Sarah Wills and Lise Carlaw, presenters and content creators, Those Two Girls

The best feedback we ever received about our Unplugged events is attending them is like having a cuppa with your best girlfriends. If we can nail that every time, we're happy campers ...

It’s hard enough for most people to make new friends in person, let along over the Internet. Sarah Wills and Lise Carlaw had no such problems – forming a strong bond through their mutual admiration of the other’s savvy web presences. After meeting up to talk possible business opportunities, the duo realised that together they could create a long-lasting partnership thanks to their individual talents and drive to succeed. It wasn’t long before Those Two Girls formed, and Sarah and Lise were having loads of presenting and MC jobs thrown their way. Those Two Girls is a presentation and production company, where both women show their talents as guest speakers, content creators, creative consultants and influencers. Through their work as Those Two Girls, Sarah and Lise have created hilarious videos for Mamamia, acted as MCs for numerous events, and have started their own breakfast series where they sit down with other inspirational women. On May 18, Those Two Girls will host UNPLUGGED, a panel discussion with three other empowered and successful women. We took the opportunity to that to Those Two Girls about what they each bring to the partnership and how they came to work together.

I understand that the two of you first connected online – how did it come about and what made you realise that you two could be good friends and collaborators?
We both ran successful online sites back in 2013/14 that had each garnered quite a following, probably because we had a self-deprecating style of writing and a tell-it-how-it-is approach as modern women with several balls in the air. After meeting over wine and warm brie  in April 2014, it was immediately clear that we would do more than drink and eat together on a school night. Six months later, we ditched our individual sites and joined forces as Those Two Girls as we could see a gap in the market for a female presenter duo that offered something different for the MC and event space.

What was the defining moment that made you realise that your partnership was something worth pursuing?
Lise had a woo-woo daydream about us being onstage talking together holding microphones. That was it. We announced our new business the next day, and then within two weeks we landed our first job as hosts of The Bachelor live finale experience in Brisbane, supported by Channel 10 and Style magazines.  Word of mouth followed and the rest is history.

What do you think you both bring to the partnership? What are your creative strengths?
It sounds a bit ballsy, but we knew Those Two Girls would work because our combined personalities and professional backgrounds were so complementary.  Sarah’s got a decade of PR under her wing, plus a theatre degree, and some mediocre modelling, while Lise smashed the catwalks in Europe and the US for years and is a professional copywriter, plus we’ve both done a whole heap of national TV commercials.  So as far as being able to walk the walk and talk the talk, it comes very naturally to us.

What did you want Those Two Girls to be from the very beginning? Has the initial aim changed or evolved since 2014?
From the very beginning, we just wanted to MC events as a funny, relaxed duo. Think Hamish and Andy, but with lady parts. That has certainly evolved! While we continue to MC and host corporate and non-profit events, we now also produce our own sell-out panel events, and produce and present skits for the Mamamia Women’s Network. The latter part of 2016 is shaping up to be even bigger and better, which is exciting.

You will be helming a panel discussion with some wonderful women for Those Two Girls UNPLUGGED – what do you find some inspiring about the panellists you have joining you for the event?
It’s a difficult process to choose our panellists each time. It’s like the Masterchef kitchen, really — we have a whole heap of people (ingredients) we’d love to listen to, but it’s about balancing those flavours to create an event that people will relish, and want to attend again and again. The dynamic needs to be bang-on target between us and them, so we love women who are a bit irreverent, open, have some gumption, and are willing to share themselves beyond what you’d read in a glossy mag or see on social media. Mia, Zoe, and Sophie tick all those boxes.

What do you hope attendees of Those Two Girls UNPLUGGED take away from the evening?
The best feedback we ever received about our Unplugged events is attending them is like having a cuppa with your best girlfriends. If we can nail that every time, we’re happy campers.

In terms of your other work, your videos on Mamamia are hilarious! How do you go about finding humour in day-to-day life and making it engaging?
It’s not that hard. We’re just wired to see the funny side of life, and it helps that we have given birth to tiny dictators who only eat cheese sticks and plain, cooked pasta.

In 2015 you were appointed cultural ambassadors for Brisbane, and as The Weekend Edition is all about the best of Brisbane I’d love to see how deep your love for the city goes! Can you tell me a few of your favourite spots to eat, drink, shop and play?
We both grew up in regional Queensland as kids (shout out to Beerburrum and Bundaberg!) so moving to Brisbane was like moving to Paris in our young eyes. Current favourites are Porkee’s for lunch and Auntie Oh! for dinner and drinks, both in Fortitude Valley. Bar Alto at the Brisbane Powerhouse is great for early morning cuppas and meetings overlooking the river, while the River Walk is fantastic for midday stroll on our lunch break. Espial at Camp Hill is one of our favourite clothing, homewares and gift boutiques.

Going beyond the inner city, Lise is a northsider and a huge fan of bike rides along Shorncliffe pier, and breakfast at Samford Village. As a southsider, Sarah loves a Saturday morning at the West End markets or a stroll down Oxford Street Bulimba. The Smug Fig at East Brisbane is a delightful cafe that is connected to an antiques store, plant nursery and dress shop. From a pampering end, we don’t get a lot of that with four kids under seven, but when we do it’s always in the chair at Twidale Hair & Makeup at Albion. Jo and her team turn us from glum to glam and we love them for it.

Also, what do you think makes Brisbane such a wonderful city to live in?
It’s May. We’re still wearing sandals and shorts. End of story.

Finally, I’d love to know what is inspiring you currently?
The power of following gut instincts, and what happens when you do so.

On Wednesday May 18 Sarah and Lise will be hosting a discussion panel with the likes of Mia Freedman, founder of Mamamia, Zoe Foster-Blake, founder of Go-To skincare and author and Sophie Cachia from The Young Mummy for Those Two Girls UNPLUGGED, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz. On Thursday May 19, the duo will be hosting their first Good Morning, Sunshine! breakfast series at Lightspace with Sophia Cachia. 


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