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‘LA is stimulating in every way.’

Gems in this
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Photo>>>Linda Marigliano

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Gems in
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Feature by Interview: Justin Drape; Words: Pete Kempshall

When it came to achieving her goals in life, a young Linda Marigliano wasn’t shy to just go for it. After building a glittering career as a venerated TV and radio host in Australia, Linda is now into creative life in Los Angeles.

Whether it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to start her own band — teenagersintokyo — with friends, or putting herself forward for work in the radio industry, Linda’s proactive approach has led to a vibrant and successful career. From winning a role on her first radio show at just 18, she has forged a cracking career as a presenter and music aficionado, working at triple j as well as hosting her heartfelt and deeply raw podcast, Tough Love. And now, she is pursuing opportunities in Los Angeles with the same gusto. We chat with Linda about her infinitely looped love of travel and music, baring her soul to her listeners, and her LA Travel Playbook.

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On traveling as a child

It was standard that we got on an international flight a few times a year, because my mom's family are in Malaysia. For me, traveling and seeing parts of the world that weren't Australia was a given. It always made me feel so excited, going on those trips, or spending the Christmases and New Years with that family. Not only did I love being overseas, but I consumed so much media, and I was constantly listening to music or watching films set overseas in these colorful places that were so much more exciting than the suburban household that I lived in.

On what travel has taught you

It’s taught me to take risks — calculated risks, but risks — and to not live in that safe zone where I otherwise could be really comfortable. It's also taught me that change is a really good thing. Sometimes we're forced into change, or sometimes we pursue that change for whatever reason, but it can always be such a positive learning experience. For me, I don't want to be stagnant. I don't want to remain in a fixed position mentally or physically.

On where your passion for music came from

It was totally my family; I was in an environment where it was nurtured. My dad, who was and is a hairdresser, used to wash my hair twice a week in the laundry, which was connected to the garage. In the garage, he had one salon chair and a mirror, and he would blow-dry my hair. He also had his entire vinyl collection there. So before he would start, he would choose a record for us to listen to. And he would talk through all the songs, about why this Black Sabbath record was really important to him, or the store where he bought his John Lennon Imagine album, or this is Herbie Hancock, or this is the Pretty Woman soundtrack. It was so ingrained — even if I was a kid that hated music, at some point, it would have just permeated into me.

Linda Marigliano’s busy creative life brims with color and energy. When the television and radio host isn’t working on projects such as ABC’s ‘The Set’ (pictured top), she is exploring the vibrant art scene in her adopted home city of Los Angeles (pictured second row), or spinning the decks at various club events (pictured third and fourth rows). First image by Jess Glesson, other images courtesy of Linda Marigliano.

On forming teenagersintokyo

I was starting to volunteer at community radio, and me and my best girlfriends at the time would go to all these gigs. It was all these guys on stage, making all the best music we were listening to. We'd go and have $2 shots of tequila at some crappy dungeon in the middle of Sydney CBD, and we would look at each other and go, ‘We could do this. I've never played an instrument before, but I've always liked the bass. Sam, I reckon you could sing; Miska, didn't you do piano lessons when you were six years old? Get a keyboard!’ It was that gung ho. No insecurity, no inhibition, lots of alcohol and just going, ‘Hell yeah, we can do this’.

On taking the band international

We fell into this opportunity where people from overseas were reaching out to us and saying, ‘Hey, what do you think about being in London?’ There was no way we could say no to that. Going there was eye-opening, challenging, exciting, creative and foreign to what Australia was like. We lived there for about three years and toured around a lot. Then I found myself back in Australia, in a stable job, understanding all the things about Sydney that I loved and missed. Now, I've fallen into a situation where it feels like the world is calling again and I could have a really stimulating, inspiring, creative time. That's why I feel the real pull to LA.

‘I've fallen into a situation where it feels like the world is calling again and I could have a really stimulating, inspiring, creative time. That's why I feel the real pull to LA.’

On getting established in radio

The one thing I decided on through high school was that I wanted to do something in music. I wanted to host and I wanted to talk to people. So I did a uni degree in media and communications that specialized in journalism and radio broadcasting, and at the same time, FBi Radio, a community radio station in Sydney, was just starting up. I literally saw an ad in the street press, cold-called them, and said, ‘Can I just come?’ At that time, the studios hadn't even been built. So I was there from the start, and I was given a show when I was 18, which was a dream come true. Then someone from triple j obviously heard of this crazy little weirdo working her butt off at a community radio station, and they essentially approached me and said, ‘When you finish your uni degree, do you want a proper full-time job at triple j?’

