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Five things we learned when Annabel Crabb spoke to Future Women

Five things we learned when Annabel Crabb spoke to Future Women
06 Nov
10:54

On a balmy Monday evening, hundreds of women (and a respectable number of men) crowded into a theatre at the Art Gallery of NSW to watch two media heavyweights go head-to-head: Helen McCabe, founder of Future Women, and Annabel Crabb, political commentator, TV host and author (most recently of Special Guest, a cookbook for people who, as McCabe put it, ‘could easily muck it up’).

The sold-out Future Women ‘Ask Me Anything’ event was a candid conversation between two old friends – who’ve known each other for nearly 20 years – that revealed Crabb’s sharp, funny insights on everything from careers (hers, various prime ministers’, working parents’) to cake (or more specifically, a mouthwatering breakfast babka).

Here are five of the best things we learned from the evening.

How to catch up with all those friends you keep saying ‘We should catch up!’ to (and mean it)

It’s a gorgeously simple idea from Crabb’s co-author, Wendy Sharpe: Have your own happy hour.

Crabb said Sharpe simply tells friends that between 6pm and 7pm every Friday, her door will be open, with gin and tonics to go around. 

So rather than endless email chains, reschedules, apologies, people know where to be and when, if they’re in the mood. If something comes up, just rock up the next week. There’s no pressure to cook anything special, juggle competing diet needs or cater for surprise plus-ones – all you need is a few bottles in the fridge. 

What’s next for Julie Bishop

McCabe observed that the former foreign minister is “in sparkling form” after her decision to step away from the parliamentary frontbench, as demonstrated in her direct comments at the Future Women event last month.

“Quite chatty at the moment, I’d say!” Crabb agreed.

“It was tricky for her [as the only woman elected – note: not appointed – to Tony Abbott’s cabinet] because she became ‘the token woman’.

“That’s profoundly insulting to that woman because she’s very good at her job, and has gone through all those years being the most competent minister in that line-up, consistently.”

“At the time she was like, ‘Nothing weird here, this is fine, I’m having a lovely time!’ Because what’s she going to say?” Crabb continued.

“People always bash up Julie for saying she doesn’t call herself a feminist [but] I’m past caring about that. I think: You can call yourself whatever you like.

“The thing is in politics is, you either pick that fight or you don’t.”

“Lots of women do, and good on them, but also, think of someone in that situation: If she picks the fight, then that’s the fight she has forever in her party. And she’s like, ‘Well, I’d rather argue about stuff I’m interested in in the portfolio.”

‘The thing is in politics is, you either pick that fight or you don’t.’ (Future Women)

Crabb and McCabe both speculated that Bishop has a long and impressive career ahead – that could be inspired not least by former PM Julia Gillard.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if [she] looked at that and thought, ‘Oh yeah, there’s heaps of stuff that I could do too,'” Crabb reflected.

“She should have a good contact book, the old Julie Bishop… she could probably do just about anything. My guess is that she probably hasn’t completely made up her mind yet.”

Why Julia Gillard’s portrait is so interesting

Unlike the other 26 paintings of ‘men in suits’ in the existing Prime Ministerial collection (Crabb noted wryly that some of the more recent additions are still underway), Gillard opted for a close-up photo-realist portrait of her face.

“She wanted it to look different,” Crabb reflected.

“She really dialled it up to 11.”

“Her gaze is so level, calm; not accusatory, but sort of confronting. “It sort of says, ‘What do you think?'”

The choice not to show clothing was very intentional.

“She’s basically looking for one interaction where her jacket would not be criticised,” Crabb explained.

As Gillard said to her in Canberra last month: “You get feedback about your clothes constantly. You could be going to the most important meeting in the world and someone would go, ‘It doesn’t really fit right though, does it?'”

What it’s really like to be friends with Leigh Sales

The two broadcast queens have been mates for years, started popular podcast Chat 10 Looks 3 “because it was fun to catch up”, and even have books out at the same time.

“Hers is about unimaginable tragedy. Mine’s about cake,” Crabb joked.

She revealed they often sign each other’s books, Sales trolling her with cheeky messages that filter back to her on social media.

“She signs them with comments, things like: ‘This book will be more valuable now that it has my signature’; or one where she’s drawn a circle around Wendy’s name and said, ‘This one did all the work.'”

She saluted Sales’ talent (and her unexpected taste in RuPaul’s Drag Race and margarine).

“You never walk away from a conversation with her without a new thing to think about or a new thing to read.”

A very easy (but quite fancy-looking) pasta you can make when someone drops by last-minute

“You put halloumi, lime zest, oil, garlic and the capers into this little slurry all together and they kind of marinate a bit. Then you put it all into a hot pan, so the halloumi browns up, the capers get little bit crispy, the garlic heats up…

“Once it’s all looking incredibly golden and delicious, and you’ve cooked your spaghetti or your pasta (spaghetti’s good), then you have a big bowl of rocket, put lime juice on [it], then you just basically toss it all together. It’s limey and peppery and salty and crunchy and chill-y – it’s the greatest.”

Like most things, Crabb makes it sound quite easy.

Future Women is a new space for savvy women to connect, learn and lead. To find out more, including details about upcoming events, head to futurewomen.com and subscribe to the newsletter.

Source: https://honey.nine.com.au/2018/11/06/06/38/future-women-annabel-crabb-ask-me-anything

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