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How this Design Junkies contestant gets to do what she loves every day

Wintec graduate Chanel Bowring, left, with fellow Design Junkie contestants

Chanel Bowring, pictured left, with fellow Design Junkie contestants, says she loves every day and a career in trades is 100 percent worthwhile.

Chanel Bowring is living proof that combining two study paths can take you to places you never thought possible, and her standout design and build skills are making waves on TVNZ’s Design Junkies.

Utilising her creativity and learning practical skills is paying off for this Wintec interior design graduate who is now an apprentice builder and developing an exciting business of her own.

What inspired you to make your study choices?
I've always been a creative person, even in high school - the art room was my favourite place to be. I decided to study Interior Design at Wintec after I finished school because I loved the idea of being able to utilise my creativity and making it a career. I completed a Diploma and while working full-time as an interior designer, I took a leap of faith and went back to Wintec to enrol in a pre-trade carpentry course, in the hope of pursuing a more hands-on pathway in the industry. I wanted to learn more skills because I found sitting at a computer desk all day just wasn't suited to me. And now here I am, a few years later with my own interior design, painting and plastering business!

You’ve recently been on television, tell us about that?
Yes! I am one of six contestants on Design Junkies, a design and build show where contestants create original works from recycled items and turn them into something awesome! It was such fun and a once in a lifetime experience. I was so fortunate to get the opportunity to be on TV and to show other females especially, that a career in trades is possible and 100 percent worthwhile!

Chanel's winning entry created for the Design Junkies TV series
Chanel won a Gold Award in episode two of Design Junkies with this design creation using her design and build skills.

Tell us about your dream job/career?
As cliché as it sounds, I really am living the dream! I get to do what I love each day which is to be creative and hands-on and all on my own terms. I work with a very experienced business partner who is always there to bounce ideas off and to answer any questions I have (which is a lot). If you dread getting out of bed each morning, then make the change, you won't regret it!

If you could start your study all over again, what advice would you give your younger self?
I would have told myself to relax and to breathe (I used to stress... A LOT). Not every decision has to be made ASAP and it's not the end of the world when something minor goes wrong. Trust in the process and it'll all work out just the way it's meant to.

What’s your advice for future students?
All I can say is GO FOR IT! It is so important to do what you love because your future self will thank you later. Studying can be challenging at times, but the experience of tutors and mentors is vital to your success if you utilise their knowledge (that's what they're there for). Always ask questions and don't compare yourself and your progress to others.

What’s next for you?
My business partner, Steve and I are looking forward to our biggest venture yet - The Waikato Home & Garden Show 2019. We are both super excited and extremely nervous to be putting our combined business, Fortè Finishes out there for the public to experience. We've also been working on refurbishing old furniture we recovered from the dump. Yet another great outlet for my creativity to flourish! 

At the 2016 Waikato Home & Garden Show, Chanel won a Bronze and the People’s Choice Award, and was the builder of Lucy Furniss’ Gold award-winning exhibit in 2018.

Watch Chanel Bowring’s introduction video for Design Junkies.

Find out more about studying interior design with Wintec’s School of Media Arts.

Find out more about studying trades at Wintec.

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