Balancing the Grind with Marny Kennedy, Actress & Mazda Australia Ambassador

Marny Kennedy is an actress and Mazda Australia ambassador, currently driving a CX-30. She has recently starred in Warnie, and is known for her lead role in the TV series Mortified.

Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?

My career journey began at age eleven, when I was lucky enough to land a role on a children’s television show called ‘Mortified’, which changed the course of my life as I knew it. From there, I was generally in between school for six months of each year, whilst working on other various shows for the other six months.

It was a pretty unconventional teenage experience, but one that allowed me to travel both interstate and overseas, forming friendships that have lasted over a decade since. After a few transitional years between age eighteen to twenty one- when I really had to decide whether acting was what I wanted to continue to pursue into adulthood- I fell back in love with the industry and I’ve been working in television since, having just finished a production with Channel 9 earlier this year. 

I actually landed a role in an upcoming US film a few months ago, which was supposed to begin shooting in June- but due to the current writers strike happening at the moment, the shoot has been postponed until later this year. So for now, I’m just back to auditioning and am about to head overseas for a few weeks of travel! 

We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?

Honestly, I don’t really think I have a typical day! The last few weeks have been heavily centred around publicity work for the last production I was in, so I would be in Sydney for a magazine shoot, then would fly back down to Melbourne for a day of interviews, then head back to Adelaide (where I have been predominantly based with my partner) only to drive back over to Melbourne to get on a flight this coming Saturday for Europe! 

Work is often defined by very intense periods, which can be followed by months of auditioning and not having a typical shooting schedule to rely on for a sense of consistency; which is where the ‘highs and lows’ reputation comes from. I often use the in-between months as a time for travelling, which is where my Mazda ambassadorship has really inspired me to just pack up the car and explore more of Australia. 

Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?

Because my career began at such a young age, I’ve never really known anything but the extremes of my industry, so I don’t have anything conventional to compare my work-life balance to. I think if anything, my focus is always on maintaining a good mental health balance during more monotonous times.

You have to remain accountable for yourself by staying creative- and you also have to have a strong sense of self to deal with the inevitable rejections that come with auditioning. I’m so grateful to have such an incredible support network of family, friends and my partner, who I’ve always been able to rely on to anchor me. 

I think one of the great constants of my life has been writing, too. I’ve kept a journal since I was fourteen years old, which has always helped ground me- particularly during the more intense periods of work and life.

Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?

Well, the most major change for me has been my relationship with my partner, Rulla, who I met almost exactly a year ago. Initially, we were navigating a long distance relationship- but even when living in the same place, both of our unpredictable careers have required us to spend a lot of time travelling between multiple states at a time (Rulla is a musician and advocate, so is always having to travel for work too).

This has meant that we have both developed a stronger sense of gratitude for the slower moments, and are always bringing each other back to what really matters. I definitely have a tendency to internalise a lot of the pressure and stress of my career, so it’s been a healthy adjustment (albeit a long learning process) to have to communicate that with someone, and allow them to hold space for you.

It’s definitely a relatively new experience for me, and one that I’m constantly growing from. Rulla is a huge inspiration, as he throws himself head first into his passions, which is contagious. 

We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?

I absolutely love reading- so definitely have plenty of book recommendations! Most recently, one of my dear friends Em Carey released her first book called The Girl Who Fell From The Sky, recounting her experience of surviving a 14,000ft skydiving accident.

I obviously already knew Em’s incredible story, but just reading her words gives you an immediate perspective shift. I always recommend this one for anyone in need of an instant reminder of what truly matters in life and how grateful we should be, purely to be alive. 

Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I’ve always tried to live by the saying, ‘Be who you needed when you were younger.’ 

So I hope that I am always growing into someone who my younger self would really trust and be proud of. I think the older I get and the more demanding life becomes, I just keep trying to bring myself back to that mentality. Try and listen more. Always show empathy. Don’t forget to play. Get in the ocean. Speak up for what you believe in. Tell people you love them, often. Write it down. Trust your instincts. Be who you needed when you were younger. 

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.