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5 Minutes with Montarna McDonald

Founder and Director of leading PR and communications firm The Audience Agency, Montarna McDonald means business in the world of food, drink, fashion and lifestyle. Having started her own firm at just 23, the now 28-year-old has a dazzling international client list of creative brands from all over the world. Entrepreneur, PR powerhouse and ‘It Squad’ style maven, this Sydney socialite knows what’s hot and what’s not on the Sydney social scene. We sat down with Montarna to talk work, travel, home life and to get the lowdown on a few of her favourite local Paddington haunts. 

Tell us a little about you

“I’ve been working in the PR industry since my late teens; I worked part time for Sydney agencies while I was studying at university. After some amazing roles, I got the itch to start my own business and made the leap in 2014, which is when I launched The Audience Agency. I haven’t looked back since!”

How does the Audience Agency story begin? 

“I’d always loved the idea of running my own jam – I’m a very driven person and never sit still, so being my own boss suits my personality. The time felt right when contacts and friends started approaching me to do their PR, even though I didn’t have my own agency at that stage. Knowing that the demand was there and people believed in me gave me the extra push I needed to go it alone.”

Do you have partner/children/fur baby? 

“My fiancée Nick and a three-year old French bulldog Harper Pitt.”

Exercise of choice?

“Reformer Pilates”.

“There’s an energy and excitement in Paddington – every day brings something new and it gives the neighbourhood a real creative, buzzy vibe.”

How long have you been a Paddo local? 

“Two years.”

Things you love about Paddington

“I have everything I need within walking distance, most places are fur-baby friendly which makes life easy for me, and we’re surrounded by friends in Paddington so its super social.”

What keeps you living in Paddington?

“Paddington’s got a great dynamic – it’s an evolving suburb with so much history, and at the same time it is going through major growth. There’s always something new popping up and the suburb has an amazing community spirit.”

Number 1 local gem?

“It’s too hard to pick just one, I fall in love with a new restaurant, café and boutique every week!”

You know you’re a local when ... 

“Everyone knows your fur baby’s name and her favourite treat!”

Describe your style

“I’d say my personal style is eclectic veering more towards the masculine side. I mix high fashion with daily basics and strive for my look to be effortless. My favourite designers are always changing but current loves are Re/Done denim, Celine, Chanel, Albus Lumen, Christopher Esber and Posse. This has definitely spilled over into my interior tastes – our home is refined and elegant with an artsy touch. We’ve blended designer pieces with antiques and finds from our travels.”

Your favourite space in your home?

 “Our courtyard is my favourite space; it’s the most completed space in the house and I’ve spent almost a year pulling it all together. So worth the time and effort – we practically live out there in the warmer weather, it’s such a social hub.”

Favourite homeware stores in Paddington?

“Bay Tree, Parterre, Dinosaur Designs, MCM House, Olsen Annex.”

Ultimate travel destination? 

“Italy every time. I try and get there once a year!”

Next Australian travel destination? 

“Hamilton Island.”

Next overseas travel destination? 


One thing you’re most looking forward to in the next 6 months? 

“My wedding later in the year.”