Jo Caruana – Video Interview

Where do you live? Naxxar

Star Sign: Sagittarius

Occupation: Owner of and Finesse Consulta, Editor of Style on Sunday, and Actress

“Expect the unexpected.” What is your approach when it comes to challenges in your line of work?

When you work in publishing, you get used to things having to happen at the very last minute, so when it comes to challenges, I think I have learnt to stay as calm as possible, which is something that is a bit difficult for me. However, I tend to calm myself down and try to work through things as quickly as I can and find a resolution.

When you are not working, how do you spend your leisure time?

I have three rescue dogs, so I spend a lot of my leisure time with them, going for walks or just playing with them. I am also an actress so any downtime I have is spent learning scripts for plays or looking for scripts. Rehearsals also take up a lot of my time. I am part of the Comedy Nights troupe of comedians and we are currently planning our next shows, so I spend my time also researching potentially funny sketches for it.

Which was the editorial project you are most proud of and why?

As a journalist I have been lucky to work on all sorts of different editorial projects that are very exciting. The one that I am probably most proud of, is an article I did for ‘Style on Sunday Magazine’ for which I interviewed the four living former Presidents, at the time. Sadly, both Guido de Marco and Censu Tabone have since passed away. I think that interview was the last time that all of them were together in a meeting and it was an interesting and emotional experience to hear all of their stories. I also got to take a photo with the four of them which proudly stands in my house and is something that I really treasure.

We all need role models or people who inspire us in life. Who is your muse?

I have two people that I really look up to. The first person is an editor called Sarah Baker. When I was younger she was the editor of Cosmopolitan for girls and as she got older, she joined Red Magazine, which I still like to read. I have always followed her career and tried to emulate her in any way I can and I think that she is an absolutely fantastic writer.

As an actress, I like Sheridan Smith, from the UK. She played Elle in Legally Blonde on the West End, which was a show I later did over here in Malta. I think she is absolutely fantastic, very versatile and I have always enjoyed watching her work.

We know you are involved in acting, writing, singing and editing, but is there anything else you have always wanted to do professionally?

Definitely! I would have loved to work with animals and I still think that maybe someday I will find a way to do so. When I was trying to see what I wanted to study, one thing that came to mind was being a writer about animals. Travelling around the world, studying the way animals live and then writing about it. But it hasn’t happened yet. I also wanted to be a veterinary but I don’t think that I have the required A-Level results to do so.

Writing for print or the web in Malta. Do you change your writing style accordingly?

It is very important to change your writing style depending on your audience. When it comes to print, people generally have more time and desire to read. Whereas when you are reading on screen, people only have a few seconds and you have to get their attention very quickly. That was something that I studied at the University in Edinburgh, where we learnt how to write for different media and it is something that I have carried on doing. Obviously, writing for the web is now becoming more important and more prevalent, so it is important to understand the style and to keep your writing short, sharp and to the point, because that is what people want to read.

In your career, you have worked both overseas and locally. Are there any significant differences between the two experiences?

I have been lucky to work both overseas and locally and I still have quite a few clients who are overseas. I think, the main difference is that people overseas often have the luxury of having more people in their team. Generally, in Malta, one person has to do a lot of different jobs on one project, whereas in the UK or in other larger countries, there would be several people to work on a smaller project. I think in Malta, it shows that people are really hard-working in that we really try to make the best of what we have, and that is why I really love working in the Maltese environment.

We know you are working on a new project. Could you tell us more about it and why it is new for Malta?

My most recent business project is called ‘Finesse Consulta’ which deals with corporate etiquette and protocol. It is something which I have recently graduated from and I am very interested in, because it is the study of how you act and it can really help the way you do business. For instance, if you are wanting to do business with a Japanese or a Chinese company, then you need to understand the etiquette of that culture, in order to come across properly. This is something that I have been studying about for a while and it is something which is new to the Maltese market.

When shall we see Jo Caruana on stage?

I am looking forward to the second instalment of Comedy Nights which will be the comedy show that we do annually at Christmas time at the Salesian Theatre. It is a sketch show that looks at the year in review, pointing out all the funny things that happened with politicians and other fun stuff that took place during the year. We certainly have a good laugh when we are rehearsing for it and it seems that the audience enjoys it too.