60 seconds with Jenny Cao

Jenny Cao is currently a Research and Executive Assistant at MCWH

What are you enjoying doing at the moment?
In recent weeks, I’ve been really enjoying having picnics at various scenic spots (within my 5/25km radius) with my loved ones. So far, I’ve explored Wurundjeri Spur Lookout, Elwood Beach, St Kilda Beach, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Fitzroy Gardens. We’ve been trying to share food from a different local takeaway spot or cuisine each time. My favourite picnic memory involved watching the sunset at Wurundjeri Spur Lookout over fish tacos and nachos from Hencho en Mexico.

If you were a super-heroine, what powers would you like to have? (Or if you had a magic wand, what would you use it for?)
I would love to be able to speak, read and write all the languages that exist!

What is the best part of your day?
The best part of my day is winding down at the end of a long day! I always look forward to disconnecting and journaling as a part of my night routine. Journaling is always a cathartic experience and it has been such a great way for me reflect, learn and process my thoughts and emotions. This year I’ve filled five notebooks! I’m hoping my future self will thank me and find my reflections during this pandemic somewhat interesting.

For you, what’s the best thing about being a woman from an immigrant refugee/ background? (Or, can you think of a time when this was an advantage?)
Being able to connect with other people of migrant or refugee backgrounds through the sharing of stories. Through my involvement with the Dual Identity Leadership Program, I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet a lot of Vietnamese-Australian people. At our annual retreat, it is always a special experience sharing stories about our family’s journey and the challenges they faced in fleeing their home-country Vietnam and resettling in Australia.

If you could invite any woman, (dead or living) to dinner, who would it be and why?
I would invite Ava Duvernay, the director of the documentary ‘13th’ which explores systemic racism and mass incarceration in the US. Ava Duvernay also directed the best series on Netflix (in my opinion), ‘When They See Us’ which powerfully tells the true story of The Exonerated Five (also well known as the Central Park Five). I would love to learn about her creative processes in bringing her visions for the films she directs to life.

Name a book or a film that changed your life
The Course of Love by Alain De Botton. I met someone on my travels to Japan last year and we bonded over how we both shed tears reading it on our commutes! Through the very realistically depicted love story of the protagonists, Rabih and Kirsten, the author shares a lot of wise insights on relationships. The book inspired a lot of empathy in me and I gained a lot of food for thought on attachment styles and their role in our adult relationships.

Finish this sentence: “We need feminism because….”
we have a long path ahead until women’s rights are fully realised and equality is achieved!