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Vixen, Amazon, Killer Babe

Updated: Dec 26, 2023

Megan Carter is slaying with her take-no-prisoners approach to life. She speaks to Rhoyce Nova about her Renaissance world.

Photography Harold David

"People are so used to being seduced in one sense instead of every sense ... l attempt to seduce on every level."

Provocative yes, but what this statement reveals is a woman who knows herself. Megan Carter, like her teenage nickname, Magna Carta, is a woman who has mapped out her life's charter, a woman who has established her ambitions and staked her claim. Carter declares that fame is her destiny, and her life so far has not made a liar of her. At the age of 23, her cv reads like that of an old master - pianist, singer, designer, model, club promoter. No mere dilettante, she is the very image of the renaissance woman.

Possessing such a beguiling array of talents it's difficult to say in which area Carter will ultimately reach her zenith. Ask director Baz Luhrmann, with whom she worked on Romeo And Juliet, and he'll say she has what it takes for an international designing career. Ask the owners of Sydney-based alternative modelling agency, Oxygen, and they'll say she has the potential to lead a catwalk revolution. But ask Megan Carter and she'll say you'll soon be buying her tunes by the thousands.

Carter is part femme fatale and part real wild child, a Betty Page/Jessica Rabbit hybrid, a Manga cartoon bombshell, perhaps a cerebral pin-up girl. Completely aware of her natural assets, her self-deprecating humour often comes to the fore. "When I was seven my features were the same size they are now. I looked like a refugee from The Muppets. I had to grow into my face," she laughs.

The people at Oxygen seem to feel she's grown into her face quite nicely thank you. They believe she has the looks and attitude to place beautiful wenches alongside the waifs.

"The Oxygen people really impressed me because their attitude was basically to take each girl as they are and support them," says Carter. "I was never made to feel that there was anything wrong with me which is invariably what every model is made to feel. I think that's the whole thing about now; there's a love of difference that means there are several body ideals and you don't have to look a certain way."

"Something I've felt slightly embarrassed about is the fact that you have such presence as a woman who is curvaceous, and coming to terms with that is quite a difficult thing," explains Carter.

"Whether you like it or not a curvaceous body is immediately seen as a sexual body," she says, adding that, "most of the time I feel really comfortable with that but sometimes I just want to disappear, I don't want to project that all the time."

When Carter first started going out on the gay scene she was surprised to find that women revelled in her curvaceousness as much as men. "All the women I meet rejoice in that lush femininity, perhaps because people who don't like my look just wouldn't approach me," she says. When it comes to dealing with men Carter says,

"I don't really get a lot of that stuff from men where they treat me like a girl because I don't want it and I don't put out for it. I think you can see it in my face. I'm just not a girlie kind of girl. Men are sometimes quite intimidated by me because of the way that I speak and the way I'm very upfront, very direct. I have a very feminine body and a very masculine mind."

Carter's steely determination was evident early when, aged four, she realised she'd have to be exceptionally original to outshine her over-achieving siblings. With her older sister already appearing on shopping centre stages as part of a Young Talent Team-type troop, Carter turned to classical piano as a way of standing out from her sister and rebelling from her jazz-fiend father. Her career as a youthful piano virtuoso was abandoned when she was discovered by a singing teacher at the Sydney Opera House. Thus began eight years of opera training which laid the groundwork for her ultimate ambitions.

While Carter's musical training was very traditional (she favoured Mozart, Bach and Rachmaninoff), the music she produces now is a contemporary fusion of classical and trip-hop. In collaboration with composer Drew Crawford, she has recorded a song entitled Someone Is Always Leaving Someone, which they are currently distributing. Its haunting vocals and mantra-like tone are a dynamic mixture of perfect technique and emotive power. In this form, Carter feels she is finally finding her true voice. "The people I really like, like Bjork and PJ Harvey, are not about technique, they're about complete emotion, and that's what I want to do," she says.

"When I finished taking classical lessons it was like ending a long relationship with a lover," explains Carter. "I actually lost my voice for about three months but then it came back even stronger. It was a step I had to take because I think with any creative outlet you have to be able to stand on your own two feet."

Carter is well aware that image is a key factor in fulfilling her musical ambitions.

"I have never wanted to do just one thing, but at the centre of it is music because it can encompass everything. The renaissance belief that music is the highest form of art sums me up because with music I can encompass design, write lyrics, and represent myself."

Designing began as something Carter decided to do while waiting for her voice to mature but has since turned into a fully-fledged career. An accidental meeting with Luhrmann and production designer, Catherine Martin, led to an eight-month stint as assistant

costume designer on Romeo And Juliet. Carter helped produce some of the film's most enduring visual images including the pearl-handled pistols, lushly emblazoned velvet waistcoats, and angel wings.

"I was so fortunate to work on Romeo And Juliet," she enthuses, "because not only was it a feature film but a renaissance Shakespearean project that encompassed everything I loved. It involved innovative and original thought and allowed me to work with a team of talented designers and perhaps the most talented director in Australia."

After completing work on Romeo And Juliet, she went on to work with the Australian Opera, The Sydney Festival, and the Canberra-based dance theatre group, Padma Menon, for whom she transformed the interior of a local nightclub with a full-scale, handmade Arabian tent, complete with carousel horse. Carter credits her success in design to her defiant attitude. While at college she rejected the traditional commercial approach in favour of a more eclectic one, even when it meant crossing swords with some of her lecturers.

Not content to confine her creativity to the world of design, Carter is about to embark on a side career as a club promoter. Along with her partners she plans to host a Sunday night club called Dead Famous in adjoining venues: the VIP room at Q Bar and the Lizard Lounge in Sydney's Oxford Street.

"The idea of the night," says Carter, "is to give Sydney a cooler, more international­ type club. We want to get away from the glitzy drag queen scene that Sydney has had for so long and inject a dark, glamorous New York East Village/Tokyo underground kind of feel."

Carter is redesigning the interior of the venues and plans to showcase the work of local artists, filmmakers, and performers, as well as attracting talent from interstate and overseas.

Carter's greatest talent is, perhaps, the ability to make friends. Not in that smarmy networking way, or that obnoxious mover and shaker manner, but in that good old-fashioned way of giving out more than you get. She'll dance all night for you if she feels you want to watch, she'll orate becomingly if she feels you want to listen, she'll perform a private aria if she feels it will transport you. She is living proof that you catch more flies with honey.


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