In the heyday of the 90s, there was a certain career status known as the slashie. It was, for the most part, reserved for those within certain industries that provided a glut of freedom and glamour. Models. It was primarily models who were not just models but model slash musician or slash writer or slash actor. Actors, too, are often slashies.
He may not realise it but Sydney-based Harrison Kennedy is bringing back the tradition of the slashie. The 21-year-old model slash designer slash podcast host has been hard at work for the past few years building a career out of multi-tasking that includes launching a minimal-piece fashion brand Garçon D’eau and hosting the Really Mental Podcast alongside William Hyde.
Now in its second season, Really Mental has succeeded in making discussing their mental health among young men something that’s less taboo and to be encouraged. It’s not just your more familiar topics either, things like anxiety or stress. Kennedy and Hyde have touched on everything from relationship advice to experiencing emotional flatlining and even poking at the mental health industry complex as a whole.
ICON recently sat down with Kennedy to learn what directed him down the path of launching a podcast, how it relates to his work as a model and influencer and how all three paths (designer, model, podcast host) might converge in the future.
ICON: Easy question first: how did you end up juggling three very different career paths all at once?
HARRISON KENNEDY: I think it’s been an evolution over time. I started off as a traditional model: campaigns, runway editorial, that type of stuff. Then I kind of got into the social media space and just sharing my life, posting my outfits. And then when COVID hit I was going through a lot of my own difficulties, the same as my friend Will who runs the podcast with me.
And we would always talk and then we kind of came with up with this idea, ‘Why don’t we do a podcast on mental health for Gen Z to help other people so they know them no matter who they are, they’re not alone?’
ICON: You’ve brought on a broad range of other people to discuss their experiences – how do you vet the guests and decide what to talk with them about?
HK: Our process is we find interesting guests first and then we ask them what’s personal to them. Because mental health is such a personal thing. It’s so individualised. We all have our own experiences. We like to talk to the guests first about what they’re comfortable sharing, what they would love to share with their experiences and then we kind of cater to that. Because we don’t want to ever make someone feel uncomfortable. We don’t ever want to push anyone’s boundaries.
ICON: What has been the most confronting topic you’ve discussed on the show?
HK: I think the hardest one for me, when it comes to personal experience was realising this addiction that we have to our own anxiety.
This was with a guy named Sam Nelson Harris from X Ambassadors. We were talking about it in that episode, how there’s this thing where you take a step back and realise you actually like that you’re really anxious and you like it because it improves productivity, it does all these things, but it’s not healthy for your body.
ICON: On a lighter topic, made you want to start a clothing range?
HK: So that came from COVID as well, like Really Mental. I literally had nothing going on at one time because everything was shut. There was no work and stuff especially for clothes branding and I needed some sort of creative outlet for myself. It started with painting and drawing and then through that I was thought, ‘Oh, this could kind of look cool on a hoodie.’
ICON: At the moment it’s just a V-neck and a sweater. Are there plans to expand the range?
HK: I would love to expand the range but I also think clothing brands are a hard thing to do. I will say that anyone who has a successful clothing brand, I props to them.