Out Of Office with Ariana Bravo

Out Of Office with Ariana Bravo

Edited by Dariana Almeyda


Should this interview have been a podcast? Probably. For now though, we hope you enjoy reading our first “Out of Office” interview with our lovely and incredibly talented friend, Formula 1 Presenter Ariana Bravo. While in Melbourne we hung out over avo on toast to chat mostly about life outside of work, from Ariana's love of travel to being a massive foodie and the importance of surrounding ourselves with good people.

We’re excited to launch this new interview series and take our conversations outside of the paddock. Out of Office is about taking a step back, slowing down and talking about everything other than racing with some of our favourite people in motorsport.


PF: First things first can you tell the people where we are in the world right now? Set the scene…


AB: We are in Melbourne, it’s my first time here, which is cool, and we’re at a coffee shop called ST Ali about a 10-minute walk from my hotel, just across the river. It's great, we’re liking the vibe, they've got good music playing. I would sing along but I think that would be just a bit too much. It's also the place that Valtteri Bottas recently collaborated with on his coffee launch.  


PF: How are you finding Aus so far? Loving Melbourne?


AB: I’m really loving it. I had high expectations because everyone says just how amazing Melbourne is and it's living up to it, to be honest. I feel like it's a real melting pot, there's so much diversity in the city and so much to do and see. Coffee shops everywhere. I'm loving the graffiti streets. Amazing food, I've eaten very well so far, so much incredible food. And cool people. The weather has been a bit hit and miss but I'm not mad, it's still better than back home in the UK. But today is not too bad, it's a nice day. 


PF: Are you a coffee drinker?


AB: No I'm actually not. I don't drink it at all, but I love the smell. Which is a shame, it's a cute aesthetic haha.


PF: Anything cool you’ve done since being here? Didn't you go on a wine tour the other day?


AB: The wine tour was exquisite. We went to two vineyards–first we did the wine tasting which was lovely, and then at the second place we had lunch and had these insane pizzas outside. Then you can take the wine glasses and walk around the vineyard. So you can sit where you want and chill. So we did that and it was glorious, and on the way back we saw kangaroos, so cute!


PF: Have you seen Koala’s yet?


AB: No, but they’re on my list. I want to cuddle one...


PF: We know you love travelling, can you tell us about that? What does it mean to you? 


AB: I love travelling, I always have. I went travelling after I finished uni, took a gap year because I didn't want to face adulthood and went around South America and South East Asia. I did that by myself and I would say that was when I got the bug for it. I love the freedom that travel brings. I feel like travelling is just what you're meant to do, we're meant to see and experience the world. I don't think I can stay in one place for a long time, I have to get out and see as much as I can and experience things. And now the fact I have managed to tie it in with my job in F1 brings me great happiness.


PF: Yeah, I think we were smart to do that…


AB: I think we were incredibly smart! We played the game well haha. Even though a lot of our time is spent at the track, I love that if you make an effort you can still experience these new places and cultures in the mornings and evenings and you quickly work out the places you want to come back to or extend your stay at. I can't explain what travelling does to me, it just brings me this happiness and a sense of peace. It also kind of grounds me and makes me feel insignificant. I have this thing about the night sky–I'm obsessed with the stars and it's a way of keeping me calm and bringing inner peace. and I feel like I get the same feeling when I travel. I find it strangely comforting to realise how I'm such a tiny piece in the big world, and at the end of the day nothing really matters. It's calming. It gives you perspective.


PF: From the places you've experienced so far is there anywhere you could see yourself living?


AB: That's a tough question! So I've been to Toronto, and my brother lived there for a few years. The city has a really cool vibe and everyone’s super friendly, it feels like a mix between the UK and the States. I really love it there and it's somewhere I could probably see myself living. I also like the idea of moving to mainland Europe for the freedom and flexibility that it would bring. There are so many places you can explore and I would love the lifestyle, just hopping in the car and going to Germany for a few days or going wine tasting in the South of France for the weekend. It would be amazing and Europe is so beautiful. I think because it's on our doorstep we often take it for granted and go further afield, but I do really love the continent. And so far Australia is cool, I've only been here a few days so I don't know if I can say I could live here but it’s a vibe, just maybe a bit too far from home.