On your podcast ‘Tough Love’

That was the hardest thing I've ever done. Presenting a show or hosting, there's a level of turning up and putting aside any stresses you might have. You're bright, bubbly, and optimistic, and you're not vulnerable. There's a real strength in that. It's definitely something I use, and I will continue to use as a presenter. But the idea behind Tough Love was so inherently truthful, I had to be vulnerable. If I was going to do this and talk about things that are hard, I needed it to be helpful. So not only was it challenging in terms of needing to show a different side to myself, it was like this whole other skill set I had to learn in terms of how to be vulnerable and how to make a podcast sound like an intimate documentary. It was so challenging, but the best piece of work I think I've ever done.

Growing up, Linda’s global outlook and love for music were nurtured by trips to visit family in Malaysia and her father’s stellar vinyl collection. Chasing this passion, Linda would head along to live music whenever she could, all while juggling university and volunteering for a community radio station. It was at one of these gigs that teenagersintokyo was born (pictured second row), forged from a booze-fuelled decision to start a band with her friends. Since, Linda has built a career as a celebrated presenter and music savant, working for triple j (pictured fourth row) and hosting ‘The Set’ with Dylan Alcott (pictured fifth row and sixth left by Jess Gleeson). Other images courtesy of Linda Marigliano.

On upcoming projects

I'm a bit greedy. I'm learning how to be a bit less of a people pleaser, and not just say yes to things. As I get older, I realize I want to work with really good people and know the sorts of things I want to invest in. At the moment, there's a new music podcast that comes out every Friday called The Spin. That's my bread and butter in terms of I get to talk about new releases, get to interview people; it’s really vibey. Then I'm also writing a book, which stems from Tough Love. It's a lot about family, about navigating growing up and feeling the push and pull of relationships, and particularly close-knit families and how that relates to how we live our lives.

On your relationship with LA

I think it's in the best place it ever has been right now, because I've figured out the role I play in LA and the role LA plays for me. It wasn't a straight-up goal to be living in America. I was always open to living somewhere else, but America was kind of handed to me because I fell in love with someone based there. You love someone here? They work here? Could you see yourself living here? Could you see yourself working here? Could you see yourself thriving here? And over the years of doing long distance, we both collectively decided we could. LA doesn't feel like my forever home, but it feels like a fundamental place I'm going to live for a good amount of years of my life.

‘There are just so many people that the level of talent, skill, notoriety exists on such a big scale. The accessibility to people astounds and inspires me.’

On connecting with LA’s creative community

You cannot not connect with the creative community in LA! Honestly, you get into an Uber and the driver’s like, ‘How's your night going? I'm going to an album release party later. And then I'm going to go to this play’. The thing about LA is the majority of people are there from somewhere else, and they're so ambitious, they're ready to collaborate, and be creative and tell you their story. There's something so empowering about that. Just look for stuff that's on — there's always so much stuff on — and just meet people.

On how the city inspires you

There are just so many people that the level of talent, skill, notoriety exists on such a big scale. The accessibility to people astounds and inspires me, because I'm in the same time zone as Lizzo. Yes, I can get in a room with her next week, I don't have to wait for her to come to Australia. People are there right now, you've got that access. And there's just so much on: look at the amount of gigs, art exhibitions, weird pop-up events. But then there's also this other thing… Australia has a more decent quality of life; it's a lot easier to cruise, to live a happy, safe, consistent, reliable life. America doesn't have that, it’s a lot more broken than Australia in a lot of ways. There's a sense of urgency and an intensity with the people because it's like they have to make it work. Because if they don't count in Hollywood, they don't count anywhere, and if they don't count anywhere, they're going to fall through the cracks. Their society isn't designed in a way that helps people who fall through the cracks.

On things you’ve noticed about the city

Everybody has a family member that was in some iconic TV show. Whether it's a driver that says, ‘My son was Urkel in Family Matters’, or ‘That's my daughter on that huge billboard over there on Santa Monica Boulevard’. For me, LA is signified as: Silver Lake if you’re a cool creative, West Hollywood if you're a cool creative but you have more Botox, Beverly Hills when you’re a housewife and you’ve got even more Botox. There's also all these thriving minority communities, like Mediterranean and Armenian communities. One of the reasons I've grown more in love with LA is that it doesn't have to be the stereotype you see on the latest Netflix show. It's more than that.

Upon moving to LA, Linda was amazed by the sheer talent and access to opportunity in the city. To take time out, she resets in nature at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens (pictured top), or with a hike at Malibu Creek State Park (pictured second row). Her pro tip? Make sure to refuel with a feed at Taverna Tony afterwards (pictured fourth row). Fourth row, second and fourth images courtesy of Taverna Tony; other images courtesy of Linda Marigliano.

