The Two of Us: Clare and Em



I’ve been blogging for almost eight years and in that time I’ve written every word on Checks and Spots. But now I’m really excited to collaborate with one of my dearest friends, and superstar beauty and lifestyle journalist, Emma-Charlotte Bangay.

With more than 20 years experience writing for some of Australia’s leading magazines and websites, including Marie Claire, Real Living, New Idea and SHOP til you Drop, Em knows a thing or two about stringing words together! She’s also a top chick – the type you want to surround yourself with.

So, every month Em will drop by and share a post or two. We’re already working on a bunch of stories that I know you’re going to love…but in the meantime, I wanted to introduce Em to you and share a little bit about our friendship.


Introducing Emma-Charlotte Bangay, the Newest Checks and Spots Contributor


Where did you first meet?

Em: A mutual friend took me to Clare’s place. It was a catch up with the kids so we definitely first met on a personal landscape, rather than professional. I remember her opening the door with bright red hair and a strapless sundress. I thought she was waaaay too cool for me! I still do!

Clare: In Em’s old age I think she’s forgetting that the first time we actually met, was during a brief passing in the halls of Bloom Cosmetics’ Head Office! I had just started working there and she was visiting for a meeting. It wasn’t until a few years later, when a mutual friend introduced us properly during a kids’ playdate at my house that we started talking…and haven’t stopped since!

Em: I do remember this ever so brief first dalliance. I can’t believe you do too!


What was your first impression of her?

Em: Well, when I first heard her name it was dripping in gold and bound together by fairy floss and moon dust. I never heard a bad word about her, so I hated her from the start! No, in all honesty, I was intrigued. I actually knew Clare’s then fiancé through my ex and he was a very enigmatic guy, so I was very interested to meet his match! I’m attracted to those women who are so inspiring and so magnetic you can only really describe in underlined italics. Clare is definitely one of those!

Clare: Long before we met I’d heard about Em, so when our paths finally crossed I remember blushing like a dork and being terribly awkward! I thought she was drop dead beautiful – inside and out – and had a depth that was magnetic. She was also wearing some big, chunky rings that I coveted. Nothing has changed on all three fronts really!


What is the common link that connects you?  

Em: Hair. Definitely hair. Oh, and maybe our frankness? There’s not a lot of BS with Clare. She’s a formidable woman to be in the presence of, but she is also empathetic and very genuine. To me they are the makings of a gal I want to be around!

Clare: Curls, Bassike lo slung jeans and a healthy curiosity for new ideas, new experiences and new ways of being challenged.


How have you changed over the course of your friendship?  

Em: Hair. Definitely Hair. Oh, and our friendship timeline has been peppered with healthy pause. We’ve merged in and out of each other’s lives in the funniest of ways due to distance or change of direction…or just lazy organization! I feel like we’ve always had each other in the rear view or side mirror though! Now we’re riding shotgun for the first time – after many years of talking about it – so it’s a very exciting time.

Clare: Our friendship has charted some interesting years. We’ve gone through the baby fog and having littlies at home, developed our own businesses and tried 700 different ways of juggling (sometimes successfully, sometimes miserably) motherhood and a career. During this time, I think we’ve shared a restlessness for becoming better architects of the type of lives we want to live – in the last six months this has really come to fruition for both of us.


How would you describe your friendship?

Em: It has a lot of oxygen around it. And by that I mean we definitely have our own lives but it’s not too much distance that we’re disconnected. 

Clare: It has a beautiful ease.




What’s your favourite thing about her? 

Em: I like Clare’s frankness. She is a few years younger than me but wiser in many ways. I find myself attracted to women like that. Most of my friends are absolute go-getters peppered across the globe, kicking ass in all professional directions. I see Clare in the same category. There is nothing she can’t do but I also feel very maternal about her. I’m protective of her. As someone who doesn’t have a younger sister, I really love that. I feel privileged. 

Clare: Em is so damn good for the soul. There is something about being near her that always makes me feel better. She’s loyal, has opinions and has been in my corner through some tough times.


What do you think are her strengths as a friend?  

Em: I feel like Clare doesn’t judge. We all have our foibles and often we have a social armour we wear when talking about them with other women. But with Clare, I would hope that the walls come down during those conversations. Every woman needs a friend like that.

Clare: Em has an incredible sincerity and authenticity. She’s a true listener, doesn’t judge and has the knack of holding you up to the light, tilting you slightly and showing you a whole new perspective.


What surprises you about her most? 

Em: Her wardrobe. How vast is that damn thing?

Clare: Em is an amazing mother who isn’t afraid to go against the grain with how she raises her children to become happy, resilient adults. While she often takes the parenting road less travelled (hello tech free home!) I sure as hell pay attention because Em’s kids and her relationship with them is superb.


How is she different to other friends?

Em: I can connect with Clare creatively, but often our conversations circumnavigate family and relationships on quite a deep level before we even talk shop! I think this will benefit our writing. I would hope it’s very truthful, reflective of the strength and vulnerability we share in our everyday conversations.

Clare: Like a hot knife through butter, she isn’t afraid to slice through my bullshit! I can also count on her to tell me the truth.


Photography: Fiona Storey
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