KINGPIN YEAR BOOK

The Kingpin Year Book was created for one purpose: to share real stories from Kingpin guests across Australia and find out what excites, motivates and inspires them. 

From riding ostriches to working as a stunt double, Kingpin guests shared the craziest stories with us. Some are sad, some funny and some are heroic, but all tell a tale of how fabulous our guests are.

Photo of Jessica and her boyfriend

JESSICA


WE ARE MOVING IN TOGETHER THIS WEEKEND

He’s being awkwardly nervous about it. We were in high school together, but in different social groups, so we only knew of each other. But through the years you just, I don’t know... We made little remarks to each other, had small interactions here and there.

WE WERE STAYING UP UNTIL 4AM ON SCHOOL NIGHTS TALKING ON THE PHONE

We didn’t talk that much in school, just always on the phone outside school hours. We ended up going to the ball together. We kind of fell out of touch after school for a bit. Why? I think at that stage, when we went to the formal, we had a really nice night together, but he was quite shy back then and I just felt... I don’t know how to explain it. Things are really perfect now, and I don’t feel like I’d be that same person now if we’d been together back then.

Did you know? Karaoke literally means Empty Orchestra in Japanese.

HANNAH

I grew up in the snow. My dad taught me how to ski when I was five, so it’s sort of my happy place. I injured my ACL in 2017 while working in the snow and snowboarding.

I HAD TO LEARN HOW TO WALK,RUN, LIFT WEIGHTS AGAIN. EVERYTHING ALL OVER AGAIN.

So it gave me a whole new appreciation for fitness and being able to walk, be independent. I was so dependent on my family. I lost all of my independence for the first two to three months after that. It made me really depressed in the end, I was vulnerable, I was emotional, and I wasn’t able to go out with my friends. I wasn’t able to do anything; I just had to sit at home, in bed. There were days where I’d been struggling and hadn’t said anything to anyone. I ended up in probably one of the darkest places I’ve ever been in mentally where I was just spiraling out of control. You feel really alone. It’s only now that I’ve taken the initiative to say that. It all starts with a conversation. No one’s gonna know unless you say something. This year I’m heading back up to the snow to work up there. I’ll be extra careful. I wanna chase the winter for the next, I don’t know, five to ten years and then just go from there. If I’m in the snow, life’s simpler and I don’t have to worry about much, only the run that I’m doing.

Photo of Hannah

 

Did you know?The ghosts in Pac Man are named Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde. They all have different personalities.

Photo of Jeremy

 

JEREMY

I'VE GOT A HUNDRED DOLLAR NOTE STUCK TO THE CEILING ABOVE MY BED.

Believe it or not, I used to be a body builder. Between the ages of sixteen to eighteen I was going to the gym about six days a week and I was massive and as you can tell I’m now quite thin. In 2015 my Crohn’s got bad and I was hospitalised for three weeks, losing twenty-five kilos in a week and a half. I used to be the biggest introvert, but when I was admitted to hospital, it made me realise what was important, like who my real friends were, and completely changed my outlook on life. I stopped caring what people thought, I stopped caring about people who didn’t care about me and started doing what I wanted to do. It took me a year and a half to get back to a healthy weight. I go in the hospital every eight weeks for infusions of medication, via IV, so I go into day oncology to get it done. There are people around me who are getting chemotherapy for terminal illnesses and their families are there and they’re basically prolonging the inevitable. It puts stuff in perspective; I almost feel like I don’t deserve the chair, you know? When there are people so much worse off than me. And that sort of keeps me going, on a weekly basis. The $100 note? It’s the first thing I see when I open my eyes. I’m in sales, commission only, and this drives me to do my best. Then I close my eyes for five minutes every morning to think about everything I’m grateful for, to put me in a positive state of mind. My old man taught me to make the best of the hand you’re dealt. Enjoy life, appreciate all the little things in life whether it’s paintings you walk past or architecture or even just someone smiling at you on the street. That’s how I live.

 

Photo of Nathalie

ONE OF MY FAVOURITE PRISONERS WAS A MURDERER


NATALIE: I used to work in two prisons. A young offender’s prison and an adult male prison. So murderers, rapists and stuff. My dad wasn’t a big fan. I was an honorary assistant psychologist. Unpaid, so I weird because whenever I tell people they’re shocked but I find it really interesting. And I very much enjoyed it. One of my favourite prisoners was a murderer. He was just so interesting, this Scottish guy, he’d been in twenty-six years. He told me so many stories and he was so nice and he was very respectful to women. I ran a group with one of the other psychologists and I always sat near Eddie because if any of them made me feel unsafe, he’d stick up for me.

CINDY: I’m from Colombia. Three years ago, I said to my family “Oh, I’m going to Australia just to learn English.” They said “You’re crazy. You’re going to be too far away from us.” After that I think my life really changed; I love it. Two years ago a friend told me there might be an opportunity for me as a graphic designer. I didn’t think I could do it because of my English but she made me take a chance. At the end of the interview, my new boss said: “oh, the job is definitely for you!”. Before I came here I was really worried about what would happen and if my English would be good enough, but my friend told me to try to think positively. So I decided after I came here that I’m okay with whatever happens. I’ve had the job for two years now, and it’s helped me a lot. You have to be yourself, you have to have your way to design your things, like your creative way... Plus, expose yourself in a different way. If you can present something differently with your style...

