Zoe Marshall is the queen of not letting labels define her. She’s the wife of a footballer, but the term WAG belongs nowhere near this entrepreneurial go-getting goddess. I sat down with her in her gorgeous Paddington home to chat all things podcasts, travel, feminism and her new fashion project.
Jade: What is your favourite travel destination?
Zoe: That’s like picking a favourite child, if I had one. I went to Malta last year, and that was just the most soulful connection I’ve ever experienced. I’m half Maltese, so that was really special for me. If I had a favourite repeat destination, it would be Qualia on Hamilton Island.
Jade: Who do you travel with?
Zoe: My gay husband (designer) Steven Khalil. I see him more than I see Benji when I’m down in Sydney. From the moment we met, there was some kind of synchronicity. That was about five years ago now, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. He’s just super cool.
Jade: If you could work with anyone, who would it be?
Zoe: (Documentary maker) Louis Theroux is like my god, so definitely him. Or (writer/actor) Lena Dunham because she’s this amazingly fierce feminist and an amazing writer.
Jade: So you’ve got a podcast in the works. Tell us about that!
Zoe: My podcast is called “Cause I’m Curious”, and it is quite Louis Theroux-esque. We deal with 10 different subjects and cover everything that is often stigmatised and not well understood. We talk about domestic violence, which is a subject very close to my heart as well. We spoke to people experiencing homelessness and transgender people, and portray these stories and this journey. We got to ask about these topics in a very cheeky type of way, and I definitely got away with a lot of stuff on that show. We could just speak freely about these things that haven’t really been discussed before. We’re hoping to finish up soon, but it’s been a year in the making. The release date for that is TBC, but it’s coming soon, I swear!
Jade: Who’s the greatest person you’ve ever met?
Zoe: That’s a tough question because you don’t want to piss anybody off. I’d say it would be my mother. She’s no longer with us and she’s the person I would want to be the most like. She was the most selfless, generous and kind human being and those are qualities I want more of.
Jade: You’ve been very candid about your experience trying to get pregnant …
Zoe: I feel like I’ve opened Pandora’s box. I love hearing stories but sometimes it’s really hard to hear the “you should”, “you should”, “you should”. I’m six months into this crazy, holistic Chinese program. I have to try to maintain my low weight through this program, which is very hard for a foodie! It’s really full-on, and everything is a “don’t”. I’m starting to feel a bit rebellious with it, because I don’t particularly like being told what to do. I need a break for a few months, I think, and then I’m heavily considering IVF. There’s only so much a girl can take, you know?
Jade: What sport would you beat Benji in?
Zoe: Zero. I’m allergic to sports, so absolutely nothing. Even board games, he beats me in. He’s really good at everything though. He’s that annoying person. He can take all the sports. I’m not even going to try.
Jade: So we’ve heard you and Benji sleep in different beds. Is his snoring really that bad?
Zoe: Yes! But that’s not the whole story. There’s this spiritual leader called Osho and he wrote this book called “Love, Freedom and Aloneness”. He said the double bed was the worst invention made by man, because it forces two people in their unconscious state to be together even though it’s unnatural. So you start to resent someone if they’re snoring or a light sleeper or you go to bed later than them. Your rhythms don’t have to be in sync for you to love someone. I’ve loved that concept since before I met Benji, but he has sleep apnoea. So the snoring was the reason that triggered us to sleep in different beds. It also keeps the intimacy alive because you’re not just throwing a leg over and saying, “ok, let’s do this”. You actually have to make an effort. You sneak into their bedroom and it’s all very exciting. Even now, first thing in the morning, it’s exciting to creep into Benji’s room for a cuddle.
Jade: What’s your go-to Brisbane restaurant when you need a good feed?
Zoe: I’m going to have to say Chu The Phat, or Madame Wu. I’m not a sticky rib kinda gal, but the ones at Madame Wu are the most amazing. I could not stop eating them. I was salivating.
Jade: We heard you have an announcement for us. SPILL THE BEANS!
Zoe: I’ve joined forces with Lucy Henry Hicks, who’s the mastermind behind Dissh. Together we’ve created Ruled By None. This was born a while back when I told Lucy that I wanted to do a wrap dress collection, and she told me to go for it! I love wrap dresses. They’re super easy to wear and Dissh are the queens of wrap dresses, so I though it was perfect. It was really important for me that these garments were created for women who have their period, who want to wear a full brief or a push-up bra or no bra at all. I didn’t want these clothes to dictate. I wanted them to be adjustable so women could feel empowered wearing them. On top of that, it was really important that we were giving back. I had to do something that not only made women feel empowered, but when they purchased something, they were also giving other women choices to feel empowered. So, it’s called Ruled By None. It’s a really exciting movement and we’ve partnered with Share the Dignity as well. We launch in October and we’ll be dropping a really funky, feminist T-shirt line a little bit before that as well. The whole collection will be available by Dissh. We’ve got a shirt that says, “Don’t touch me”. For young women, it’s about giving them the awareness and the confidence not to allow themselves to be trapped in a domestic-violence situation. There’s another shirt that says “Feministe” and another one which I’m hoping will say “Feminist AF”. I want things that make women feel really cool and inspired. A feminist isn’t something from the ’70s. We don’t hate men and we’re allowed to be sexy and confident and have equal rights. That’s what this is all about, really.
After chatting to Zoe, it’s pretty obvious this go-getter isn’t slowing down any time soon. With so many exciting projects coming in 2017, we can’t wait to see what this anti-WAG does next!
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