It’s our first Faces of AWNY for 2023 and we’re profiling one of our Communications team members and resident photographer, Zoe Wetherall. Originally from Melbourne, VIC, she’s a seriously talented photographer and has been chosen to exhibit her work at an upcoming show at the Australian Consulate (find out more below). She’s got a passion for all things NYC including the amazing restaurant scene, and of course, the latest and greatest shows on Broadway. Read on below to get to know Zoe a little more…
What led you to make the move to New York City?
I’ve always liked it here since I first visited straight out of high school at 18. I visited many times, and then years later work is what got me here, and it’s a great place to be as a photographer. Aside from work I just really love the energy of the city, the diversity that exists here, and the range of restaurants, shopping, museums, and entertainment. Oh, I’m a huge Broadway fan and try to see as many shows as I can.
You’ve been here a while now, what do you miss most about Australia?
Aside from family, probably the food. When I go back to visit, the first thing on my list is diving into some good ol’ fish and chips.
Now you’re here, what do you do for work in the city?
I’m a photographer. Most days I photograph interiors around the city. It’s interesting being in a different location every day and seeing the diverse and impressive range of properties out there. In my spare time, I also travel and photograph landscapes from hot air balloons, and I try to exhibit that work when I can.
Where are you living and what makes it great?
I’m currently living in Nolita. I moved here a few months ago after living in Williamsburg for 5 years. I love being so close to everything in Manhattan, and I’m near lots of subway lines so it’s convenient to get around the city for work.
What’s your biggest achievement since living in NYC?
I actually have a very exciting event coming up. I will be exhibiting my aerial landscape photos at the Australian Consulate in New York. The opening will be on Friday, February 24th and if anyone wants to come they can RSVP here.
What are some of your favorite ‘Only in New York’ moments?
So many! One time while my mum was visiting I won the Hamilton lottery, so it was very cool to take her and sit in the 2nd row. I also got to see Kylie Minogue perform a small show at the Bowery Ballroom a few years ago and I just love her, so that was amazing. More recently, I was at a Killers concert at Madison Square Garden and Bruce Springsteen unexpectedly showed up. Also, probably the best movie experience I’ve had at Bryant Park during the summer was Dirty Dancing. The crowd was so into it, cheering when they do the lift at the end and that made it so much fun! I also never tire of walking through Central Park during a blizzard.
Tell us a little about your career and the kind of work you’re doing in NYC?
I am currently on an O-1 visa which is not tied to a specific employer, so I approached multiple companies about doing the same work here that I was doing in Australia. It took time to build up enough work, but I already had experience and some money saved up. Now I regularly work for a few different companies as an independent contractor.
I have also been working with the Front Room Gallery for a few years now and that has been a great experience having their support, exhibiting my work, and selling prints. I definitely have opportunities here that I wouldn’t have had in Australia.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given about living and working in NYC?
Getting here is the hardest part. Once you get here everything else can be worked out. I came over here by myself not really knowing what was going to happen and now it’s been almost 7 years.
What do you love most about the Aussie/Kiwi community here?
I have lots of Australian friends that I’ve met through AWNY and the Aussie community here in general. We all have that sense of understanding each other and instantly having something in common—and being so far from home, friends become like family.
I find when I’m with other Aussies, we will talk about a wide range of things that we find different like certain Aussie words or grammar, the comfort food we miss, changes in weather (hello, NY winter!), and other subtle cultural differences too.
Since you’ve been here almost 7 years, what are some of your insider picks for the city?
For brunch, I really like Balthazar. It’s a classic French restaurant in SOHO. In terms of a spot for cocktails, Bathtub Gin is one of my favorite speakeasies. I usually like to tell the bartender what I like and then let them make a custom drink or make a recommendation. Recently I’ve been on the hunt for the best croissants in the city. So far I’ve found both Nick + Sons Bakery and L’Appartement 4F in Brooklyn have been amazing. The best place to escape the craziness of the city? My own apartment.
Ok, your friends are visiting NYC… what are your top 3 tips?
- Enter the Broadway ticket lotteries while you’re here because you never know if you’ll win!
- Never get on a train car that’s empty if all the other ones are full of people. It’s empty for a reason! (If you know, you know!)
- Wear very comfortable shoes because you will be walking a lot.
What do you like most about being part of AWNY?
I love the community. There are always so many fun events to go to and everyone is so supportive. I’ve made some great friends through AWNY.
For anyone wanting to keep up with Zoe’s updates and connect further;