This week’s Business Ninja is the dynamic Jessi Lewis of One Small Room. A seasoned actor, creator and all-round bon vivant, Jessi has been at the helm of some of Australia’s most ‘envelope pushing’ productions. Ruby Assembly met Jessi recently at Oscar Calvo’s Fashion Connect Party at the Carlton, and knew immediately that our readers would be interested in hearing more about his journey and future projects. To get creative and collaborative, email Jessi –

1. What makes you magical, setting you apart from others in your field?

I never take no for answer, it is not a word that exists in my
vocabulary. Many times I have been told that something can not be
done, I first look a the situation, and instead of being overwhelmed
by the challenge, I revel in the work needed to be done, and I rise to
the challenge. I believe exhaustion is a natural and; allot of the
time necessary part of working in my industry. When the goings get
tough, the tough get going.

2. What are your maddest ‘ninja skillz’ in coming up with new, fresh ideas?

To make something out of nothing. I don’t believe creativity should be
judged by finance’s. Producing ten solo shows over the last eight
years, I all ways work with no budget, I know that working with no
funds is all ways going to create something which is magical, organic
and true to being a creative.

3. How did your lightbulb moment in creating your business come about?

It actually all started at about the age of 15, thanks to my drama
teacher in high school telling me that I should leave and start
working in the industry. This is the moment that set me on the path
that has found me just before my 23rd birthday kicking goals I never
though I would reach, but some how I am.

4. What is your earliest memory?

My birthday cake for my fourth birthday, it was purple, ON THE INSIDE,
but it’s not the image that I can remember, but the taste. My family
at the time where living in a little country town in Queensland called
Kilcoy. My mum baked the cake, it tasted sweet, but the taste also
seemed to pop in my mouth. It was also covered in hundreds and

5. What would your last meal be?

I think it would have to be a pizza, I am all ways teased for my love
of pizza, it is insane. I was a big (unashamed) fan of pizza hut
buffet when it was on bourke st, once a friend and I drove all the way
to ballarat to visit the only remain one in Victoria.

6. What is your best tip for choosing collaborative partners?

Knowing your partner’s personality inside and out, I good indication
for a partnership to work out is the ability to be able to have those
difficult conversations without fear of adverse reactions, I have made
some bad decisions in the past in this area, and I also believe that
the best way of choosing collaborative partners is through time,
experience and patience, It can be easy to jump in to quickly when the
excitement of a new idea is ruling the situation, but one must over
ride these feelings and enter with a clear state of mind, separating
the heart from the head.

7. What is your favourite sound?

I love the sounds of Melbourne City, Walking down Flinders Lane, the
sound of people enjoying coffee and cutlery clinking against china,
the sound of their chatter and happy talk, the inscent buzz that
emanates from the city centre, that ‘melbourne’ sound of trams
sometimes gliding, mostly clattering down the tracks, and the sounds
of buskers that ebbs and flows from different street corners and
lanes. To sum it up, the sound of Melbourne is my favourite.

8. Who would you like to invite to dinner?

Having just interviewed Margaret Cho, when she was performing at The
Forum Theatre, I was left with many burning questions that I did not
think to ask her, given the chance, to have dinner with her would be

9. What is something unexpected that has come from your work?

I have been working in the creative industries for around eight years,
and in the last eight weeks two things have come up that have been
unexpected, firstly is my new monthly tv segment for Bent Tv on
Channel 31- BABBLE, and my venue that I am opening with my business
partner Andrea Jenkins- ONE SMALL ROOM. Both of these things have come
out of the blue, and though both seem like over night success’s they
may not of happened with out my past experiences. From both these
opportunities coming about, I find myself moving in a new direction,
from stealing the lime light too not just sharing but giving the lime
light to other artists.

10. Sum up Spring 2011 in one word.