Photo of Cindy
Photo of Kieran

THERE WERE HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE AT HIS FUNERAL


KIERAN: I’m originally from Edinburgh, Scotland. I thought, “let’s go to Australia, the weather’s better, you can get outside more”, so here I am. My grandad was the nicest, most genuine guy anyone’s ever met. He died about six years ago. I didn’t realise how much of an influence he had until I saw the hundreds of people at his funeral. I’ve met so many different people, I just hope I have the same impact on them as my grandad had on people, because it’s inspirational. He did so much good, he didn’t care about himself.

MY MUM WAS IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH MY DAD


GEORGIA: My dad’s side of the family is Aboriginal, mum’s side is Australian. My mum was in an abusive relationship with my dad. My brother and I haven’t had much of a relationship with our dad since that. It wasn’t until last year that I spoke to my mum about it. And you know, after everything that she’s been through, she’s never said one bad thing about him. She encouraged me to call him and let go of the resentment I was holding. I’m still practising, but she always says the best revenge is happiness. I am the kind of person that likes to have the last word if I have an argument or anything with someone. I’m scared that I will fail my bachelor degree because I feel like I’m not smart enough. I deferred for a bit before going back, and I’m going to do a diploma degree because I haven’t studied since high school. Seven years. It’s a bit of a jump to go straight to uni. But I’m still afraid of not succeeding.

I HAD TO SAVE COSTS SOMEHOW SO I SLEPT IN MY CAR

EDWARD: While on a road trip in the States, I was low budget travelling, so I parked in a random car park. I didn’t want to pay for a motel or a hotel. I was like, “You know what, I need to wake up in a few hours before the sunrise, I’m going to park here and hopefully no one will catch me.” I had to save costs somehow and so I slept in my car. It was bad, actually, one of the loneliest nights on my road trip. I sat in the backseat by myself with a flashlight and ate meatballs. It was like in the middle of nowhere in Arizona, so that was cold. It was so lonely I actually vlogged myself and almost cried in the car. But the next sunrise was worth it! I did a four-hour hike the next morning up Zion Mountain. So worth it.

Photo of Edward

MATTHEW: My mum gives me the best advice; She’s like the Dalai Lama of our family. I tend to listen to her a lot because I know, she’s experienced it all.

LILI: I grew up as a missionary in Tanzania, East Africa, from age 3 to 16. We lived in quite a rural place, so not much electricity, no running water, that sort of thing. We worked closely with the local people and had a lot of freedom; as a kid, I would wear shoes once every couple of months. Lots of fun... lots of dirt! The people were so hospitable. The area we lived in was very poor, so we had two or three people come to our door every day. There was sort of this stereotype that we had a lot of money because we were white, even though we didn’t. My mom set up a project that was both a workshop and a café to help women who didn’t have homes and couldn’t feed their families. I was quite involved in that. I think seeing the poverty and how people lived through that and still trusted God and lived as a community was really cool. They all cared for each other even though they had nothing.

WE HAD A FAMILY OF HIPPOS

It was good fun, you’d hear them at night eating the grass. One got stuck in a big fish pond where they bred fish… I think he just slipped in and couldn’t get out. Half the village was there watching the hippo. That was pretty interesting. Returning to Australia was very different, the people especially. Those in my age group in particular: I found them to be a lot less mature than I expected. In Tanzania, you take care of the house, feed your family and care for younger siblings at age fifteen, so I think people mature faster. There were a lot of other surprises, too. I’d never seen an automatic tap before! I couldn’t manage to wash my hands in the airport when I arrived, because I had no idea what to do. Just little things like that, which made me go “what do I do?” Or, you know, tapping your card, I didn’t know how to do any of those sorts of things!

Photo of Lili

Photo of Ethan

I SHATTERED MY LEG AND HE DROPPED IN AGONY

ETHAN: When you’re a twin you understand... He gets my pain. So I break something, he feels it. It’s not the same as having a brother. We’re still individuals with lots of similar traits. We were playing football on the same field. I shattered my leg and when I did he dropped in agony. They had to give him painkillers instead of me. If I’m having a shit day, then he’s having a shit day. My brother’s got epilepsy, so I always tend to know when he’s about to have a fit, or having a fit. I can always tell.

NIMA: My mum came here as a single mother and refugee. She’s very strong, I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t be a single parent and raise two children in a new country, where I didn’t speak the language. She inspires me.That’s why I want to give so much to my family back home. I have a lot of family in poverty. I want to do the same thing that she’s done: make sacrifices, take chances even though you don’t know where it’s going to take you.

Photo of Nima
Photo of Jimit

JIMIT: My friends and I come to Kingpin almost every week to bowl and play pool. I came from India just to study, but I love it here so I’m applying for residency.

Photo of Omar

OMAR: I’m a Chef de Partie, and an artist. I create my own chalk paint to paint on glass, then I use dye. I’ve been working on it a long time and have submitted my work for an exhibition!

PUOCH: Where I’m from, Kenya, there are no proper cookies. Now I can’t get enough, so everyone calls me Cookie. I’m in my final year of studying law, I hope to open a law firm to help the African community in Melbourne. A base where I can have people speaking different languages. That’s what I’m looking forward to: different kinds of lawyers and people, who speak different languages, congregating in one spot to make a difference.


 

ELIZABETH: The source of joy for me, although it sounds cliché, is the friends you make and the friends you keep. I remember this very distinct day in year 12 when we went and got fish and chips and played football in the park. In the bigger scheme of things, it is insignificant, but for me, it’s days like those where you feel absolutely joyful. You’re surrounded by the people you love, enjoying their company.

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