“I think people enjoy my cooking tutorials because they’re real,” he laughs. “I’ve got my wife [Rara] filming and my kids constantly interrupting, but it’s relatable because that’s what’s going on in households and kitchens across the country.”
Hong shares his tips and recipes for things such as prawn toast and mini cheeseburgers on the series, which is filmed in his Haymarket apartment as his children aged 7, 5, and 2 play in the background.
“We all have a lot of time on our hands so it’s a great way for me to engage with our diners who want to create a restaurant-quality meal at home,” he says.
Restaurants, pubs, clubs and live music venues have been closed indefinitely while festivals have been cancelled or postponed, forcing musicians and DJs to rethink the way they make a living. While many DJs are doing live streams online, Andrew Levins (known to all as Levins) has started selling mixtapes to make money.
“A lot of DJs have pivoted to live streams on Instagram and Facebook, which is fun and good to keep your skills going but I needed to figure out how to make some amount of money over the next few months,” Levins, a father of two, explains.
“I launched a mixtape service using Patreon where my fans can subscribe to my music for a small fee each month.”
Music lovers can pay $5 per month for two monthly mixtapes, $10 for monthly mixes, plus access to almost 40 mixtapes from Levins’s career; and after three months of the $20 package, Levins will make you a personalised mixtape.
While his work as a resident DJ at nightclubs and music festivals has come to a sudden halt, Levins, 32, says he’s thankful he’s still able to earn a living mixing music.
“I don’t want to lose my curation or DJ skills while I’m unable to perform live, so if making mixtapes pays the bills then that’s something.”
Rather than wait for customers to cancel orders or be unable to pay for stock, Peta Heinsen and Ilona Hamer, the sisters behind Australian swimwear label Matteau, pulled the plug on their upcoming collection.
The design duo were in the midst of creating their May/ June collection when the government advised that non-essential events with more than 500 people should be cancelled.
“Things were changing so quickly and when VAMFF [Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival] was cancelled, we knew things were turning pear-shaped,” Heinsen recalls.
“We contacted our buyers immediately . . . we didn’t want to go into production on a collection that will force our wholesale clients into purchasing stock they might not be able to pay for.”
Despite the fashion industry’s reputation for cattiness, Heinsen says Australian designers have united in the face of coronavirus.
“I’ve had some really beautiful reach-outs from people in the fashion industry. It’s been a real coming together of minds and everyone is being really supportive, everyone is sharing information. It’s taken away an element of competitiveness.”
Actor Heather Mitchell, who has graced the stage and screen for three decades, knows all too well what it’s like to have stints without work. She had four theatre projects and a television production halted immediately when the pandemic hit, while another theatre project was cancelled.
“We [actors] are very prepared to have unexpected periods of no work; in some ways this feels normal, in other ways it’s frightening,” she explains.
To help keep actors connected with audiences, Mitchell has joined actors Mia Wasikowska and Mandy McElhinney in performing readings for Sydney Theatre Company’s Virtual Instagram series. “Without our audiences and their support there is nothing to make – and we make productions for people,” she says.
Mitchell has applied for a grant to help actors during this time and is personally calling STC patrons. “I’m making up to sixty phone calls a week to Sydney Theatre Company ticket holders who have donated their ticket prices back to the company – their generosity helps to keep people working.”
Mitchell has a strategy for using her time in isolation wisely: “I do one thing that is creating for the future, one thing that is about connecting with people outside my home and one thing that is family-oriented.”
Lucy Manly is a reporter and gossip columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald and Sun-Herald.