James and I embark on the weirdest urban exploration afternoon. First I bully him into his neighbour’s front yards and chase him up a tree. Then we stumble upon a strange storage area where giant containers filled with props from television series are stacked high and feel sorry for a life-sized model cow that was burned to a crisp on the set of ‘Australia’. James gets bored and decides to read with his pet dinosaur. I challenge him to a nerf gun war. He ends up cooking us dinner and absolutely destroying me at Mario Kart. At least I didn’t have to chop the onions…

model: James von Wilson @ Chadwick

What’s something you find interesting about your current uni degree?

I really like anatomy. I feel that studying anatomy gives you a grounding in people and movement. I’m now in fifth year and I know every muscle, every ligament, every bone in the body and I think – how much can you really know about the world until you know about yourself? And anatomy is at the very ‘bones’ of your ‘self’.

One thing in particular I found interesting is everyone thinks that humans stood upright and then became apex predators because they had a larger brain, but it’s really that the apes’ teeth changed to the teeth that we had now, so the head became less heavy and their skull could now balance on an upright spinal column. Teeth change lead to posture change lead to a larger cranium lead to a bigger brain. I find that fascinating. You get these tiny minute structural changes that have a huge impact.

Have you had any strange pets?

I really, really like spiders. I like their legs. My dad and I were gardening once and we found this spider in the garden. It was massive so we decided to keep it. I kept it in these glass jars that I connected together and called it Bitey. Then one day I got home and it was all shrunken and shrivelled and discoloured and so I found out it had given birth because there was a giant egg sac in its cage. Months went by and these eggs hatched… so I had about eighty spiders. They were redbacks by the way. (Laughs).

What’s your favourite place in the world?

Favourite country is probably Nepal. I was just really happy there – whether it’s because I was just happy travelling or whatever, I just found myself constantly in a good mood. And all of the people there are so lovely and as nice as your family members on a good day. It’s absolutely beautiful there. It incited something really nice inside of me.

And I think my favourite place is… my nan lives in the Central Coast on Forresters Beach and it’s up this cliff that goes down to the beach and there’s a lookout there. In between the beach and the street there’s a nature reserve and there’s a point through it that’s not on any path where you can go right out to the cliff and the ground dives away from you and you’re surrounded by 3km of ocean. It’s really nice, really windy. I used to just go there and just read books and chill out. It’s the view but also that you have your own space, hidden away. I think it’s really important that people take some time to be by themselves for a while. For me, that’s hanging out by the ocean reading a book.

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