I really would love to move abroad, it's one of my regrets actually not living abroad for a year or two in my twenties. There's something about being in your twenties where you have a sense of freedom and no real commitments.


PF: What are you looking for when exploring a new city? Great food, fun bars, shopping?


AB: Food. I'm a big foodie. I'm a foodie at home and when I'm away. I love trying authentic food when I travel and I will go to as many restaurants as I can and order as many different dishes as I can. It's my happy place. I often do it to the point of feeling sick, but no regrets! You've just got to go all out. I did it last night actually–I went to an incredible Nepalese restaurant in the city called Momo Central, so delicious! Would recommend. 


PF: Which country or city that you've been to so far would you say has had the best food?


AB: That’s hard! But what I will say is that I'm a Pescatarian so that limits where I can go. I have actually loved the food here in Aus. I also love the food in Spain, which I know isn't as exotic as some of the other places we travel but I love Paella. I love sangria too, being tipsy on sangria is me in my happy place, in my true element. I'd also say Asia, the flavours you get across Thailand and Malaysia are incredible. 


PF: Where is top of your travel list?


AB: South Africa!! It's been on my bucket list for the longest time. I want to do Cape Town and go on safari, it really is the one place I am desperate to get to. I was so jealous of everyone out there for the Formula E race recently. 


PF: Okay tell us about packing to be on camera. How do you plan outfits for a race, is there a strategy? 


AB: I take this seriously. So when I buy a new outfit I take a photo in it and then add the image to a photo album that is dedicated to my F1 outfits. I share the album with my best friend, and before each race, we discuss and decide what I should wear. We plan out each day, Thursday and Friday are quite casual days for me and then Saturday and Sunday are a bit more dressy and a chance to make a statement. But this year I'm trying to be a little more tactical and sustainable with it, and get pieces that I can mix and match more easily. I'm trying to build a capsule wardrobe that I can re-wear and restyle for multiple weekends. 


PF: Can you tell us your handbag essentials to survive a race weekend?


AB: The bag I take to the track is really big so we could be here for a while. But for me, the essentials are lip balm, hand sanitiser, a mirror, blister plasters, deodorant, a hairbrush, a pen, make-up, and chewing gum. I think that’s it! 


PF: What are you watching, reading or listening to on the plane? 


AB: Shamelessly on the flight out I watched 'Married at first sight Australia' and to be honest it got me in the mood for the trip, I was ready to go when I landed haha!  'The Office US' is something that is basically on repeat in my life, just playing in the background. I'm reading a couple of great books at the moment. ‘This is Going to Hurt’ by Adam Mckay, which is a really good, easy read. I was given a book called ‘Rebel Ideas’ recently. It was recommended by a friend in the paddock and it's basically about why diversity is so important, but not just diversity in terms of how we look but also our unique perspectives. It looks at significant events that have happened in history and how the lack of diversity in thought contributed to them happening, it's fascinating. 


PF: Plane food, yes or no? 


AB: hahaha, this is a funny story! So for some reason I’m listed as vegan, lactose intolerant by F1, so my meals are lacto-ovo-vegetarian which results in me being one of the people that gets brought out a special meal early during a flight. Which firstly is mortifying and secondly the meals can be very hit and miss. So for that reason, I come very equipped with snacks to the plane. I tend to go to Pret before a flight and stock up!!


PF: Who inspires you? 


