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VICE Australia's Creative Director Royce Akers On Dad Guilt + Life In The Suburbs

Family

Royce Akers’ job has taken him to some unexpected places over his 11-year tenure at VICE Australia – from The Embassy of Ecuador interviewing Julian Assange, to a giant yak festival in Mongolia. 

These days things move at a different, but not necessarily slower pace. Outside of his role as Creative Director for VICE Australia, Royce is husband to Kalu Edmunds and Dad to Nushi (3) and Billy (1).

They recently moved to Preston, into a house with a backyard and toys in the hall and an actual picket fence. Welcome to their exciting, surprising and oh-so-sleep deprived new chapter.

29th November, 2019

Royce Akers and Kalu Edmunds with their kids Nushi (3) and Billy (1). Photo – Sarah Collins.

Royce at home in Preston with Nushi. Photo – Sarah Collins.

Royce is the Creative Director of VICE Australia, where he’s been working for the last 11 years. Photo – Sarah Collins.

The Akers Edmunds clan hanging at home. Photo – Sarah Collins.

Kalu and Royce make RIDICULOUSLY cute kids! Photo – Sarah Collins.

Royce and one-year-old Billy. Photo – Sarah Collins.

On the tramp with Billy. Photo – Sarah Collins.

I go to work during the week, so when I’m home I try to do as much as I can and I love it’, says Royce. Photo – Sarah Collins.

Ashe Davenport
Friday 29th November 2019

Childbirth was unbelievable both times. Those were moments where I was super proud. I was in awe of Kalu and the kids.’ – Royce Akers. 

Royce Akers is tired, but happy – though he recognises it’s a bit basic to be a parent and complain about being tired. I told him there was no limit to the number of times he could say it to me. When I asked him how Kalu would describe him he answered, ‘If she said I was a good cook and made her laugh every other day, I’d be happy.’ I liked that he set himself reasonable goals.

Almost four-year-old Nushi wakes up each morning knowing exactly what she wants to wear. Royce thinks she would be an incredible character in a Korean horror film, though she gets scared easily. He says she inherited his big moon face, and that he’s in awe of her amazing ability to describe her feelings. Looking after his one and a half-year-old Billy feels like hanging out. He can’t talk yet, but Royce is convinced Billy understands banter better than most people. 

He said it sounded dumb, but the move from Collingwood to Preston was a big change for him and Kalu. They used to party and have people fighting outside their bedroom window all night. Now he’s a guy who thinks a lot about mowing the lawn.

How do you and Kalu share the parenting load?

I think we do our best to keep it as even as possible. It’s a conversation but we’re not a couple that keeps a ledger. I go to work during the week, so when I’m home I try to do as much as I can and I love it. But I know doing breakfasts and bedtimes is never going to be the same as the full eight hours Kalu has them alone during the day. She’s recently started selling a bit of sourced furniture through Curated Spaces, so on the weekends, we make sure she has time to work on that.

How has your work-life changed since becoming a parent?

I’ve adapted to running on a quarter of the usual brain capacity. It’s meant relying a little more on others and it’s been good to stop pretending to always know the answer – which is a tendency I have. I also stopped going out, which presents challenges when you work for a youth media company like Vice. But as with everything else, you just have to rely on others to keep those connections with culture.

Would you like to take on more parenting responsibilities? If yes, how do you see that happening?

When Billy came along I said I’d scale things back to four days a week but it didn’t happen for a couple of reasons. I feel bad about that. 

Do you still travel a lot for work? How does it work alongside family life?

I’ve scaled work travel way back since the kids came along. I’m not into being away from the action.

What’s your experience with Dad guilt? Is it a thing?

I feel guilty about constantly talking about them. I feel guilty when I’m not with them. When I get mad at them I feel guilty afterward. So without googling Dad Guilt, I’m pretty sure I get it from time to time. I’ve had other Dads tell me they feel guilty watching Bluey. The dad on that show has become a low-key role model, which is hilarious and awesome.

How do you keep the romance alive in a long term relationship? Asking for a friend.

There are all sorts of waivers I’d need to sign before answering this one. 

What’s been your proudest moment since becoming a parent?

Childbirth was unbelievable both times. Those were moments where I was super proud. I was in awe of Kalu and the kids. 

What do you hate most about parenthood?

Look, it’s gotta be the nights, but we’ll fix that eventually.

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Kalu, Royce, Nushi and Billy recently switched gears from the pace of Collingwood to peace in Preston – picket fence and all. Photo – Sarah Collins.

FAMILY FAVOURITES

Rainy day activity?

Getting out of the house is crucial. There’s a trampoline centre near here that’s pretty fun. We go to the library a lot too. Looking forward to when movies are more of a thing.

Sunday morning breakfast?

The kids are obsessed with pancake dots – where you drip the batter all over the pan so it makes heaps of tiny pancakes. Kind of annoying to make, as opposed to big beautiful fluffy pancakes, but what can you do.

Date night?

Umbertos or Neighbourhood Wine… anywhere within 10 minutes drive.

Go-to album?

We have a Google Home thing in the kitchen so we don’t play many albums these days. The kids have songs they love (Here Comes The Sun, Good As Hell) and then the machine just adds more songs on after.

Weekend getaway?

Nanna’s house down at Point Lonsdale.

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