Alumni in Focus: Peta Astbury-Bulsara
Your career path in two sentences or less?
I have always been an opportunity follower, taking on new things/directions which have always seemed to have paid off in some way in the future. I am a very hard worker though – I made a sign for my office a few years ago which says “Dreams are made with Discipline + Tenacity + Effort” to remind me.
What are your hobbies?
Being a busy working mum I don’t have much spare time, but I like staying active – going for walks in nature with the kids/dogs, reading (Blinklist is great for time poor people) and cooking – my husband and I are massive foodies. I got on the sourdough train during Covid-19 lockdown and almost perfected that and also started cross stitch – but haven’t got far with that one!
Favourite place to eat in Adelaide?
I moved back to Adelaide again in January, after 5 years in Perth and most of this year has been in lockdown and also having a new baby – but Exchange in the East End for coffee, Adelaide Pho, Madras House or Chennai Palace for dosa or curry, Shobosho, Fire and Stone or Sunny’s for pizza, Africola, Orso, 127 Days for burgers, and last, but definitely not least – Nido, where we had our last date night for a while before our second child arrived.
Most prized possession?
My collection of antique mirrors. Also a vase and matching fruit bowl that my grandmother (given to her by her mother) which was the only decorative item my grandmother brought with her from Eastern Europe to Australia after they fled the war. They were only allowed one suitcase each.
I can’t get enough of…
Schitt’s Creek – such a lovely, warm and funny series with organic diversity at its core.
Something that makes you smile?
My two sons, 4 year old and 3 months. And our two English cocker spaniels.
Something you are grateful for?
The amazing science involved in IVF (including from the amazing Professor Rob Norman, also Jodie Semmler – both through Fertility SA), which helped me have my two gorgeous boys. I took pictures of each of them and told them both that I couldn’t wait to meet them, when they were only 5 day old embryos. How many people can say that?
If I could pursue a different career I would…
I have thought on this often in recent years – Politics. I have always had a strong sense of civic duty and belief in equality and social justice. I feel I would have a lot to give.
The most valuable lesson I have learned?
Trust my instincts and never stand for a bully.
I cannot get through the day without…
Three words your closest friends would use to describe you?
Diligent, intelligent, kind.
Your definition of success?
Being able to do what you love, while getting paid for it.
Biggest career highlight?
The Heights, Season 1 & 2 has been a dream come true, which I produced with my company For Pete’s Sake Productions, in association with the amazing people at Matchbox Pictures. I was able to use all of my knowledge regarding innovation in the production space that I have been building across my career, to build this ginormous 30 episode per season, drama series with completely new and bespoke production methodology and putting together a crack team of people to pull it off. My goal from the outset was to make this ground-breaking new series with gender parity across the key decision makers (Heads of Department’s) – we ended up with over 50% HOD’s and also gender parity across the entire production - again we exceeded this. It was also to build in opportunity, providing necessary on set experience to emerging practitioners – with a focus on diversity, with mentoring from very experienced professionals.
The biggest risk I have taken?
Pulling out of film school and enrolling for an MBA at The University of Adelaide instead. That was back in 2005 and it was the best thing I ever did. It provided me with the necessary business acumen to give myself an edge in the industry. A few people thought I was crazy back then – enrolling in business school when I wanted to make film & TV, now it’s something that is quite common. This is a business after all. The degree has paid off in so many ways. It was one of the best decisions for my career that I have made.
A misconception about you?
That I am a pushover, because I am nice. People only make that mistake once.