Running one of Sydney’s top PR firms, responding to global clients all hours of the day, taking an adorable French Bulldog for walks and hosting industry events… It takes some serious stamina – and a few slices of vegemite toast for brekky. Founder of the Audience Agency, Montarna McDonald talks us through a day in her life and the foods that get her by, as well as her ‘everything in moderation’ philosophy – we love!
- Tell us a little bit about yourself – who you are and what you do.
I’m Montarna McDonald; Sydneysider, fashion obsessive, French Bulldog owner, travel lover and founder of The Audience Agency.
I’m 26 and live in the Eastern suburbs with my boyfriend Nick and Harper, our dog. I’ve worked in PR since my late teens and launched The Audience Agency in 2014 after a clutch of job offers and approaches from brands following my early career in the industry. We rep Stylestalker, Tinder, Fame and Partners, Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel and a selection of other heritage and contemporary brands.
- Talk us through a typical day in your life.
My days start at 5.45am when I scroll through my phone in bed before hitting the shower and slipping in to a chic but comfortable outfit for the working day.
I have super hectic days where food and breaks aren’t a priority, and I’ll admit I probably don’t get enough sleep with work emails coming in from global clients all night. So I’m the kind of person who lives for my morning coffee – the guys at Gypsy Espresso in Potts Point know my arrival time and order to the smallest detail (7.45am and skim capp).
If I have the time, I’ll squeeze in a training session with Chris Feather at 98 Riley St gym. PR requires some serious stamina and Chris keeps me on the right track with weight bearing exercises that I can run through in 30 minutes – I’m always watching the clock in the morning as the showroom gets so busy! Gym workouts aren’t so much of a priority for me now Harper is by my side, as I can kill two birds with one stone and take her out for a long walk making that my days’ exercise.
I’ve recently discovered the amazing lifesavers that are food delivery boxes. I love that I can still get a healthy meal in no time and there is minimal waste, plus I’m enjoying using the kitchen in our new house to prepare dinner. If for some reason I forget to order my trusty recipe boxes, I’ll have toast with vegemite for breakfast. If I have time to spare, I’ll head to one of my favourite cafes for a classic Sydney lunch.
My mornings are packed with meetings, staff catch ups, client briefings, and bags of adrenalin. I have a team of five and we work across a selection of fashion, lifestyle, beauty, tech and hospitality brands. Every day is a different ball game and we balance the proactive side of PR with the running of our busy product showroom. I sip on still water throughout the day and am constantly jumping up from my desk to chat to visitors or brainstorm ideas with my team, so I never sit still for too long.
Again if it’s not a delivery box day, I’ll grab sushi or a sandwich for lunch and try to take five and wade through my inbox. Then it’s in to the afternoon rush which could be anything from taking editors out for coffee, running client showings, accompanying a client to a TV or radio studio for an interview, or sitting down with my new business manager to work on proposals and discuss new client prospects.
I’ll try and clock off before 7pm – unless I’m entertaining clients or going to an industry event – and I’ll put my phone down for the first time in the day and enjoy whatever my boyfriend is cooking for dinner – it could be anything from a spaghetti Bolognese to a steak with salad. I generally don’t drink much alcohol during the week as I need a clear head in the office so it’s sparkling water and sometimes a herbal tea before bed, and it’s head down lights out around 11pm.
At the weekends I usually eat out for my meals – I love Asian food and seafood so it’s a mix of that. I also love a wine at the weekends, a nice chilled Chardonnay.
What Jess Thinks:
Mon – would love to offer a suggestion to avoid checking your phone as you wake up. Could you perhaps check it after/during your morning coffee? I hate the idea of checking social media/emails first thing – extra stress on your body 🙂
Produce boxes (such as Hello Fresh) is such a great help for busy bees – helps you prepare a healthy dinner when you get home without having to rush around the shops. Teaches you how to cook with healthy produce.
With the toast and vegemite for breakfast. I would love to suggest to add some avocado and or a poached egg to that to get some good fats and protein in to keep your energy up during the morning for all those meetings! You will find you are not collapsing by lunchtime. It will keep the afternoon slump at bay too. Love that you try and clock off by 7pm! This is so important for your health and nervous system. Also love the idea of the alcohol free during the week and then enjoy it as a treat on the weekends – this is balance.
I may suggest you keep some healthy snacks in your office such as raw almonds, greek yoghurt, berries, my protein balls, green juices and maybe some dark choc when you need an energy hit. Bed by 10pm would be idea – chamomile tea and a bath prior! Heaven.
Overall impressed with your desire to make healthy choices where possible considering how busy you are. You need to focus on downtime whenever possible!
- Three foods you can’t live without?
Fruit: my go-to snack in the office, and when I’m overseas in a hot country I love a fresh fruit platter for breakfast,
Italian food: I would eat it every day if I could! I must have some Italian heritage down the line… Ravioli, lasagne, spaghetti – my culinary heaven.
Lollies: A girl can have one vice! I’m a sucker for a bag of Haribo on a Friday afternoon in the office.
- What’s your go-to snack for those days on the run?
I love chopped up fruit during the day; watermelon, honey-dew and papaya – but my addiction to food delivery boxes means I don’t often snack during the week as the nutritionally-balanced meals keep me full and satisfied. After dinner sometimes I’ll have a chocolate digestive biscuit if I’m craving something sweet.
- … And any last words of advice or tips for those starting out on their health journey?
I’m probably not exactly a ‘pillar of health’ myself but my Mum always taught me that you can’t go wrong with having everything in moderation and not over thinking your eating too much – as it can take over your life. I feel like I’m conscious of what I put in my body and I know the warning signs if I get too run down or don’t look after myself properly during busy work periods. It’s important not to beat yourself up and just make sure you get back on track.