Writing by Eve Dangerfield // Photograph by Tiziana Gualano
Hey Eve, you only work part time don’t you?
Indeed I do.
And there’s no way in hell you sell enough books to keep you in the black.
(Knocks back a belt of whiskey). What is your point here exactly?
You look pretty good for someone getting out-earned by fruit pickers. What’s the deal?
Well… Sit down dear friend, and allow me to explain what I call the Starving Artist Method of Style and Survival.
Have a prepaid mobile phone.
Keep it until it no longer works at all. Very self-explanatory.
Have no credit cards.
You can’t spend what you don’t have. Cancelling my credit card and overdraw is the best thing I’ve ever done.
Don’t dye your hair.
When I stopped a year and a half ago, I realised that not only does my hair not feel like fucking straw anymore, but I save hundreds of dollars a year. And funnily enough no one has run up to me and said, “Ew your hair (a very inoffensive brown) is so gross! Dye that shit!”
Never get a haircut.
$37 for a trim? I don’t think so. I clip my split ends while I’m watching Outlander.
I quit waxing a couple of years back. I now shave my pits, legs, and female areas on demand depending on who is going to see what. Often I don’t shave at all because I can’t be arsed. When I do shave I use men’s razors (which are cheaper because capitalism is sexist). I also never wax my eyebrows, I just pluck the middle and tell myself I look like Cara Delevingne. No one has run up to me and said, “Ew your eyebrows are like thick hairy gym mats. Wax that shit.”
Only spend big on foundation.
Makeup is a capitalist money-suck — the likes of which men never have to comprehend. But don’t hate the player, hate the game. As someone who successfully wears make up I can tell my fellow make up-wearers the only thing worth investing in is foundation. Go top shelf with that (I use Giorgio Armani luminous silk foundation along with a primer and concealer) and bargain basement for eye shadow, brow pencils, mascara, etc. These items have no shelf life anyway.
You should chuck them every few months lest the bacteria builds up, glues your eyes together, and gives you an illness. And unless you think I’m talking crap, a humongously famous makeup artist told me all this as she used $2 eyeliner on my lids. Seriously.
Fashion is bullshit.
Fashion just wants to take your money. It doesn’t care if it makes you cry because you look like a crazed tramp in bodycon dresses. Fuck fashion, it hates us anyway. Buy what you love and wear it until it’s so full of holes you have no choice but to concede it to the bin. I frequently wear the same pair of high waisted pants I bought for a funeral in 2006. Whenever I tell anyone this they say, “I can’t believe they’re still in fashion!” and I just smile mysteriously and think, “looking good as hell is always in fashion.” Consider the following investment pieces:
-A well cut coat (mine is a black Alannah Hill).
-A flattering skirt in a neutral colour (mine is a black pencil skirt).
-A pair of black or brown shoes with a low heel (I have American Apparel lace-ups).
-A decent bag with a good clasp (mine’s Fossil).
-A pair of blue jeans and a pair of black (mine are Levi’s. Don’t buy cheap jeans. They will stretch and look like crap in under three washes).
-Plain t-shirts that goes with everything.
-A couple of pussybow tops. (ASOS is always good).
-A pair of comfortable boots (I wear my Timberlands almost every day and they were worth every cent I paid for them).
-A 1950’s style dress that you could wear to a job interview or a nice dinner with mates.
You are now set for life.
Rotate formal dresses.
I own six formal dresses; from my 18th birthday dress (yes, the red wine stains came out) to my university grad dress (goddamn I’m never going to pay back those fees). As my weight and boob circumference remain the same, I have started rotating these dresses through every formal occasion, coupling them with one pair of glittery black heels. Guess what? No one gives a shit. No one. Actually, one of my aunties once said, “is that the dress you wore to INSERT COUSINS NAME’s wedding?”
I said, “Yes.”
Conversation over. Avoiding that conversation was not worth $300 and a soul destroying day shopping for a new fucking dress.
Carry a flask.
Just do it. The cost of drinks in clubs and bars is a fucking farce. It’s like they want you to take blank pills. One of the things to assess when you’re buying a bag is to make sure it has enough room for your flask. Don’t buy a fancy flask. Mine is an Old State of Vermont Maple Syrup tin. If bouncers see it I’m all, “Oh it’s from my Nan… Wait, don’t smell it!” (This only applies if you’re over 18. As a writer of sexy romance books I have enough reasons to be cited as a bad influence without adding “encourages underage drinking.”)
I know cooking sucks but eat at home.
Pick meals you like and could eat forever (for me it’s burritos, chicken curry, beef stew, and pumpkin soup) and make it in bulk. Then divvy it up in a bunch of containers and freeze it. Bulk out each meal with rice and steamed veggies and you are living cheap and healthy. In times of extreme broke-ness eat before you go out then order a bowl of wedges. I never get dessert. $12 for some sugary egg whites baked hard? Blow me. I can buy a whole packet of equally delicious Tim Tams for under $5.
Lingerie is bullshit.
A good bra is your best friend (unless you’re one of those lucky bitches who can go without) but when people say “good bra” they rarely mean “sexy bra.” Here’s what you do. Get measured in a fancy place, I recommend Myer, then invest in two sports bras and two t-shirt bras in black and beige no matter how expensive. You will never regret this. Buy a six pack of comfy cotton undies. The colonies of bacteria that live in your vagina will love you forever. Have one or two nice sets of cheap, frilly shit (from like Cotton On Body or Target) for sexy occasions. Boners (including ladyboners) cannot determine the price of lingerie. They’re just like “Wow, interestingly decorated tits!” Get busted in unsexy underwear? Take it off in the toilet before sex commences. Everyone loves this. You look all spontaneous and sexy and it’s free.
Skincare is bullshit.
Watch this video. Seriously go watch it. Now come back and realise that skincare is an even bigger money-suck than makeup, fashion, and lingerie combined. Buy a soap free cleanser like Cetaphil and a decent moisturiser and be done with it. I have used pure jojoba oil for donks. It’s cheap, and an awesome make-up remover, pimple fighter, wrinkle delayer and highly renewable.
Toner is a load of wank. Eye cream is a load of wank. Sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher is good. I use coconut oil on my body. Super moisturising and cheap as hell.
Don’t buy perfume.
Perfume gives me a migraine. Therefore I do not buy or wear it. I smell fine. Probably like coconut.
Invest in a Mooncup.
They’re cheap, they’re reusable, they make me feel like I have no period at all. Also dumping all that un-absorbed blood into the toilet gives me a huge thrill. “I’m bleeding but I’m ALIIIIVEEE MOTHERFUCKER!” I say to my boyfriend, waving the bright red cup around. “I’M INVINCIBLE!” “That’s great. Can you please put that down?” is his usual response.
Have one cool necklace/ring/thing you wear all the time.
It becomes like your signature piece and no one thinks that’s cheap or lacking in creativity.
And I think that’s it.
Last minute advice includes limiting your latte/McMuffin intake to a couple of times a week, telling friends you don’t want birthday presents so you don’t have to buy them birthday presents, and generally not giving a shit what people or society think because pursuing your creative dreams is worth being broke.