Canberra Lifestyle

Canberra Girl Living in NYC

Have you ever dreamed of living in a big city? The big apple perhaps? All those episodes of Sex and The City and Gossip Girl gave us insight into the skyrise filled city with a big man made park smack bang in the middle of it. The gorgeous loft apartments with the window sill big enough to sit out on, the endless opportunity to have a kickass career, and to be an ultimate #girlboss.

One of our own local talented and extremely driven gals, Jessica Norton is living that dream. We wanted to share a little slice of her life with you, so that if you too have a burning fire inside you that just wants to book a one way to JFK, maybe this might give you that extra belief that you can do it too!

Tell us about you?

I’m a 28-year-old Canberra girl who’s been living in New York for almost 4 years. I’m a strategy director at a creative marketing agency, and work with brands both big and small from BMW, to your local coffee shop. I love kickboxing, I frequent local stand up comedy and brunch is my middle name.


What made you decide to move all the way from Canberra to New York City!

As the saying goes, if you can make it there – you can make it anywhere, right? I moved to New York because I had an itch to learn from the best in the business, work with big brands, and be at the forefront of innovation for my field (advertising & marketing). After visiting New York in 2014 I wrote it down on my to-do list. Literally. So, I did it. New York is highly addictive. There’s so much stimulation everywhere you go. Moving from Canberra to New York was not easy. We have such an easy-going lifestyle in CBR. It’s beautiful and will probably always be home, but I highly recommend that everyone go live in NYC for a year at least – it will open your mind, thicken your skin and change perspective to truly appreciate the little things. Plus, a New York (pizza) slice is what life is about!

How long have you been in the marketing and advertising industry?

I got my very first job at a local Canberra creative agency at the age of 19. I had the opportunity to learn on the job at a very young age from the agency owner, which gave me pretty unique, cross-disciplinary experience. I’m turning 29, so that’s almost 10 years and going strong. My industry is forever evolving, never boring and always a challenge, so I’m sure I’ll be here for many, many more years to come.


Did it take long before you really felt like you belonged and were comfortable in The Big Apple?

I felt like I belonged in New York within a week of being here, however, if New York teaches you anything it’s that you better get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Who has been your most high profile client?

Probably, American Express. Going to my client’s office in Vesey Street at the American Express tower, formerly known as Three World Financial Center, was an experience in itself. The breath taking views of Manhattan ensured you physically felt the size of the business in every sense, not to mention the level of innovation and sophistication within the company is second to none. I also worked with Samsung and the West Point Military Academy – both very high profile, and fun.

What has been the most challenging experience you have faced living in a different country?

As Australians, we speak English, but we truly do incorporate our Aussie slang into our everyday vernacular that there’s been countless times that people in the U.S have had no idea what I have been talking about. Ie. “dibber dobber, arvo, rock up, grog shop, over-take, quarter- past, duck down, gas bag, tricky, full on, – literally mean nothing!


What does balance mean to you?

That’s a hard question, because I’m not the most traditionally ‘balanced’ person. I’m more of an ‘all or nothing’ girl. So in that case, I guess balance means that if I go full-blown, hard-core at something, I also have to have equal amount of down time to relax and accommodate for the intensity during those times.

Who inspires you?                                                                    

Ashley Graham. She’s a plus-sized model based in Brooklyn, New York. She inspires me because she’s equal parts bad-ass and confident to vulnerable and down-to-earth. I also love Sophia Amuroso the founder of Girlboss. She’s a perfect example of what never giving up looks like.


Name your five favourite bars in NYC?

Beauty and Essex


SoHo Grand

Mr Purple Rooftop

Le Bain at the Standard

Name your five favourite eateries in NYC?

Thursday Kitchen


49 Monroe

Lil Frankies

Uncle Boons

Sweet Chick

(Sorry, I couldn’t pick 5!)

What’s next for you?

As much as I L-O-V-E New York, I’m making a move to sunny Los Angeles where I hope to soak up all the sun I’ve missed over the past 4 years. I’ll be opening the new West Coast presence for the agency I work with – so it’s all very new and exciting next steps.


JESSICA in a flash:

Coffee or tea?

Coffee and then tea. Espresso with Oat Milk followed by a green tea.

On your bedside table we’ll find:

Phone, diary, pens, books,

Favourite flowers:


Book you are currently reading:

Girl on the Train

Signature scent:

Vanilla Oil from the body shop

5 can’t-live-without handbag contents:

Hand sanitizer – because New York Subways…



Mini vanilla oil from the body shop.

Bubble mint gum,

Photographer: Shana Jade

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