in conversation with sara blicavs | RAIDED
the inaugural interview of the RAIDED series sees saraid taylor sit down with sara blicavs.
recently named in the 2019 chemist warehouse australian opals squad, the twenty-six-year-old is an exuberant, talented larrikin with a strong dislike of jellyfish under specific circumstances.
THE EASY ONES.
1. sara blicavs, where did you grow up?
i grew up in sunbury, victoria, twenty minutes past the airport, with my parents and two older brothers.
so, you were the baby.
yes, i was the little baby. and i was spoilt and i loved it.
2. what kind of kid were you?
i haven’t changed. if i see a tree and i want to climb it, i’m going to climb it.
3. what were you like at school?
it is very hard for me to sit still for more than five minutes, so i wasn’t the most concentrated student.
but i didn’t mind school. i loved woodwork and metal work; anything hands-on. i loved to draw. i loved chemistry but wasn’t that great at it. my best subject was actually english, which still shocks me.
4. what was your favourite toy?
i remember one of my brothers ripped a barbie doll from my hand one day, put her hair in water, rubbed her in the dirt and said, ‘come on, let’s go kick the footy.’ that probably sums it up – i loved anything relating to a ball or a bike or a skateboard.
are you trying to tell me you did not have a teddy bear?
no, i did. ‘grizzly.’ he’s this ratty old brown bear i picked out when i was four. and i still have him. when i go back home to sunbury, he’s there, sleeping on my bed.
5. what is your most embarrassing childhood memory?
in year six, i had to break-up with my year-six-boyfriend and i was too embarrassed to do it, so i got his best mate to do it for me. i think, also, i liked his best mate more than him.
yeah, what a scumbag.
6. what is something you were always getting in trouble for?
not much. i think i just blamed things on my brothers, so they got in trouble instead.
the deeper ones.
1. how do you think others see you?
as positive and happy and a good time. as a good friend. i’d like to think caring. and wanting the best for others.
2. how do you see yourself?
like all of that.
are you trying to condense my interview?
when i looked over the questions, i felt they were pretty similar.
well, i really pride myself on being a good human and i think people see me the way i would want them to see me, if that makes sense.
it does. 3. so, what does being a ‘good human’ mean?
um, well … just not being a shit one.
i guess it means making sure you're bringing out the best in everyone and always helping someone in some sort of way.
4. what is a song you will cry to?
i don’t cry often so …
so, you had to really think about this one.
i really did. i’m a huge lover of music, across all genres, so it depends on what i'm sad about. if it’s because of a boy, i’ll listen to soppy love songs.
nothing specific. but the fix you by cold play kind of stuff.
and live and acoustic and from the heart gets me.
5. what is a song that fires you up?
anything the foo fighters, kings of leon, red hot chilli peppers.
6. what is a relationship in your life that has affected you the most?
the people in my life now. i've chosen who i want to be around and they’re positive and bubbly and they bring out the best in me.
7. what is something you still want to achieve?
love. marrying the man of my dreams. honestly, it is such a goal of mine and, as much as i’m not out there looking, i still can’t wait for that day.
look at you, ya big softy.
i just think it such an achievement to actually be in love and stay in love. i can’t wait for that.
7.5. i feel like your ambitions are so centralised when you are an athlete, and, for many years, life is completely consumed by sport. looking outside of that, aside from having a family, what do you want to do with yourself?
my current basketball goals are to hit a certain level of performance. get good contracts. buy some houses and set myself up for life. so, then, once my basketball career is done, i can work on other things. i’m organising an active underwear range. i’d like to get into media or radio or marketing. potentially have my own business. but i’m decking out my house at the moment, and i’m loving interior design [laughs], so it changes. as long as i’m doing something i really enjoy.
the sport ones.
1. what is your favourite sports quote?
“you can’t control the uncontrollables.”
2. what is one message you would give to little athletes who look up to you?
make sure you are always having fun. not worrying about anything or anyone. just going out there to better yourself.
3. who is your sports hero?
my mum, karen, my dad, andris, and my brothers, kris and mark. 100%.
to provide context, both of your parents played for australian national basketball teams, one of your brothers also plays high-level basketball and is a strength and conditioning coach, and the other is an afl player for the geelong football club. so you really have no genetic advantage at all.
4. what kind of sacrifices have you made to be where you are?
probably just putting ‘normal’ teenage life on hold. i had to grow up fast and become super independent. it’s very easy to get jealous of everyone going on holidays or partying and being social but i wouldn’t change it for the world.
