Some of us know the saying that you can have and be anything you want, if you’re willing to work for it. And then there are some people who unequivocally live their life by that principle. Sussan Mourad is no doubt one of those people.
One of the most inspiring, authentic and effervescent individuals we’ve sat down with at ACC, Sussan, which some of you may or may not know, started her career as a Corporate Lawyer (what?!). After graduating with First Class Honors from the University of Technology, Sydney, & landing a ‘dream’ clerkship at top-tier law firm, Clayton UTZ, Sussan decided to “Embrace Her Crazy” as she likes to say by throwing it all in to pursue her dream of working in entertainment. Needless to say, Sussan hasn’t looked back.
Making the transition from Lawyer to TV Presenter look unorthodoxly seamless, Sussan has been no stranger to our living rooms, gracing our screens covering the countries biggest award show red carpets, including the ARIA Awards, ASTRA Awards and every major movie premiere in her role as the host of Event TV and of course her time at MTV.
But let’s be honest, its Sussan’s role as an adventure travel host that often has us inspired to book that dream holiday (and maybe a tad bit jealous!) along with her enviable instagram pics! From being a host on Australia’s most coveted travel show ‘Getaway,’ to sand-boarding in Namibia with Nat Geo Adventure, or her latest ventures with Travel Channel & Third Home, its Sussan’s tenacity and unbridled sense of adventure, both on screen and off, that’s clearly her super-power. With her wings and sights now nestled in LA, we did some exploring of our own, to discover where she finds her drive and inspirations, and how we can bottle some of that for ourselves.
You’re now based in LA, the epicenter of entertainment, but you started out billing hours as a corporate lawyer, how does one do such a 360-degree flip so successfully?
Haha well, its kind of crazy. Ever since I was a kid I always knew I wanted to work in entertainment. I’d host my own fake TV shows, I’d study music videos & write letters to magazines and get them published. Yet, somehow I ended up in law because it seemed like the sensible thing to do. But everyday I felt like I was suffocating. In the end, I had to listen to my inner voice and just go for it. I know it sounds cliché but I knew I had to follow my dreams. At first, it’s hard to give that ‘voice’ so much power over your decisions, but when you do, you get addicted to doing it and its empowering. From there you work harder than you ever have before, you know you need to make it work, because you’ve put everything on the line. There’s no plan B.
At first, it’s hard to give that ‘voice’ so much power over your decisions, but when you do, you get addicted to doing it and its empowering.
Your resume reads like what many of us, to be honest, dreamed of growing up, MTV, E! Australia, RedBull TV, Getaway, Travel Channel and now Hollywood! Was this part of your plan or did you fall into it?
No way! I wish I could say I fell into it! I’m not that lucky! I’ve had to work really hard and be really strategic. These were also the networks I set as my ‘dream’ career goals because they aligned with my strengths as a presenter and personal interests. I left law because I wanted to get paid to do what I love. Sometimes I still can’t believe I’ve made it happen. If you told me it was possible those nights working late at the law firm, I would never have believed it!
What advice would you give to others looking for a career change?
I think planning and testing the waters is key, before making any big changes. Talk to people in your desired field, read blogs and books relevant to your area, do short courses, try and just get out there and do ‘the thing’ and get experience if you can without making drastic decisions. With the internet and social media, you can really learn so much without having to make a big move. Sometimes though, you need to step out and leave your old job for the mental bandwidth to think straight, I get that. In those cases, you really need to keep a strong and positive mind and surround yourself with supportive people while you do the searching. It takes a lot of courage and belief in your abilities to make big changes, but it’s all worth it in the end.
Tips for a strong and positive mind? We’ve seen your videos, we think you ace it in that department!
Thank you! It’s always a work in progress. I love all personal development books. But I don’t get that much time to read, so I love to watch a lot of inspiring of videos on YouTube or podcasts. Anthony Robbins and everything Oprah is my go-to! A healthy diet, working out and solid sleep also do wonders for the mind, but you already know that! Magnesium supplements and all your B vitamins are also great for the nervous system.
What fun things are you working on you can share?
I’m working on a really exciting production with Beacon Pictures, I can’t tell you too much about it just yet! But I’ve filmed a really fun series with the Ovation Network called ‘Culture Pop’ that you can check out, it’s an intellectual and witty take on things happening in pop-culture. I love it when I can be a little quirky on camera and have fun with it and in Culture Pop I definitely do that! It can be a little embarrassing sometimes watching how silly I can be, haha but that’s the fun! Vacation Renovation is another production that’s a bit of a dream, it’s the best of a travel show and a renovation show, rolled into one! Stay tuned!
5 Minutes with Sussan
Best place to eat in LA?
Cecconis, never disappoints!
Best smoothie in LA?
Earthbar, the Flaxseed Master.
Best interview to date & dream interview?
Snoop Dogg has been my favourite. And one day I have to interview Beyoncé!
Best career advice given to you?
“Follow your dreams, they’ll always take you to a good place.” Believe it or not, that advice came from queen Oprah herself, when I met her!! Now that was an out of this world experience!
To follow Sussan’s journey, click here.