genYOU Story 06 – Celene

At just 20 years old, Celene Pretorius has a maturity and determination that not many people can compare to. Talented, intelligent and charismatic, she is on a creative journey to becoming a Theatre Director. 

Name: Celene Pretorius 
City: Brisbane
Current role: Final year university student studying a double degree in Business and Entertainment and works as a Functions Supervisor for QUT Precincts.

How did you get involved with generationYOU and how did you find this experience?

I was lucky enough to be an intern with the team that runs generationYOU and, from that, became a volunteer on the day. Being a volunteer and not just a patron gave me another insight into the genYOU experience. I got to see the workings behind the incredible day and the amazing organisational skills it takes to create such an event.

generationYOU isn’t just another conference where you wish you could leave 5 minutes in. Instead, it’s a day that passes with the blink of an eye as local employers and entrepreneurs share their success and all the failures it took to get there.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are headed in your career right now?

First and foremost, I am a final year university student studying a double degree of Business and Entertainment. I am also a Function Supervisor for QUT Precincts and an avid fan of musical theatre. So bundling those three things up, it has led me to the career path of a Theatre Director…and when I say path I mean unmarked, bumpy, dirt track, as there has already been a magnitude of challenges.

Choosing a career that doesn’t have a graduate job or anything of its kind immediately creates worry in the people around you. “Most people don’t make it in those types of careers” and “All well you can always fall back on your Business degree” are statements I hear every week. Yes, it is a struggle knowing that there isn’t a step-by-step pathway for me to follow, however, without entertainment or the arts the world would be a very sad place. Someone’s got to do it so why can’t it be me?

What inspired you to do what you are doing now?  

I have been extremely lucky to have some amazing mentors along the way and it seems as though every time I doubted myself or wanted to take the easy route out, someone would remind me that life is too short to be unhappy.

Being only 20 years old, I know I have learnt and experienced almost nothing this world has to offer but I’m trying. Travel is a huge part of my life and some of the things I have seen have changed my whole perspective of doubt and struggle.

There are too many people in this world that don’t follow their passions because they are scared of the potential failure. But why?! Why not take that chance of success and be happy whilst fighting for it every day?

My ultimate goal is to increase opportunities for young Brisbane creatives. I have been fortunate to have amazing mentors but majority of talented students don’t follow their passions because they fall into the trap of societal pressures. Pressures to have money and a stable career. Pressures to be generically ‘smart’ and pressures to stay within the box we call the normal. Instead we should praise people’s talents and encourage everyone to break boundaries. As Henry Ford said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for a better horse.”

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

As corny as it sounds, my biggest inspiration is my mum.

Not because she raised four children alone or because she started her own business after immigrating across the world (even though they are incredible feats), but because no matter what crazy idea I’ve had or passion I’ve tried and tested she has always supported me.

She views the world as something we need to enjoy during our limited time on it. That we need to take chances and risks because even if you fail, everything happens for a reason. That failure will open another door and that door could then lead you to the greatest success and happiness. I am the first ‘creative’ in my family and I’m so lucky that that was never a shameful thing.

You have the attention of over 1000 millennials. What is the one advice you would give them when you reflect on your own journey?

Travel as far and as wide as you can because although home will be the same when you get back, your mind will have changed and that changes everything in your life.

Also learn from people that you meet overseas and jump at any opportunity that allows you to create a life out of something that you love. This world is a huge and scary place but by understanding yourself and what you want out of this life will give you the determination to succeed.