5. if you hadn’t been a basketballer, what would you have been?
i would have been a traveller, wandering the world.
6. you’ve just come back from a very serious injury …
and i’m sure you’ve been asked plenty of times what you’ve learnt about yourself in this period, so i want to know what is something you have learnt about others?
i have learnt shitloads about myself—sorry, got to stop swearing …
you’re fine. we’re only up to about seven.
but, about others … when you get injured, you get swarmed with messages. my phone went off. so lovely. i was cared for by people everywhere. but then, when it’s the two weeks later, who are the ones still checking in with you? you definitely learn who your genuine friends are. and that’s helped me learn something else about myself. i know that if people ever go through a hard time like that, i want to make sure i keep checking in with them.
the hard-hitting ones.
1. are you somebody your ten-year-old self would be proud of?
um. [long pause]
it’s an easy yes or no answer until i hit you with the ‘why’.
yeah, i thought, ‘ugh, wait, why do i?’ no, i'm really proud of myself for what i've done so far in my life. i've reached goals that i wanted to achieve when i was younger.
i've always been pretty confident, but growing up, in primary school and high school, when i had to public speak, my face used to go super red. i hated it. i'm rapt that now i'm totally okay with it. it’s something i've always wanted to be better at. things like that—that i've worked on and i know i've put myself out of my comfort zone.
2. what do you think the purpose of life is?
is this the purpose of life in general, or is this my purpose in life?
i have thought about this question. first of all, i think the purpose of life is to just procreate and keep people going.
i think when you’re born, every day you're looking for affection, you're constantly trying to find that someone and i think that’s what people are here on earth to do … to find their soulmate.
and yours, personally?
i genuinely believe my purpose is to bring the best out in others. to make people happier.
3. if there was one thing you could change about the world, what would it be?
i am reading a book about the dalai lama and in it, he says he never feels lonely because he considers everyone a compassionate person. i was out for coffee yesterday with mum, and i was sitting there, thinking, i don’t know all of those people on the table next to me but if i see them as all friendly, kind humans, it instantly makes me feel warm. wait, what was the question again? where did i even go?
i liked it. it is a way to approach the world. to deliberately view others in a way that assumes the best of them until proven otherwise. the question was, ‘what would you change …’
i’d make everyone put themselves in other people’s shoes, then the world would be a better place. it’d be kinder.
4. what is your greatest fear?
if i'm up to my waist, standing in the ocean, and i see a jellyfish, i'm not scared. i find them super fascinating, so i’ll go examine it. but if i'm out of my depth in water, even with one jellyfish—it could be the smallest jellyfish out there—i will flip my lid. i don’t like the fact that no matter how far away you swim from them, they’re constantly, for some random reason, floating towards you [makes exuberant blobbing gesture with her hand]
but it’s only when you’re out of your depth?
i’ve never heard of such an intense, very specific, terror of jellyfish. what about fears you had as a kid?
bit afraid of the dark. slept with my light on a fair few times.
5. when did you get over it?
i'm not going to lie, if i watch a horror movie—i love them but if i watch anything ghost-related—i’ll sleep with my light on that night. so, never. i haven’t gotten over it ever.
6. what do you value most in all of your relationships?
honesty. big time. people are so quick to talk about someone rather than say it to their face and work things out.
7. what is something you do every day that impacts the world in a positive way?
i always go out of my way to make sure i give someone a compliment. not a fake compliment, i'm not going to go up to someone and say something to them if i don’t believe it.
but you try to find something genuine to say?
yeah, and it’s not much effort. and i know when i get complimented, i get awkward, but i feel good afterwards. i think everyone needs to hear something nice every day.
8. what would you like remembered about you?
so many people are stressed about life and all that stuff. it’d be cool to be known as carefree. we’re all going to die anyway so we may as well go out every day and try to enjoy it.
what a simultaneously morbid and uplifting way to end this interview. sara blicavs, thank you for chatting.
no, saraid taylor, thank you.
about the photographer.
an absolute professional, a talented creative, and beyond a pleasure to work with, alexia brehas is one of australia’s finest young artists.
alexia brehas is a melbourne-based visual artist, photographer, and writer. with a focus on large scale dotwork drawings and intimate portraits, her work has been exhibited internationally and has been awarded finalist places in a variety of art competitions.
SUPPORT HER WORK: