the 2018 Commonwealth Games, visit www.gc2018.com 

Dressage rider seeks global recognition 

10 Nov

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By Tatiana Carter 

 

A 20-year-old dressage competitor from the Gold Coast is aiming for Olympic recognition after training competitively for 17 years. 

Rosanna Relton began horse riding at the age of three and has been training specifically in dressage for the past eight years. 

Dressage is a horseback riding discipline that trains horses to work with their rider to complete a series of tasks and manoeuvres.  

“Dressage is basically ballet or gymnastics for horses,” said Rosanna, a full-time business student at Bond University.  

“We train them to become athletes and use their body to carry a rider in the best way.” 

After being encouraged by her coaches to start riding dressage she began to respect the artistry and high level of difficulty. 

Her years spent training led her to various competitions across Australia where she won championships and gained sponsorships.  

In 2017 alone, Rosanna won the Sydney CDI (Concours Dressage International), the Australian Youth and the Brisbane CDI championships. 

“This has been my best year,” Rosanna said.  

“Winning all three rounds of the Sydney CDI was an incredible experience for me.” 

Her competition success has led companies like Trailrace Saddleworld and Open Nutrition to sponsor her riding campaign. 

Not only does Rosanna have to finance her gear and supplies, but she also has to make sure her horses are being taken care of.  

To make her Olympic dreams a reality, she needs to find a sponsor to help alleviate the high cost of the sport. 

“Dressage is an expensive sport,” Rosanna said. 

“If I want to compete in the Olympics I am going to need to secure a corporate sponsor.” 

Rosanna said she had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars during her riding career, but had not let the high costs discourage her.  

She said she hoped her time and effort put into horse riding would allow her to compete in the upcoming Olympics and represent Australia at the highest level. 

Her long-term coach Jenny Gehrke, recognised as one of Queensland’s leading dressage riders, has been helping Rosanna accomplish her competition goals for six years.  

“I have prepared Rosanna for all of the major competitions she has attended,” Ms Gehrke said.  

“There is so much involved in achieving her Olympic goals, but her ability and skills make her a stand-out .” 

Ms Gehrke has helped her win several titles including the Australian Young Rider Championship, the Brisbane CDI, and the Queensland State Dressage Championship. 

“She is an incredible competitor,” Ms Gehrke said. 

“She can withstand the pressure of competition and thrive off of it.” 

Ms Gehrke has worked with other riders in her previous 35 years as a coach, but said Rosanna had been distinctive in her approach to dressage. 

“She has a great skill set and relationship with her horses,” Ms Gehrke said.  

“Rosanna surprises me continually.” 

Finding time for both riding and studying can be a challenge. 

“By the end of the day, once I have trained and everything, I have only 30 minutes of free time,” Rosanna said.  

Although she lives a busy lifestyle, Rosanna said she understood her dedication to dressage would allow her to one day reach global success. 

For more information on Rosanna and her dressage training, visit her website at https://rosannareltondressage.wordpress.com/. 

Modern church takes new approach to connect

10 Nov

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By Nathan Corbett 

A local Gold Coast church has gained a growing following through using edgy creativity to engage and connect its members with God. 

Glow Church takes away the traditional church scene of a cathedral with people sitting in pews, by preaching God’s message in a more modern, trendy style. 

One of the praise and worship leaders Jonah LeComte-Moevao said the church had found innovative ways to engage people. 

“We are pretty edgy in terms of creativity, not to say other churches aren’t creative,” said Mr LeComte-Moevao. 

“The amount of stagery sets, the number of redesigns we had to do, the amount of times we even just flipped the creative team on its head just so that we can try and figure out new ways to do things. 

“Everything is always filtered through the perception of someone who has never been to church.” 

Since its inception in 2013, Glow Church has reached more than 2000 people and influenced local communities and Australia in church leadership and initiatives.  

“People are one of our core values,” Mr LeComte-Moevao said. 

“We don’t just exist for Christians, but we exist for those who don’t understand God, who don’t understand Church. 

“We exist to help people find their purpose in life and community in a city that is a city of new starts.” 

One initiative from the church is the ‘Connect’ programs which allows members to learn the word of God and speak out about any difficulties they have in life in small groups sharing similar interests. 

One of the members of the church is Gold Coast Titans player Max King who has found the Connect groups helpful to learn more about his faith as well as discuss struggles in life. 

“I’ve met heaps of people where I’ve thought I’m so glad I met them,” Mr King said. 

“You are getting in relationships with other people who can be a good influence on you. 

“Just having that similar lifestyle makes it easier and relatable.” 

In the last six months, the 20-year-old has balanced his busy rugby league schedule with a mentoring role at Glow’s youth group on Fridays – a role he said he was still growing into. 

“I’m sort of growing in that role like some things are heaps out of my comfort zone but it is in the right direction,” Mr King said. 

“I just help out in the background building relationships with the kids. 

“It’s cool for me ’cause they look up to me and it’s good feeling influential to them.” 

The Glow Church welcomes everybody and holds Sunday services at 9:00am, 10:30am and 5:30pm at Varsity Lakes. 

For more information on the Glow Church and its programs visit the website: www.glowchurch.com.au/goldcoast 

Marketta is a mix of music and good food

10 Nov

by Monika Ewa Kijuk 

Miami Marketta has grown in seven years from a monthly arts event formerly called ‘Rabbit + Cocoon’ to a three-times-a-week music-and-food attraction. 

Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday the halls of Miami Marketta open for ‘Marketta Street Food’ with live music and food trucks providing various cuisines. 

Manager and Creative Director Emma Milikins said they had begun in 2011 as an arts based space which was called ‘Rabbit + Cocoon‘.  

“The vision behind it was to create a space made by artists for artists and the main focus is to make all people feel comfortable around art, fashion and music,” Mrs Milikins said.  

Mrs Milikins said originally they had traded monthly but when it had become too busy they had gone weekly and now traded three times a week all year for public events as well as opening other nights for ticketed events. 

“We see around 3000 people per week on average,” Mrs Milikins said. 

About 30 trucks set up every trading day, often changing from one week to the next. 

One of the trucks is ‘The Italian Job’ run by Martin Lapierre, offering fresh Italian pizza for six months. 

“All ingredients are from Italy, like the less processed flour, tomatoes and mozzarella, so the idea behind it is to offer a traditional Italian pizza,” Mr Lapierre said. 

He said he liked the atmosphere and the concept. 

“The community of the trucks is great, it is well balanced because it is open for everyone, family, young people and everyone can get satisfied by the wide variety of food,” Mr Lapierre said. 

On the weekends there is also a greater choice of desserts, from ice cream and waffles to gluten-free and sugar-free cakes. 

Roland Fuchs owns ‘Gelato Bar Two’ which has been at Miami Marketta on the weekends since the beginning. 

“It is nice to see how a place gets bigger and develops from year to year,” Mr Fuchs said.  

“The first two years it was really overcrowded, so that means people like it and I like to be here as well in such a good atmosphere.” 

Mr Fuchs offers 32 different flavours varying from one week to the next, made by a good friend of Mr Fuchs.  

He said he could never make such good ice cream himself.  

Mrs Milikins said Miami Marketta was a different place because it was authentic. 

“I don’t feel our brand has become boring,” Mrs Milikins said. 

“I love making new events and seeing people get excited and that takes me to a happy place.  

“We feel we are a traditional meeting place for locals as well as for tourists to experience our Gold Coast lifestyle.” 

Manjula Myler lives near Miami Marketta and is a regular visitor.  

She said she liked that one could go with a group of friends and everyone enjoyed different drinks and food at the same time together. 

“I like that everyone can be satisfied by the food and also I like the atmosphere in the evening with good live bands playing cool songs,” Mrs Myler said. 

Mrs Milikins said the music was always changing.  

“We have a dedicated music director who books the stage on Friday and Saturday nights,” Mrs Millikins said.  

Miami Marketta also features the arts, clothes and accessories, as well as food, drink and music. 

Mrs Myler said she liked to stroll around. 

“It is always nice to see what is new and sometimes even get something pretty as well for oneself or as a present,” Mrs Myler said.  

Marcela Regalado is one of the artists at Miami Marketta, showing her paintings and drawings, which she started selling four years ago. 

She said she liked the whole sense of community at Miami Marketta and that it supported the arts and musicians and so she called this place a creative precinct.  

Mrs Milikins said new features were planned for next year but they hadn’t been announced yet

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