AB: My parents inspire me alot. I got into motorsport through my dad. They're both incredibly hard working. They both work in jobs and industries that involve giving back. My mum works in the charity sector and now works as a therapist, and my dad works in the education sector. I love the job I do, I absolutely LOVE it. I love presenting and love the on-screen stuff, but giving back is the most important thing to me and I think I get that from my parents. They haven't had easy lives but they've done good! 


PF: What would you tell your younger self?


AB: I would tell little Ariana to not be so self-critical. When I look back I was so over critical, with unrealistic expectations and constant comparisons. Whether that was about my appearance or what I was doing with my life. I was so young and figuring it out, I still am and I still do it now. But when I look back and reflect I realise I was so mean to myself and if only I had enjoyed that time a little more. I know that in 10 years’ time, I'll look back on myself right now and feel the same. 


PF: Oh same!! It's really sad that we do that.


AB: Yeah, and like I said I still do it now, but I think I'm more aware of it now, in a way that I wasn't when I was younger. I think I'd also tell her to just chill out a bit, babes. Enjoy life, and live in the moment, because you're not getting this time back.


PF: What would you say is your best personality trait?


AB: I would say I am someone who wants to help people, like I really, really care about helping people, whether that be friends or family or strangers on the internet. I’ll always try to help in whatever way I can, whether that's meeting for coffee or offering advice. I think sometimes it can be to my own detriment. I really care so if someone is having a rough time then I'll go through it with them and feel it myself, and it will then affect my own life even if it doesn’t directly involve me. But I think it's so important to care about people and help them where you can. I try to be a nice, light person, who brings good energy! When I got this job I made a conscious decision to make sure I was always bringing out that side of myself that I knew I had, but maybe had always kept a lid on. 


PF: The F1 calendar is pretty intense, have you built a good support network around you?


AB: The most important thing about this job is the people you travel with, I have my little F1 family who I love with my whole heart, I truly do. And I am very fortunate to have found my people, from the first race I did. From the camera crew, to my producers, we just clicked. They make me smile and if I'm having a shit day I can go and confide in them. Then there are people around the paddock like you guys, who I cross paths with at different races and they're all equally as awesome.


PF: We were thinking about this recently, the friendships we’ve met since starting out in this world are incredible. Like people we talk to on a regular basis or people who are super supportive of what we're doing, we didn’t know any of them three years ago. It's special. It's a cool industry to be a part of. There are good people here, who look out for you and have your back.


PF: Can you tell us something you think people would be surprised to learn about you? 


AB: Another curve ball of a question… okay I am sure that in another life I was a rapper. I know this sounds ridiculous but I have an insane talent for remembering lyrics. Most songs I can recall word for word. Listen, put a song on that has a solid rap verse and I will not be able to control myself. The last few years on my birthday, we come home, I'm always a bit drunk, I'll put on Youtube and do a two hour set where I perform for my family, singing and dancing, fully giving it my all and breaking a sweat. So yeah that’s me and something people definitely don’t know already."


PF: Are you a texter or a caller?


AB: A texter. I feel like texting is just easier and way less intense. Even if calling is more efficient. But saying that I'm pretty bad at replying to texts nowadays. I think where it's actually at is voice notes. I love a long voice note, sometimes mine qualify as mini podcasts. I aspire to be a caller though, I really do.


PF: One thing that you would love to master?


AB: Languages. It’s not that I'm not good at them, I just wish I was better. My brother brought me Spanish lessons for my birthday and I still need to get around to taking them. I think we take it for granted that so many people around the world can speak English when we travel to their countries, but yeah I would love to master another language.


PF: Okay, last question! What is your favourite account to follow on social media?


AB: This is going to sound a bit cringe now because I'm sitting here talking to you girls, but I love Parc Fermé. It's one of my favourite pages, because you mix F1 which I love, with so many other things I love. I also love Antoine's work, he's so talented; Jimmy from Aston too, I think he is one of the best content creators we have in the paddock at the moment. And away from motorsport, I love @wetheurban, which is a mix of quotes and cool inspo.

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