On an LA creator currently inspiring you

Someone I met recently is Darren Romanelli — he goes under the name Dr. Romanelli or DRx Romanelli. He’s worked in music, he's directed videos for Kendrick Lamar, he's worked on television shows, he's done a lot of work in the design space. He’s started reconstructing and repurposing clothing into furniture, making armchairs that are incredibly functional but at the same time works of art. Each one takes him so long to make because they're upholstered in vintage clothing or found things. If you commission him to make you a chair, he'll ask you to bring him items and he'll repurpose them into it. Art feels so often untouchable; if you buy a really precious vase or an incredible artwork, you don't let anyone touch it. But there’s something so refreshing about why he creates art. He lives and breathes art: he believes it's the most special thing in the world, but at the same time, you're allowed to live in it.

On a good place to unwind

Go all the way east, to a place called The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. There's an art museum that has a beautiful, permanent collection, and you can trot all around the botanical gardens for a couple of hours. I love this botanical garden so much because there's such variety. There are huge succulent gardens, there's an entire Australian section if you're Australian and you’re feeling a little bit homesick. My two favorites are a Chinese Garden and a Japanese Garden. Prepare to feel the ultimate peace.

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‘There is a stunning, colorful taco truck called Mariscos Jalisco. You will order two, then you’ll probably go and order another two, then you might even order another two.’

On the best hikes

Malibu Creek State Park — doing the trek to Malibu, you just feel so remote. When I'm in Malibu Creek State Park, all I can see are the mountains and all I can hear are the trees and that beautiful sound of your sneakers crushing stones. It's so soothing when you are in a city that's going 24/7. Then get a huge meal at this long-running Greek restaurant in Malibu called Taverna Tony. There's such satisfaction in doing this big hike and being a little bit dirty, and just turning up to a restaurant and knowing they're going to treat you as well as some celebrity that might walk in.

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On a favorite coffee spot

My favorite café is a little hole-in-the-wall called Dayglow in West Hollywood. You can go there, pick up your perfect cup of coffee — perhaps an iced oat cortado, that's what I get. And then you sit outside — choose not to sit on the really hot aluminum benches, sit on the curb, because the streets are always really quiet. And next door there is a fantastic gelato place that was started by a couple of Australians. It's called Awan. I choose blood orange with coconut, but maybe if you're feeling adventurous you can have the tortilla signature gelato they've been making lately.

On the best fast food

There is a stunning, colorful taco truck called Mariscos Jalisco. They specialize in seafood tacos — in particular, a ceviche, and also these really special fried shrimp tacos that are so fucking sensational and addictive. You will order two, then you’ll probably go back and order another two, then you might even order another two. And at a Taiwanese restaurant called Huge Tree Pastry, get one rice ball. It basically looks like a log burrito made of rice, and stuffed inside are the most incredible greens, pickled vegetables.

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Food is king in Linda’s Los Angeles Travel Playbook, which includes addictive tacos from food truck Mariscos Jalisco (pictured first and second rows), a Taiwanse rice ball from Huge Tree Pastry, experimentative gelato at Awan, and Korean tofu soup from BCD Tofu House (pictured fifth row). All images courtesy of Linda Marigliano.

On where to get a sit-down meal

In Koreatown, I'll go to a place called BCD Tofu House, which specializes in this Korean tofu soup and all of the Korean side dishes. Or drive to Raffi’s Place, which is a massive, bustling Mediterranean restaurant that is indoors, but it's made to look like it's outdoors. The service is impeccable. It's huge, filled with families eating their hearts out at any hour of the day. You can get pickles, kebabs, shish kebabs. They do an incredible eggplant dip and incredible hummus, and this thing called the Tadig stew, where you bake beans on top of a layer of rice. The rice is really crispy because it's been down at the bottom of the saucepan.

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On a window or an aisle seat

Up until the last year, I was always an aisle because I thought I like to go to the toilet multiple times or get up whenever I want. But what I realized was the reason I was choosing the aisle was because I would always feel so guilty asking the person in the aisle to move out of the way. Really what I wanted to do was lean against the window. So now I'm finally learning to be less of a people pleaser, and knowing if you choose that aisle seat, it comes with the territory that the person in the window is going to ask you to get up every now and again. Now I am unapologetically window.

‘Drive to Raffi’s Place, which is a massive, bustling Mediterranean restaurant that is indoors, but it's made to look like it's outdoors.’

On a song that best represents LA for you

It's actually a song that has nothing to do with LA. I used to listen to these two albums on repeat every time I would fly: Brian Eno, Ambient 1: Music for Airports, and Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror. It was like I had to center myself on that plane ride, and now every time I hear it it reminds me of the excitement I felt getting on that plane and getting off it.

On LA in one word

Stimulating. 


I mean that in every way: things can rub you the right way, things can rub you the wrong way, but it provokes a reaction in you no matter who you are. Which is fascinating, because it's just a reflection on you — how do you feel about being here and being amongst the ambitious and the go-getting, and the wealth gap, and all the glamorous and the grotesque that comes in between?


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