1. First off, what’s the story behind your name? How did you end up Luana?
I’m Italian, I was born in Italy to an Italian mother & Australian father. My parents heard the name and loved it. It’s not too common in Italy and I’ve yet to meet another Luana in Australia.
2. Describe yourself as a child in comparison to your own girls?
I started out a very precocious child, full of stories and drama. I grew up in a small town in Italy and my grandparents had a wholesale alcohol and coffee distribution agency. I used to ride around with my dad & Nonno to the bars and restaurants in the region, I articulated as an adult by 3 years of age. I wanted to be an actress up until I was about 10 but then self awareness came with vigour. I would rather die than get up and preform these days, I have no game. Rio, my eldest daughter is very similar to me (as I am now rather than as a child) which has been a confronting aspect of paternity. Seeing her struggle with things that mirror my struggles breaks my heart. But I try and remember that nothing is written and I can build her to be better equipped than I am. She is a very enigmatic girl, gracious, loving and sensitive. She is so thoughtful and remembers the smallest details. Bowie is a completely different character. Much more like her father – she is joyous, gregarious, naughty but tender with a wild wild temper. She is twenty two months old & still completely a baby. I have a totally different relationship with each of my girls.
3. And then as a 22 year old?
At 22 I was studying Naturopathy & madly in love with my boyfriend, impatient for all my domestic daydreams to be realised. Reid was in no such hurry. I dropped out of my course 3 months before completion and have not regretted it for a moment since. I travelled a lot and worked hard – I’m so thankful for that time.
4. What is one thing you wish you could tell that 22 year old self?
Nothing, I’d let her get there herself.
5. What are you enjoying most about your current age?
Everything. I find the humility of ageing so freeing. I used to have big ideals, ideas and opinions but when I hit 30 I conceded that I “know” nothing and my mind needs to be wide open. I’m turned on by the differences between people & want to learn. My 20’s felt like a self indulgent hot whirlwind blur – I feel grounded now, without fret or wild ambition.
I guess part of me once felt that it was anti feminist or anti intellectual to want to be a stay at home mother most of the week but now I think the complete opposite. I’m so grateful for the time with my kids, I know everything else I aspire to will come when it can. Obviously adulting can be a massive bummer sometimes but at least I’m a little more proven.
6. Ideal way to spend a whole day alone
Coffee, flea market, champagne & oysters, writing, sun and a swim.
7. What does your morning routine look like?
A river of coffee and tripping over myself until we have to be presentable. I’m a total mess to be honest – the mum that pulls up to preschool with last nights eye liner smudged and coffee cups spilling out of the car. In the morning my spirit is there but the body is not willing.
8. As for motherhood what would you say has been one of the most unexpected things about it so far?
What an introspective journey it is. Raising a child is holding a mirror up to the best and worst parts of yourself. All the care and sacrifice involved I was prepared for but the relationship with self has been a confrontation.
9. Most rewarding?
Watching the girls build relationships, I’m so proud of the way they interact and engage. Also the way it has solidified my marriage. Reid is a really natural father, he took to it instantly & I fell in love with him all over again.
10. What scares you most about raising girls?
Nothing, I feel really up for it. Girls are women – everything I love about women presents in my daughters. I’m so excited to be around that energy. The fears I have for my kids aren’t related to their sex.
11. Last time you cried?
I cry all the time, I’m wildly emotional. I cried last week when my husband went away because I wished I was going with him. It was one of those nonsensical mum crisis in which I cry because I can’t dash overseas with my husband at the drop of a hat anymore, knowing fully well that I wouldn’t leave the girls anyway.
12. Last hang over?
A while ago and it wasn’t worth it, never is with a couple of toddlers to care for in the morning. Two glasses is my zone.
13. What would you say you find most attractive in men?
Authenticity & good hair.
14. Most endearing in women?
15. I know you have a fabulous punk edge to you, where does that stem from?
Haha! Punk is freedom to me – of all my shortcomings the one thing I’ve always been is without vanity about my image. Aside from my dearest, I don’t worry about how I’m perceived.
16. What is your wardrobe uniform of late? What pieces are you wearing most often and what brands are you currently loving most?
I wear an Australian label Bassike most, I like their minimal tailoring. Other than that genuine vintage clothing is a vice of mine.
17. Last TV show guilty of a binge watch?
Stranger Things – just me & the rest of the world.
18. Your writing has become a defining anchor here, what would you say you enjoy most about sharing your work and writing for this audience in particular?
When I want to shake writers block I start reading more, which acts as a giant conversation that I need to be a part of. So I came by House Inhabit because I read blogs in lieu of books while I was in a postpartum brain fade, novels too demanding. I identified with your narrative right away. It felt like an authentic glimpse into the day to day, not to mention you are a great writer. A lot of blogs have a way of peddling a certain lifestyle which is completely boring to me. As soon as you introduced a potluck for The Ma Books I wanted to be involved because the conversations sparked were ones that I love to partake in. I can’t really articulate how much I’ve enjoyed the involvement, it’s been absolutely golden. It all feels real and tangible which is pretty rare online. Some of the submissions are of such high quality, I’m in awe. I genuinely look forward to reading every post & love participating.
19. What are two things readers might be surprised to know about you?
1.Despite my candid writing style, I keep things very close to my chest and it takes a long time to get to know me.
2. I’m almost certain that I have dyslexia, but I’ve made it this far so….
20. What is one thing you would love to ask Ina Shry?
So much. But I would love to ask her a boring writer question – How does she write, literally? Typewriter, computer, pen to paper??
You get to dine with one of your greatest lady idols (living or dead) who do you choose and where do you take them?
No matter how many times I’m asked this question, from a teenager to now the answer has and always will be Patti Patti Patti. Patti Smith is holy to me. There is nothing about her I don’t like. Her writing, her music, her style, her motherhood, her marriage – her very existence makes me feel good about being alive. I would cook for her at my house, I’m a feeder.